In 2016 Donald Trump ran a brash, unorthodox campaign for President. He defied every political convention, and he faced intense opposition not only from the Democratic Party but also from the GOP establishment. He was an embarrassment, a joke, an afterthought.
Trump won. He did so not because of money or organization or secret Russian assistance. He won because he drilled a well straight into a magma chamber of anger and resentment that had been growing across much of America for decades and let all of that built-up pressure loose.
Tens of millions of Americans – disgusted with a political elite that shipped manufacturing jobs abroad, dragged the nation into endless foreign wars and presumed to lecture the “great unwashed” continuously on their social and personal shortcomings – cheered every time “The Donald” gave it to the powers that be. Then those same Americans voted in numbers that stunned every political commentator. In the process, they transformed the political landscape.
Michael Bloomberg saw all of this. And, yet, somehow he saw none of it. To delve too deeply into what had just happened might require revisiting Bloomberg’s core assumptions, that he and his kind know better how to run the lives of everyday Americans and that those Americans are eagerly waiting to take that direction.
So, instead, Mr. Bloomberg concluded that Donald Trump – a fellow billionaire – had simply bought the election. There was no movement. There were no lessons to be learned. It was purely a matter of spending a sufficient quantity of cash.
Mr. Bloomberg has now ended his campaign. Along the way, he spent $570 million dollars of his own money. He amassed a grand total of 31 delegates to the Democratic Convention. In case you are wondering, that is $18 million a delegate.
Turns out it wasn’t so easy.
Yet, up until only a few days ago, Bloomberg appeared to cling to his belief that ultimately the American people would recognize that he was the only logical choice and rally to his cause. On the eve of the Super Tuesday primary in an exchange with a reporter who wanted to know why Bloomberg would not drop out and coalesce around Joe Biden as Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar had already done, Bloomberg responded: “Why not coalesce around me?”
When another reporter suggested that he was taking votes away from Biden, Bloomberg – visibly annoyed – answered: “Joe’s taking votes away from me. It goes in both directions. Have you asked Joe whether he’s going to drop out?”
It’s easy to take shots at Bloomberg. His arrogance is stupefying. His willingness to indulge his ego to the tune of half a billion dollars is mind-boggling.
The truth is, though, that Bloomberg is only the most visible, most extreme example of an elitist mindset that continues to have immense power not just within the Democratic Party but in our entire political establishment.
These are the people who shut down the world’s greatest industrial machine, shipped it piece by piece to a totalitarian communist regime and continue to believe that you should thank them for the opportunity to work that part-time job without benefits at the Dollar Store rather than having a fulltime job with benefits and retirement at the mill that used to operate down the road.
These are the people that want you to stand and cheer for the Star-Spangled Banner at sporting events and send your sons and daughters off to Parris Island for boot camp but somehow always seem to be enrolling their children in Ivy League schools and getting them internships at Wall Street firms.
These are the people who deride Americans who “cling to their Bibles and guns,” want to allow teenage boys who decided yesterday they are now “girls” to shower with your daughter after high school gym class and think replacing classes on civics with classes on the inherently racist nature of American society is a good idea.
These are the people that have left our southern border wide open for decades, not because the task of sealing it was insurmountable but because they either wanted illegals to pad voting rolls or they wanted them to work off the books at chicken processing plants or construction sites. Not to mention the drugs that come across that porous border.
These are, in short, the people who have failed at virtually everything for thirty years except this – making themselves and the other members of their class filthy rich and immensely powerful.
Americans are done with it. They have been fed a diet of lies and spin and propaganda for too long, and they aren’t going to accept it any longer. Donald Trump’s election in 2016 was not an aberration. It was not the product of election tampering. It was not fueled by endless cash or sponsored by massive corporate sponsors.
Trump won on a populist wave that we have probably not seen in this country since the election of Andrew Jackson. He was propelled to victory by average, everyday Americans who believed they knew best how to run their lives and their country. He will win again in 2020 for those same reasons because Americans have the audacity to think they know full well how to run their lives and the nation.
Bloomberg likely still doesn’t get that. Neither do any of his ilk. It is nonetheless true, and maybe, just maybe at some point in the future, as he contemplates the fortune he just squandered, perhaps it will begin to sink in.
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