Michael Bloomberg looked out on a Democratic field that would abolish ICE and decided that America instead needed a candidate who would abolish Slurpees.
Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and maybe Kamala Harris (nobody knows) want to take away your health insurance. That disturbs Bloomberg, who would rather take away your Big Gulp.
The former New York City mayor is a billionaire, and so it’s understandable that he was unnerved when two of the top three candidates declare that billionaires shouldn’t exist. Warren and Sanders get much of their momentum from attacking the wealthy and targeting big business. Bloomberg, meanwhile, knows what the real enemy of the people is: whatever brings the little people joy.
While other Democrats are taking aim at economic inequality, Bloomberg apparently thinks the party needs to worry more about adults vaping.
That’s why Mayor Mike is reportedly jumping into the already-crowded Democratic presidential race. He apparently believes that there is a significant portion of the American electorate that is pro-billionaire, anti-socialism, and anti-individual liberty.
What we need is rich people being as rich as they want but never ordinary people eating or drinking what they want.
More champagne on yachts and less Mountain Dew on the stoop.
The one place where Bloomberg aligns most with the Democratic field is on Second Amendment freedoms. That is, he wants to abolish them. Other Democrats have voted and campaigned on taking away their constituents’ basic right to self-defense, but Bloomberg has put his money where his mouth is, spending millions to roll back gun rights.
The pattern is pretty clear: Bloomberg’s main motivating principle is curbing the freedom of the hoi polloi to enjoy things he doesn’t believe they should enjoy. Walter Olson aptly described it as “Mayor Bloomberg’s grand passion for forbidding lowbrow pleasures.”
You may question where “the working class has too many things they enjoy” fits within the Democratic Party, but it’s really not that out of place. Consider President Barack Obama, who thought the greatest sin of the white working class was that they “cling to guns or religion.” Or consider Hillary Clinton’s defense of her 2016 loss: “I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward.” In other words, the bad people pleasures that are staid, conservative, and simple.
Bloomberg sees his lane here. There’s some portion of the Democratic base that isn’t primarily motivated by economic inequality or by political revolution or simply by defeating Trump, but who are kept awake at night worrying that some working-class white American, somewhere, is enjoying a Slurpee, a Big Gulp, a shooting range, a prayer service, or a mango vape.
For those liberal puritans, they now have their champion.