Bloomberg and the Politics of Class Struggle

As former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks to run for President, it is important to understand that he is a direct reaction against the rise of the left in the U.S.


Jun Sung, Deputy Opinion Editor

On Nov. 8, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg filed to run in the Alabama Democratic Primary. His advisors say that he is running because he believes the candidates in the primary will not be able to beat Trump. However, his candidacy is just a sign of solidarity with the elite class and a direct reaction to the rise of the left in the United States.

Bill Gates’ recent comments on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Massachusetts) wealth tax plan is emblematic of this elitist unity. At a conference, Gates criticized the plan, saying it would leave him with too little wealth. In the same conference, he did not rule out voting for President Donald Trump in the general election, stating he would vote for the more professional candidate. In even considering Trump as a candidate, he shows that his main concern is whether or not a future president will preserve his exorbitant wealth. 

Conversations between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Bloomberg are another example of this intra-class solidarity. In February, Bezos called the former mayor to urge him to run for president — much earlier than when Bloomberg filed for the primary. Both of these instances show how the U.S. elite will always support one of their own over anyone actively campaigning against the old order, no matter the consequences. 

This is not a new trend for this election cycle. Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks, was one of the first executives to explore a presidential run. Though he eventually decided against it, his proposed candidacy was a sign that the elite were directly positioning themselves against progressive candidates and the ideas they stand for. Considering his history of anti-unionization stances and low wages for workers, the idea that Schultz would have ever been a proponent of the working class is insulting and shows that the ultrarich are willing to co-opt popular movements for their own benefit. 

Businessman Tom Steyer is a similar figure. His campaign posits he is the direct opposite of Trump and someone fighting against corporate and political corruption. In reality, Steyer works to maintain the same systems of manipulation as Trump does, as one of his top aides was caught trying to bribe Iowan politicians with campaign contributions in exchange for endorsements. Like Bloomberg, Schultz and Steyer are just different faces on the same Trump coin and represent the basic ideas that uphold the ultrarich in the United States.

Gates, Bezos, Schultz and Steyer are all part of the same pattern of retaliation against the decreasing popularity of former Vice President Joe Biden and the increasing popularity of both Sens. Warren and Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). In national polling averages, Biden has dropped from a high of 41% on May 11 to 28% on Nov. 7, while Warren and Sanders have gone up from 8% to 21% and 15% to 18%, respectively. Though Biden is still leading nationally, his popularity has decreased dramatically. Bloomberg’s candidacy is simply a class reaction against the popularity of progressive candidates, and it can be assumed that Bloomberg’s primary filing is due to the decline of centrism in the Democratic Party. 

Bloomberg’s possible entrance into the presidential race cannot be seen as the new normal. Rather, it must be viewed as part of the recent trend of billionaires who think they are the right candidates to defeat Trump. Progressives must recognize this trend and find out the best way to combat the growing unification among the elite against the working-class. 

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Email Jun Sung at [email protected]