by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jonah Goldberg argues at National Review Online that an electoral battle between former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders could determine the Democratic Party’s future.
The Bloomberg–Bernie battle is almost like a comic book come to life. The two combatants cover almost every cliché on the right-wing scorecard.
The Right couldn’t have invented a better candidate than Bernie Sanders. In 1971, he was kicked out of a commune for talking too much. In 1987 (!), he recorded a folk album. The following year, he got married and left the next day for a combination fact-finding trip and honeymoon in the Soviet Union. When he returned, he sounded a bit like Lincoln Steffens, the famous journalist who’d said of the USSR, “I have seen the future and it works.” In Steffens’s defense, he visited in 1919, two years after its founding and before most of the inconvenient mass murder and starvation. Sanders thought the Soviet Union was the future three years before it collapsed. …
… And he’s an unreconstructed enemy of the economic elites, particularly the hated “billionaire class.”
Which brings us to Michael Bloomberg, who sits atop the 1 percent of the 1 percent. Bloomberg is a perfect stand-in for a completely different kind of liberalism, one that doesn’t even like to call itself liberal. He headlined the launch of No Labels, an organization dedicated to getting ideology out of politics. A lifelong Democrat, Bloomberg switched labels to become a Republican to run for mayor in 2001. By his third term he was an independent. Now he’s a Democrat because he’s running for president.
As mayor of New York, he was a poster boy for a kind of arrogant progressive, post-partisan technocratic government that prizes data over feelings.