Elections are not for Sale

Julius Perez, Reporter

Michael Bloomberg (left) and Tom Steyer (right) are billionares who entered the 2020 Democratic primary race to become the nominee.

The 2020 election has seen a whole cacophony of candidates enter the race and as a result the diversity of this election, both ethnically and financially,, cannot be ignored. Among these candidates, two billionaires, businessman Tom Steyer and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, have decided that through the sheer size of their massive wealth, they can pay to take shortcuts and buy their way into the White House, like the current sitting President: Trump. 

Elections were not made to be bought by the highest bidder. They were made for the American people to freely choose who they want to represent them in office. The strategies these candidates have chosen are wrong and only work to undermine the democratic processes and cheat the political system while everyone else plays by the rules. 

Bloomberg and Styer have a combined net worth of $61.8 billion. Bloomberg proudly admits in his ads that he takes no donations from monied interests, which proves to be true as Bloomberg has spent over $300 million of his own money on this election. Ultimately, this means that Bloomberg doesn’t take donations from any interest groups, including individual donations from the public. Having individual donors in an election is crucial in proving you have the support of the American people behind you. If the only money Bloomberg, gets is from Bloomberg who is he most likely to represent if he wins the presidency?

These men are plutocrats, people who gain all their power from the amount of money they have. This begs the question. If candidates like Bloomberg didn’t have billions in disposable income, would they have gotten as far on their policy alone? Consider the case of candidates like Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Julián Castro, who dropped out because  campaign contributions dwindled from a lack of supporters. 

Bloomberg started his campaign in November 2019, and decided to skip the early primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. The former mayor has yet to participate in any of the debates held in this primary. According to the Real Clear Politics national polls, Bloomberg has gained a polling average of 14.2 percent putting him in the third place behind Biden and Bernie. 

Spending massive amounts of one’s own money on political ads doesn’t work for everyone though. Tom Steyer spent $19.2 million on ads in New Hampshire leading up to the state’s primary but only managed to get 3.6 percent of the vote, sticking him in a distant sixth place against a field of seven other democrats. In other words, Steyer spent $1,837 for each vote he received and barely managed to nudge the polling needle. 

Through all of this spending on ads, Bloomberg has essentially bought his place as a serious contender for the democratic party’s nomination. Democracy should not be conducted in a way where the net worth of a candidate impacts their chances of winning elections. Candidates’ sources of campaign funds should be vetted and their policies should be the most important factor in what builds their momentum and support. Billionaires can buy almost anything with their massive amounts of wealth, but when they set their eyes on the free and open elections that our country is reliant upon, voters must draw a line and say “no, this election is not for sale.”