The latest Democratic Primary debate was a cringe-worthy affair, even more than US political “debates” usually are, it left you with one burning question – Why is Michael Bloomberg in this race?
As all the Democratic candidates rush to outdo each other in terms of identity politics, wokeness and – for want of a better word – “leftist” credentials…why has a billionaire, highly unpopular former mayor thrown his hat into the ring? He must have know he was going to be a massive target last night.
And, indeed, he was.
They all took shots. Obviously Bernie Sanders was going to strike back after Bloomberg criticised him throughout the build-up to the debate. But Warren, Buttigieg and even Biden chimed in, too.
Bloomberg was attacked on racism and sexism and his tax returns. It became a feeding frenzy, with both the liberal mainstream media and the alternate media celebrating the ritual slaughter as if Bloomberg’s blood was going to bring the sun back and guarantee a good harvest.
The Guardian reported that Bloomberg was “roundly attacked by rivals in fiercest Democratic debate so far”. CNN compared him to Donald Trump (the worst rebuke in their lexicon). MSNBC declared him “unprepared and unequipped”.
Even some from the alternate media were enthused by the Bloomberg free-for-all:
We got ourselves a debate!
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) February 20, 2020
Damn that was good….More of that, please.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 20, 2020
Holy shit, finally a real #DemDebate with people saying real things.
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) February 20, 2020
Everyone agrees – Bloomberg was a disaster, and Warren (especially) was “historic”.
The Intercept wrote a glowing write up of Warren’s performance, including this key paragraph:
When Mike Bloomberg sauntered onto the debate stage, the old Elizabeth Warren reemerged, turning in a historic debate performance that left the former New York City mayor a politically bloodied mess. Bloomberg, it turned out, was the foil Warren needed.
The Guardian picked up that it had been a successful night for Warren too, highlighting in separate article “Elizabeth Warren’s strong debate performance inspires best fundraising day yet”:
Warren, who repeatedly excoriated billionaire rival Mike Bloomberg during the Nevada debate, enjoyed the best fundraising day of her entire campaign on the back of the event. The Massachusetts senator raised $2.8m in donations on Wednesday, according to her campaign team.
“The foil Warren needed”. Quite.
Funny how that works out.
So was this a real debate? Is putting Michael Bloomberg in the stocks for an evening a real political discussion? Was there any genuine progress of rational argument and philosophical debate last night?
I didn’t see any. I saw a live action puppet show.
Accepting the surface level narrative of this campaign is naive in the extreme. Remember how contrived politics is – most especially American politics. Remember that the DNC fixed the primaries last time around, and fed the debate questions to Clinton early.
There’s no reason to think that kind of manipulation isn’t still going on. We should assume it is as a baseline.
In fact, we’ve seen signs of it already. They went out of their way to exclude Tulsi Gabbard, and then changed the rules at the last minute to include Bloomberg. Why did they do that?
Because the DNC want a billionaire with accusations of sexual harassment and tax avoidance to run against Trump? Of course not.
No, what happened on that stage was, fittingly enough, a piece of theatre. Bloomberg is cast as the villain, and we all boo and hiss as he ties a pretty damsel to the railway lines, and then cheer when Uncle Joe and Aunt Liz turn up in the wokemobile, bonk him on the nose, and save the day.
As we said last night:
Bloomberg definitely there to serve a function. It couldn’t be more obvious if they’d put an actual straw-man on the stage, hung a sign that says “the elite” around its neck, and had Warren & Biden run at it with bayonets.
Bloomberg boosts everyone else on the poll, he is “exactly the foil they need”. Like everything else in the media, it’s about narrative management.
Firstly, his presence counter-balances the Sanders storyline.
Bernie Sanders isn’t going to change anything, he’s demonstrated with his foreign policy speeches that he’s too timid to truly challenge establishment orthodoxy (that’s why people like Jonathan Freedland prefer him to Corbyn). But he’s at least slightly genuine. Slightly.
Sanders is winning this race, but more importantly he’s controlling the narrative – elevating dangerous ideas in the public mind, ideas that might live on in the minds and speeches of braver, more honest politicians. All this off the back of casting himself as a leftist outsider up against the right of the Democratic party. Bloomberg changes that conversation by putting another extreme on the right side.
Now Biden, Buttigieg and Warren are the sensible candidates in the middle, far more “leftist” than mean old Mike, but far more “electable” than crazy commie Bernie. The rational compromise.
(Sidenote – I haven’t totally ruled out that the DNC end up letting Sanders win the nomination – I think the endgame here might be to have Sanders run against Trump, get his ass kicked, and declare that “Americans don’t want socialism” and all leftists are “unelectable”. Here in the UK we call that “being Corbyned”).
Secondly, there’s the total undermining of the idea of “debate”, which is becoming more childish every cycle. Bloomberg’s presence on that stage guaranteed no real issues were ever discussed. Instead we had supposedly adult politicians exchanging cheap jibes and “sick burns” in the hopes of pleasing their cheerleaders on twitter. Reality was barely touched upon, and that’s just the way they like it.
Politics is becoming just Big Brother or Love Island only with better suits and bigger budgets. No thought, no rational argument, just pick a team, tweet a hashtag, cheer your side. Last night was as real as a WWE bout, and couldn’t have been more obviously stage-managed if Mike Bloomberg had entered to the sound of breaking glass and Lester Holt declaring “By gawd, that’s Bloomberg’s music!”
Bloomberg has already benefited the field simply by providing a distraction from the Iowa chaos. As an even richer member of the “elite” than the rest of the ballot he acts as an anger heat-sink, with many so happy to see the corrupt billionaire taken down a peg they don’t realise they’re cheering for Joe Biden, or Liz Warren or Pete Buttigieg or even that other brunette whose name no one remembers.
Further, with his frequent attacks on Sanders he can torpedo the favourite (and only even vaguely genuine threat) by using smear tactics, whilst the real DNC picks keep their hands clean (they may even halfheartedly defend Bernie, acting outraged whilst reaping the benefits).
Lastly, there’s the game of identity politics. A lot of political discourse these days is about billionaires, some constantly attack them, others defend them as heroes of aspiration, but both these sides individualize inequality. Turning it into the malign result of the exceptionally self-interested, rather than the natural by-product of system designed to draw all the profits to the top. Billionaires are just the heads of the hydra, cut one off and two more will take its place.
Discussing the personal wealth of Person A or the tax of Person B isn’t the real issue, and letting it become so leaves you open to soft appeasement. If the problem is just “billionaires”, rather than the system, then the establishment can cut a disposable member of the club off at the knees, feed him to the braying mob, and pretend we’ve made some strides toward progress.
Which is actually a pretty fair description of what happened last night.
Whatever the final result of the race, Bloomberg won’t win, and his entry to the race has already proved a shot in the arm to establishment candidates right across the DNC board. It’s hard not to see that as a contrivance.
And whilst kicking someone like Bloomberg while he’s down might feel good, in this case it’s singing harmonies with the mainstream chorus. And that’s never a good idea.
For direct-transfer bank details click here.
This is truly one of the most beautifully insightful editorials I’ve ever read! Kudos to you, Kit, for this brilliant piece of wisdom! I hope this goes viral, as it is so full of clear insight regarding our corruptly co-opted US politics and the demoralizing DNC and Democratic Party. Your description of the system being the true culprit is spot on, and I will remember this post as an early warning for this keen observation which will become mainstream in the near future, as the waning of the end result of capitalism goes global.
Capitalism will consume itself eventually, but your cynicism seems to believe this ploy to centralize the remaining elitists will work this time (it may). Even if so, the exposures going on throughout this pro-elite DNC display still cannot be undone. Mayor Cheat is both a McKinsey debt-pusher and imperial stooge, aka Rhodes ‘scholar’ and is being groomed as if he would represent the middle class – WOW – Cecil Rhodes really loved the working class – as long as they worked 16 hour days in his diamond mines for 10 pence a week, that is. Witness today the revelation of Bloomberg’s Twitter army of REAL ‘RUSSIAN’-BOTS, as if by changing their identities from ‘Russian’ to ‘American Mikey fans’ is any way of hiding who’s really behind the monstrous modern social network manipulations! Oh, boy!
Like the head of the hydra, indeed!
For Bloomberg to be even considered to represent the Democrats is shocking to put it mildly. Has this man no insight to spare himself this humiliation? But maybe he was inspired by trump and is so much richer than him, thought he could easily beat him at his game.
But who knows, money can do magic in the weird world of US politics. Maybe everyone thought the same about Trump and then he got in.
They should just have election accounts but no t-shirts, hats, rallies, advertisements etc.
Just fill the accounts. The candidate with the biggest account becomes President, not even a need to go voting. Money is the highest good – he who has the most money wins!!!
Yep, the golden rule “whoever has the gold rules”.
The Nevada Debate is the most recent episode of the 2020 reality TV political version of “Survivor.” In Wednesday’s latest episode there were five original survivors remaining: CIA Pete, Opportunist Liz, Half-dead Biden, Insipid Klobo, and the Old FDR Democrat Bernie. The new contender to land on the tenuous DNC island is arrogant Mini Mike a women hating racist willing to dispose of a mere $2 billion to stop his real rival Sanders.
Five lackluster candidates employing their best Machiavellian skills to eliminate Bernie. The DNC’s smorgasbord of pitfalls failed miserably so far. They can’t seem to crush Bernie. The Young and minorities are smitten with Sanders, and he’s even attracting a number of struggling baby boomers. In Tacoma 17,000 stood for hours in a jammed-packed stadium cheering Bernie on. You would never know it happened, inasmuch, as the mainstream media news only shows enthusiastic Trump rallies–go figure.
The DNC and wealthy corporate donors are getting increasingly more desperate–billionaire Bloomberg and the four remaining corporate flunkies (Warren, Buttigieg, Biden and Klobuchar) will stay in the running no matter what to cause a contested convention where Clinton/Obama Superdelegates can be deployed.
Today on “Morning Joe” you can smell the desperation emitting from a panel of spooks. The prospect of a Bernie candidacy is terrifying. David Ignatius a longtime security state asset was even hinting of a contested convention where the DNC would choose their “own” nominee –perhaps, a general. Oh, how nice to know the 2020 election will turn into a full-blown military junta.
In any event, the intelligence agencies haven’t given up on Russiagate and are laying the groundwork to
say the election results are tainted by Putin and his squad of Russian bots. So here we go again…..No matter who comes out the victor in 2020 it’ll be another four years of insane Russophobic narratives proving that it’s always the military/security/surveillance corporate state who wins every presidential election…….
Reminds you of the time when many dictatorships chose to call their countries The Democratic Republic of …… fitting description of how the current party has become.
The ruling elites in Washington were always EVIL, but today, as their Exceptionalist Empire crumbles into the dust of billions of its victims, they have gone raving mad. The MSNBC robopaths are completely unhinged.
This is just kabuki theatre.
Warren likes to portray herself as holding Wall Street to account, but she is more beholden to corporate, globalist and Zionist financial interests than any of the other candidates in either of the main parties.
She is a slightly watered down version of Clinton, and only slightly less corrupt and mendacious.
Identity politics at its worst.
“Vote for me! I’ve got a vagina!! Vote for the vagina!!!”
Pocahontas is being pushed for all these reasons, but it is difficult to see her, Creepy Joe, Crazy Bernie or Buttplug as in any way credible candidates likely to defeat Trump.
He is on track to win another 4 tears by default, short of a major war.
Bloomberg was probably injected into the whole process as an insurance policy or backstop.
Cue the battle of the billionaires.
“Vote for our billionaire! He’s a bigger billionaire than theirs!!”
I prefer ‘Fauxcahontas’.
He certainly spent a lot of his own money only to be thrown to the wolves.
Or does he consider that to be an investment?
In US ‘elections’ the candidate that spends the more or most on propaganda, mostly negative, wins in 90% of occasions. That’s the calculus that will decide Bloomie’s ‘electability’. Who knows-he might turn out less fecking insane, incompetent and destructive than his predecessors. At least he’s a Master Puppet-Master in the bunraku play of US politics. No black-suited pretend invisibility for our Bloomie.
Mike Bloomberg had US $ 3 billion in 2008; now he “is worth” over 60 billion. How is that possible in such a bad economy wonders Max Keiser here (8.30 minutes in)
Nepotism, Antsie. You should know that of all people.
QE1, 2, 3, 4…
The article seems right-on to me in terms of the effect of the Bloomberg candidacy, as seen in the particular instance of the ‘debate.’ But to go from effect to cause and say it was all contrived to produce this exact effect needs a few more pieces to be added.
The article suggests that Bloomberg is deliberately putting his half billion (and more to come, presumably) in the ring to take the focus off the lack of policy of the rest. He is their ‘foil,’ it says. The article suggests that the DNC changed the rules specifically to that end, to provide a foil for the others.
That is conjecture. There is no proof of that. Bloomberg came in as Biden sunk. He is the replacement for Biden. The logic of saying that Bloomberg is a chosen foil would therefore reach back to point to Biden also being a chosen foil, with one foil being replaced by the next as it got blunted in the fight. I don’t think this is true and I don’t think things work quite like that.
Biden was not a foil. The DNC wanted him to win. My take on the Bloomberg candidacy is that Bloomberg seriously wanted to win the candidacy and seriously thought he could do so. The DNC changed the rules to let him run for two reasons: Because they thought he had a chance and because his presence would in any case reinforce the conservative narrative, no matter who ended up winning. It was an opportunistic move on their part, taking advantage of events unfolding, but not a conspiracy of a type with the specific objective outlined in the article.
The ruling class is not as smart as we sometimes give it credit for, and that includes the DNC. Sometimes good fortune falls into their laps despite merit or forethought.
I’m sure Kit would concede that point. He wasn’t writing a news article, after all; he was writing an op-ed piece, so he’s allowed to do a little speculating from time to time. But I think his main argument was that it was not outside the realm of possibility, given all the other weird things the Dems have been doing to rig their primaries the last few years now. I think he has a point, personally.
Of course Kit would concede it was conjecture and there is nothing wrong with conjecture. I am explaining why this particular conjecture does not hold to the observable facts.
Good assessment. It would be strange that a billionaire with a large ego should subject himself to such a humiliation for the sake of a party he does not believe in.
Good points Orage.
Excellent point, well framed and my argument for voting for Corbyn in this country. Only it fell on deaf ears with some on this website.
The US MIC eats Sanders types for breakfast. The only race that Bernie might win is the one with the rollators.
People used to laugh when I said a career in politics is for jokers. Then along came Zelisnsky, Johnson, Macron, Trump … and they’re not laughing now. The list is not exclusive please add your own candidate of shitfuckery.
Yes, modern politicking is simply too politicised in that lacks honesty credibility and is increasingly a career for straw men and aunt sally’s. With the backroom boys and girls in the NSA/CIA/MI6/ Integrity Initiative etc,etc beavering away as they do, is it surprising that the whole oligarchic charade is but a hall of mirrors.
If Johnson and Trump can get elected just for being themselves, devoid of real policy, but full of sound bites [the polite synonym for shit]; we really are living in a totalitarian tautology of meaninglessness.
a career in politics is for jokers.
Ok, but he keeps the headlines full – of irrelevant garbage..
I’m afraid I don’t recognize the people in the photo.
I keep waiting for him to visit Africa so he can black up again and dress up as a Zulu warrior.
Or a Mexican bandit when he goes there. All that experience as a replacement drama teacher must come in handy.
He could visit Japan and play samurai, doing all the things real samurai do – including seppuku.
He’s only Freedland’s ‘beard’.
“Bernie Sanders isn’t going to change anything, he’s demonstrated with his foreign policy speeches that he’s too timid to truly challenge establishment orthodoxy. But he’s at least slightly genuine. Slightly.”
I’m not sure what you’re saying by “timid”? Bernie Sanders is just as dangerous on foreign policy as any other war party candidate. Keep in mind his answers to these questions from The New York Times:
*Question: Would you consider military force to pre-empt an Iranian or North Korean nuclear or missile test?
*Question: Would you consider military force for a humanitarian intervention?
*Question: If Russia continues on its current course in Ukraine and other former Soviet states, should the United States regard it as an adversary, or even an enemy?
*Question: Should Russia be required to return Crimea to Ukraine before it is allowed back into the G-7?
Is Bernie Sanders, Trump, Clinton, Obama, Biden, Bush, etc.? Yes, he’s just like them.
I don’t watch the debates since I don’t have masochistic tendencies but I’m aware of the various candidates and their positions. I tend to agree with a recent OpEd writer in the Los Angeles Times who suggested that Bloomberg would be a really viable candidate — if he were running as a Republican.
To add a bit of fuel to the fire I was rummaging around the Internet yesterday evening — youTube, if I recall correctly — and I got hit with yet another Bloomberg advert. This caused me to sit up and pay attention since unless I was hallucinating or being subjected to some incredibly clever (and unethical) video manipulation it was a direct endorsement of Bloomberg by Obama. I’m still hoping for the clever editing because I can’t believe that Obama would pitch directly for such a candidate (anyway, he should be keeping above the fray until the convention)…I just can’t believe otherwise.
Anyone else seen anything like this?
Oh, yes, let’s have debates. Why? Good question with no useful answer. Even the “real” news reporters are fooled. Next they’ll tell us actors are sincere in their roles, even write their own lines – and live by them. Children, pay attention. This gaudy charade is a distraction, you know, bread & circuses for starving peasants you guys are supposed to be protecting from the oligarchs. Oh, whatever, does it really matter so long as the mortgage is paid on time…
Sanders got fooled at the DNC convention in 2016; he will get fooled again in 2020 again. Too naive, to old now, no independent big money: a sure loser.
Bloomberg is the opposite plus hates swaggering Trump and wants to be in the lime lights one more time: he will only win if Trump makes a mayor blunder or gets “retired” by the CIA.
Bernie rolled over last time, on cue. Expect the same this time.
Bloomberg is bored, filthy rich and probably past his use by date when it comes to jiggy jiggy.
But Power (with a capital P) is better than sex when you’re at the top of the hungry heap.
He’s trying to get his rocks off. That’s all there is to it.
Well, not having watched any of the debates, I will not comment on the minutiae, but really:
1. If ordinary people want change, they have to be implacable in saying ‘This simply will not do!’ when served up fifth rate stage managed puppetry yet again. The language for expressing ‘this simply will not do’ may have to be pretty in-your-face and profane if politeness yields more of the same.
2. People have to start switching off the MSM in their droves. CNN, MSNBC etc etc need to see their ad revenues drop by 75%: then they will HAVE to change. As long as people keep switching on, nothing will change.
3. People need to get their information and news from new sources and be brutal in dropping those sources too if they get bought by the Establishment.
If Americans want people to represent them, they have to have zero tolerance for those who do not.
NO donations, no subsidising MSM ad revenues, no buying newspapers. And no visiting Facebook, Twitter and Google to be brainwashed either.
Brilliant, a bunch of millionaires sticking it to the man. Let’s give those corporate
mofospuppets some street cred. Jesus wept.
Bloomberg, Buttigieg, Warren – they’re all (or will be) strawmen in turn.
Michael Hudson nailed it when he wrote:
In terms of the Democratic candidates, we already know who the Democratic candidate is. It’s Donald Trump. The Democratic National Committee already said, how can they select a candidate that is so weak that he’s guaranteed to lose to Trump. They preferred to lose to Trump than to win with Bernie Sanders in the last election.”
Bloomers is just a stalking horse for Hillary, didn’t you hear her cackling last night? When the DNC meets in July and the ballots end in ties, Hillary will swoop in with her Super-Delegates and save the day.
The way they used to vote in the USSR seems almost sane by comparison.
didn’t you hear her cackling last night?
— there’s a persistent bug in the code for this website, wherein the wrong video gets displayed; the above was originally this:
I wish all it took were water to get rid of Hellary!
In Nevada the DNC is getting causcus assistant’s to sign NDA’s.
You know – the type that Bloomberg was accused of hiding.
The fix is in again.
The truth is that Sanders is not Castro ( who knew?) but even with his Foreign policy views he is a mile away from the ‘ Norm ‘ in Washington.
For goodness sake shouldn’t we know by now that all this Democracy is heavily parameterised and for all of the recent centuries ( never mind years ) everything comes down to voting for the least worst.
For all his faults I would vote for Sanders.
Castro would definitely not make it on the candidates list of the DNC for obvious reasons.
p.s. If Sanders does get the nomination he should surround himself with protection.
He may not be an absolute threat to the PTB but like Kennedy he could be to a certain section of the PTB.
The Dem Machine’s plans to defeat the left:
Plan A Biden
Plan B Buttigieg
Plan C Bloomberg
Plan A is already down the tubes. So on to Plan B. If that fails, Plan C is buy the nomination.
Kit, we all know what a complete joke this all is.
So, I’m going to dive into John Cooper Clarke, because I think what he says applies equally to both the USA and UK.
When he made the following performance, John Cooper Clarke was shacked-up with Nico in a squat in Brixton, south London. Both of them were heavy heroin users. Sadly, Nico didn’t survive, but amazingly John Cooper Clarke did, and now in his 70s he’s still the stick insect he was way back in 1980, when he performed on the Old Grey Whistle Test. You do not get stuff like this anymore. The Rap shite doesn’t come close to it…
Obviously the Demoprats brought in Bloomberg as a distraction from the debacle of the Iowa caucus results and the issue that the company that made the app for those caucus results was run by people connected to the Klintonator’s 2016 Presidential campaign and Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 Presidential campaign; to remind Democrat voters that “identity politics” are still all that matters; and to remind themselves of why Buttigieg, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren threw their hats into the candidate nomination ring in the first place – so the Party can try to tell them apart and figure out which of Tweedledee, Tweedledum and Tweedledummer might deserve the nomination.
Plus the more chances that the Klintonator herself might be able to worm her way back into the White House (as a Vice Presidential pick for Bloomberg for example), the better.
If Hillary is Veep, I hope Bloomie has good security.
Back in the 1980s, Indian Prim Minister Indira Gandhi had good security. 😁
I went to the spot in Tamil Nadu where the Tamil Tigers got Rajiv, once, years ago. A typically gimcrack ‘Memorial’ had been erected, but at least they’d planted a few Tabebuia and other flowering trees, so it probably looks quite nice now.
Freedland prefers Bernie to Corbyn because, in the end, he’s one of the tribe. Israel is safe, the Palestinians stay in the boiling shit, up to their necks, like Jesus in Hell.
As I wrote 2 days ago on the other thread…
I reckon all this Bloomberg involvement is all just a clever manipulation, deliberately failing and causing consternation amongst the unDem members, and all for the purpose of laying the ground for Mrs Obama to waltz in as their, and the nation’s, next saviour.
I can even imagine them already preparing the Nobel
PeaceWar prize for her.
Off G watching this freak show, so we dont have to is enough. But providing a logical insightful analysis too is admirable and keeps me up to speed. Kit’s observations of the big picture are spot on. Far more forward thinking than anyone in MSM and apparently others in alternative media. Remember these shows are intended to hook you in and get you to discuss issues on their terms. In doing so, you give that system credibility. The default position is the American establishment, including most democrat candidates, (billionaires included, who control it) are criminals and liars.
You wouldnt sit there cheering on a bunch of criminals aggressively arguing about the best way to rob a bank of your savings – so why cheer on some of this lot? Its really that simple.
The battle is to explain world events in plain logical language. Off Guardian has done it again.
Good eye, Kit! I, too, have started to fell that our presidential election campaigns are all contrived somehow–almost like a reality TV show. Maybe that’s why Trump did so well in 2016: prior experience as a reality-TV host!
Smart candidates would boycott any “debate” in which Bloomberg participates. Maybe show up, say they’re not going to participate, and why, then walk off. We need some drama! Make it real for god’s sake.
Sorry, but until there’s really speaking truth to power, on such events as 9/11 and other atrocities, all this bread and circuses BS is no more than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
— the circus never ends, but where’s the bread?
Bloomberg’s got most of it.