Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Michael Bloomberg’s ego is an agent of socialist change

Eric Levitz writes:

These are anxious days for Democrats who favor gated communities and unfettered trade. Americans who believe in a woman’s right to choose and private equity’s right to loot, now need a Klonopin with their morning news. Elizabeth Warren — the slayer of Summers, stumper of Stumpf, and all around bane of (finance) capital — boasts comfortable leads in Iowa and New Hampshire. In at least one of those states, a Trotskyist fellow traveler is her closest competitor. Now, the betting market’s invisible hand is pointing leftward. And those who fear that blue America is “going red” seem to have no safer bet than a septuagenarian who’s never quite sure what state he’s in (or else, a college-town mayor who may or may not have one black friend).

Which is to say: Davos Democrats’s disaffection with the 2020 field is understandable. The fact that their wing of the party has found itself banking on Joe Biden — a 76-year-old who is rambly beyond his years, and infamous for running memorably awful presidential campaigns in his prime — is surely distasteful for folks accustomed to hiring only the finest of help. But their frustrated entitlement is starting to cloud their judgment.

Although Uncle Joe isn’t an ideal standard-bearer, he’s still a totally viable one. In RealClearPolitics’s national polling average, Biden leads the field by nearly eight points. He’s in striking distance of Warren in New Hampshire, and blowing out his rivals in South Carolina. In hypothetical general-election surveys, he consistently outpolls the other Democrats, which surely bolsters his standing in the eyes of electability-obsessed primary-goers. And his campaign has managed to retain this formidable position while having to make due with much a much leaner budget than Warren’s, Bernie Sanders’s, or even Mayor Pete’s. If blue America’s deep-pocketed political patrons collectively made peace with their predicament, and went all in on Biden, they would have an excellent shot of securing control of the party’s commanding heights.

Alas, collective action doesn’t come naturally to this set. And so, Michael Bloomberg appears hell-bent on redistributing vast sums of his own wealth, so as to (unintentionally) advance the cause of democratic socialism. [Continue reading…]

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