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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 1/27/20

Bandwagon Billionaires

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Message Dan Cooper

Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer have entered the fray for presidential consideration as billionaires. Nobody would have considered doing this until somebody (named Drumpf) actually did it. Well, maybe not actually, but he did it under the pretext that he was a billionaire, without ever proving that he was. He is probably not one, by the way. But that doesn't matter if enough people believe that he is. Steyer is reported to be worth $1.6B, while Bloomberg is in the $60B range. Anyway, both Bloomberg and Steyer are definitely billionaires, who have jumped gleefully onto the recently developed bandwagon of billionaires for president.

The question now is multifaceted, and it is important to find the correct answers. Our country is in distinct danger of losing its way in a world where directional positivity is crucial. The questions are important and the answers to them are critical. Is any billionaire appropriate as the leader of our nation? Is our nation ready for a billionaire to be the leader of the Free World? Can a billionaire relate to the needs of a county that has unfortunately developed into the next thing to an oligarchy run by billionaires? With the pending demise of the once-proud Republican Party under Trumpism, can the Democratic Party survive the candidacy of a billionaire as its representative? But here is perhaps the most important question of all. Here is the one that may hold predictive value for the future of the Democratic Party. Is the presence of these billionaires in the democratic field driving an unexpectedly vibrant force in this field toward a more progressive outcome in the primary? Have the Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren factions grown impressively stronger with these billionaires providing competition? Has the reaction to these billionaires in the race been to further activate progressives and mute the influence of trends toward more moderate candidates?

Sanders has definitely surged lately in polls, and Warren has secured the endorsement of the De Moines Register just ahead of the Iowa Caucuses. While these two developments might not signal a national trend, or for that matter even a local state trend, they could be the tip of a significant ice berg. The influence of all that money being poured into two billionaires' campaigns might be affecting the drive toward progressive agendas and away from oligarch-driven politics in America, just as Sanders has been harping on for years.

As incongruous as it might seem on the surface, the county's positive reaction to what Trump offered in 2016 did have some startling similarities to what Bernie offered then, and continues to offer now. There just might be room for a more progressive agenda than the pundits, the party moguls, and the politicians have foreseen. It is certainly something to think about in a Democratic Party that saw internal self-destruction with a Clinton over Sanders decision the last time around.

Can the agenda, driven by conservatives for generations now, be strong enough to bolster continued resistance to progressivism? Can the catch-phrases and false narratives pushing "socialism as a failure" and "progressivism as evil" continue to sway the minds of uninformed voters? Is the faà ade built up by the right strong enough to withstand some truth put out there by genuine progressives? Perhaps the Bandwagon Billionaires are unintentionally driving the nation toward a more progressive agenda than could otherwise have been achieved.

We will not know if Iowa is a litmus test until further down the road, but Iowa is definitely going to be interesting.

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Dan Cooper is an award winning freelance writer/editor living in the Texas Hill Country. He has worked in news and sports journalism and is currently working on several projects, including a memoir and the editing of a California Gold Rush (more...)

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