Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Quickies: A Misdiagnosis

     I’m something of a fan of Tucker Carlson, who strikes me as the most forthright political commentator on the television networks. However, he too is fallible – aren’t we all? – and sometimes misses the point of an important development. Watch and listen to his monologue of yesterday evening:

     Carlson is correct that Bloomberg represents a threat to the political system. However, in my opinion he misidentifies the specifics of the threat. Indeed, there’s evidence to that effect in what he says in the above: i.e., that Trump defeated Clinton despite spending only half of what the Clinton campaign spent on advertising. That cross-cuts Carlson’s contention that Bloomberg’s vast wealth could enable him to purchase the presidency.

     Moreover, Carlson errs in his assertion that Bloomberg has no sincere convictions. He does have one, and I can state it in a single short sentence:

“I know what’s best and you don’t.”

     With that Bloomberg will brook no argument. It’s a common conceit among the wealthy, especially the self-made wealthy. And from it flows every other stance he’s ever taken on anything.

     While I doubt that Bloomberg can win the presidency merely by flooding the airwaves with his ads, I will admit that his money can have a role in politics – perhaps even a critical one. I recently proposed an explanation for why Bloomberg is getting special treatment from the DNC, and it is because of his wealth. That piece, in my opinion, is a better explanation for why Bloomberg is in the race than any other now in circulation. It would certainly account for the DNC’s special accommodations for him.

     Money in politics is subject to the Law of Diminishing Returns. Its principal effect is to make voters aware of a candidate, his record, and his proposed agenda in office. Beyond that it loses effect. However, billions of dollars spread among many state and local elections could have a greater aggregate effect than if it were spent on a presidential candidacy. If Bloomberg’s money could be used to buy not the presidency but a great many “down-ticket” offices, particularly in the state legislatures, the DNC would rejoice. The state and local governments are the “triple A” teams of national politics, from which candidates emerge to contend for federal offices. A Democrat takeover of government at the state and local levels would put the Republican Party on a deathwatch. That prospect, plus the neutering of the extremely dangerous Bernie Sanders, would constitute a sufficient justification for the DNC’s embrace of Bloomberg.

     From Bloomberg’s perspective, his uber-issue of gun control – really, banning the civilian possession of firearms altogether – is paramount. A great takeover of the state legislatures is the most plausible route toward that end. Thus his “agenda” and the DNC’s desires, while not identical, appear to be harmonious.

     Thus there is danger, even though the Tiny Tyrant’s chance of attaining the Oval Office is slim to none.


Andy Texan said...

Left wing money (is there no bottom to this putrid well?) has bought a lot of trouble in state and local elections particularly radical Secretaries of State (in charge of statewide elections) and local prosecutors who believe locking of criminals 'of color' to be expressions of 'racism.' In my local metropolis the dimocrat prosecutor is busy failing to jail black & latino criminals. She got nearly all her campaign money from Soros and had 2 or 3 times the money of her opponents in the 2018 election.

Brian said...

I don't believe that Bloomberg is getting special attention...or "accommodation" from the DNC solely because of his money. What I think really happened is that behind closed doors he has met with their representatives. I suspect that he has threatened to run as an independent if they do not award him the nomination...which would split the Left vote and effectively guarantee a Trump victory in 2020. How can the DNC pull that off with Sanders winning in the state primaries? That's not Bloomberg's problem...it is theirs...and just like in 2016, they'll find a way to oust Sanders. The DNC is really in a pickle. Bloomberg can afford to fund his own campaign without the DNC's support, but in our bipolar political system, he needs to be the sole candidate for the Democrats. The only way the DNC could possibly call Bloomberg's bluff is to say "go ahead, run as an independent." That is highly unlikely, because it is too much of a gamble for a Party who sees winning as everything.

Linda Fox said...

Money CAN buy elections (at least below the national level), but it can't buy you charisma. Bloomberg is a guy who is used to operating by Imperial Edict. Those he employs dare not demonstrate a functional spine, lest they lose their job.

In contrast, Trump worked in his business by managing to get along with many different people/groups - investors, trades unions, individual buyers, government officials. He gets along by knowing people, not just collecting people who 'owe' him, but managing to relate to individuals on a personal level. Whether he is sincere, or just uses that method to get his way is immaterial. What counts is that multiple entities/individuals feel that they will get a fair deal with him. And, that he actually likes them. People will suffer a lot for the chance to be around someone who apparently values them.

In politics, that's gold.

The Democrats have NO ONE who exudes such a persona. They are chock-a-block with humorless scolds, ideologues, and those who actually hate regular people. Who think the average voter is 'icky'.

In politics, that's the formula for a BIG loss.