opinion

OPINION: Bloomberg's presidential campaign is proof that money buys influence in U.S. politics



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Presidential candidate and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a campaign event held at Trail Coffee Roasters in downtown Stockton. Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs formally endorsed Bloomberg at the event. Tribune News Service

Another billionaire is attempting to buy the U.S. presidency. Former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has announced he is running for the Democratic presidential nomination and has since received nothing but fawning coverage from mainstream media outlets, such as Meet the Press host Chuck Todd touting him as a “very serious contender.”

Despite the glamorous appearance portrayed by the media, Bloomberg’s campaign is a complete media fabrication due to the millions of dollars he is funneling into his hollow presidential run.

Not only is Bloomberg extremely unpopular with no support base in the democratic party, his pathetic attempt at appearing relevant is solely due to self-financing his own campaign — not through individual donations or grassroots fundraising.

No other presidential candidate with his same political positions and record would ever get treated with such praise and support from the media.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, has the biggest grassroots support base in the primary race with the most individual donations and most diverse base of any candidate, yet mainstream media outlets choose to ignore his campaign, treating him as if he has already lost the race.

This is because fundamentally, candidates like Sanders are change candidates. Bloomberg is the antithesis — he is the status quo candidate.

According to the breakdown by FiveThirtyEight on how much each democratic candidate is spending on television ads, Bloomberg is ahead by a mile. Bloomberg comes in first, spending a total of $53 million. Tom Steyer is in second, spending $48 million, and Sanders comes in third, spending only $4 million on television ads.

This is proof that billionaires are just trying to buy legitimacy. Bloomberg and Steyer are using their enormous wealth to prop up their own campaigns because their fragile egos can’t bear to let them flop as hard as some of the other no-name corporate shills running for the democratic nomination.

When looking at total spending on ads, Bloomberg has outspent every other democratic candidate in the race, having just surpassed $100 million spent. No candidate should be allowed to self-fund their own campaign — these are corporate oligarchs trying to buy the presidency.

Adding to Bloomberg buying influence through ads, he is treated as a candidate on the rise by those in the media. Donny Deutsch on MSNBC called him “a beast” while Stuart Varney on Fox News argues that Bloomberg will win the 2020 nomination.

Besides being delusional and out of touch with the vast majority of Americans, the favorable coverage of Bloomberg is largely due to how much influence he has with Bloomberg News and the many other large corporations he owns.

Voices in the media are much less likely to be critical of Bloomberg, especially if Bloomberg News or another company of his could potentially be a future employer. Not to mention Bloomberg’s conservative approach to politics is very favorable to the mega-wealthy, which includes most political commentators.

Without his wealth, Bloomberg is a failed candidate. There is not a single policy of his that would help the average American. Bloomberg is infamous for his petty crackdown on sugary soft drinks and banning food donations to the homeless in New York City as well as for supporting the racist and ineffective policy of stop-and-frisk.

Bloomberg ran as a Republican when running for mayor, but he did not become a registered Democrat until 2018. When looking at his policy positions, he comes across as any standard Republican.

Bloomberg has said that marijuana legalization is “perhaps the stupidest thing anybody has ever done” and raising taxes on poor people is a “good thing.” At this rate, Bloomberg should just run as a Republican against President Donald Trump.

To protect his ego further, Bloomberg has given himself plausible deniability if he loses the nomination by skipping the first four contests and jumping into the race on super Tuesday. This way, when he loses, he can blame his loss on not entering soon enough. 

No politician should be able to buy legitimacy by self-financing. This is a prime example of the corrupting influence of money in campaign finance. It is imperative that Americans push for the public financing of elections through something such as a campaign voucher system like Democracy Dollars in Seattle.

We cannot allow the political discourse to be dictated by wealth. It should be focused on policy and competing political philosophy. No amount of ad buys can amount to genuine grassroots support,but because of the media’s emphasis on impostor candidates like Bloomberg, It gives voters the impression of legitimacy.

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