Let me start by saying I have no idea what anyone would find appealing about former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Then again, I’m not a left-wing Democrat desperate to beat Donald Trump, so maybe in that state of panic a dwarfish, socially distant, robotic, aloof, monotone billionaire seems like a good choice – any port in a storm, after all.
And that seems to be the appeal – the billionaire part, I mean.
Short of someone who can cover the cost of a presidential campaign with the change in the couch cushions sounds appealing to voters who’ve been inundated with dozens of emails daily from millionaires begging them for money to finance their vanity projects, what is the appeal of Bloomberg? Being one of the richest people on the planet is a mentally perverting existence. Who tells someone worth more than most country’s GDPs “no”? Anyone?
Is there anyone who tells Mike Bloomberg he’s wrong? More directly, anyone who tells him he’s wrong who he’d listen to, not dismiss out of hand or fire?
I’ve met a couple of billionaires in my life and they, and the poor rich people I’ve met who only have hundreds or tens of millions of dollars all have one thing in common: they’re weird.
When you’re that rich being weird is call eccentric and played off as charming by sycophants and Yes Men. Their lives are overrun with people who follow them around, attempting to anticipate their every desire and fill it while hoping a wad of cash falls out of their pockets or they somehow make it into the will. Being surrounded by people who they make the lifetime earnings of with a 3 point uptick in the stock market means no one is your equal, and no one matters naturally.
To make other matter to people like this they have to actively seek out their input or their company. In the case of the rich, that generally means their services. That’s where President Donald Trump diverges from Michael Bloomberg – their abilities to value others.
The nature of Trump’s businesses required his interaction with people he’d never run into at dinner or on the golf course. He was dependent upon blue collar workers to build and maintain his properties. High school graduates, even dropouts, can run a job site and build a building. An aloof jackass wafting in to bark out orders to the foreman before hopping back in their limo to drive to the club can’t fake being able to relate to anyone, and Trump has an innate ability to relate to people.
I met the President once, before he was President but after he’d announced his candidacy, at a GOP dinner in Maryland. Before he entered the VIP room, advance staffers came in and told everyone in line to meet him that there would be no conversation, just a “grip-n-grin” photo; “Do not try to start a conversation,” they barked.
I didn’t want a picture, I had 2 books of his I wanted signed. I didn’t know if that was going to be possible after hearing the rules. Then Trump entered and the rules were gone.
Donald Trump was talkative, engaging with everyone. Those who’d barked the orders didn’t – no, couldn’t – do anything to stop him. Big smiles, handshakes, and questions flew…from Trump for each person. No one was hurried, no one was hushed, and most importantly I got my books signed.
This wasn’t a room full of rich people; these were average Maryland Republicans attending an annual dinner. Yet every single one of them had their moment where Donald Trump heard them out, at least giving them the impression he was interested in their thoughts, their story, their existence.
Can you imagine Mike Bloomberg doing that? It’s unlikely Bloomberg has ever had a real conversation with a backhoe operator, let alone operated one himself. Trump has, on both counts. That’s what separates the two – relatability. It’s also what Democrats can’t understand about the President.
Neither one of these men should be relatable to normal people, normal people don’t walk into anywhere with the knowledge that they can comfortably buy anything there, even the building. Normal people search for sale items at the grocery store.
But Trump at least comes off as if he gets it. He’s never lived it, but he gets it, likely because he’s seen it up close from his employees. Bloomberg is a media mogul, he doesn’t hire people who need to shower after a day of work, he hires people who shower to go to work.
When video surfaced this week of Bloomberg belittling farmers and factory workers, saying computer programmers, unlike those “dirty job” workers, need to have “gray matter” between their ears, I realized the latest “savior” for Democrats was going to be another bust.
Mike’s history of misogyny and casual racism aside, the ignorance about the people who do those important jobs on display in that video showed me all I needed to see about whether or not anyone could relate to him, and more importantly, whether he could relate to anyone. He can’t.
Bloomberg likes to taunt Trump about how he’s much wealthier than the President is, but his wallet is all he has going for him. That wallet, coupled with desperation and perhaps the weakest field ever cobbled together by a political party, may be enough to secure him the nomination – he has proven he can buy support, not that he can inspire it – but there’s little chance that, after the public really starts to pay attention, it will inspire many votes. Even though Michael Bloomberg is very short, there aren’t many Americans who want to spend 4 years looking up the nostrils of a President who looks down their nose at them.