Opinion by: Krystal Ball
At a grassroots fundraiser last night in D.C., Bernie Sanders had a message for our fragile ruling class.
His utter mockery and ‘F your feelings’ attitude towards billionaires is just sublime and, of course, perfectly timed given that the ruling class is truly in full meltdown panic mode. First, Tom Steyer jumped into the presidential race after saying he wouldn’t. When pressed for a justification by Politico, he said it’s because no one was prioritizing climate change. This, of course, in spite of the fact that he still has investments in oil and gas companies, not to mention an undying faith in the consumerist capitalistic system that led the planet to the point of collapse in the first place. Then, after numerous reports of Manhattan donor hand wringing, Michael Bloomberg decided to get in on the action. He is now officially on the ballot in at least a few states and his advisor Howard Wolfson says that he will skip the early primary states to focus on Super Tuesday.
The billionaire former NYC mayor would enter the primary race with a worst in field negative 31 favorability rating among Iowa voters.
Next up, Deval Patrick who brings quite a record of white-washing corporate malfeasance to the table. He’s got a classic up by the bootstraps story that ends with him as VP at Coca-Cola, VP at Texaco, and managing director at Bain Capital. But maybe his most revealing resume item was his time with Ameriquest, which was written about by Zach Carter over at the Huffington Post. Ameriquest was the largest subprime lender in the housing crisis. Described as the “worst bottom feeder of them all,” Deval Patrick sat on their board. Patrick has called Biden and others to indicate he may jump in the race. I guess the donor class loves Pete but can see the polling that has him near 0% with black voters. I personally see no reason to believe that a similar corporatist background wrapped in a different identity will achieve significantly better results— but sure, whatever.
As if that wasn’t enough, now Obama A.G. Eric Holder is taking another look at the race. He’s reportedly talking to strategists about a late entry. And of course, the matriarch of the Democratic establishment herself, Hillary Rodham Clinton just told the BBC that she’s “under enormous pressure from many, many, many people to think about” running.
So why now? Why has full freakout set in over the past couple weeks? After all, as Estuardo Rodriguez pointed out on our show yesterday, he was just with Governor Patrick two weeks ago, and at that time, he was completely clear and firm in his commitment to not run. Very interesting.
Of course, all of these people are claiming that they’re taking another look at the race because they’re just simple patriots concerned that the field isn’t strong enough to defeat Trump. Here’s Bloomberg’s Guy Howard Wolfson again:
“We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated, but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that.”
By the way, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone as consistently ratioed as that guy is. Anyway, don’t believe the bullshit that this is all about their patriotic duty to defeat Trump. They aren’t afraid Democrats will lose to Trump, they are terrified that a real progressive may actually win.
After all, it’s hard not to notice that the sudden ruling class meltdown and rush to enter the race has occurred during a time period when Bernie Sanders has seen a surge in endorsements, crowd sizes, and polling numbers. He had the best debate of his career, won the endorsement of A.O.C., Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and now the National Nurses Union. He hosted the biggest rally of the cycle in New York and just garnered the largest rally crowd in Iowa so far. That new momentum is also showing up in the polls, where he’s gained 5 points in Iowa, 7 points among college students, a recent CNN poll had him leading in New Hampshire, and polls consistently show his supporters to be the most enthusiastic and the most committed. Warren and Biden, meanwhile, have both slumped during this time period and it’s hard to imagine that the elite freakout is in reaction to Mayor Pete’s media-fueled rise.
Now the great irony of course is that nothing could be better for Bernie than a bunch of billionaire and establishment types jumping into the race to siphon off votes from his more elite-friendly rivals.
But you know, while the ruling class may be good at foreclosing on middle class homes, giving closed door speeches to Goldman Sachs, and profiting off of climate catastrophe, they’re not always so great at figuring out this whole politics thing. Their ego and undying faith in their own brilliance will never allow them to see what is so patently obvious to all of us: no one outside of your tiny enclave wants you. And your candidacies will only enable and inflame the exact populist movement you are so desperate to quash. Prepare to see many more billionaire tears in the days to come.