Let’s not trade one billionaire for another

Dylan Grosser, Columnist

We all knew that in this year’s election, emotions were bound to be high due to what is at stake. But even still, I don’t think anyone could predict the amount of ire inspired by a particular candidate who came into this race very late and from left-field. A candidate who is constantly being talked about, but no one is actually voting for. A candidate who has an extremely controversial past, but might be widely hated simply for “destroying memes.”

Of course, that candidate is Michael Bloomberg.

The reason virtually every person in America knows he’s running is because of his non-stop ad blitz funded completely out of his own pocket. According to the FEC, by the end of 2019 (he started running that November by the way) he already spent $132 million on TV ads (including a $10 million Super Bowl ad) and $20 million on so-called “digital outreach.” And yes, part of that outreach involves paying social media influencers to make memes of him… I have no words.

Unfortunately for him, it seems he kinda forgot that to become president, you need people to actually vote for you. As I’m writing this, there exists literally no poll that shows Bloomberg with any chance of winning any state in the race for the Democratic nomination. None. Which for him means he is wasting a lot of money for something pretty much everyone knows (except him?) that he is not going to get.

Okay, well, you might be asking if that’s true then, why are we talking about him?

And that’s a very good question. I cannot emphasize enough that as of this very moment, not a single soul has casted a vote for Bloomberg. Yet every day, whether it be cable news or printed media, some pundit, some columnist, some politician, somebody is throwing out the possibility that he could be the one to beat Trump. Why? Why Bloomberg?

This is the man who mandated racial profiling of innocent citizens as mayor of New York for years. This is the man who has made comments about women and minorities that you could mistake for coming from Trump. Oh, but he’s different because he “apologized.” Well, if he’s really sorry for his behavior, perhaps he should release the dozens of women he has silenced under Non-Disclosure Agreements so we can hear what they have to say. But no, he has refused. 

I’m not going to ask how a racist, sexist and unethical businessman expects to win the presidency because we unfortunately know the answer to that. I am going to ask, however, how a man such as that plans on becoming president without anyone actually voting for him? As I understand it, Bloomberg’s huge strategy is to win big on Super Tuesday and to use the delegates gotten there to secure the nomination. I won’t focus on the mathematical fallacy in all of this, but I will only reiterate the fact that Bloomberg is not slated to win any Super Tuesday states or even get a close second. Bloomberg is going to lose, and lose badly.

It’s important to understand the lesson here — that while we may doubt our democratic institutions from time to time, ultimately, democracy itself cannot be bought. Bloomberg thinks that because he is spending the most money he will get the most votes. He’s wrong. Wealth alone does not beget political power, and most importantly it does not secure electoral victory.

We as citizens deserve more from a potential (and I use that word extremely lightly) presidential candidate who offers nothing besides the willingness to spend vast amounts of cash. This is a democracy, not a plutocracy.