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It's bad enough that a tyrant is destroying American democracy. Now an oligarch is trying to buy the presidency.
I'm talking about Michael Bloomberg who will take the debate stage tonight after the DNC abandoned the individual-donor threshold that it used for the first eight debates presumably because Bloomberg, the self-funded billionaire, doesn't take donations.
To participate in tonight's debate in Las Vegas, Democratic candidates needed to show at least 10 percent support in four national polls. Bloomberg's wall-to-wall advertising made that pretty much inevitable. He recently came in third place in a Morning Consult tracking poll, behind just Sanders and Biden. And he's in the top four in many Super Tuesday states.
Great wealth doesn't necessarily disqualify you from becoming president -- of course, it never has. America has had some talented and capable presidents who were enormously wealthy -- Franklin D. Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, for example.
The problem lies at the nexus of wealth and power, where those with great wealth use it to gain great power. This is how oligarchy destroys democracy.
So far Bloomberg has spent more than $300 million on campaign advertising. That's more than Hillary Clinton spent on advertising during her entire presidential run. It's multiples of what all other Democratic candidates have spent, including billionaire Tom Steyer.
Bloomberg has already spent more on Facebook ads than Trump, and more than Biden, Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg combined.
He's been endorsed by House Democrats and Democratic mayors who were the beneficiaries of his fortune during their campaigns. He's also paying social media influencers with massive followings to promote his campaign.
His paid staff is already three times as large as Trump's, five times Joe Biden's and he's using his fortune to woo staffers away from other campaigns.
Our new video exposes all the ways Bloomberg is using his great wealth to buy the presidency and the threat oligarchy poses to our democracy. It's bad enough that a tyrant is destroying American democracy. Now an oligarch is trying to buy the presidency.
If the only way we can get rid of a sociopathic tyrant named Trump is with an oligarch named Bloomberg, we will be forced to choose the oligarch.
But l can't think of a more surefire way to get another four years of Trump than backing an oligarch who's buying the presidency.
Sure, oligarchy is better than tyranny. But neither is as good as democracy.
Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.