Nothing matters besides beating Donald Trump

Nothing matters besides beating Donald Trump

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Amateur hour is over.

If the chaos of the Iowa Caucuses and Trump’s vicious “victory” lap and illegal, revenge-porn firing of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman proved anything, it’s that it’s time for the novelty candidates and the ideologues to get out of the way.

Nothing is more important than removing the sociopath from the White House. Nothing.

It’s why as a progressive Democrat with 50 years and about as many left-wing candidates under my belt as bonafides, I’m backing Mike Bloomberg and working hard for him to do well in the California Democratic Primary on March 3, with it’s motherlode of 495 delegates, or 25% of the total needed to secure the presidential nomination.

As a political activist who came of age in the ‘60s in the anti-Vietnam War movement and lived on the urgency of issues and ideology in each election, in this election there is only one imperative: Beating Trump.

In 1969, I was one of a nucleus of former Robert F. Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy supporters who overcame our seemingly insurmountable differences in the aftermath of the election of the noxious Richard Nixon in 1968, and formed the New Democratic Coalition.

We campaigned for every progressive presidential candidate from George McGovern to Mo Udall; from Fred Harris to Teddy Kennedy, and Jesse Jackson to Barack Obama. We fought for more sweeping voting rights and registration laws, tough gun control legislation, compassionate welfare reform, more funding for public education, collective bargaining rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights and affirmative action programs. We won, and lost, many policy battles and elections.

I was living in New York when Mike was first elected mayor of New York in the awful aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center that killed nearly 3,000 of my fellow New Yorkers, and left the rest of us with varying degrees of traumatic stress. Undaunted and upbeat, Bloomberg took control of a city still reeling from the unimaginable.

Mayor Mike carried our suffering city on his strong shoulders for months, while Donald Trump, slinking toward insufferability, bragged that his building at 40 Wall Street was now, not only, the tallest in New York.

It was Bloomberg, who, living around the corner from me, took the subway to work instead of a limo, buoying our spirits each day, and lifting 8 million New Yorkers out of the darkness of post-9/11 despair, with his indefatigable attitude that anything was still possible for a resilient city and its people. It was Bloomberg who regularly met with black community leaders and civil rights organizations after they had been deliberately excluded from New York’s City Hall for the entire eight ugly years of intentional racial division during Rudy Giuliani’s mayoralty.

The biggest knock against Mike Bloomberg by many Democratic presidential candidates this year is that the billionaire is buying the nomination with his money. It’s an odd charge, since not one of my fellow Democrats complained when Bloomberg spent $110 million of his own money in 2018 to help elect 21 Democratic candidates, flipping the House of Representatives from red to blue and making Nancy Pelosi speaker. No one, except the NRA, had anything negative to say when Bloomberg contributed over $200 million to highly effective gun-control and gun-safety efforts around the country.

Not one Democratic presidential candidate has criticized Mike’s motivation to spend hundreds of millions of dollars — perhaps billions, to not only hold the House and flip the Senate in 2020 — but to build grassroots organizations and keep 500 paid staff members in place around the country between now and Nov. 3, to elect any Democrat over Donald Trump.

I don’t hear my fellow Progressives complaining that Bloomberg is drawing from his vast expertise in technology and spending whatever it takes to build an on-line presence to wipe out the advantage that Trump, his Russian operatives, and Right Wing trolls have over us on Facebook, Twitter and all social media.

Over the past several years, I’ve donated money to moderate and progressive presidential candidates including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as to Democratic Senate candidates in key states I believe we can win in 2020. My contributions have always reflected my ideals and fundamental beliefs in justice, equality and the Rule of Law.

Those ideals, and not ideology, are more urgent to follow in this election than ever before. Hair-splitting purity of political belief needs to be set aside for the immediate and practical reality of preserving our Democracy. There is one unifying imperative this year: Beating Donald Trump.

The best candidate to do that is Mike Bloomberg. And if he wants to spend half of his $60 billion fortune to do that, and bring along a Democratic Senate, God bless him.

Steve Villano

Napa

Editor's note: This is an abridged version of a post on the author's blog on Medium.com.

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