Skip to Content
Morning Spew

Bloomberg Is Back (to Using His Billions to Manipulate Democracy)

And other news to start your day

9:44 AM EDT on March 22, 2023

(Hell Gate)

During his $1 billion failed 2020 presidential campaign, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg reminded a debate audience of who really controls our democracy. "They talk about 40 Democrats," Bloomberg said, referring to the 2018 midterms that swung in the Democrats' favor. "Twenty-one of those were people that I spent $100 million to help elect. I bought—I got them."

Over his three terms as mayor (the last of which he "bought" by spending $174 per vote), Bloomberg projected a kind of detached, technocratic competence. Data and evidence would win out over the vulgar passions of politics. This cliche never quite squared with reality: Didn't "data" say that most of the Black and brown New Yorkers his NYPD stopped were innocent

Sorry, Mike. It's not your brains people value, it's your money. And you have a staggering amount of it: $94 billion, according to Forbes. And now the former mayor is spending some of it to buy Governor Kathy Hochul some goodwill.

According to the New York Times, Bloomberg has funneled at least $5 million into shadowy third-party groups to run an ad blitz to garner support for Hochul's budget proposals. Those proposals include expanding charter schools, slashing library construction funding, and using casino money to fund public transit. And they leave out any real protections for tenants—i.e. most people.

Rather than explain to lawmakers why her proposals deserve consideration, Hochul is apparently letting Bloomberg's money do the convincing. "I would prefer a more constructive approach where the governor actually talked to people," Manhattan Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell told Politico. "I have not heard from the governor or the governor's people since January 1. Not one word."

Bloomberg is clearly being guided by an impulse to help New Yorkers. So here's a thought: The state legislature should allow him to help a lot more, by passing laws that would tax the shit out of his $94 billion (NINETY-FOUR BILLION DOLLARS) so that he and those of his class can really do some good. Bloomberg is clearly going to spend his money anyway. It's up to the people who are actually in power to decide whether he spends it on transit, and schools, and healthcare, instead of manipulating our democracy. 

More news from the great cosmopolis:

And lastly: We never said filling out Hell Gate's NYC Hot Takes Bracket would be easy:

Thanks for reading!

Register or log in to continue.

See all subscription options.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Hell Gate

The Testimony of Fatboi Sharif

At a recent show in NYC, the Rahway rapper welcomed an audience to his world.

Get Ready for a Hot No Lifeguard Summer

And other links to start your bummer summer.

May 30, 2023

Flying Squirrels? NYC’s Got ‘Em

And sometimes, they visit your fire escape.

May 29, 2023

Hell Gate Debates the 2023 Song of the Summer

Fans of dry sherry cocktails and Fleetwood Mac must tune in.

May 26, 2023
See all posts