Monday, February 24, 2020

Is Bloomberg Buying the DNC? If So, What Does He Plan to Do With It?


Paradise lost. One misstep is all it takes to take the proud down low.

by Thomas Neuburger

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make proud.
—With apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This is a small point that leads to a larger one. Consider what Mike Bloomberg is building within the Democratic Party, within the DNC. According to the following analysis he's turning the DNC into an anti-Sanders machine, a force loyal to himself, that will operate even after Sanders is nominated, even after Sanders is elected, if he so chooses.

With that he hopes to limit and control what Sanders and his rebellion can do. It's the ultimate billionaire counter-rebellion — own the Party machine that the president normally controls, then use it against him.

Our source for this thought is Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report. Ford is one of the more vitriolic defenders of radical change in America, but in this analysis I don't think he's wrong, at least in making the case that Bloomberg is giving himself that option. But do decide for yourself.

Here's his case:
Bloomberg Wants to Swallow the Democrats and Spit Out the Sandernistas

If, somehow, Bernie Sanders is allowed to win the nomination, Michael Bloomberg and other plutocrats will have created a Democratic Party machinery purpose-built to defy Sanders -- as nominee, and even as president.
The details of his argument are here (emphasis added):
Bloomberg has already laid the groundwork to directly seize the party machinery, the old fashioned way: by buying it and stacking it with his own, paid operatives, with a war-against-the-left budget far bigger than the existing Democratic operation. Bloomberg’s participation in Wednesday’s debate, against all the rules, is proof-of-purchase.

In addition to the nearly million dollar down payment to the party in November that sealed the deal for the debate rules change, Bloomberg has already pledged to pay the full salaries of 500 political staffers for the Democratic National Committee all the way through the November election, no matter who wins the nomination. Essentially, Bloomberg will be running the election for the corporate wing of the party, even if Sanders is the nominee.

In an interview with PBS’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday night, senior Bloomberg advisor Timothy O’Brien made it clear that the DNC is in no condition to refuse being devoured by Bloomberg, even if they wanted to. O’brien predicted the Republicans will spend at least $900 million on the election, while the DNC has only about $8 million on hand. Even the oligarch’s underlings are telegraphing the takeover game plan.

Bloomberg is not so much running for president as making sure that the Democrats don’t go “rogue” anti-corporate to accommodate the Sandernistas. He is ensuring that the Democratic Party will be an even more hostile environment for anti-austerity politics than in the past – not in spite of the phenomenal success of the Sanders project, but because of it.
Ford has not much love for Bernie Sanders, as he finds Sanders (and his supporters) weak for sticking with the Democrats. Ford thinks Sanders should go "third party" in his opposition to the corrupt duopoly that owns our politics. That's a point on which we can disagree without disagreeing that the duopoly is indeed corrupt, or that Bloomberg is setting himself up for post-electoral mischief.

Ford also thinks the Party will split in the face of this anti-Sanders resistance, especially if the counter-resistance continues after a President Sanders is inaugurated.

We'll see about all that. Ford may be right in his estimate of Bloomberg's intentions. He may also be right in Bloomberg's ability to carry through if his intentions are indeed as Machiavellian as he says.

On the other hand, Sanders may gather to himself enough control of the DNC and other Party machinery that he does indeed transform it, and with it, slowly, the Party itself. That's certainly been his game plan, and if he does indeed have a movement behind him — a really big one — I wouldn't bet against him being right. I myself don't see a way for a third party to succeed in the U.S. unless it's a "virtual third party" — but more on that at another time.

The Larger Point

So this is our smaller point, that Mike Bloomberg may be positioning himself to "own" the DNC, and with it enough of the Democratic Party, so that he can himself rein in a President Sanders. Is that his goal? It certainly seems possible. "Mini-Mike" is certainly Machiavellian.

Which leads to the larger point: How much rebellion, within the DNC and elsewhere, with or without Bloomberg's interference, will someone like President Sanders encounter and how long will it last? If it lasts throughout his presidency, that's a horse of a different color — a much darker one.

In fact, the dark horse of today's American politics is the entrenched, corrupt (and frankly, pathological) über-rich and their death grip on all of our governing institutions, including the press. Will that death grip tighten as the Sanders movement grows? And will they continue to squeeze the throats of the working class, even as the victims find their own throats and tighten in response?

Would you bet, in other words, that the rich who rule us wouldn't kill the country that feeds their wealth — wouldn't spark such a confused and violent rebellion that even they would be forced at last to flee — won't do all all this out of animus, pique and world-historical hubris?

That bet is even money all the way. They just might try it, just might be willing to strangle the body itself, the political body, just to see how far it they can get by doing it.

Whom the gods would destroy...

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At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing Mr. Neuberger left out of his assessment is where the American military stands. They are the key to what happens.

Stalin once reputedly dismissed criticisms from the Pope over his treatment of Polish Catholics (lately proving themselves to be quite fascistic) with "How many divisions does the Pope command?" (Full Story of the allegation here).

The same can be asked of the fascistic former mayor of New York City. I don't think his plans will sit well with either the Sandernistas nor the Trump MAGAts. Are there enough corporatist "Democrats" to offset that potential alliance? No, he'd need the military on his side.

Someone out there is looking at this topic.

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Dear Mike Bloomberg, Keep the status quo & buy/steal the Democratic Nomination away from Bernie Sanders please.

Signed Tom Perez The Corrupt Establishment & Big Money

At 11:23 AM, Blogger davidchop said...

Bloomberg trying to buy it, Bernie trying to break it; the left's response to Trump has been depressingly disappointing.

At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing that the DNC really controls is the presidential nomination process. During the Dean years it expanded its purview to include state-level party building, but Rahm and Obama team effectively ended that process and centralized power in DC. Since then the main function of the DNC is to dole millions of dollars out to political consultants. At least from the outside, post-2008, it looks like Obama washed his hands of it, and effectively turned the keys over to Clinton and her allies. They almost lost control after the 2016, but with a late assist from Obama were able to retain control with the ascension of Tom Perez. They are still bound by aspects of the 2016 Unity Reform Commission.

It's my understanding that the Dem presidential nominee effectively has control over the DNC. So if Sanders wins outright, I believe he will have the capacity to restructure the organization, however he and his allies see fit. In terms of governing, it has no influence over the party. Power is decentralized in the other party committees. DGA, DCCC, DSCC, and various state parties. All these organizations are also supported by various interest lobbies (labor interests, social policy and community organizations, and of course, corporate lobbies -- that's where the real power actually is). Worst case for Sanders (if he wins, etc, etc), is that he ends up building a parallel structure similar to what Obama did with the various iterations of the OFA, although I'm not sure that will be necessary.

The idea that Sanders would "destroy" the DNC though is hilarious. For years the DNC has been a money pit for resources, it's lacked transparency, it does very little to actually build the party. Under Sanders, there would almost certainly be a lot more transparency in terms of how money is raised and spent, and it would be used to build the party nationally and advance a progressive agenda, rather than what it effectively does now, which is to run political interference inside the Democratic Party on behalf of regressive economic interest who also play an outsized role inside the GOP.

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nodding in agreement with david. sadly, the lefty voters' response to Reagan and all since has been pathetic and hapless and has LED us to trump. It's always good to understand the cause of things.

Once again, Thomas is echoing things I've been saying for years that annoy the shit out of GFY guy and others here.

"With (his purchase/hostile takeover) (mike) hopes to limit and control what Sanders and his rebellion can do. It's the ultimate billionaire counter-rebellion — own the Party machine that the president normally controls, then use it against him."

Actually, he's trying to buy something that already has girded its loins against sanders and all that sanders claims to hold dear. The DNC has already gooned one state and will do so more in the future should it appear to be necessary so that Bernie does not get 51% of pledged delegates. On the second ballot, the money's minions are loosed to ensure the nomination of pete or amy or even mike already.

I've speculated before how much of a pledge it would take for mike to buy the DNC and the democrap party committees. I figured $5 billion would do it. it may take less if they are scared enough of the $900 mil (plus what Russia can launder through the NRA again). Whatever it is, mike can afford it.

"Ford ... finds Sanders (and his supporters) weak for sticking with the Democrats. Ford thinks Sanders should go "third party" in his opposition to the corrupt duopoly that owns our politics."

This is, by now, crystal clear. Bernie's collapse and betrayal in '16, endorsing the clintonista party and candidate, proved that Bernie does NOT oppose the corrupt democrap half of the duopoly. Or perhaps Bernie is simply a despicable coward. Either way, he is NOT the "revolutionary" he claims to be and sells to the imbecile left electorate.
Personally, I don't consider Bernie's hardcore supporters as weak, since millions of them refused to $upport $hillbillary. Bernie needs to own his weakness.
Notable: Bernie has already vowed to repeat his cowardice and betrayal after the DNC ratfucks him again.

"the larger point: How much rebellion, within the DNC and elsewhere, with or without Bloomberg's interference, will someone like President Sanders encounter and how long will it last? If it lasts throughout his presidency, that's a horse of a different color — a much darker one.
In fact, the dark horse of today's American politics is the entrenched, corrupt (and frankly, pathological) über-rich and their death grip on all of our governing institutions, including the press."

1) how much will Bernie's stated principles be resisted? Total.
2) How long? As long as the democrap party remains intact.
3) the pathological corruption of the money would need to be forcibly crushed. Just as it was in 1929-1932.. and just as it was NOT in 2008.

As long as the democrap party runs the charade of being the nazis' opposition, none of Bernie's proposals will ever be affected. That's NEVER! And that is irrespective of who the democraps run and whether he is elected.
The money will only consolidate and strengthen its grip until the voters euthanize the democrap party and coalesces around a new "NEW DEAL" and a party to affect it.

As Thomas is want to do, he asks all the pertinent questions and leaves the trivial deductive reasoning to us/US. Well, I again oblige.

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:25 PM.

"Third Party" might be the answer if a person is a self-funding billionaire. For most people it isn't. These are just some of the structural barriers:

1. Individual states control the electoral process and by extension access to a ballot line.

2. There are 50 of them with their own sets of rules.

3. Third parties have to spend a lot of money just gaining access to the ballot line. They aren't using that money for contacting voters.

4. They don't have access to resources like ActBlue, or voter databases. Do you have any idea how expensive it would be just to create this infrastructure from scratch?

5. The DNC and RNC also control access to the debate stage during the general election (if there is a debate). This was part of their response to Perot's challenge in 1992 - they successfully closed that door too.

Bloomberg could probably do it, if his bid to run as a Dem fails. He has $300 million of monthly cash-flow to set on fire and $62 billion in reserve if it came down to that. Sanders may be able to raise $1 billion as a Dem through small donations if he gets the nomination. As a third party candidate he would raise significantly less money than that, and spend significantly more just in order to gain ballot access and to develop campaign infrastructure.

With respect to Sanders, the DNC only controls caucuses. They do not control primaries. Most of the caucuses are done at this point.

Obviously, Sanders faces a higher bar to the nomination than anyone else -- that's just how it goes. If he can overcome that and still get the nomination, it's evidence he'll be a strong general election candidate.

The real source of power in American politics is not the ballot line, or even political office -- it is the organization behind political candidates.

If people are really attached to the "Green Party" label (I don't know why), go out and win control of a few state governments first as Greens. Once you have control of the ballot line it might be easier (assuming the Courts don't get in the way). But absent that, it's not a viable path under the current system. Look at what happened to the Reform Party without Perot's money. It barely exists.

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:38 makes salient points. However, the party still controls and suppresses access at the state level. Each state party does so as it sees fit.

The DNC controls the convention.

The DxCCs control who gets supported to run.

The demmocrap national committee oversees strategy and dispenses sums of money.

and, today, the house is controlled by Pelosi. period. But she has the total cooperation and support of over 200 of her fellow travelers.

But here's the rub: The same people serve at multiple levels and on multiple committees. It's like corporate boards -- incestuous by definition.

You're totally wrong about the real source of power. It's money and who dispenses it. Bernie is only competitive because so many people give their $100 because he's the only one since Truman to even SAY anything helpful. Pelosi gets more than Bernie takes in a year from only a few corporate s-pac donations.

But, finally, the only thing you left out; the biggest firewall against a third party euthanizing the democraps ala the whigs, is 65 million colossally stupid voters -- who blithely accept whatever bilge water the democraps spray around no matter how fetid it is.

If those 65 million would insist on better instead of worse a little slower (maybe), we'd see a lot of the permanently dormant (permafrost-ish) 85 million awaken and participate (maybe -- my only optimistic flinch left).

You know. Like climate change thawing permafrost all over the northern hemisphere... only useful.

At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 3:01 PM

Organized money has all kinds of advantages -- it is easy to coordinate and direct. However, if you have a large enough mass of people organized in critical sectors of the economy, historically that also serves as a counterbalance.

e.g. during the New Deal workers won big labor reforms and political breakthroughs, because they maneuvered strategically to win political power in places like PA and MI at the same time that FDR was president. When they engaged in illegal strikes, for the first time in U.S. history, local officials refused to call out the National Guard or the Army to suppress strikes. Eventually that brought the bosses to the bargaining table, and resulted in concessions that helped to shift the balance of power for at least two generations. These actions happened as the result of a decades long learning process that involved mostly losing.

During the civil rights movement, a similar series of actions took place. You need resources to build organization, but if ordinary people gain a degree of political consciousness, and you have the foundation of mass political movements, these can act as a counterbalance to organized money of a few people. We're already seeing that at play in 2020. It was true in 2016 as well.

A lot of people don't participate, because all kinds of barriers are put up and erected to their participation. Some vote, but don't see their interests being represented and drop out. For many, it may be that no one in their family has ever voted -- they do not understand the process, because no one has showed them how. It takes time and work to overcome these barriers. I don't think there's a short cut to that.

In terms of fundraising, Pelosi pulled in $89 million in 2019. Over the past 11 months, Sanders has pulled in $125 million. Part of what's absurd in Pelosi's case is that a big chunk of the DCCC fundraising comes from small donations (not sure of the exact amount but it's likely somewhere in the neighborhood of 40%). If the party was actually oriented towards the interests of small donors, and it used money to help build political power through organizing communities, registering people, etc, it would be transformational. Unfortunately, a lot of people give to the DCCC without actually understanding what the DCCC does with their money or what the DCCC has stood for over the past 30+ years.

At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points, 4:26. You can include the DSCC in your last paragraph.

Pelosi pulled that number personally and in her house pac. But $he $ponsors $uperpacs that don't have to report. I'm quite sure the corporations and billionaires who like the way $he is smothering all progressive change are pushing her far above Bernie's number.

And you can add hoyer, cliburn and a looooooong list of others who also draw a lot of $upport from the corporate sectors in their states/districts and who they have historically protected in the house.


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