Since the election of real estate businessman Donald Trump as US president, some may believe that the bar for entry into the US president has been lowered, no political experience is required, and it may not be from a political family or elite group. However, the threshold for running for the US president has not changed. One of the constant criteria is to be “rich” and it is best to run at your own expense. On November 24, former 77-year-old New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who has repeatedly waived, officially announced his candidacy to join the already crowded Democratic primary. He stated on his personal website that the campaign had two purposes, one was to defeat Trump and the other was to rebuild the United States; he did not accept political contributions, and would not be paid if elected.
Another microcosm of money politics
The Bloomberg campaign team announced that Bloomberg has invested more than $ 150 million in the campaign, including nearly $ 100 million to play ads criticizing Trump in battlefield states. Moreover, in order to make up for the loss of time, Bloomberg spent $ 30 million on the day of the announcement of the election to broadcast advertisements on local television stations in multiple states to promote itself. Another $ 15 million was used to help voter registration to increase turnout.
Bloomberg is the founder and CEO of Bloomberg News. In 2001, he successfully re-elected the mayor of New York as a Republican, and has been re-elected twice since. During his second term, he became an independent voter and re-registered as a Democrat in 2018. According to the Forbes 2018 World Rich List, Bloomberg has about $ 50 billion in personal assets, ranking 11th in the world’s rich list. Trump ranks 259 with $ 3 billion. In March 2019, Bloomberg ranked 9th on the Forbes Global Billionaires List 2019 with a US $ 55.5 billion fortune. In addition, his financial and media services cover 69 countries worldwide, employing nearly 20,000 people.
Such “too much money” candidates will inevitably attract criticism from the Democratic left candidates. Both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders consider Bloomberg to be “purchasing votes with money”, and frankly this is not a manifestation of American democracy. But the US election was originally a game of the rich. Elites like Bloomberg will not change their pursuit of money and power. After a certain degree of wealth accumulation, he will pursue more hidden wealth, that is, higher political power. So was Trump, and so was Bloomberg.
Before running for president, Bloomberg influenced local and federal political power distribution through personal wealth. In the 2018 mid-term elections, he assisted in the election of the House of Representatives with a value of up to $ 41 million and spent up to $ 112 million during the entire mid-term election season in order to help Democrats control Congress. In local elections in some states, Bloomberg is also “spreading money” in large numbers, accumulating political influence. In Virginia, for example, Bloomberg spent $ 2.5 million in 2018 to help gun-candidate candidates win seats in the state legislature, making it the first time in the state for more than two decades that Democrats have control of the state legislature and the government. A Washington Post review article on November 24 argued that any American who uses personal wealth to exert such a large political influence is itself undemocratic.
In the United States, it is never a problem for the rich to run for president. It reflects two basic facts. First, American election politics is money politics. Money is a stepping stone to political participation and governance. For example, Tom Steyer, another billionaire who just joined the Democratic primary before Bloomberg, has assets similar to Trump’s, but if he is not a rich man, he may be inferior to the junior. Election missed. Including current President Trump, he would not have used the Republican label to run for president without the support of the family industry and his own assets.
Second, the average candidate has a certain amount of wealth, and most of them belong to the 1% to 5% income group. For example, Biden, Kamala Harris, and Warren’s household income belongs to the 1% high-income group. Sanders is also among the 5% high-income group, with an annual income of more than 500,000 US dollars. Pete Buttigieg, 37, is a relatively “poor man” in the primaries, earning about $ 150,000 a year, and still needs to repay college loans. Of course, all these people can raise money and raise capital through lectures, books.
In addition, the US Supreme Court’s ruling on political donations has made these two facts even more prominent, leaving money and politics to affect each other, and American voters are helpless. Generally, candidates with no background cannot participate in the debate if the fundraising fails to meet the target, and they do not have enough funds to promote advertisements. Bloomberg joined the team three months before the party’s primaries and voted at his own expense, meaning he didn’t have to worry about the threshold for fundraising to participate in the debate. This is a big advantage for the rich to run.
American dream and presidential dream are always rich patents
In the primary, Bloomberg’s first opponent was former Vice President Joe Biden. Earlier this year, Bloomberg also said it would not run, but changing its mind now may be related to Biden’s current weakness or lack of stamina. In addition, Democrats’ investigation into Trump’s impeachment is quite unexpected, and they can basically substantiate Trump’s allegations. Although Trump is unlikely to be stepped down because of impeachment, Bloomberg may also have assessed the damage to Trump’s public opinion from the impeachment investigation. If Biden wins the party nomination, he is likely to be packaged as the second “Hillary Clinton”, making the 2020 election more like a continuation of the 2016 election. If Bloomberg is nominated, the 2020 election It will be a duel between real rich people.
The author of the American Dream, James Truslow Adams, has defined the American Dream in his The Epic of America: “Regardless of the inherent social status, “Dream” is everyone’s beautiful vision of a better, deeper and richer life. ” But in fact, that was the year. Today’s American dream is more like a patent for the rich than it is for the poor. This is even more true of the highest-level American dream. Even Barack Obama, a civilian and elected by the grassroots movement, was inseparable from the support of the Wall Street consortium. On the one hand, Obama has condemned Wall Street’s profits and huge income to attract voters, and on the other hand has to accept political contributions from Wall Street, Silicon Valley financiers and entrepreneurs.
In the final analysis, this is a problem of the United States’ own political system. Under the capitalist market system, the rich Americans and the government have an interdependent relationship. Both the left and right governments cannot do without the support of large and small consortia. When the candidate is successfully elected, a series of policies that will help the rich, or people who reuse relevant interest groups to serve in the government, will promote policies that are beneficial to the interests of specific industries. For example, Obama has reused Silicon Valley and Wall Street executives since he took office. Trump is a political amateur, and after he was elected, he was integrated into the elite group, and it is necessary to reuse some of the wealthy Wall Street.
Bloomberg once described Trump as a “danger instigator” who exaggerated his business success, and seemed to look down on Trump in business. Now that Trump can be elected president, Bloomberg naturally wants a gamble. However, after nearly four years of administration, in addition to the label of rich businessmen, Trump successfully integrated into the elite group or the institutionalist system. He has gained more ruling experience, consolidated his position within the Republican Party, and was good at using media resources. Bloomberg also has political experience and has a strong media machine. From this perspective, he and Trump’s dominant position seems to be in the middle of the middle.