Just what American politics needs – more billionaire candidates

Billionaire and former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg has said that he is considering entering the presidential race as an independent candidate and said that he is willing to spend up to a billion dollars of his own money in the endeavor. He says he will make his final decision sometime in March.

This is not the first time that he has speculated on making such a run. Like Donald Trump, he has teased this possibility in the past but never actually carried it out. The success of Trump must have inspired him to think that if he can do it, why not me? He seems to think that a race between (say) Trump on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic makes an independent third party candidacy viable. Nicole Lyn Pesce gives us some background about Bloomberg and his views.

Honestly, it seems like American politics are becoming an open caricature. We always knew that the oligarchy pulled the strings behind the scenes of the parties and the media. Now they don’t even bother with the curtains that shield them from direct public gaze. They are buying media outlets and we are left with the choice of competing oligarchs for elected office.

Sanders rightly points out what Bloomberg’s move signifies and says that Americans don’t want to be run by an oligarchy and that faced with a three-way choice between Trump, Bloomberg, and him, people will prefer him. I hope he is right.


  1. lorn says

    I suspect that, in all ways that really matter, the US is an oligarchy already.

    Electing Billionaire and former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg as president shifts us from oligarchy toward plutocracy. The difference being that the elite in an oligarchy may come from money, but other ways are also possible. In a plutocracy the only defining characteristic of an elite, and only accepted virtue, is money. After arriving at plutocracy we can keep going toward kleptocracy, where the citizenry is exploited directly by the government for the benefit of the plutocrats.

    If Franklin could see us now he would puke.

  2. says


    It always has been. The original structure of the country was a power-sharing arrangement by mutually untrusting oligarchs. It was designed to appear to be a democracy in order to maintain and manage the republican sentiments that were whipped up in order to motivate its separation from England. It began as a rich white boys club and remains one to this day (that’s who Obama serves).

  3. lorn says

    As I see it the US political system has wandered back and forth along a scalar from democracy to oligarchy. We have never been completely democratic and, until recently, we haven’t been functionally an oligarchy. We are in new territory.

    Yes, there were founding fathers who saw the ideal political system as one where the country was run by the learned, the wise, the people who owned it. Somewhere in the 70s we gave up on the learned and wise and simply demand wealth.

    We are getting into a world of the Libertarian ideal, a world where there is but one virtue, one sin, and one heresy: Having money, not having money, leaving money on the table.

  4. brucegee1962 says

    If the contest is Trump vs. Sanders, there’s bound to be someone who says “Wow, there must be a middle somewhere in this country. I wonder if there’s enough of it to get me elected?” I wish it would be someone other than Bloomberg, but either way, I think it would be a plus for taking away votes from Trump.

    The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of lifelong Republicans who can’t stand Trump, but couldn’t see themselves voting for Clinton or Sanders either. They’ll be putting enormous pressure on various figures to mount a third party candidacy, just so they have someone to vote for in good conscience.

    I predict that, if Trump gets the nomination (which looks more and more likely), we may see a third party crack the 10% mark for the first time in our lives. In the best-case scenario, this might even spell the end of the Republican party as we know it, which would be all to the good.

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