As a New Yorker, I must apologize for the barrage of our former mayors (Bloomberg, DeBlasio, Giuliani) that have found themselves far too close to the presidency. It is simply New York narcissism at its worst. Yet Bloomberg’s flirtation with a presidential run is a far more insidious force than New York narcissism; it’s another attempt by the billionaire class to ensure its control over America’s political processes.
The billionaire class is scared that real change is coming to America in the form of a Sanders or Warren presidency—and scared they should be. Bernie and Liz’s policies—including a billionaire tax, breaking up major tech companies and removing corporate money from politics—threaten the system that has allowed billionaires to accumulate unimaginable wealth and wield it as they so desire. Sanders and Warren have not shied away from this conflict. In fact, Sanders has gone as far as to say billionaires shouldn’t exist at all, and Warren’s campaign sells mug that says “billionaire tears.” In national polls, Warren and Sanders are consistently polling ahead of every other candidate, save Biden. And Biden is still struggling to articulate a sentence that is coherent from beginning to end. The billionaire class is currently rallying around Mayor Pete Buttigieg due to his recent surge in Iowa and New Hampshire, but they surely know this is largely due to a $2.3 million ad-buy and subsequent traction amongst white voters. In the end, he still is only the mayor of a city of 102,000 people.
The billionaires are desperate for a candidate who can win the primary while maintaining the interests of the Democratic Party elite; they are running out of options and are quickly becoming desperate. Last month, six major democratic donors met at a swanky hotel in Midtown Manhattan to discuss who they could draft into the already over-crowded field of Democratic candidates. They are scheming to change the course of the primary and have unlimited resources at their disposal to do so. They floated names like Michael Bloomberg, Deval Patrick, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Their efforts have paid off as both Bloomberg and Patrick have decided to run for president. Bloomberg is wasting no time—he just bought over $100 million of advertisements in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, perhaps in an attempt to erode Sanders’ momentum in these integral states. Yet the question remains: will these candidates actually be able to pose a legitimate challenge this many months into the primary?
One possibility is that party elites are actually advocating for a brokered convention—a primary in which no candidate obtains the majority of delegates. If Biden, Buttigieg, Warren and Sanders all remain in the race until July, each winning different states, this is a viable outcome. In the event of a brokered convention, superdelegates will decide the nominee at the Democratic Convention on July 13, 2020. This would be unequivocally bad for Sanders and Warren who are unlikely to garner the support of superdelegates who include former members of Congress and members of the Democratic National Committee, a group that has historically not looked favorably upon candidates that question the role of big money in politics.
This is of course speculation, but we must reckon with the fact that many party insiders are working hard to ensure that Sanders or Warren is not the nominee. The reality is that the Democratic Party is divided—it is comprised of a wide range of people espousing fundamentally different ideologies. We are chafing at the confines of a two-party system that artificially combines Bernie’s democratic socialism with Biden’s neoliberalism, all because these men believe that people should have abortion access, gay people should have the right to marry and we shouldn’t lock kids in cages at the border. I will be voting for whoever the Democratic nominee is because in an election against Trump, I feel I have no other choice. But the question must be asked: is the party big enough for both the billionaires and Bernie and Warren?