Democracy dies in a pile of money


In a Washington Post op-ed, John Ellis opines on who he thinks ought to be the Democratic presidential nominee. This is John Ellis.

Worked at Fox Business Network and Fox News on business and financial news “content,” programming and strategy. Worked at Dow Jones on WSJ CEO Council News Items, a newsletter that went out to the WSJ’s CEO Council and to a wide network of “influencers” in government, media, finance, entertainment, etc. Worked on business projects for Rupert Murdoch from 2016 through 2018.

Do you think he might be giving good advice? Perhaps he might have the best interests of Democrats at heart?

A short summary of his opinion piece: Bernie Sanders is a “nightmare”, and he’s going to lose to Trump, as is everyone except for one shining knight: Michael Bloomberg. And why is Bloomberg so good?

He’s rich.

If Democrats nominate anyone besides Bloomberg, they will be outspent in the general election by 2 to 1 or even 3 to 1. If they nominate Bloomberg, he will outspend Trump at least 5 to 1 and dramatically improve the party’s chances of winning seats at every level of governance.

Holy hell. The presidency is for sale, and rather than electing a candidate who might fight for campaign finance reform, we’re supposed to bow to the wind and find the richest man we can to run the country, because he is so wealthy.

Fuck off, John Ellis. You’re going on my list of smug lackeys to oligarchs who need to be lined up against a wall.

Comments

  1. ardipithecus says

    Trump recently bragged about completing 100 miles of wall. That’s 528,000 ft, enough to line up at least 176,000 smug oligarchs and supporters. Woot!

  2. nastes says

    Well, your presidency has been for sale for the last few decades so nothing new there. Except that lying blatantly, and openly grabbing public money for private gains, does not seem to be a a deterrent for voters anymore. Or being openly incompetent.

    I’m not optimistic for your next election, if it fails can you try one of the more old fashioned revolts?

    good luck,
    nastes

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    cervantes @ 3

    I’m sorry, but wanting to see a billionaire shot is not a “threat.” Saying “I’m going to shoot you, Mr. Bloomberg,” IS a threat. Learn the difference.

  4. chrislawson says

    It’s always good to take advice from people who are opposed to everything you believe in and never, ever argue in good faith.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    The presidency is for sale, and rather than electing a candidate who might fight for campaign finance reform, we’re supposed to bow to the wind and find the richest man we can to run the country, because he is so wealthy.

    You can blame that on American capitalism’s mythos: When you believe that wealth is acquired through hard work, intelligence, and/or guile it stands to reason that richest person must therefore be the most diligent, smartest, and most clever individual out of the lot, and thus is the most worthy of leadership. At this points, we might as well just compare candidate’s bank books than bother with all that tedious vote counting.

  6. lotharloo says

    That’s such a silly take.
    One, as far as I know, Bernie Sanders is leading among the Democrats in fundraising.
    And two, Hillary Clinton outspent Trump 2 to 1 and still lost.

  7. unclefrogy says

    OK to go with the metaphor of bowing to the wind a little. Bending before a great wind is good advice generally lest you break but in this case I would say there is a hurricane out side threatening to destroy the house. it might be wise if we battened down the roof and shut and boarded up the windows and shut the bloody door.
    uncle frogy

  8. microraptor says

    lotharloo @7: If campaign spending truly equated to campaign success, Jeb Bush would have utterly stomped Trump (and everyone else) in the 2016 Republican Primary.

  9. frthtxcls says

    If one factors in the extraordinary free media coverage in equivalent costs, (that reality star darling of great disdain and fecklessness) gained millions of web and tv dollars to distort everything about him. Talk about fake news. Bloomberg and other billionaire ilk can only dream. And Russia is busily adding their leverage to U.S. media’s coronation of their suitable nominees/candidates pronouncements stealthily and blatantly.

  10. Zeppelin says

    ardipithecus @1: That’s a terrible thing to even suggest! Trump’s border wall is made of metal poles, half the bullets would go through and the rest would ricochet. You could really hurt someone, plus the lead ends up in the environment!

    No, you want a sturdy brick wall, ideally with some wood panels in front of it to catch any fragments. Purge safely!

  11. numerobis says

    The wall is mostly in the desert; why shoot anyone? Just drop them off.

    Oh, and make sure to smash the caches of water bottles on your way out.

  12. Ishikiri says

    “We need a businessman in charge” is one of those memes that I want to repeatedly beat people over the head with a Nerf bat for repeating. If you take any time at all to interrogate it, you realize that the role of a businessman, i.e. to make a profit for themselves and/or shareholders, is not aligned with and is most often in direct opposition with providing for the public good.

  13. says

    I hate token collectors, people value things more than people.
    I hate their unstable token generator that harms people not invested in it.
    I wish shareholder was a slur, or whatever makes them pay attention to the health of the society they drain tokens from.

  14. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @10: Which is, of course, an argument for Sanders or Bernie. You don’t need to buy ads if people are writing them for you.

  15. drmarcushill says

    I’ve long thought political financing in the UK is a mess, and we have pretty strict rules. The US system is utterly appalling, where you need a few billion dollars to even get a look in, and elections are won by buying better PR and advertising teams and premium airtime and advertising space.

  16. erik333 says

    @4 Akira MacKenzie
    The vantage point of stochastic terrorism isn’t that much of a moral highground… afaict the target in this case isn’t a billionaire directly, rather some journalist/pundit type character daring to suggest money influences elections.

  17. says

    If Bloomberg is really a good person, he’ll spend that massive amount of money to try to defeat Trump NO MATTER WHO the Democratic nominee is. If he cares about our country, it’s clear that Trump needs to be defeated, no matter what.

    If Bloomberg only cares about personal power and status, he’ll refuse to spend that kind of money unless he is the nominee.

    I’m guessing the latter will be the case, though I am open to being pleasantly surprised.

  18. wzrd1 says

    @2, you’ve obviously not read much about US history, that’s a fine tradition that extends throughout this nation’s history.
    With the exceptions to wealthy presidents only extending to the nearly bankrupt Jefferson and utterly bankrupt Truman, the latter having an Act of Congress authorizing a presidential pension for.
    What is novel is a president with no sense of duty or non-self-serving notions whatsoever.

    @7, Trump won due to Russian interference, which has begun in earnest yet again. Paying US citizens to buy ads on Facebook and other antisocial network sites being only a modest part of that play. Alas, the Spendit, erm, Senate refuses to pass legislation from the House that’d secure our elections, lest the majority lose in the next election without Russian assistance.
    But, at least intelligence is tracking the efforts, even if they’re not permitted to curtail that interference.

    @11, that’s why I use copper based bullets for competition. No lead in them at all, but they are pure hell on the backstop. The next nicest round is armor piercing, which is even worse on a backstop, but at least the steel can be removed with a magnet.
    Still, wasteful against such a fine steel edifice. Paint it black, like Trump suggested, then tie the lot of them to the infernal monstrosity. The slats will promote desiccation.

    @12, that’s one Saudi method, although they “drop” terrorists off in the empty quarter – from an in flight helicopter. No need for them to look for water caches, one typically doesn’t cover much ground with broken legs.

    @20, I rather doubt that any US citizen can outspend Russia or China, hell, I doubt any could outspend Iran, who are also in the game of screwing with our elections.

  19. vucodlak says

    Every person who dies because they couldn’t afford healthcare was murdered by the rich. Every person who dies from complications resulting from living in a food desert was murdered by the rich. Every person who dies in a mass shooting was murdered by the rich. Every person who dies in our undeclared wars-for-profit was murdered by the rich. Every person who dies in our prison industrial complex was murdered by the rich. Every person who dies because corporations pollute the water and air was murdered by the rich. The list goes on and on.

    The rich are killing us, and they do it without ever getting their hands dirty. They do it because they make money from our death and suffering, and a lot of them are just plain amused by it. And when we’re dead, they steal the proverbial pennies from our eyes.

    The “moral highground” is lovely place to be buried, I suppose. Oh, we won’t actually be buried there, of course- the rich will have their servants chuck us down in the trash heap when we croak, and build shitty over-priced condos that wreck the view, but hey, we can technically say we occupy the high ground.

    Oh look, here come the hired goons to give us the bum’s rush. Make sure you tell them that we’re their moral superiors before they bash your brains out. That’ll learn ’em.

  20. says

    @16 Ishikiri
    Projection from Rand.
    Too broad though, there are kinds of social parasites.

    If only our out of control symbolic meaning system didn’t make this parasitism work. Currency isn’t even physical anymore. I think ithe respect for currency has to be reinforced though, if nothing else I’m happy to seed rational hate and disgust at our inability to modify the currency system to account for our collective irrationality.

    If we don’t get a handle on it we’ll probably just reset the system the way history has so far.

  21. unclefrogy says

    when looking at elections do not only focus on the “foreigners” trying to influence them. Look closer at the 20+ tears at least of republican gerrymandering, and voter role purging and all of the other voter suppression tactics that the “conservatives” have been relentlessly using. They are always crying voter fraud because when you get right down to it they do not seem to think that anyone but them are truly citizens who should vote “them” being white conservatives.
    What got Obama elected was turnout that so overwhelmed all the manipulation and voter suppression that had been set up over the years that it could not be denied by anything like “hanging chads”
    face it, watch Mitch McConnell and see the true anti democratic face of the conservative.
    uncle frogy

  22. jrkrideau says

    @ 2 numerobis

    The wall is mostly in the desert; why shoot anyone? Just drop them off.

    Used to live in Winnipeg ( or am I thinking Regina)?

  23. Kagehi says

    @6

    You can blame that on American capitalism’s mythos: When you believe that wealth is acquired through hard work, intelligence, and/or guile it stands to reason that richest person must therefore be the most diligent

    Unfortunately the problem isn’t that this narrative is false, its just that the assholes that most often promote it never acquired a dime of their money this way. Case in point: My brother works at a place that repairs motor homes. There where two in there today. One guy, the asshole, got all his money from daddy (roughly 15 million), and spent his time bitching about the cheapest labor cost place in town charging him “too much” for his oil change. This is one of those dudes with the nice everything, including clothes. The other guy is a regular, who started out freaking farming, and then invested money in different projects, which took, in his own words, 30 years to pay out. He’s dressed in ratty clothes, old boots, etc. Mr. 15 mil turns to the guy and makes some stupid comment about, “I can’t imagine being poor like you.” Mr. “ratty clothes”, who always gives a generous tip, and pays everything without question, and on time, because, “I figure you people have to work for a living.”, turns to Mr. $15 mil, asks him how much he has in the bank, gets the reply, and comments, “Ah, well.. I have about $450 million in mine, and could literally buy your stupid mobile home, right now, for cash, light a match, throw it into the thing, and simply watch it burn to the ground, and it wouldn’t even make a dent in what I have. If you don’t like what it will cost here to fix your damn mobile home, go someplace else!”

    From what my brother says, he gets maybe 1-2 of the Mr. “ratty clothes” in a year, compared to probably 10 times as many rich, entitled, assholes, who think, because they have money, the universe owes them something. Guess which ones “tend” to run for political office and lie to the rest of us about, “lifting themselves up by their boot straps”, a phrase that, literally means, if taken in it original context, “F you, go do something impossible.’

  24. Kagehi says

    System seemed to have eaten this the first time, so, trying again.

    @6

    You can blame that on American capitalism’s mythos: When you believe that wealth is acquired through hard work, intelligence, and/or guile it stands to reason that richest person must therefore be the most diligent

    Unfortunately the problem isn’t that this narrative is false, its just that the assholes that most often promote it never acquired a dime of their money this way. Case in point: My brother works at a place that repairs motor homes. There where two in there today. One guy, the asshole, got all his money from daddy (roughly 15 million), and spent his time bitching about the cheapest labor cost place in town charging him “too much” for his oil change. This is one of those dudes with the nice everything, including clothes. The other guy is a regular, who started out freaking farming, and then invested money in different projects, which took, in his own words, 30 years to pay out. He’s dressed in ratty clothes, old boots, etc. Mr. 15 mil turns to the guy and makes some stupid comment about, “I can’t imagine being poor like you.” Mr. “ratty clothes”, who always gives a generous tip, and pays everything without question, and on time, because, “I figure you people have to work for a living.”, turns to Mr. $15 mil, asks him how much he has in the bank, gets the reply, and comments, “Ah, well.. I have about $450 million in mine, and could literally buy your stupid mobile home, right now, for cash, light a match, throw it into the thing, and simply watch it burn to the ground, and it wouldn’t even make a dent in what I have. If you don’t like what it will cost here to fix your damn mobile home, go someplace else!”

    From what my brother says, he gets maybe 1-2 of the Mr. “ratty clothes” in a year, compared to probably 10 times as many rich, entitled, assholes, who think, because they have money, the universe owes them something. Guess which ones “tend” to run for political office and lie to the rest of us about, “lifting themselves up by their boot straps”, a phrase that, literally means, if taken in it original context, “F you, go do something impossible.’

  25. birgerjohansson says

    If PZ is not allowed to joke about shooting corrupt oligarchs, don’t worry. I will take care of them in my incarnation as Rorschach. And go all “Incas catching priest who burned Atahualpa” on them.

  26. dianne says

    Best possible outcome: Bloomberg spends a whole bunch of his own money and then loses badly.

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