Krystal Ball: Influx of billionaire cash in 2020 contest is 'deeply corrosive' to 'civil society'

Hill.TV host Krystal Ball warned Thursday that billionaire candidates, such as Tom SteyerTom SteyerYouth voting organization launches M registration effort in key battlegrounds Overnight Energy: 'Eye of fire,' Exxon lobbyist's comments fuel renewed attacks on oil industry | Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline | More than 75 companies ask Congress to pass clean electricity standard Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline MORE and Michael BloombergMichael BloombergThe economic challenges facing Jerome Powell and Joe Biden Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Democrats are sleepwalking towards electoral disaster in 2022 MORE, could threaten to upend the Democratic presidential primary race and set a bad precedent.

“Just take a look again at those ad spend dollars,” Ball said referring to multimedia buys of Steyer and Bloomberg.

“Even the most committed capitalist ought to realize that if you want to have a country where you can prosper and flourish this type of world-historic inequality and ability to brazenly buy our elections, [it] is deeply corrosive and destructive to civil society,” she added.

Both Bloomberg and Steyer, who have each spent at least $100 million, have faced accusations that they’re trying to buy the nomination.

Last month, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls on big banks to follow Capital One in ditching overdraft fees Crypto firm top executives to testify before Congress Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection MORE (D-Mass.), a top progressive in the 2020 race, accused Bloomberg of trying to use his money to influence the election.

“Michael Bloomberg is making a bet about democracy in 2020,” Warren said shortly after Bloomberg officially announced his candidacy. “He doesn’t need people. He only needs bags and bags of money.”

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSymone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Briahna Joy Gray says Chris Cuomo will return to CNN following scandal Postal Service expansion into banking services misguided MORE (I-Vt.), another progressive candidate, also spoke out against Bloomberg’s entry into the race, saying billionaires like him are “not going to get very far in this election.”

Steyer, meanwhile, has pushed back against these accusations, saying he doesn’t think it’s possible to buy the president.

Bloomberg has addressed concerns about his wealth by announcing that he will self-fund his campaign and reject donations. The former New York city mayor also announced this week he also plans to donate $10 million to reelection campaigns of vulnerable Democratic House members.