Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s late entry in the Democratic Party presidential primary race appears to have already changed the political landscape in the U.S., with the billionaire’s seemingly limitless spending power and influence throwing a wrench into the electoral process.
According to former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Bloomberg’s presence guarantees that the 2020 presidential election will be a battle between two billionaires, with the other being President Donald Trump. Per Newsweek, in a Friday interview with PBS, Bannon predicted that “2020 is going to be the nastiest election in American history.”
Speaking with Firing Line host Margaret Hoover, the right-wing operative said that the Democratic Party is “absolutely” for sale, with Bloomberg being the buyer.
“I think you’re seeing the rise of oligarchs,” he said, adding that he believes Trump will still win.
“President Trump is going to win. But President Trump every day is going to be a struggle just for the simple reason that no one’s ever had an oligarch that opposed the sitting president.”
Hoover took no issue with Bannon’s suggestions, but made an effort to argue that Bloomberg is not an oligarch. According to the host, the multi-billionaire cannot be described as an oligarch because he “made his money” on his own.
Bannon conceded Hoover’s point, agreeing that Bloomberg has indeed made his money honestly, but nevertheless argued that he should be called an oligarch because he is not just wealthy, but he is also buying an entire political party. However, according to Bannon, Trump is not an oligarch — he is a “real estate developer.”
“Because now, look, we’ve had wealthy people throughout history. He’s buying the Democratic Party,” Bannon said of Bloomberg.
The former White House chief strategist stressed that the Democratic Party is “100 percent for sale,” echoing previous remarks when he suggested that party leaders are conspiring with Bloomberg to defeat Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the current frontrunner in the primary race.
According to Bannon, the collusion between party leaders and Bloomberg could lead to disillusionment among Democratic voters, making it easier for Trump to win come November.
Bloomberg, who is a major Democratic Party donor, is running an unorthodox campaign. The billionaire is not even on the ballot in key early states, with most of his resources going to Super Tuesday states and beyond. He is spending unprecedented amounts of money on television, internet, and radio advertisements.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) recently came under fire for changing debate rules. The committee eliminated the individual donor threshold, potentially allowing Bloomberg to participate in the upcoming debates. The maneuver was seen as an attempt to legitimize and appease Bloomberg, resulting in strong backlash from progressives.