Throughout our history, our electorate has often promoted "enlightened" aristocrats to the highest office in the land. Washington, both Roosevelts, and Kennedy appear on presidential Top-Ten lists of most - if not all - historians. Not as easily identifiable as wealth, those presidents also possessed the vision, intelligence, courage and gravitas necessary to be considered "great".
Fast forward to 2020, and we now have three billionaires vying for the Office of the Presidency - well, actually we have one "alleged" billionaire and two bona-fide billionaires.
It's anybody's guess what Trump is actually worth. He guards his financial records like his spirit animal, the badger, guards its cache of juicy grubs. One thing seems obvious - whatever Trump is actually worth, major sources of his wealth appear to be ill-gotten proceeds derived from serial bankruptcies and cheating vendors, investors, "university" students and "charity" contributors - no doubt, all of that merely the tip of the sleaze-berg.
Tom Steyer, billionaire and Trump-impeachment advocate, has deftly transitioned from Trump irritant to would-be challenger. Steyer has bought his way onto Democratic debate stages by carpet-bombing political ads in South Carolina and Nevada - juicing his poll numbers in those states.
Steyer reminds me of local business owners who insist on doing their own TV commercials even though they're stiff and awkward, and the end product is horrible. Steyer isn't quite that bad, but his candidacy is going nowhere.
After being removed from the Nevada debate, Steyer needs to secure a delegate from the Nevada caucuses if he wants to continue his campaign.
If Steyer really wants to help the causes he claims are near and dear, he should divert the millions of dollars he's wasting on his quixotic presidential campaign to democratic senatorial campaigns where he has an opportunity to help achieve something game-changing.
When Bernie Sanders established a national lead in presidential polling, the Democratic establishment lit the Bat signal - or rather the Bloom signal. Clintonistas, and other Democratic plutocrats, became apoplectic when Sander's strong performance in early debates and popularity with Democratic voters propelled him past the tail-spinning Joe Biden.
DNC Chairman and establishment tool Tom Perez promptly changed the rules for debate qualification to accommodate Bloomberg. Bloomberg is self-funding his campaign, and therefore has no contributors, but is rapidly rising in polls thanks to a massive ad campaign.
One thing is certain; Bloomberg absolutely owns Trump. Their early twitter exchanges have shown Trump is no match for Bloomberg. As businessmen, the Bloomberg/Trump comparison could not be more revealing. Bloomberg is actually a self-made billionaire and is apparently respected by his peers. Trump is held by the same clique to be a garish buffoon. And, his incompetence as a businessman is legendary - as Bloomberg has highlighted in a recent tweet.
Bloomberg also brings the possibility of significant support from "never-Trump" Republicans. Fired former Trump Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer recently endorsed Bloomberg - the first high-level Trump-administration official to break ranks with Trump and the Republican Party.
Long-suffering Trump chief-of-staff, John Kelly, has recently unloaded on his former boss - criticizing Trump for botching negotiations with North Korea, meddling in Ukraine, firing Alexander Vindman, mishandling immigration policy, and intervening in military disciplinary cases. He didn't endorse Bloomberg - however, his tardy, but scathing, criticisms are anything but an endorsement of Trump.
It's also possible that Republican fence-sitters leaning toward "never Trump", and who are simpatico with Bloomberg's candidacy, could withhold financial aid to Trump's reelection campaign - should Bloomberg become the Democratic front runner.
Bloomberg certainly has his flaws. He definitely is NOT what Democratic progressives are looking for in a presidential candidate. Videos have surfaced of Bloomberg expounding on various topics while displaying matter-of-fact condescension, arrogance, racism, sexism and homophobia. Bloomberg issued perfunctory mea culpas, and then was off to the Nevada debate stage.
After a shaky debate premiere - Bloomberg's viability is suspect. But, the power of money in swaying public opinion should not be discounted. Elizabeth Warren's peeling back the layers of the Bloomberg onion may have necessitated that Bloomberg spend a couple extra $100 million to erase that debacle from the memory of primary voters.
During the debate, Bloomberg accused Sanders of being a communist, and Pete Buttigieg accused him of being the "one candidate who wants to burn the house down". Both of these attacks can be seen as lashing-out by surrogates of the panicked, entrenched aristocracy - the strident defenders of the status quo. A status quo, however, that emphatically does not abide the insanity of Trump.
There's a Joker in this movie, but it isn't Sanders. The person who wants to burn everything down is Donald Trump. Trump is the ringleader of an anarchical cabal of greedy traitorous sociopaths (Barr, Pompeo, Mnuchin, Ross, etc., etc.) who have abandoned the founding principles of our nation and the rule of law for their chance at the Big Grift.
Trump is absolutely incapable of thinking of anything other than feeding his bloated ego, and getting even with those who take exception to his lunacy. The fact that Trump occupies the highest office in the land is an astonishingly grotesque turn of events that will be burned into the annals of history for as long as our species is capable of recording same.
The critical question of whether or not Bloomberg is an "enlightened" aristocrat will soon be answered. If Bloomberg fails to secure the Democratic presidential nomination, but maintains important financial support for Democrats in critical races (as he has in the past), he will have an important place in history. That is, if the nation survives as a recognizable democracy.If Bloomberg does secure the Democratic presidential nomination, every Democrat and anyone else who views the presidency of Donald Trump as a malignant mutation of "democracy" and a profound threat to the U.S. and the world, should provide unequivocal support. There is no other option.