Twenty-three-year-old David Murray really really wanted some fried chicken breasts at 2:30 in the morning on Sunday. So he went to Crown Fried Chicken on Tompkins Avenue in Brooklyn, naturally, to satisfy this perfectly understandable case of the munchies. Unfortunately, the natural order of things had been rudely interrupted that night — there were no more fried chicken breasts. Instead of opting for a thigh or two perhaps, or even some drummettes, Murray flew off the handle, pulling garbage out of the restaurants bin and throwing it at the cashier. When, mysteriously, this did not cause the breasts to appear, Murray stormed off in a huff — only to return moments later with a baseball bat. After destroying the store’s ATM, he threatened the cashier with bodily harm. He was arrested and charged with criminal weapons possession and menacing.
[B]ad systems corrupt good individuals [by] enlisting our self-interest to convince us to betray our values. And make no mistake: America’s campaign finance system is a disaster. Most candidates can’t self-finance their campaigns, so they spend a disproportionate amount of time asking the rich to donate to their campaigns. Those donations are limited to $2,800 per individual, but the Supreme Court believes political spending is a protected form of free speech, so the rich can spend as much as they want on their own campaigns, or on Super PACs to push their political agendas.
Populists like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and, in his complicated and contradictory ways, even Donald Trump, have risen in part because Americans loathe seeing their political system bought by the rich. Bloomberg isn’t so much a defense against those critiques as he is a confirmation of them. The populists say that politics is rigged, elections are bought by those with enough money to spend, modern liberalism is mere lipstick on perpetual corporatism. Bloomberg is here to test whether they’re right. He may pitch himself to centrists as an answer to the populists, but in leveraging his fortune to fight them, he offers the country the (hopefully) false choice between populism and oligarchy.