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Fear and Loathing on the Rotting Democratic Campaign Trail

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By Ian Firstenberg 

Democratic rot gives way to a new breed of political monster. Hazy and loathsome lanyards lean into the liberatarian right. 

The stench of corruption has wafted from Washington DC for years — certain people in the District are inextricably tied to the deepest parts of large financial and intelligence catastrophes of the past four decades. With that muddy and opaque record in mind, one very recently former presidential candidate represents the most unrepentantly evil aspects of modern American life: former New York City mayor and billionaire Mike Bloomberg. 

Bloomberg may have dropped out of the race, but his ‘buy your way in with a big middle finger to the process’ approach actually earned him an uncomfortably substantial amount of support during Super Tuesday, even throughout the ‘progressive’ Bay Area. How the hell does that happen?

“Mike will get it done” became far too prevalent in the months leading up to the Tuesday’s primary as he stockpiled mayoral and party elite endorsements. What Mike would have accomplished is the re-institution of the harsh police state of a bygone era, underwritten by huge financial institutions. Bloomberg styled himself as the honest blue pill to Trump-era red-pilled conservatism, which on the face is hilarious and when really examined is deeply repugnant.

Michael Bloomberg as the face of Democratic rot. Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr.

It’s hilarious because most even unpolitically engaged citizens know Tiny Mike as the anti-soda, anti-vaping, stop-and-frisk mayor. Just laughably faulty, but a deeper dive makes it clear that the money undergirding his campaign is the real motivating factor for his (failed) bid. 

The decadent age of  liberalism has come to an abrupt and harsh end, personified no better than by the presidential campaign of Tiny Mike Bloomberg, a man who holds the most unflinching monsters of the financial and political elite as his friends and compatriots. A close kinship to Donald Trump and Jeffery Epstein, Bloomberg is representative of the corruption of the Washington establishment, the fecklessness of modern liberals and the ruling class’ response to an insurgent populism from the left. His solution to the ecological destruction propagated by capitalism is more capital; his response to a racially and economically predatory judicial system is harsher enforcement and harsher punishment. Christ, the man courted Bush in 2004 at the turn of the Iraq war. 

He spent a career conniving and clawing his way through any nominal morality as he collected an empire’s wealth, and until just hours ago, we had to see his god damn face on every local news channel 52 times a day. One plucky, young, drug-fueled reporter had had enough, and was steadily daydreaming of planting numerous improvised explosives on all empty campaign offices (PARODY).

The nerve-racking part of his Bataan Death March-style campaign was the unprecedented nature of it all. No candidate, let alone any person, has had enough personal wealth to write a blank check for campaign ads like this. 

In the revisionist stylings of imperialist Winston Churchill:

“Those who don’t learn history are doomed to let it face fuck them.” 

The busty, bulbous British fuck had a point that seems ever relevant in the era of Trump; contextualization. This political moment and the whole of the 2020 campaign is categorized as an aberration, not the end stage of american capitalism directly confronting the restive population it draws profit from, but that is by no means the whole story. We didn’t get to Trump without W Bush and we didn’t get to W without H. W., and so and so forth. 

Cover of Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.” Photo courtesy of Drummkopf/Flickr.

The 1972 presidential election, described and catalogued in detail by Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ‘72 details Thompsons national traversion in hilarious and awkward detail. Certain aspects of the book are anecdotal and others seem more prescient, but as a whole we should avoid reading too far into anything like this. It can and should be taken as a fun and at times wise account of the American political moment. What stands out most may be the prevailing description of the American electorate at the time. 

In the summer of 1970, former Attorney General and Nixon pal John Mitchell offered a prediction that would turn out to be grimly true a couple years later:

“This country is going so far to the right that you won’t recognize it.” 

That egg-headed monster was deeply right, likely even more than he conceive of. 

Michael Bloomberg is a billionaire whose politics align, much like most billionaires, with the liberitarian right wing of this country. One of America’s largest clusters of the Scrooge McDuck-style sycophants is here in Silicon Valley and its surrounding kingdoms. These giant heaps of tech wealth maintain themselves with right-wing talking points about the perils of big government while continually funding deregulation. 

They operate with a legal and social impunity that was once reserved for the God-Kings of the Roman Empire. 

The politics undergirding Tiel, Musk, Zuckerberg and Bezos is the same politics that underwrote Bloomberg’s candidacy and yet, he ran as a freaking Democrat. 

Democratic politicians have been moving further right for decades, you could argue that’s been the trajectory since that fateful 1972 defeat to Tricky Dick. The reasons why are numerous and intriguing in their own right, but this is neither the time nor the place to take on that inquiry. Analyzing the effects seem more worthwhile as we collectively begin our march toward doomsday. 

In a previous political era, a Bloomberg-style candidate would be laughed out of BOTH primaries as horribly unrelatable, grimly unlikable and politically unfeasible…so what the fuck shifted to net him 13 percent of the vote in…in San Francisco, of all damn places? 

His blatant attempt to solidify ruling class control in an era of unheard of wealth disparity was purposefully timed to combat Senator Sanders’ rise in national polls. Is it any surprise that Bloomberg attacks both Sanders and Trump, despite the former being the most popular American politician by far?

Michael Bloomberg is an unrepentant mongrel of a human being who offered nothing but comfort to the rich as our proverbial boat sinks. What remains so baffling is that he was taken seriously enough to shave votes from other candidates. To be fair, the man spent a Sheik’s fortune with a barrage of ads talking about his stance on gun control, climate change and the Affordable Care Act. We love to see it. We love an abusive asshole billionaire telling a generation that half of us will die because we can’t afford healthcare, and HE WONT EVEN LET US FUCKING JUUL WHILE WE DO!

Until Tuesday, it seemed the supervillain’s supervillain could only be stopped by the grassroots movement of young and working people yelling for equity and wealth redistribution. Instead, it was the DNC’s sudden propping of the friendly-faced neoliberal, which Mikey is happy to endorse because status quo is super great for his bottom line. 

Those moderates are a fraction of the electorate and won’t matter if Sanders wins come November,  but if January 2021 sees the inauguration of America’s first President of Tribe, we will see Bloomberg and his ilk pivot their focus from removing Trump to removing Bernard. 

Frankly, good fucking luck. 


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