Moments later, Sanders joked: "Jeff Bezos, worth $150 billion, supporting Mike Bloomberg, who's worth only $50 billion -- that's real class solidarity." And Sanders tied in the climate emergency: "When you talk about class warfare within the context of climate change, like Alexandria was just saying, the fossil fuels industry makes billions [and] billions of dollars in profits every single year, and the people who suffer the most are often lowest-income people. But it's not just low-income people. Family farmers in Iowa and agriculture in Iowa is going to be suffering."
News of Bloomberg's looming entry into the Democratic presidential race elicited mass-media awe because of his wealth. A Republican until 2007, Bloomberg didn't become a registered Democrat until October 2018. His record as New York City's mayor included hostility toward labor unions in the public sector, support for police use of stop-and-frisk targeting racial minorities, and vocal antipathy toward the Obama administration's minimal Dodd-Frank regulation of the financial industry. Bloomberg is a mismatch with most Democrats.
For most of this year, Biden seemed the best bet for moguls like Bloomberg. But confidence receded as the Biden for President campaign lost ground -- not only because of his continuing "gaffs" and stumbling syntax but also because more information kept surfacing about his actual recordwhile in the Senate from 1973 through 2008.
Further erosion of support for Biden can be expected due to a pair of powerful articles in the current issue of The Nation magazine. An "anti-endorsement" editorial summarizes his career as a servant of establishment power, concluding: "On issue after issue, Biden's candidacy offers Trump a unique opportunity to muddy what should be a devastatingly clear choice. The Nation therefore calls on Biden to put service to country above personal ambition and withdraw from the race." And an investigative piece breaks new ground in documenting how Biden and his immediate family have been enmeshed in scarcely legal conflicts of interest and pay-to-play corruption for several decades.
These days, for billionaires trying to line up a new Democratic president, good help is hard to find. Biden is willing as ever but perhaps not able. In effect, seeing Biden falter, Bloomberg is on the verge of cutting out the middleman. At this point, why hope that activation of pro-Biden Super PACs will be sufficient, when Bloomberg can step in and hugely outspend everyone out of his own pocket?
But even if it turns out that Biden has outlived his usefulness to the billionaire class, no one should doubt his unwavering loyalty. Biden offered reassurance during a speech at the Brookings Institution last year. "I love Bernie, but I'm not Bernie Sanders," he said. "I don't think 500 billionaires are the reason why we're in trouble. . . The folks at the top aren't bad guys."
The first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court would have agreed. John Jay liked to say: "Those who own the country ought to govern it." Now, the rhetoric is quite different. But the reality is up for grabs in the realm we call politics.