When our disgusting heat wave finally broke on Saturday night, it went out in a blaze of dramatic lightning. For many New Yorkers, that looked like vague flashes behind neighboring buildings. But for NBC News social media manager Anthony Quintano, who was just across the Hudson from Midtown, in Weehawken’s Hamilton Park, it was a picturesque display over a panoramic skyline. Fortunately for the rest of us, Quintano snapped some great photos, including the one above. The rest of his five-photo series can be seen on his Flickr stream.
[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.