Capital reigns supreme in US electoral politics
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is reportedly planning to contend the 2020 presidential elections representing the Democrats. Can this business news mogul copy the model of Donald Trump and enter the Oval Office with his $51 billion plus fortune?
America watchers are well aware of the fact that the tide of capital swelling around the country’s political system is rising, and the 2016 presidential election was defined by capital more than any other in recent history.
With the power of capital, business elites are being pushed to the forefront. They can get more access to connections with politicians and political elites, and have their images reshaped and promoted. This is the invisible “capital” that those without the power of capital cannot get.
Bloomberg, the financial news data billionaire, is looking at his chances. His potential rivals are not Democratic Party political picks, but other wealthy business-people toying with presidential runs, according to media analysis. They include former Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz and investor and billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer.
It can be seen that while US politics used to be a game of proxies, now it has become a game of capital. Ever since the 2016 presidential election challenged the political establishments of both Democratic and Republican parties and ended in perhaps the most shocking upset in US political history, the game of capital has been brought from under the table into the spotlight. People no longer avoid talking about the effects of capital in the US political realm: manifold and direct.
If Bloomberg wants to stand out in 2020, he can learn from Trump’s path. For the business elite, solid financial support is a core assurance for winning in a political contest, and the fortune of Bloomberg is enough to humble Trump. In the US, capital is not a guarantee of being elected, but the will of capital can play a decisive role in US politics. Political power must cater to the interests of capital and big capitalists or even serve them.
This is also what drives the US domestic and global strategies such as the interest rate rise by the Federal Reserve, pulling manufacturing back to the US, scrapping the Trans-Pacific Partnership and seeking bilateral talks that serve “America first.”
Trump’s China policy also derives from this mentality. By amplifying trade disputes with China and urging China to further open its market, Trump wants US capital to overtake the Chinese market. It is a financial as well as a political risk that China needs to bear.
Capital has always been a tool for geopolitics. The trade war with China is not the last scene of President Trump’s drama. We can certainly expect more.