The entry and the rapid rise of Mike Bloomberg in the Democratic primaries is something to behold. The Democrats at the moment are dealing with a double Trump-like outsider insurgency that had previously torn through the Republican Party in 2016. On the one hand (perhaps the left hand), there is the ultimate anti-establishment candidate Bernie Sanders, a self-admitted (and proud) socialist and perhaps the most left-wing person to run for one of the top two jobs since the similarly pro-Soviet Henry Wallace. Bernie – not a Democrat; he sat in the Senate as an independent – galvanises a not insubstantial minority of radicals on the far left of the Democrats and the American politics generally; he terrifies the majority (or at least the plurality) of the Democrats who, for all their other faults, are not communists. On the other hand (the right hand, but that’s only relative) there is the arch-establishment candidate Mike Bloomberg. Mini Mike is likewise not a typical Democrat; he switched his party registration before being elected as a Republican mayor of New York but became independent half way through his second term. He enrages the left of the Democratic Party who hate him as a billionaire blow-in; he also no doubt annoys the party establishment and all the other remaining candidates, who are party people of long standing and resent the intrusion. Yet Mike might still buy his way to the nomination; most Dems will vote for him if they see him in the end as the best bet for getting rid of the Orange Man in the White House (it’s an interesting question though, should Bloomberg be the candidate, whether the pro-socialist 25 per cent of the party base will be able to bring themselves to vote for a very wealthy capitalist or whether the Never Bloom forces decide to sit this one out – and thus likely give Trump the second term by default).
The irony of the increasing Democrat support for Bloomberg (I’m also guessing he would be the preferred candidate of the small but vocal rump of the Never Trump Republicans and ex-Republicans) is absolutely exquisite. Here, after all, is the man who really embodies everything that the Democrats accuse Trump of and hate him for – and yet, they will pull that lever down with all the hypocritical passion to put their Trump in office. Consider the “similarities”:
A big city billionaire cynically buying his way to the White House – tick. Trump benefited from a massive donation-in-kind from the mainstream media, which provided him with billions of dollars’ worth of free air time; Bloomberg actually looks to spend hell of let more of his own money that Trump ever did (closing in on $400 million already).
Beholden to a foreign power – tick. For all the fantasies of the Russian collusion and Trump being “Putin’s puppet” (variously either because Trump admires authoritarians or the Russians have a “kompromat” on him or because of his business interests in or with Russia) there has been virtually nothing in the Trump presidency that can be construed as pro-Russian (with the possible exception of the Syrian policy). By contrast, Bloomberg’s business interests in China are so substantial, both the man himself and his media empire have been bending over backwards not to offend Beijing in any way. According to Bloomberg, China’s Xi Jinping “is not a dictator” because he is “responsive” and will go all out to silence heretics (“I am one of the many women Mike Bloomberg’s company tried to silence through nondisclosure agreements. The funny thing is, I never even worked for Bloomberg. But my story shows the lengths that the Bloomberg machine will go to in order to avoid offending Beijing. Bloomberg’s company, Bloomberg LP, is so dependent on the vast China market for its business that its lawyers threatened to devastate my family financially if I didn’t sign an NDA silencing me about how Bloomberg News killed a story critical of Chinese Communist Party leaders. It was only when I hired Edward Snowden’s lawyers in Hong Kong that Bloomberg LP eventually called off their hounds after many attempts to intimidate me.”)
Sexist pig – tick. The stories are legion, many subject to legal proceedings.
Racist scum – tick. At least to the extent of his commentary around “stop and frisk” policies or the employability of minorities would create 24/7 media maelstroms of outrage had their been uttered by Trump.
Disrespectful of large sections of population – tick. See his comments about farmers (“I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer. It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.”) and those working in manufacturing, contrasting them to new tech jobs which require more “grey matter”. At least he was rude about farmers for whom the Democrats don’t give a piece of fertiliser.
Authoritarian tendencies – tick. Bloomberg’s first instinct is to ban things, though again that’s a plus with the Dems. His musings that older people should be denied medical care on a cost-benefit basis is somewhat more chilling, and again, if expressed by Trump would no doubt generate days of media outrage and comparisons to Hitler’s eugenics program.
This is pretty much while I refuse to be lectured on morality, ethics or civility by the left – and so should you. As Glenn Reynolds is fond of saying, if they didn’t have double standards they would have no standards at all.