The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Oligarch Stage of the American Disease: Bloomberg Edition

Michael Bloomberg

So, Michael Bloomberg has spent $300 million, and, by some polling, is now tied for second place in the Democratic primaries with Joe Biden, whose numbers are collapsing.

Bloomberg is worth about $63 billion.

He entered the race to defeat Sanders. He considered entering the race in 2016 until it became clear that Clinton would be the nominee.

This makes perfect sense, because Sanders tax plan will cost him billions. He can spend ten times as much as he has, and it will still be a good investment.

The thing about Trump was always that he was a symptom of a disease. It’s hard to say exactly when the disease started, but serious symptoms started showing up after the elections of Reagan and Thatcher. Wage increase rates collapsed, stock markets and other asset prices rose much faster than inflation, regulations were gutted, people were thrown in jail at a ferocious rate, and unions were smashed.

Strikes involving more than 1,000 workers

Strikes involving more than 1,000 workers

Inequality took off, and over time this created “multibillionaires.” They used their money to buy politicians, and, through those politicians, they bought policy. They slashed tax rates on corporations, rich people and their estates, and so on to the bone. They increased subsidies for the rich, while they cut subsidies for the poor and middle class, in relative terms.

The Federal Reserve (all of whose governors are political appointees), acted aggressively to keep wage increases at or under inflation, and targeted inflation rather than job growth. Good working class and many middle class jobs were off-shored and outsourced. Some of these processes had started before Reagan, such as offshoring and cutting top marginal tax rates (JFK foolishly did so, but then he was the son of an oligarch), but they went into overdrive after 1980.

From ’33 to ’68, the general trend was for the percentage of income controlled by the wealthy to decrease relative to the percentage controlled by everyone else. In 1968, that reversed, but 1980 is when it was locked in.

Money is, of course, power. Anyone who denies this is tediously stupid, given that almost all of us have spent most of our lives doing shit we wouldn’t do if we didn’t have to to get money. (Getting other people to do shit they don’t want to do but that you do want them to do is the very definition of power.)

So, the oligarchs, aided by the huge concentration of companies into oligopolies, have come to own or control vast amounts of wealth. They passed a law that defined money as free speech, and now that the political class has proven incapable of handling a left-wing populist, an oligarch is stepping in directly, because his class’s lackeys, like Biden and Buttigieg (and indeed most of the field), are incompetent.

Bloomberg is an oligarch. He’s racist, sexist, and arrogant. He had New York’s laws changed so he could have a third term. He is competent and ruthless. In most respects, he is far more dangerous than Trump–even though he is for some things the left likes, like birth and gun control. Trump is good at demagoguery, but he isn’t a competent executive.

Bloomberg IS a competent executive. As he joked when asked about having two billionaires in the election, “Who’s the other one?”

(He also has massive interests in China and has done their bidding in the past, a fact the hysterical Russia-Gaters might note.)

My guess is that Bloomberg can’t win except through a brokered convention. The plan may be to deny Sanders an outright majority, then combine against him. Doing so will break the Democratic party. Remember that the Clintons still have the most power over the Democratic establishment, and Hilary hates Sanders with a vindictive passion, while she is on good terms with Bloomberg. Obama, who also still has power and influence, seems more ambivalent, but he’s never liked the left. On the other hand, reports are that he’s dispassionate and recognizes that denying the vote leader the nomination will damage the party.

If Bloomberg does get the fix in, who will win in a Bloomberg/Trump match? I don’t know, but while Bloomberg is more competent as an executive, my feeling is that Trump’s unique strength as a demagogue will be the deciding factor in outmatching Bloomberg. The question then becomes whether Bloomberg’s money and organizational abilities can outweigh that.

Trump has increasingly been acting against the rule of law. He always was, starting with emoluments violations, but now that he was impeached and not convicted, he feels immune to Congress’s censure.

Trump also HAS TO WIN. If he loses, he will be destroyed by his enemies in New York, in various criminal investigations. They will take him down and destroy him. He understands this.

So, it’s oligarch vs. left-wing populist to see who gets to take on the minor oligarch, criminal, and current president Donald Trump, who knows that a loss means the end of his good life and the destruction of the minor empire he has built.

The only possible good outcome for most Americans is a Sanders win. No other path leads anywhere decent.

This is likely be the nastiest election cycle since the Democrats deliberately sabotaged McGovern.

For approximately the same reasons.

It’ll be horrific, and the outcome will control whether many people live, die, or have good or terrible lives. I suggest getting some hot dogs. If Rome is going to burn, you may as well roast wieners.

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Sanders Comes to Save Capitalism, Not Destroy It


  1. bruce wilder

    Ketchup. With a kosher dog and a potato bread bun.

    Not really a mustard guy.

    Just stating my preference on the weiners.

    Everything else is being made perfectly clear as you say.

  2. monkeyman

    I think Bloomberg will win via brokered convention. Superdelegates vote 2nd round. It will end the Democratic Party, Trump will crush Bloomberg, and you can say goodbye to livable conditions on Earth. Whatever, life will suck, but I\’ve been working the last 10 years to get a foothold in a safe country far away. On the other hand, watching Americans, the majority of whom are fascists, burn will be an incredibly pleasant experience for me.

  3. Hugh

    MSNBC Morning Joe uses Steve Rattner as an economic commentator and sometime political analyst. So today he’s bloviating about Bernie Bros and it’s only at the end that Willy Geist does a quick “We should say you manage Bloomberg’s money.” The question is why this guy is there at all. But of course, that is a question which answers itself. Rattner is there to convey the world view of billionaires, and one billionaire in particular.

    Re Trump and Russia, the thing I have never understood is why almost no one pays attention to the real Russia-Trump connection, that is that he laundered the money of Russian oligarchs through his real estate projects for years and that doing so kept him from yet further bankruptcies. Trump is transactional. The Russians have been good to him. He wants to be good to them.

  4. Andre

    Of course, Bloomberg doesn’t want to beat Trump. He wants to beat Bernie. He’s an arrogant asshole, which can be seen in what he is now doing, if you have doubts about his arrogance. He doesn’t give a shit about the Party. His current effort is to protect his continuously increasing wealth. Trump and the Dems don’t figure into it. This is way beyond cynical, wherever that is. Evil?

    Humans are pretty predictable, which even the super rich don’t quite understand and we don’t see because we’re astounded by their spectacle. So we have all these women accusing Trump of sexual ‘offences’, which , to me, are probably true, since what he’s doing to this country is exactly what they are accusing him of. Same with Bloomberg, supposedly with 60 odd payoffs to women for sexual offences, he’s now trying to turn us all into his puppets, or worse.

  5. Andre

    One more thing: Bernie says billionaires shouldn’t exist. He is absolutely correct about that. Mike Bloomberg in everything he does prooves Bernie right! A financial system that produces Bloomberg and Bezos and the other 605 we have in this country is totally messed up and has to be put in order. Continuing the way we are now going is disaster. All we have to do is think about where we are now going with income inequality.

  6. Jeff Wegerson

    Spot on.

    Well quibble:

    The Federal Reserve (all of whose governors are political appointees), acted aggressively to keep wage increases at or under inflation, and targeted inflation rather than job growth.

    Targeted inflation BY targeting job growth. That order aligns with the MMTers as well as aligning with your other points in the post. It’s important now because that also aligns with the approach of the Sanders economic advisors who will be targeting inflation by taxation often of the rich. But the real benefit of taxing the rich, as you refer to, is management of extreme inequality. Inflation will likely require several management approaches. For which understanding I depend greatly upon you.

  7. Dan

    From juice cleanse to eating hot dogs as the world burns. I need to get out more.

  8. Ian Welsh

    Job growth wasn’t the primary target, wages were. Of course, increasing unemployment decreases wages.

  9. scruff

    I vaguely remember that in 2016, people were saying that if Trump won the republican nomination, the Republican party would be destroyed. It has been – sort of – in that the self-proclaimed “ideals” that party told us it represented were completely abandoned in favor of opportunistic and outright criminal behavior to maintain party power, but the party structure remains in power nonetheless. Does Bloomberg “winning” the Dem nomination presage the same sort of “destruction” of the party? If so, it’s not much comfort.

  10. Z

    Being more politically informed and objective than most of the herd can be a handicap in political matters, but I don’t think Mikey $B has a chance in hell of winning the presidency and he damn well knows it. He doesn’t care about Trump, who may be bad for the U.S.’s image, but who has been good for business and especially the stock market and it’s business and the stock market over the U.S. for Mikey $B. He probably doesn’t even want the job and is not worried about winning it. If he gets the nomination expect only a token effort on his behalf to beat Trump. He’ll make some vanity-driven principled stand on the campaign trail … save the earth, gun control, crack down on Wall Street, $15 minimum wage, why not? … promises that he knows he’ll never have to live up to and then he’ll have his minions in the media murmur, “If the Bernie Bros would have only listened to Mikey $B” every the Trump f’s up during the next four years.

    There’s no way that Mikey $B is going to create the enthusiasm and the voter turnout to defeat Trump. The majority of Bernie’s Army, which is roughly 30% of the democratic party, are not going to vote for a billionaire who would have basically bought the nomination from the corrupt DNC and conspired with them to f*ck Bernie’s Army’s aspirations for democratic power. They’ll grab a weenie, put it on a stick, and watch the democratic party burn. Or better yet, make a third party run. Why not? Mikey $B and the rest of the media are going to blame their lack of support for Trump 2.0 anyway.

    So, why is Mikey $B really in the game? Why does he want to thwart Bernie’s bid so bad? Shoot, he’s 78 years old, why would he worry that much about taxes confiscating his wealth? He’ll probably be dead in ten years and still be unfathomably rich. And is he really that devoted to the ideology of capitalism and “free” markets to spend so much time and energy at this point of his life to stop a democratic socialist? Nah, that’s somebody else’s problem, not his.

    Mikey $B is in it for all-blessed Israel! That’s the primary reason by far, and when you reduce it all down it is truly the only reason because there is not anything else collectively that would motivate him to make this time and energy investment into a run at this point in his life. Mikey $B sees himself as protecting Israel by denying Bernie the nomination. And it’s not entirely due to Bernie’s lack of fealty to Israel, not even mostly due to that, the biggest reason is the fact that if Bernie wins he’s going to get his hands on the Federal Reserve, the money pump that’s been aimed to inflate the stock market and from which so much wealth is created that funds AIPAC and such that influences our politicians and political process for Israel’s benefit.


  11. Z

    Mikey $B ain’t in it to protect his wealth. He’s 78 years old. He isn’t in it to protect the “virtues” of capitalism and free markets or defend the U.S. from the vulgarities of socialism. He can give a damn about the U.S. It’s just an office location.

    Mikey $B is in it for Israel and Israel only. He’s in it primarily to prevent Sanders from taking that money pump in the Federal Reserve and aiming it towards the working class because that pump is currently pointed in the direction that benefits Israel, which is Wall Street. He wants it to stay there.


  12. Ché Pasa

    No, there is no comfort for most of us while Rome or the Earth is burning, which, all things considered, is going to happen no matter who is assigned the increasingly imperial presidency.

    Assigned, yes. Trump may be the last elected president, as deeply flawed and in some ways fraudulent as the 2016 exercise was. He makes a mockery of the law and the office and has brought immense shame to the US, and not simply because he’s rude and crude and socially unacceptable. It’s also because of his ignorant, harmful, and in many cases uncorrectable actions. Oh well. At least he’s an incompetent as well.

    That’s no comfort, either.

    Of course these things could change overnight, but rather than a contest of the oligarchs, it’s looking like the contest will winnow down to Bernie vs Trump. The controlling Dem Party apparat is showing signs of weariness and capitulation in their near legendary opposition to Sanders. The Clintons and Obama don’t have as much power to thwart and exact revenge as some think. The Party is not unified against Sanders, nor is it for Sanders, nor is it unified for any of the others. Whether it can be bought is anybody’s guess, but the advantages given to Bloomberg after his substantial financial contributions to the Dem Party have come at the cost of credibility, credibility already seriously compromised. I’m seeing some signs that they’ll Bernie win the nomination if he can.

    So what happens in a Bernie/Trump contest with the billionaires aligned with their class interests? You know, right?

    The billionaires determine who wins. They won’t make the mistake of 2016 again.


    Excellent post. I agree with everything. There’s nothing to add.

    On the hot dog, a modest combo of mayo, ketchup, spicy brown mustard and relish. Don’t forget the relish. As for the hot dog, Nathan’s hot dogs are fairly decent.

    Here’s your oligarchy, if you can keep it.

  14. Dan Lynch

    Excellent post and I agree with the main points but will pick nits with this statement: “From 33-79 the general trend was for the percentage of income controlled by the wealthy to decrease relative to the percentage controlled by everyone else. 1980 that reversed.”

    The U.S. gini index bottomed out in 1968 at about 0.387 (still awful compared to the Nordic countries which run around 0.25 after taxes & transfers), at the end of LBJ’s allegedly failed War On Poverty, and has been on an upward trend ever since. While perhaps this is a small point, we should recognize that the War On Poverty did help, and that the change for the worse started long before Reagan. Assigning the turning point to Reagan gives Jimmy Carter a pass and plays into partisan politics rather than class politics.

  15. Anon

    Bloomberg’s a Republican, always has been. So the choice may boil down to voting for one of two Republicans. And they expect anyone to give a shit? If it’s Trump v Bloomberg than I say let American eat Trump and choke on him.


    The most important item on Bernie’s bucket list, if he were to be elected and I surely hope he is, hands down has to be massive, radical campaign finance reform. Via congress and executive order, Citizens United must be neutralized. There will no doubt be lawsuits that will hold all of this up indefinitely. In fact, anything radical Bernie does, be it campaign finance reform or M4A, is going to be viciously challenged every step of the way. The oligarchy will not concede and rollover. It will do everything and anything to preserve and expand upon its position up to and including assassination after exhausting all other measures. Bernie has his work cut out for him. It’s a tremendous burden for a 78-year-old hunchback with stents.

  17. Z

    I also don’t believe that Trump will be criminally prosecuted if he loses the election. I’d imagine our rulers don’t want to set that precedent for presidents and don’t want to dig too deep into Trump and his business dealings. If he loses, he’ll walk away free and stay that way.



    Bloomberg is not a Republican and neither is Trump. They are not of the political class although they use the political class. If Bernie doesn’t get elected, it’s game over. The only way to mitigate direct oligarchic rule is a revolution and I just don’t see that happening. This election, in my opinion, more than any other is do or die. If Bloomberg gets the Dem nomination and either he or Trump wins, it’s the end of the political class. Money ate through it like termites to wet wood.


    Turns out Bloomberg has stents too. Not Trump. Instead of stents, Trump has several Big Macs and a couple of orders of large fries in his arteries.

    There are dueling banjos and now dueling stents. May the best stent win.

  20. Ian Welsh


    good point and something I should have checked/known as I’ve often made the point that working class white male wages peaked in 68. Corrected in piece.

  21. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Senator Sanders needs to crack the whip over his Uruk-hai, or they’re going to piss off so many swing voters that he won’t have a chance in the general election (assuming he wins the nomination)–once the Russopublican Pretty Hate Machine gets through saturating the media with these stories:

  22. someofparts

    It feels like a ringside seat at Alien v. Predator.

    “If the establishment Democrats believe that there is a moral imperative to oppose Mr. Trump politically, why do they continually hand him major legislative victories? Likewise, if the DNC sees a moral imperative to defeat Mr. Trump, why does it (continue to) undermine one of its leading candidates? Central to the question at hand is that if the establishment Democrats don’t see major differences between their policies and Mr. Trump’s, why should anyone else?

    This point has been made since 2016: Russiagate, Ukrainegate and impeachment are intended to boost and consolidate institutional power— military, national security and surveillance state interests and power. While they may have energized partisans, they don’t appear to have changed a single mind in the electoral realm. And they have been put forward in place of substantive policy differences, rather than in addition to them. In other words, while calling Mr. Trump a traitor in public, establishment Democrats have enhanced his power as Commander-in-Chief legislatively.”

  23. Will

    I actually read all the comments. I find it interesting….

    A question: What would you get if you took Trump’s trade and immigration policy positions and added Bernie’s take on health care?

    A 2nd question: What would you get if you crossed Bernie’s health care and trade positions and added Trump’s take on immigration?

    In both cases I think the answer is the same. Namely a broad electoral appeal that would enable one party or the other to govern for a generation. Who will get there first? Will any party allow itself to trade money for power and take these positions? Will the people who run this nation even allow the possibility to get into the public consciousness?

    I don’t know.

    The Republicans are hanging onto the existing ineffective and exorbitant health care system with white knuckles and closed eyes. The Democrats are have a death grip on immigration of a Deep Space 9 size category and will not budge. Both positions are despised by the average guy on the street.

    The political realignment that started in 2009 has taken a while to get going but is definitely starting to get real. Both political parties are dead set on conservative economic policies and liberal social ones. You can patch together a large political coalition capable of taking the reins of government that is the inverse of this.

    Interesting times.

  24. John B.

    Definitely need a good brown mustard for the hot dogs, and either raw onions or sauteed onions and some good homemade chili…hey, when in Rome…

  25. elkern

    I agree with the OP, with one quibble. I find the statement “Bloomberg is WORTH $60B” really annoying, and I’m surprised that IW would use that phrase in place “Bloomberg HAS $60B”. Conflating Wealth with Worth is a common failing, but I didn’t expect to see it here.

    I’m a Green, but I often vote for Democrats (the last two Republicans I voted for – Lincoln Chafee, and a local State Rep – switched parties soon thereafter). I would gladly vote for Sanders (or Warren), but I will not vote for Bloomberg (too GOP), Biden (voted for invasion of Iraq), or Buttigieg (too CIA). I suspect this is a common attitude among Greens (except for hard-core types who view Bernie as a “sheepdog”, luring the left back into the Dem tent).

    I can’t imagine Bloomberg appealing to people in “flyover country” (horrible phrase, but useful). But the election probably depends as much on the timing of the looming Crash as on who the Dems nominate. If the Fed can keep the party rolling until November, Trump probably wins. Will he chooses Pence as VP again? (yikes)

  26. edmondo

    Mike Bloomberg’s only chance of winning the election is if he picks Flo from Progressive Insurance as his running mate. They are both on TV constantly and Flo is much more likable and human than that arrogant prick.

    Hot dogs with Pennsylvania Dutch yellow mustard for me. Thank God I’m old enough that I only have one or two elections left. And while we are at it, Trump is a horrible, tasteless, ignorant shit but he’s still better than George W Bush who killed millions of people for no apparent reason. Worst President Ever is still Bush. Trump and Clinton are next and Obama is still a piece of shit too.

  27. Dan

    Bloomberg camp’s “dire” warning: Sanders soon unstoppable:

    Mike Bloomberg’s campaign is sounding the alarm that Bernie Sanders will soon amass an unsurmountable delegate lead if the Democratic field stays split — and took the extraordinary step of suggesting laggards should drop out.

    As one wit on Twitter put it:

    Mike Bloomberg: Sure I joined the race late, I’m a billionaire
    Mike Bloomberg: You should quit the race early, I’m a billionaire

    This may in fact be an indication that Bloomberg is having a tough time buying anybody else off.

  28. krake

    Only option now is the guillotine.

  29. different clue

    So, what kind of people support Bloomberg for DemNominee? The Riverdaughter kind of people. Here is a Riverdaughter post supporting Bloomberg for DemNominee.

    And near the end of the thread on THIS Riverdaughter post is a running example of how the politivangelical Riverdaughter cult followers feel about Bloomberg and how they respond to questions raised about Bloomberg.

    Sanders and Gabbard are the only non Mainstream Democrats in the DemNom race. If Sanders were to be nominated, Gabbard is the only non-traitor he could possibly pick for VP running mate. But that would be moot unless Sanders won the DemNom on the First Ballot. First Ballot is the only chance the Sanders community has to prevent the DemLeadership from selling the party to Bloomberg. Which is what the DemParty would rather do.

    As Yoda would say: ” First Ballot or First Ballot not. There is no Second Ballot.”

  30. different clue

    And here’s a little bit of thread from Naked Capitalism noting all the Bloomboogers against Sanders at another blog called Balloon Juice . . . and a Bloomberg statement about Sanders from the archives.

    February 19, 2020 at 2:59 pm
    Are you also going to try and take on the fervently anti-Sanders commentariat over at Balloon Juice, as well? You would have your work cut out for you, though…as now many commenters are throwing their weight behind Bloomberg now that it seems evident that Warren’s campaign will be over soon. They are some of the most rabidly #NeverBernie people I have run into.

    Reply ↓
    February 19, 2020 at 3:08 pm
    Here’s one for your arsenal:

    “here’s mike bloomberg after the 2016 election saying bernie sanders would have beat donald trump ”

    Source of video not given.

    Anybody know if this is true? When did he say it (if he said it)?

    Reply ↓
    February 19, 2020 at 3:15 pm
    Nice one. Thanks.

  31. Jeff in Texas

    Probably tinfoil hat territory, but I do start to wonder if Bloomberg is a stalking horse for Hillary? Deny Sanders the nomination outright and force a brokered convention, and then Hillary becomes the white knight at the convention? Why would he want to actually be president when he can outsource it to a friend and ally like Hillary, who (a) actually wants the job and (b) will enact all his favorite policies anyway?

    The other question I have seen floating around that gives me pause is, if Bernie holds off Bloomberg and wins the nomination, does Bloomberg run as a third party candidate? Don’t know how practical this is from a timing standpoint in terms of getting on the ballot for the general, but even if he was only on the ballot in a handful of critical states, he could seriously damage Bernie’s prospects, it seems.

  32. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    I forget whether D-Clue walked out of the Confluence in a huff, or if Riverdaughter finally got disgusted and threw him out, but either way, he does not seem to have gotten over it. 😈

    Package for D. C. ! 😈

  33. Hugh

    Ivory, most of us here are refugees of a sort from one or several different blogs. Truth is Ian’s is one of the few progressive sites left online.


    I guess the big question for me is, will Bloomberg have his box to stand on for the debate tonight? Think of Bernie’s & Bloomer’s stents as light sabers. Oligarch you are, Michael Bloomberg. Bloomburger will no doubt stop & frisk everyone and throw them against the wall even if he has to pay them handsomely for the privilege. I’d like to see Biden smell Bernie’s hair and feel up his sagging tits as is Biden’s signature wont. Maybe Klobuchar could put Warren in a wood chipper. Tulsi, donning a camouflage yarmulka, can read from the Torah to satisfy her AIPAC sponsors. Buttigieg, in a pair of panties and a bra, can bake his famous chocolate souffle and call it chocolate souffle for all who want it. Such fun it will be.

  35. Z

    The Confluence – where all the regular posters have a triple digit IQ, but they collectively sit in the low 60s. Why? Because RiverDaughter constantly tosses people off who won’t strictly adhere to her brand of CDS (Clinton Derangement Syndrome). One hopes she’s getting paid for her blog and this one strongly suspects she is.

    If you haven’t been thrown off that blog unofficial polls show that there is a 85% probability that you have ‘HRC 2008 2016′ tattooed somewhere on your ass.


  36. Z

    You got to reckon that most of the regular posters over on The Confluence are Clinton apparatchiks, professional propagandists of some type for the Clintons, who have some sort of personal financial interests that are tied to the Clintons in some way or another.

    You’d have to be getting paid for being that stupid for so long and those people on that blog are intelligent enough to comprehend what’s been repeatedly thrown in their faces for over ten years now.


  37. Z

    You got to reckon that the Clintons are all in for Mikey $B at this point and working behind the scenes with the DNC and its media affiliate MSNBC to steer things in his direction. Warren and Harris didn’t work out, Booker’s and Beto’s campaigns were too bland to gain any traction, Biden’s out on his feet, Pete’s gay, and Amy K appeals to no one outside the white Midwest and New England states. Who does it leave? That leaves Mikey $B and Bernie and we all know who they’re going to go heavy in on between them two. Anybody but Bernie, Mikey $B would be more than fine and they’re going pull every dishonest lever they have to make that happen.


  38. tatere

    What does another 4 years buy Trump as far as revenge etc. goes?

  39. bruce wilder

    i think Bernie’s campaign should try to tag Bloomberg as the candidate of people who want Trump to win but do not want to vote for Trump.

    i think that works on a couple of levels.

    maybe too subtle

  40. Stirling S Newberry

    Shorter, smarter version of Biden.

  41. Sid Finster

    Hugh’s original comment assumes facts not in evidence.

    Moreover, Trump has not been good to Russia (even assuming that Russia and its citizens represent a monolithic interest bloc).

  42. Zachary Smith

    I’m going to do a lot of guessing here, but I figure Bloomberg doesn’t believe he is wasting his money.
    Primary Assumption – he wants to prevent Sanders from becoming the nominee. I believe this is possible. It’s my fear such an outcome is probable.

    Does Bloomberg want to become president? My answer is “of course he does”. Can he win, given that many voters like myself would stay home? I believe he could, for I suspect that sane Republicans would desert Trump to gain a better behaved right-wing Republican. Probably enough to offset any Democratic abstentions. (and given the activities of an increasingly unbalanced Trump, not all Dems will stay home!)

    “President Bloomberg” would be a disaster equivalent to and likely exceeding “President Trump”. IMO we’ll soon be finding out if this is going to happen. An examination of the tea leaves right after the Super Tuesday primaries will probably give us a good idea of how this 2020 thing is going to play out.

  43. Z

    I don’t think that Trump’s support has fell much from 2016. And I don’t think he’s gained much either. Voters knew he wasn’t a saint in 2016 and the failed attempt by the democrats to remove him from office right before election helps him craft a narrative that he didn’t live up to all his campaign promises because the democrats prevented it by tying him up with the Russia hysteria and the impeachment.

    And no new wars. So far. He can always point to that too. No wonder the deep state and the dems want to remove me from office so bad, he’ll say. His criticism of the recent U.S. wars was an underrated reason why he won in 2016.


  44. Dan

    I wonder what the Trump’s October surprise will be.

  45. Z

    Mikey $B’s support is shallow. It’s foundation is primarily based upon name recognition from his TV ad blitz. That’s the kind of support that Biden had too and it withered away quickly on the campaign trail, once people got a chance to see him under the lights. Then news of his past stance on SS cuts was the KO punch.

    Mikey $B’s support is probably around 20% right now, but nobody is really pining for Mikey $B to run for president but rich people, the DNC, and the media. It’s soft support and could easily collapse to 10%. He’s got a lot of dirt under his nails.


  46. Zachary Smith

    Sir: IMO Trump’s support by all except the 2-digit IQ portion of his “base” is in freefall – if there is any reasonable alternative he will lose in Novermber if that election is no more dishonest than the one in 2016. Back then he was running against the most hated politician in recent US history – something unlikely to happen again. Regarding the “failed attempt” to remove him, Pelosi and her pals held off on Impeachment for as long as possible, then produced the weakest possible charge. Even then they went out of their way to botch that very minimal effort.

    No new wars? You must not have heard of his murder of the Iranian General. That war is ongoing, and will not end any time soon. An ignorant and arrogant crook with access to nukes is frightening to even Republicans who stop and think about it. The new itty-bitty nuclear weapons now carried by the Trident submarines were put there for President Hillary, but bright monsters like Pompous Pompeo may be able to convince Trump he can get away with using them.

    Trump does indeed feel “empowered” by his escaping the silly impeachment proceedings, and in that state of mind talking him into attacking Iran with nukes could yet happen. Always keep in mind Pompeo is one of many “End Timers” currently in power, and he will do whatever he can to get Jesus going with the Second Coming.

  47. Mark Pontin

    Z wrote: ‘He’s got a lot of dirt under his nails.’

    Not all under Bloomberg’s nails any more, but partly out in the open now.

    Tonight, we saw why Warren used to get paid big money as a trial lawyer in corporate law cases. Her takedown of Bloomberg was as much a thing of beauty as was Tulsi Gabbard’s of Kamila Harris, but far more professionally unrelenting and eviscerating.

    I guess there are some things money can’t buy, after all. Mikey B will just have to go home and cry himself to sleep on a bed of thousand-dollar bills or something.

    Realistically, however, Warren must know that she’s at best auditioning for Sanders’s VP choice at this point. Though she’d be better as Treasury Secretary.

  48. Mark Pontin

    Or somebody’s VP choice, anyway.

  49. someofparts

    Sad to hear the comments about Balloon Juice and Confluence. Those were a couple of the sites that I had bookmarked for years but deleted since 2016. I’ve completely reconfigured my blogroll since the fallout from that train wreck of an election. Sites I had enjoyed and followed for years went off my reading list if they trashed Bernie or bought into Russia-gate or the impeachment nonsense.

    On the plus side, I’ve found some great new sites that I probably wouldn’t have found if I were still spending time at the old haunts. Caitlin Johnstone and Benjamin Studebaker are on the list now.

    Other people are doing great podcasts. I’m listening to Michael Moore doing a podcast with Ru Paul as I write this. Earlier I was listening to the gang at Chapo Trap House doing a show from New Hampshire. They are canvassing with the Bernie people and their shows have been extraordinary.

  50. Hugh

    Sid Finster, they are telling you. You just aren’t listening.

    Don Jr. from 2008

    “In terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Donald Trump Jr. said at a New York real-estate conference that year. “Say, in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo, and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

    “Trump’s former longtime architect, Alan Lapidus, echoed this view [see above] in an interview with FP [Foreign Policy] this month. Lapidus said that based on what he knew from the internal workings of the [Trump] organization, in the aftermath of Trump’s earlier financial troubles ‘he could not get anybody in the United States to lend him anything. It was all coming out of Russia. His involvement with Russia was deeper than he’s acknowledged.'”

    Eric Trump in 2014

    “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”

  51. anon

    I mentioned some posts ago that Riverdaughter at The Confluence majorly jumped the shark, but I do not believe she is some sophisticated political operative. Oh, she wishes, if only the Clintons cared enough about her to reach out. No. I have seen this with a small but significant portion of former Clinton supporters. I was a passionate Clinton supporter in 2008, but I have never been a cult follower of any political figure, including Clinton or Sanders. Unfortunately, both Clinton and Obama have an insane cult following among Democratic supporters (ironic given that they love to brand Bernie’s supporters as Bernie Bros. because many of their supporters are of the same ilk). If you criticize either one of them, their followers will brand you as a sexist or a racist.

    In 2016, I switched over to Sanders early on, but I saw that some women online, mostly middle aged white women like Riverdaughter, despised Sanders because they needed a scapegoat to blame Clinton’s loss against Trump. Clinton has only continued to fuel this anger and bitterness among her most ardent supporters by bringing up 2016 and blaming Sanders despite his massive amount of support and campaigning for her after she won the nomination. People like this cannot be reasoned with. If Sanders ends up being a very popular and successful president, you’ll still have people like Riverdaghter who won’t accept his win. People like this cannot be reasoned with.

  52. Sid Finster

    Even assuming that everything you linked were gospel truth (hint: every large scale developer of high end residential properties in NYC and South Florida deals with a lot of Russian and former Soviet people, some more shady than others), it does not present evidence for money laundering (another hint: RESPA puts the main responsibility for money laundering compliance on banks and title companies, not sellers), nor does it show that Trump has done anything in particular for “Russia”.

  53. jsn

    Dan, M4A: Trump was for it before he became the Republican nominee.

    Ian, who or what interests represent the existential threat to a post Presidency Trump?

    I’m in New York but admit it’s a pretty parochial place where one frequently misses the most interesting sermons.

  54. Steve Ruis

    I can’t stand Bloomberg, but I would love to see him release his tax forms and mock Trump who won’t “Because he is not really a billionaire, a liar, but not a billionaire.”

  55. Hugh

    Sid Finster, I love the misdirection. Trump has been a criminal all his life.The presumption with him is not is he running a scam. It is what scam is he running. Despite your Pollyannish disbelief, Trump’s money laundering for Russian oligarchs isn’t even hard to put together. As I pointed out above, his sons and one of his associates have admitted the Russian money connection. So let’s see banks won’t lend money to Trump, Russian oligarchs have lots of wealth they need to launder, real estate, especially in expensive real estate markets, is a perfect conduit for this because it is a relatively stable investment, involves large transfers of money per transaction, the reporting requirements are close to zero, and the money can be funneled through numerous layers of LLCs hiding its provenance. This is money laundering, and it has been the business model of the Trump Organization and their cronies (like Manafort and Cohen) for years.

    You can google “russian money laundering real estate” for a raft of articles on the subject.

    I really don’t understand the motivation behind looking at Trump’s activities as a bunch of isolated, unrelated acts and not overwhelming patterns. The man lies every damn day. He is up to 15,000 in the running count, but his MAGA supporters think he isn’t lying to them. The Trump Organization is a criminal organization ripe for RICO, but even with all the fingerprints of Russian money laundering over it and Trump’s numerous bankruptcies, we are supposed to believe that everything is on the up and up. Same with his racism and abuse of women. It’s all made up. It’s all fake. It’s a hoax, even as the thousandth example of any and all these things is paraded before our eyes.

  56. Sid Finster

    Again, you assume facts not in evidence.
    But you talk about “misdirection” in spite of ignoring my points and producing nothing but misdirection in return.

    Write Adam Schiff a letter if you have any actual evidence. I’m sure he would appreciate some assistance from internet experts and amateur intelligence analysts.

  57. Sid Finster

    BTW, note that I said not a word about Trump’s lies or racism or misogyny or anything else. A prime example of misdirection, trying to make the case about Trump’s (bad) character and not the evidence at hand.

    For I am not a Trump devotee. Just because I detest the man doesn’t mean that he is responsible for the murder of Mickey Mouse or any whack job conspiracy theories you are pushing.


    This is just one example of so many examples of Trump’s obvious money laundering activities. How can it not be clear to everyone reading and commenting here that the world is pretty much run by a loosely-connected crime syndicate that is mostly beyond reproach. Trump is their pitch man and front man. It’s called hide behind the clown spectacle.

    Donald Trump always makes money clean for his partners.


    Narco-a-Lago. Love it!

  60. Edwin R Wilmsen

    As for hot dogs, a quote from Dirty Harry is appropriate here: \”Nobody, but nobody, puts ketchup on a hot dog.\” Alright! Before y\’all ketchup lovers pile on, I hasten to point out that I only quote him. As for hot dogs, Hebrew \”We-answer-to-a higher-power\” Nationals are by far the best, but Vienna Beef, a Chicago institution, are sublime, especially when presented in Chicago style. The recipe:

    Prepare a Vienna brand poppy seed roll, and place upon it a steaming Vienna Beef dog hot from the \”dirty water\” bath. Brace the dog on either side with a dill pickle spear and tomato slices. Top with yellow mustard and, in this order, Chicago-style sweet pickle relish, chopped onions (optional) and one or two sport peppers.

    My definition of heaven is a place where I can have that every day. Hey, then Chicago must be heaven.

  61. Hugh

    Sid Finster, like a Trumper, you start with a conclusion and then work backwards. Anything that contradicts your conclusion by definition can’t be a fact, can’t be evident. How convenient.

    Trump is and has been deeply connected to Russia for more than two decades, long before the Trump Presidency was even a shadow of a glimmer of a possibility. This connection was financial, and for Trump money is everything. But in Sid Finster world, this is all supposed to be ignored. That much of the money was dirty, yeah, forget that too. That this is textbook money laundering, shut your eyes and say, just not seeing it. Yes, it would be good to have Trump’s and the Trump Organization’s financials from the mid-1990s on, but Trump is moving heaven and earth to keep even a much smaller subset of this from not just the public but the Congress. And it’s not like Barr is going to investigate his lord and master. But we aren’t trying a court case here. Even so except for the willfully obtuse, we still have plenty to see what is going on. Sorry that reality offends you.

  62. Benjamin

    I must admit that, quite aside from the fact that his victory will be good, indeed necessary, for the country, I’m going to take a great deal of pleasure on a purely personal, selfish level as Sanders starts racking up more and more states. The reality is he dominates among minorities.

    I’ll be curious to see how people like Ivory Bill Woodpecker rationalize his success. Clearly it must be those evil rooskies.

  63. realitychecker

    In my considered opinion, if the DNC cannot repeat the feat of taking Sanders out with ‘undemocratic’ superdelegates (think “functionally similar to the hated electoral college” lol) at the Convention, then they will not hesitate one moment to hire an actual assassin to accomplish that goal.

    Anything to protect the greater morality . . .

    How corroded must one’s soul and brain be to continue supporting these people?

  64. Sid Finster

    Show us, don’t tell us, Hugh. Show us these “deep connections” that reach beyond a deal to promote vodka, judge beauty contests, and similar small potatoes/six degrees of separation crap…

    Show us all the Trump hotels and resorts in Russia. Show us how Trump wanted to develop in Moscow, but he was never able to get the required licenses (oh wait,.)

    Or better yet, my little amateur FBI agent, show Adam Schiff. I mean Mueller hired a bunch of money laundering experts and they didn’t find bupkis, but surely a keen investigator like you can do better.

    For that matter, show us how I am starting with conclusions and then finding evidence, but you are doing the opposite, because it sure doesn’t seem that way from here. I’m still trying to figure out how not buying into your evidence-free conspiracy theory makes me a Trump supporter.

    Hell, I’d see the man face the fate of the guilty at Nuremberg, for Yemen alone, but now I’m a Trump fan?

  65. Hugh

    Everyone assumed that Mueller had looked at Trump’s financials. In fact, he never did. Mueller also didn’t find any collusion for the same reason. As he explicitly stated, he was not going to look for any.

    I don’t know if you are a Trumper. You do seem pretty reality-divorced with regard to Russia. Nothing I assert is hidden. It’s out in the open. You seem to think that a bunch of murderous billionaire kleptocratic Russian oligarchs would choose to funnel money through a sleazebag, multiply failed and bankrupted crook like Trump because they respected his business acumen. Or maybe despite the statements of his own sons, you think Russians weren’t passing their money through his organization. Either way it’s clear that you don’t and won’t believe what you don’t want to believe. In this sense, you are very much like the Trumpers. That’s what they do too.

  66. Benjamin


    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Or indeed any evidence at all.

    Also Russian oligarchs doesn’t equal the Russian government, which was always the central claim of Russiagate. One of the particularly ugly aspects of the last four or five years has been the equating of ‘Russians’, a group of nearly 145 million people, with ‘the Kremlin’.

  67. Hugh

    These aren’t extraordinary claims. They are mostly of the “wake up and smell the coffee” variety. 145 million Russians aren’t buying million dollar condos from Trump or backing his failing ventures. Only a very small subset of them are. They’re called oligarchs. They have an interest in getting some of their assets around sanctions and out of Russia’s dubious banking system. High ticket items with low or non-existent reporting requirements and sellers who ask no questions, like the Trump Organization, provide a means to stash assets or even if sold at a loss, pass throughs to the wider US economy and financial system.

  68. Benjamin


    So you have no evidence, is what you’re saying.

  69. realitychecker


    Are you surprised?

    He used to be so much better at this, back in the day . . .

    (E.g. Google ” Hugh’s List of Obama Scandals”)

  70. different clue

    I wonder what per cent of the Russian Oligarchs are happily moving their money to and through Great Britain. After all, they have a whole City Of London to play in . . . plus all of GB’s tax havens overseas.

  71. Hugh

    Benjamin, get Trump’s financials and then get back to me. Oh wait, in your world something only counts as evidence if it supports your preconceived conclusions. Trump is not a subtle man. He is not a smart man, but he does have a certain feral intelligence. So he can perpetrate the most obvious kind of scam, like his Russian money laundering, secure in the knowledge that there will always be plenty of willing dupes like you who will refuse to see it no matter what. As he said, he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it because there will always be people like you who will deny it ever happened, demand eye witness accounts, and then dismiss them if any turn up, and if worse comes to worse, blame Obama for it.

  72. Benjamin

    Yeah, no.

    I’m not going to play this game where you make some vague assertion, and then tell me to do work to prove it. You made the claim, you provide the evidence. Unless, of course, you don’t actually have evidence, and are just talking out of your ass.

    Every time you berate someone else for living in an echo chamber and not caring about evidence, you’re engaging in massive projection.

    I adopt positions based on the evidence. I don’t know what the fuck you imagine you’re doing.


    Evidence. Too funny. You mean the evidence that’s being hidden or destroyed? The evidence, for example, the traitorous GOP senators refused to allow into the record during the impeachment proceedings? That evidence and a bevy of evidence just like it? How much more evidence of Trump’s criminal misdeeds have been hidden on secret servers? We know of that one instance related to the Ukraine scandal which is most likely just the tip of the evidence iceberg. Where is Julian Assange when we need him? Oh, that’s right, Trump and his oligarch friends are going to make sure he’s locked up for life now that Assange has done their bidding for them. If anyone deserves a Trump pardon, it’s Julian Assange. Julian has done more for Trump than any of his fixers could ever hope to do. Loyalty only goes one way with Trump.

    We’re going on four years and Trump still will not turn over his tax records. They are evidence and you’re being a disingenuous ass by saying what evidence in the midst of such stonewalling.

  74. Tim

    \”Democrats deliberately sabotaged McGovern.\”

    I\’ve never heard this before. What information do you base your opinion on?

    Maybe a better analogy might be Jeremy Corbyn\’s loss in the UK because of the Jewish leadership attack on him as antisemetic and the incredible power of the media to influence and sway public opinion.

    But the antisemetic card which was played against Corbyn doesn\’t work as well against Sanders. Which is why Bloomberg had to enter the race to counter Sanders. Between a Bloomberg and Trump race Israel and it\’s interest groups win either way

  75. Benjamin


    ‘Assange is a Trump agent’

    So you’re delusional, as well as stupid. Got it.

    And the tax returns are not going to show you whatever you imagine they will show. Even if he were on the payroll of Russians, the returns won’t show it.

    You’re also implicitly admitting that you have no evidence. You just ‘know’ something is true, and the lack of evidence is itself proof that the evidence is being suppressed.

    What you’re doing is in fact not remotely rational inquiry.

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