The Democrats Are Running on Socialism and Plutocracy

A savvy political observer knows perfectly well how the Democratic Party and all of its "very best" candidates got closer to socialism.  Strict gun control, economic regulations, open borders, "free" college education and housing, and Medicare for all (including illegal aliens), to name a few, represent a set of classic socialist ideas that has sadly become commonplace for the Democrats.  Sure, there are lone voices raising concerns, one of which belongs to the Democratic strategist James Carville, who made news recently when he said, "We're losing our damn minds!"  Then there is MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who rips Bernie Sanders as a potential nominee: "I've seen what socialism is like; I don't like it."

Maybe Matthews and his colleagues in the fake news factory have been so busy trying to smear and remove Donald Trump from office that they haven't noticed that their party has been on a socialist track for decades now — and that socialism, indeed, is not pretty.  Wherever it is established, it brings economic decline, poverty, restriction of freedom, and wars.

This trend collides with another one: a strengthening of the plutocratic influence on the Democratic Party.  It is believed that the rich formerly protected themselves by aligning with Republicans, who would protect their property from high taxes and their businesses from regulation.  Some still do — notably the endeavors of the Koch brothers — but this breed of right-winger is gradually losing out to more progressive-tilted fat cats.  Between 1980 and 2019, support for Democrats from the top 0.1 percent has tripled, and donors in the nation's wealthiest ZIP codes overall now give more to Democrats than Republicans.

Even though the GOP continues to slightly outpace Democrats among the super-rich, most of the big conservative donors are well into their seventies and eighties.  The trend belongs, evidently, to the progressives: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and president Sean Parker, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Salesforce chairman Marc Benioff, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and many others are all relatively young men devoted to the progressive cause — at least those parts of it that don't threaten their profits.  Then there is a whole cast of the Hollywood celebrities that exists in its own glitzy, snobbish bubble and considers itself a moral elite of society and overwhelmingly supports Democrats.

This plutocratic drift has been evolving for years, as the source of wealth has shifted from traditional resources and manufacturing industries to informational technology, media, finance, and entertainment.  In sharp contrast to energy firms, homebuilders, and farmers, the regulatory state does not threaten the bottom lines of these industries, as long as it refrains from breaking up their virtual monopolies.

In this case, the figures of two billionaires, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg (not to forget a failed John Delaney), participating in the presidential race, are symbolic.  Michael Bloomberg's campaign in particular has already become a powerful illustration of the conversion of wealth into power as a conscious strategy.  To state the most obvious: Bloomberg has already poured in a whopping quarter-billion dollars to carpet-bomb several states with TV and radio advertising.  This appears to be paying off: one recent poll showed Bloomberg tied with Sen. Bernie Sanders in Virginia, each with 22 percent, and after garnering 19 percent in a national poll, Bloomberg has qualified for the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas.  Thanks, idiot box!

Further, a recent investigation by the New York Times offers a revealing insight into another plutocratic capability in influencing elections.  The piece describes how Michael Bloomberg has built himself a vast network of allies and clients — particularly municipal officials — that is now aiding him in his campaign for the presidency through huge and carefully chosen contributions to various political campaigns, initiatives, and institutions.  As the ultra-left Jacobin wrote in this regard, "[w]hen you're so rich you have a couple billion dollars to throw around, you're no longer an individual making voluntary private contributions: rather, you're a stakeholder in the basic infrastructure of politics and society itself."

Surely, for the Jacobin, a proud socialist (and millionaire) like Bernie Sanders is much more favorable than billionaire Bloomberg, even though Bernie's furious demeanor towards Mike is a mere spectacle.  Bernie will still endorse Mike if he is the nominee, just as he endorsed Clinton in 2016. 

Thus, answering a question on whether plutocracy is antidemocratic, we must admit that it is.

To avoid any misunderstanding, I need to clarify that I feel deep respect for and admiration toward wealthy people and truly believe in the American Dream that has so many inspiring examples.  Moreover, Trump's presidency based on the conservative and pragmatic approaches to the economy lifts up people from poverty to the middle class and from the middle class to the upper levels of prosperity.  The issue is the coordinated effort of the small group of the technocratic and financial elites to determine the course of the whole country, disregarding interests of the people.  This small bunch is as arrogant and hypocritical as it is determined to guide the "ordinary people."  This animosity was perfectly explained by Walter Lippmann, a major theorist of liberal democracy, who believed that "the common interests elude public opinion entirely" and can be understood and managed only by a "specialized class" "of "responsible men" who are smart enough to figure things out.  Distinction between the "bewildered herd" and  "specialized class," to use Lippmann's terms, has been demonstrated by the Democrats many times, from Hillary's remarks on "deplorables" to "low-information voters," "ignorant voters," and dumb rednecks.

So we have super-rich, arrogant people running for the world's highest office on a socialist agenda.  The good news is that money is not the only and not the primary source of political power.  Just ask Hillary Clinton, who outspent Trump in 2016, or Democratic dropouts Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Beto O'Rourke, who had all the funds.  What truly matters is an honest and charismatic personality.  Trump won because he spoke ordinary people's language, voicing pressing issues for society in an unapologetic manner, dismissing any political correctness.  A seasoned showman, he was a unique household brand on his own, brilliant in his rough and funny style.  Sure, liberals tried to label Trump a populist for engaging with the people, but whose fault was the people's fatigue from the constant broken promises?  Opposition to populism, by the way, is elitism, and that, again, is what Democrats believe is best for our society.

Neither Bloomberg nor any other Democratic candidate has any of Trump's energy, charm, and achievements.  Moreover, all of them are trying to position themselves as anti-Trump (except for Tulsi Gabbard, perhaps).  Money can buy many things: omnipresent ads, top campaign managers, and name recognition — but not trust or the love of the voters.  Socialism may be appealing to those who "have nothing to lose but their chains," but not to a vast self-reliant middle class.  Right now, the American people are getting a lesson in how campaigns could be run if money were no object — and whether that's enough to beat Trump.

Image: Phil Roeder via Flickr.

A savvy political observer knows perfectly well how the Democratic Party and all of its "very best" candidates got closer to socialism.  Strict gun control, economic regulations, open borders, "free" college education and housing, and Medicare for all (including illegal aliens), to name a few, represent a set of classic socialist ideas that has sadly become commonplace for the Democrats.  Sure, there are lone voices raising concerns, one of which belongs to the Democratic strategist James Carville, who made news recently when he said, "We're losing our damn minds!"  Then there is MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who rips Bernie Sanders as a potential nominee: "I've seen what socialism is like; I don't like it."

Maybe Matthews and his colleagues in the fake news factory have been so busy trying to smear and remove Donald Trump from office that they haven't noticed that their party has been on a socialist track for decades now — and that socialism, indeed, is not pretty.  Wherever it is established, it brings economic decline, poverty, restriction of freedom, and wars.

This trend collides with another one: a strengthening of the plutocratic influence on the Democratic Party.  It is believed that the rich formerly protected themselves by aligning with Republicans, who would protect their property from high taxes and their businesses from regulation.  Some still do — notably the endeavors of the Koch brothers — but this breed of right-winger is gradually losing out to more progressive-tilted fat cats.  Between 1980 and 2019, support for Democrats from the top 0.1 percent has tripled, and donors in the nation's wealthiest ZIP codes overall now give more to Democrats than Republicans.

Even though the GOP continues to slightly outpace Democrats among the super-rich, most of the big conservative donors are well into their seventies and eighties.  The trend belongs, evidently, to the progressives: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and president Sean Parker, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Salesforce chairman Marc Benioff, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and many others are all relatively young men devoted to the progressive cause — at least those parts of it that don't threaten their profits.  Then there is a whole cast of the Hollywood celebrities that exists in its own glitzy, snobbish bubble and considers itself a moral elite of society and overwhelmingly supports Democrats.

This plutocratic drift has been evolving for years, as the source of wealth has shifted from traditional resources and manufacturing industries to informational technology, media, finance, and entertainment.  In sharp contrast to energy firms, homebuilders, and farmers, the regulatory state does not threaten the bottom lines of these industries, as long as it refrains from breaking up their virtual monopolies.

In this case, the figures of two billionaires, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg (not to forget a failed John Delaney), participating in the presidential race, are symbolic.  Michael Bloomberg's campaign in particular has already become a powerful illustration of the conversion of wealth into power as a conscious strategy.  To state the most obvious: Bloomberg has already poured in a whopping quarter-billion dollars to carpet-bomb several states with TV and radio advertising.  This appears to be paying off: one recent poll showed Bloomberg tied with Sen. Bernie Sanders in Virginia, each with 22 percent, and after garnering 19 percent in a national poll, Bloomberg has qualified for the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas.  Thanks, idiot box!

Further, a recent investigation by the New York Times offers a revealing insight into another plutocratic capability in influencing elections.  The piece describes how Michael Bloomberg has built himself a vast network of allies and clients — particularly municipal officials — that is now aiding him in his campaign for the presidency through huge and carefully chosen contributions to various political campaigns, initiatives, and institutions.  As the ultra-left Jacobin wrote in this regard, "[w]hen you're so rich you have a couple billion dollars to throw around, you're no longer an individual making voluntary private contributions: rather, you're a stakeholder in the basic infrastructure of politics and society itself."

Surely, for the Jacobin, a proud socialist (and millionaire) like Bernie Sanders is much more favorable than billionaire Bloomberg, even though Bernie's furious demeanor towards Mike is a mere spectacle.  Bernie will still endorse Mike if he is the nominee, just as he endorsed Clinton in 2016. 

Thus, answering a question on whether plutocracy is antidemocratic, we must admit that it is.

To avoid any misunderstanding, I need to clarify that I feel deep respect for and admiration toward wealthy people and truly believe in the American Dream that has so many inspiring examples.  Moreover, Trump's presidency based on the conservative and pragmatic approaches to the economy lifts up people from poverty to the middle class and from the middle class to the upper levels of prosperity.  The issue is the coordinated effort of the small group of the technocratic and financial elites to determine the course of the whole country, disregarding interests of the people.  This small bunch is as arrogant and hypocritical as it is determined to guide the "ordinary people."  This animosity was perfectly explained by Walter Lippmann, a major theorist of liberal democracy, who believed that "the common interests elude public opinion entirely" and can be understood and managed only by a "specialized class" "of "responsible men" who are smart enough to figure things out.  Distinction between the "bewildered herd" and  "specialized class," to use Lippmann's terms, has been demonstrated by the Democrats many times, from Hillary's remarks on "deplorables" to "low-information voters," "ignorant voters," and dumb rednecks.

So we have super-rich, arrogant people running for the world's highest office on a socialist agenda.  The good news is that money is not the only and not the primary source of political power.  Just ask Hillary Clinton, who outspent Trump in 2016, or Democratic dropouts Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Beto O'Rourke, who had all the funds.  What truly matters is an honest and charismatic personality.  Trump won because he spoke ordinary people's language, voicing pressing issues for society in an unapologetic manner, dismissing any political correctness.  A seasoned showman, he was a unique household brand on his own, brilliant in his rough and funny style.  Sure, liberals tried to label Trump a populist for engaging with the people, but whose fault was the people's fatigue from the constant broken promises?  Opposition to populism, by the way, is elitism, and that, again, is what Democrats believe is best for our society.

Neither Bloomberg nor any other Democratic candidate has any of Trump's energy, charm, and achievements.  Moreover, all of them are trying to position themselves as anti-Trump (except for Tulsi Gabbard, perhaps).  Money can buy many things: omnipresent ads, top campaign managers, and name recognition — but not trust or the love of the voters.  Socialism may be appealing to those who "have nothing to lose but their chains," but not to a vast self-reliant middle class.  Right now, the American people are getting a lesson in how campaigns could be run if money were no object — and whether that's enough to beat Trump.

Image: Phil Roeder via Flickr.