The term “oligarch” derives from the Ancient Greek oligarkhia, meaning “the rule of the few.” Such power structures allow a very small number of persons to control the vast mass of people. Regimes of that nature were not uncommon during feudal times in medieval Europe and in earlier primitive settings.
They more recently predominated during the Russian privatization of the 1990s, when “businessmen” quickly acquired huge wealth in post-Soviet states. Such kleptocracy led to considerable crime and instability in the East. The new superrich “czars” came to buy celebrity status on the Riviera, in Knightsbridge, and New York City. Their mega-yachts still clog harbors and their Maybachs, fancy five-star hotels and casinos, wherever they frequent.
“Mini Mike” Bloomberg (as Trump has nicknamed him, given he is only 5 feet 6 inches tall) is an American oligarch, although he has poor Russian Jewish immigrant family ties, he is a self-made money man and an authentic Wall Street tycoon.
Oligarchs have been relatively scarce in American history. Business and politics have been kept in separate spheres for the most part. The Robber Barons of the turn of the last century, while culturally dominant and decadent, did not run for or hold political office, even if they bought and owned many ward politicians.
All that has changed.
Mike is rich. Really rich. As in $58-billion-in-net-worth rich, putting him at the near top of every affluent list (now No. 6 in the United States, and No. 14 in the world). He is not one percent rich, more like .00000001 percent rich. Top slot on the planet rich, but still behind Jeff Bezos. Bloomberg did sign the “giving pledge” to give away half of his vast empire.
All this loot came from building a computer system used in finance worldwide. Started back in 1981, “The Terminal,” as it is affectionately known, rents for a cool $25,000 a year. With more than 350,000 subscribers and growing on an annual basis—well, just do the math.
The former Salomon Brothers partner was fired from that Wall Street titan, took his payout settlement—only $10 million—and parlayed it into the giant of data and information that it has become today. That, plus a media company with nearly 20,000 employees and over $10 billion in annual revenue, with all of it privately held by you know who.
Now, at the ripe old age of 77, Mini Mike is focused 100 percent on 2020.
The Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent has come full circle and is back with the Democrats, entering their hotly contested presidential primary as a plutocrat.
He badly wants to be prez.
“If Trump can, why not me?” he shrugs. Money is no object. He will buy the election—as is befitting an oligarch.
Bloomberg would like a brokered Democratic National Convention where he is made king or, at least, kingmaker. Money is no object.
The mere mortals he’s running against in the Democratic primary are beneath his notice—he didn’t bother with the initial races in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, or with any of the debates. But he is spending heavily—estimates are $120 million already, with a checkbook open to $1 billion. He is ready for the big Super Tuesday lottery. He recently bought off the DNC and got into the debates, although he didn’t technically meet their original qualifications. His solution? Pay to change them.
That’s the strategy of an oligarch—kneecap the momentum of the winners in the early states by denying them the Super Tuesday sweep that usually follows a big winner. Force a brokered convention and buy the nomination from the super-delegates and—after the first round of voting releases them from their obligations—unbound delegates who would surely love to attend his mayoral training school at Harvard.
Bloomberg says his best quality is that he is incorruptible, that his wealth insulates him from graft and favors, and he does not do influence peddling. Money means he reports only to himself and no one else. Such authoritarian asides have gotten him into trouble before.
The facts say otherwise. He is more like a self-serving tyrant without—and in search of—a throne.
Bloomberg is most famous for his three terms as mayor of New York City and for his taxes on the rich, mad gun control, and regulations on everything from soda and salt to fatty diets. It’s supposed to be OK, though, because Mike is watching out for you. He chooses your lifestyle and dictates it, take it or leave it. Sort of “Father Knows Best,” to steal the title of an old TV show that dates him.
That is the essence of the new “Big Brother” liberalism. It knows best and you better go along—or else.
Mike is also the candidate of the Wall Street that made him. He detests the faux socialism of the other half of his newly re-discovered political party. After all, they might take away his power and money and then he wouldn’t be able to buy elections. He wants to be seen as the centrist adult in a party of looney out of touch “woke” folks.
But that may not work in this season. The odd thing about populism on the Left as well as on the Right, is that people themselves get to decide, not some oligarch.
Bloomberg is an elitist globalist who adamantly supports abortion on demand up to the moment of birth, wants completely open borders, and all green energy. But the resident of the tony Upper East Side of Manhattan is hardly a man of the people. As Senator Jesse Helms used to say, he doesn’t cut his own lawn or take out his own trash.
Oddly, Bloomberg’s news operation has a policy of not investigating him, including his White House run, and therefore it isn’t investigating other Democratic candidates, either. Convenient—and quite oligarchic.
As for the “Terminal,” other news organizations found it was promoting Bloomberg’s campaign for a while by directing users to his 2020 campaign website when they input the word “MIKE.”
Disowning his successful stop and frisk policies of policing to look more enlightened and less biased, Mini Mike is frankly an unlikely man in an unaccepting election. When you stop and question him it makes you want to go for someone else.
But Mike can still spread his pools of money around and damage Republicans and Democrats alike, if he does not like them.
He does, however, promise not to run as a third-party candidate.
Bloomberg above all wants to remove Trump from office and defeat him at any cost. He would like a brokered Democratic National Convention where he is made king or, at least, kingmaker. Money is no object. In effect, he is carrying out a leveraged buyout of the entire Democratic Party, which is apparently for sale.
Remember his number-one enemy remains Trump, whom he envies but would love to emulate.