Who is favored to win the Democratic nomination? The presidency?
Here’s my ridiculously unsubstantiated prediction: Michael Bloomberg.
Crazier things have happened. The previous front runner, not exactly an
inspiration to the multitudes, has slipped a notch on fears that he
can’t win. Meanwhile, a self-described socialist can’t win either.
Bloomberg is now showing up as number 3 in the nomination betting
polls, after Biden and Bernie, and number 4 in the general election. The
odds don’t favor Bloomberg but they didn’t favor Donald Trump either.
There’s plenty of reason to believe that betting odds are more
reliable than regular polls. The opinions that count have real money
behind them. That means that the participants have the incentive to cull
all available information and make the best-possible guess.
It’s true that betting missed the rise of Trump but not as much as
survey polling. If we’ve learned anything in the last four years it’s
that anything can happen in these last days of the failure of the
social-democratic project in which only one person in ten trusts
Four years ago, Neither the polls nor the betting odds had a clue
about what would happen Election Night. For that matter, hardly anyone
believed that Donald Trump could even win the nomination, until his
opponents began to drop like flies.
If Bloomberg takes the nomination, there would be something
absolutely delicious about it. It would mean, for example, that all the
hoopla about television time dedicated to these Democratic debates would
have proven to be completely pointless. Bloomberg never qualified for
them and so didn’t participate in them. He is thereby unscathed by the
absurdities that have come with them, including the mainstreaming of
preposterous ideas of abolishing banning private health insurance,
confiscating guns, and banning fracking.
The whole nomination process has been a comedy of errors, and all
rooted in a single fallacy that government should be cleaned up of the
influence of money and personal ambition, and elections along with them.
In this view, politics and the state it creates must be pure – meaning
untainted by capitalistic money – to do great public good!
Therefore, the Democratic National Convention imposed a series of
rules that ended up driving out moderate and reasonable candidates from
the race. To qualify, you needed to maximize small donations and
register in the polls on a nationwide basis. That imposed two results:
competent statesmen with only local or regional followings were wiped
out and the remaining survivors were forced to perform preposterous
ideological antics (suitable for viral 5-second videos) in order to
maximize small donations.
Hilariously, this push for small donations to prove grass-roots
support has made them all deeply dependent on large-scale donors to fund
social-media campaigns to get small donations. The winners here are
Facebook and Google who have raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in
It has also resulted in a windfall for credit-card processors and small banks. Holding the record for the
most fees earned from a campaign is the Bernie Sanders campaign. Banks
have pulled in $2.3 million, while Warren has generated $1.75 million in
processing fee and Buttigieg $1.73 million. Not exactly what these
clean-up-politics intended, but it is wholly defensible. After all,
these candidates dedicated to curbing capitalist forces in politics are
utterly dependent on capitalistic financial innovation to make their
Meanwhile, Bloomberg is self-financing his campaign. He is even
refusing contributions. One might think that would make him the cleanest
candidate in the race but no: the others are denouncing him for
attempting to buy the presidency with his ill-gotten gains.
But if you look at the numbers the others are spending, you realize
that there is no such thing as politics uninfluenced by money. The
attempt to create such a thing ends up generating unexpected
consequences. Candidates ended up gaming the system, spending big bucks
to create the illusion of grass-roots support that ends up only
benefiting technology companies, list-rental agencies, banks, and
consultants who have mastered the ability to snag and pound email
addresses and cell-phone numbers.
Most devastatingly for Democrats, the whole strategy has ended up
generating a slate of candidates that have proven themselves good at
prying small bucks from fanatical activists who come nowhere near
representing the views of the people who actually vote on Election Day.
If you end up with someone who is unelectable – cannot beat Donald
Trump – what exactly do you have? In the end, to lose the election is to
But consider where this whole fiasco began: with the ideological
conviction that the goal is an overweening state that is purified of
self-interest, payoffs, bribes, private agendas, profit, and unintended
outcomes. It’s the presumption behind much of social-democratic
ideology. The trouble is that there is not a shred of evidence that it
Good government is a unicorn. Big government is always and
necessarily corrupt, as Machiavelli proved long ago. If you truly want
to minimize corruption in society, the path must begin by reducing and
minimizing or even eliminating the state’s role in society. That is the
one thought that the Democrats will not allow themselves to have. The
result is a forever effort to pound a square peg in a round hole, with
massive breakage along the way.
More than anything else over the last four years, Democrats have had
one great goal of unseating Donald Trump. Their tactics have almost
universally backfired, especially this impeachment which once again sets
Trump up to act like the conquering hero who is forever under unfair
attack from the people’s enemies. It plays to his narrative perfectly.
The’s Democratic strategy – born in earnest – to discern the candidate
who is most grass rootsy, most authentic, most free of capitalistic
influence, has ended up much the same way, creating a situation that
ends up producing the opposite of the long-run goal.
Let’s return to Bloomberg. I wouldn’t dare forecast his victory but I wouldn’t rule it out either. The battle of the billionaires come Fall 2020 could be a riveting thing to watch. It would also underscore the point. After many decades of trying to get payola out of politics, there is still no stopping the reality that a big state creates big stakes for which people are willing to pay.
THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE.