Can Mike Bloomberg Save Democrats, His Bank Account From Elizabeth Warren?
Elizabeth Warren is a frontrunner now in the Democratic primary, and this has a lot of foxes worried that a chick might wind up running the hen house. The "establishment" -- Democrats, Republicans, anyone with a morning talk show -- wants a return to the status quo, where the president was polite and no one complained about their student loan debt and medical-related bankruptcy. The "establishment" is convinced only Joe Biden can beat him. Warren, however, doesn't see the point of a primary if she doesn't try to win actually win it. This unorthodox campaign strategy has thrown Biden off his footing. He had a disappointing fundraising quarter, coming in behind Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg, and people are starting to worry.
"A lot of us are really concerned," another Democratic bundler said. "We think Biden is the strongest out of the lot, but he hasn't exactly shown that he can play the part yet."
They're desperate for a central casting president, aren't they? Biden just needs to learn his lines and commit to the part. But the show must go on and what it Biden can't perform? On "Morning Joe" the other day, Mika Brzezinski fretted over Biden's struggles. If he doesn't win, that leaves a "void" in the Democratic Party. Who can possibly beat Trump? Trump's approval rating is 42 percent. I was a liberal arts major but I'm still confident that's a minority of the electorate. People are acting like he's George Foreman before the Rumble in the Jungle.
BRZEZINSKI: I personally love Elizabeth Warren... I would potentially vote for her.
Your enthusiasm is overwhelming.
BRZEZINSKI: But you know what? The people who are really tired of Trump who are looking for an alternative, who would be very comfortable with Joe Biden, they're left without a candidate if Joe Biden can't make it through.
No, these people aren't "left without a candidate." There are enough Democrats running that every voter could have their own personally engraved candidate. OK, fine, I guess fragile white men need a Biden backup. Howard Schultz dropped out, but there's no dearth of rich white guys who think they know everything and can run the country. What's former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg up to these days? Bloomberg said in March he wasn't going to run, but that was before Biden launched his campaign. Uncle Joe was at his peak electability.
Bloomberg didn't build an empire without delegating. He probably assumed Biden could manage the presidential duties rich people assigned to him: Don't tweet racist crap. Don't commit treason. Don't raise our taxes. If he performed to expectations, Biden could even catch a football game in the choice seats with Ellen DeGeneres. But Biden's letting down his masters of the universe. Bloomberg might have to step into the ring himself.
“I think it's something he wants. He has not been shy about that," a Bloomberg ally told CNBC. "Nothing can happen unless Biden drops out, and that's not happening anytime soon." A "New York billionaire with ties to Bloomberg" also confirmed that whatever the former vice president decides to do will be key. "Bloomberg is in if Biden is out," the executive said.
If Biden flames out, Bloomberg would reportedly bill himself as the “moderate" in the race. (Is Amy Klobuchar invisible?) He's worth $51 billion. He's not even moderately wealthy. The “Morning Joe" crew thinks “the suburbs are in play" if Warren's the nominee. Bloomberg might be a suburban slam dunk, but he'd get killed in the rest of the country. Tucker Carlson, who represents the average virile American male. claimed to like Warren's populism but hate her gun grabbing. Bloomberg offers the same gun grabbing but with zero populist appeal. There's no market for this outside the MSNBC studios.
Bloomberg ran into Warren a couple months ago at the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund's Presidential Gun Sense Forum (title abridged). He playfully lectured her on the merits of concentrated wealth.
BLOOMBERG: I just said to Sen. Warren on the way out, "Senator, congratulations, it's a nice talk. But let me just remind you if my company hadn't been successful, we wouldn't be here today, so enough with this stuff."
Bloomberg's billions is why Elizabeth Warren -- and perhaps the universe itself -- exists. Why isn't she more grateful? I appreciate that Bloomberg funds gun control advocacy groups, but that doesn't mean he owns us and has the right to talk smack to the people's senator. This really proves Warren's point about big dollar donors and what their expectations are when they fund campaigns.
Elizabeth Warren calls small-dollar, grassroots donors youtu.be
Bloomberg ordered Warren to stop pursuing modest tax increases on the richest Americans. I wish I could've heard her response. She's going to keep talking about "this stuff" and what rich assholes fear most is that voters are paying attention.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).