I’ve heard a lot of disapproving talk about Michael Bloomberg trying to ‘buy’ his way into the Presidency, and it’s certainly understandable. It’s true that electing our president should only be about finding the best man or woman to lead our country. It shouldn’t be about who can outspend all the others, but unfortunately that’s what it’s come to in America. In this election year, however, our top priority must be in nominating whichever candidate seems most likely to defeat Donald Trump. We should be thinking of almost nothing else. Money in our politics is definitely a problem but I think this time around, it’s a worry for another time.
It doesn’t bother me so much that Bloomberg has unlimited funds to spend in his campaign because I think there are simply too many other pressing concerns. I admit I’m looking for a savior. Most people I talk to are not thrilled with any of our potential nominees and it’s hard to think we Democrats will have the unity we need to soundly defeat Donald Trump this November 3rd. I look to the emerging Bloomberg as maybe a guy who will muster enough enthusiasm to stand toe-to-toe with Trump and beat him decisively in our next election. We need a blue wave, and I hope he’s the man who can build it. More than anything else, when I see him on the debate stage tonight, I’ll be watching for a candidate with the kind of moxie and intelligence that can bat away the insults and B.S. we all know is coming from Trump, his Twitter account and his reelection campaign.
Even if I see something hopeful, it’s a tall order to find a savior in Michael Bloomberg because I know he has some heavy baggage. He has some serious flaws and some major explaining to do. I definitely don’t like his ‘stop and frisk’ stance from the past and I certainly don’t like the reports about how he treated women in the workplace. The other candidates will rightly go after him for that. I’ll be listening and observing. I have no opinions nailed down yet, but soon will. Ohio’s primary is on March 17 and I’ll be going to the polls with ‘electability’ on my mind.
It would be far safer for me to write this essay after the country sees Bloomberg’s debate performance. If he turns out to be a hit, I could just jump on the Bloomberg Bandwagon and claimed ‘I always knew’. If he’s a flop, I could delete the essay from my hard drive and pretend I never once considered him. I want to share my thoughts beforehand however.
Regarding the ‘buy his way into the election’ issue… I don’t think anyone should cloud their opinions with that. Not this year, not when the stakes are so high and we need all the help we can get. I think we should all look at the emergence of Bloomberg – no matter how he arrives on scene – as yet another chance to end the era of Trump in America. We working stiffs tend to look at millionaire / billionaire politicians with disdain. We view them as being out of touch with the working class with no clue what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. Now we have Bloomberg coming in, plunking down whatever money he needs for his election campaign, just as casually as you or I might plunk down some change for a cup of coffee. It’s human nature that we don’t like that very much. We tend to automatically look at it with indignation.
But hold off the indignation for just a moment. He can afford to pay for his entire election campaign out of his own (very deep) pockets and he’s doing so voluntarily. Can you imagine how hypocritical he would be to seek donations when he’s among the world’s wealthiest people? And would we not criticize him if he tried? I say we should get over our indignation on this and let him have the chance to tell us what he’s about and what he can do for our country. In the end we don’t have to vote for him, but we should listen to him, if only to rule him out if we feel we must.
As for how he thought of black teens and women in the work place… I don’t like it. But I can tell you that it’s possible for a person to change. I know this to be true because I’ve changed. I once held views many years ago that wouldn’t fly in today’s world, and following deep and honest introspection, I no longer feel those ways and I can’t believe I ever did. To offer one example, I once told my wife in a discussion that I didn’t think gay people should have the right to be married because it was a heterosexual-only right. She looked at me and asked, “Why?” My answer was ‘Because’. She kept at me. ‘Because why?’ And she kept pressing me and pressing me until she had me admitting that my only answer was, ‘I don’t know’ which, of course, was no answer at all.
From that point on I looked deep inside myself and realized that everything I thought about human rights was wrong and rooted from discussions I’d had with fellow loud-mouthed high school kids. I’d become a grown-up but had never re-evaluated my convictions. It was like lifting a weight of prejudice from my shoulders I never realized I’d had, and I felt so happy about it I had to tell my wife. She was at work so I called her. When she came to the telephone, I told her. “I just want you to know that you’re one hundred percent correct! I’m absolutely for gay marriage, and thanks for showing me the light!” When she finally realized what the heck I was talking about, she kind of laughed and said, ‘You’re welcome, now I gotta get back to work!’
So I know it’s at least possible that even Bloomberg may have changed his feelings. I personally have to allow for that possibility because I myself have changed over the course of my life in some very important ways. It’s up to me (and everyone who listens to him) to judge his authenticity.
I find Bloomberg interesting in ways I don’t see in any other democratic candidate. For one thing, it’s been reported often that he really seems to ‘get under Trump’s skin’ and I’ve noticed that myself. I like that so much it makes me smile. Maybe because there’s something to it. Maybe Trump knows that Bloomberg has his number and will not be intimidated by him. I don’t know what it is, but anything Donald Trump finds fearful in an opponent can only be good for the Democrats.
In this election year, when the stakes have never been higher, I like the fact the Bloomberg can easily afford to pay his way into our election. Everyone knows Donald Trump cheated and stole his way into The White House in 2016 and everyone knows he’s trying to do it again. Bloomberg, in contrast, is paying his way in. Which is worse? Yes, he’s setting a new precedent in doing so, but in this very strange election year I think I’ll just let myself be happy about it. Donald Trump and the GOP have set all sorts of precedents in the past three years and I can’t name a single one which is any good.
I also enjoy the fact that Bloomberg can drown the Donald Trump Campaign in media dollars. It seems to be a great counter-offensive to Trump’s complete domination of social media where only his juicy, bullying news seems to travel fast and far. Maybe placing Bloomberg ads everywhere online will finally even out this playing field to the point where we always-polite and always-by-the-rules Democrats have a chance to have our sensible messages sink in and be understood by sensible voters.
I do believe that big money in our elections is a major problem and has been one for very long time. Sometimes however, it just comes down to identifying our priorities to most effectively play the hand we’ve been dealt. Let’s concentrate on getting rid of Trump first and we’ll continue our ongoing worry about that money thing later. This election years is for all the marbles.
The jig is up if Trump wins again… you have to understand and believe it. America’s nightmare is for real.
We just watched all the checks on a president’s power dissipate when the president and our spineless GOP Senators simply refused to comply with the laws and the constitution they swore to uphold. They exerted no more effort than simply refusing to comply, and the effect was like a handful of cinders thrown into our democracy’s gearbox. It was as if they dared us to do anything about it. And we couldn’t. The GOP held all the good cards. Remember Adam Schiff sitting on the sidelines, watching with a glazed look in his eyes as every Senator except one voted to acquit the President? He looked like an animal caught in a trap with no hope remaining.
An additional four years of a Trump administration will be even more destructive to our democracy. By now we’ve all heard Trump’s disturbing quote of a line from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.” In those words, an angry and vindictive Post-Impeachment Trump is not even trying to be secret about what American citizens can expect of him. He plans to be vicious and unrelenting. He’s going to do things his way, legal or not. He cares not a whit about laws because as a ‘king’, he feels he’s above all the laws. He has the Attorney General on his side. He has the Supreme Court stacked in his favor and will likely stack it even more should he secure a second term in office. He’s intimidated the GOP lawmakers into violating their oaths to defend and uphold the Constitution, and nothing we’re seeing now suggests they will ever grow spines in the future. He feels he can reduce or commute any prison sentence at his whim. He threatens and punishes his enemies while passing out presidential pardons like Halloween candy to his cronies. And if he does end up being a two-term president, his assaults on our democracy and our constitution will escalate by a magnitude of a hundred. He will feel untouchable and as a self-proclaimed King will rule accordingly. Don’t believe for a second that he’ll leave voluntarily in four years… not if he feels he can violate any law he wishes without consequence.
This kind of breakdown has happened before throughout the history of our world, and nowhere is it written in stone that it can’t happen to America. History often repeats itself. All we need is ignorant and complacent citizens to be in denial about what’s taking place right before their eyes.
Then of course there are the global ramifications. We’re almost out of time here on Planet Earth. Our world needs us to fix it NOW or all is lost. Glaciers are melting, our coral reefs are dying, species are disappearing… this is not imagination. Climate change and global warming are very real problems as recognized by the scientific community in every nation on earth. We’re at the brink of irreversible catastrophe, and we’re poised to reelect the planet’s worst climate change denier. Four more years of Donald Trump will be even more devastating to our world and will push us even closer to the point of no return…. and maybe past it. The science is there. You can believe it or not. Whether you choose to or not, it’s true and the damage continues unabated. The Doomsday Clock is ticking.
So what am I asking in this essay?
Please don’t let the idea that Michael Bloomberg’s a billionaire and using his own money to ‘buy’ his way to the presidency automatically dissuade you from giving him an attentive and thoughtful look.
The truth is he’s a billionaire who’s vying for a very difficult and thankless job which pays an annual salary that’s 157,000 times less than his total net worth, so money is obviously not his motivation. Perhaps he’s a good guy who sees his country and our world in deep trouble with our current administration. Perhaps he’s taken it upon himself to help in a way that’s only available to a person with his means and resources. Or perhaps not. Maybe he’s another creep like Donald Trump, but I’ve seen nothing like that yet. He has miles to fall before reaching Trump’s bar.
The Bottom line is that we know what we’re in for if we get another four years of Donald Trump. Even a President who only has the ‘normal’ kinds of flaws is a thousand times better than the one who’s single-handedly destroying everything America has built and stands for, and who’s allowing the world to simply burn away. We need to let Michael Bloomberg give us the chance to size him up given that another four years of Donald Trump is a very real 50/50 proposition. I know I could forgive a few minor flaws and maybe a couple major ones if he has what it takes to defeat Trump The Destroying Angel in November. If I’m wrong and Bloomberg doesn’t win the nomination, then I will do what I must do.
I will unite with my fellow Democrats and vote for whoever our Democratic nominee is, because it’s our only hope in defeating Donald Trump.
The Debate will be held on Wednesday, February 19 at 9:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.