I have written this commentary for the NY Times’ Room for Debate:
It’s not a new story: Some Americans are looking to the super wealthy to get us out of a political jam. This time, it might be billionaire Michael Bloomberg supposedly saving the country from a Donald Trump-Bernie Sanders race that could leave many voters without an acceptable alternative. Back in 1967, it was the GM heir Stewart Mott providing (what was then considered to be) lots of money to allow Sen. Eugene McCarthy of Wisconsin to challenge President Lyndon B. Johnson for the Democratic nomination. Johnson, mired in the Vietnam War and wounded by McCarthy, eventually withdrew from the race.
Indeed, in this election cycle Donald Trump has railed against the super PACs and argued that only he, a billionaire, can serve the interests of the American people fairly because he is too rich to be influenced by big donors.
The McCarthy-Mott story is one that opponents of campaign finance limits point to in arguing against campaign finance limits. They contend we need billionaires at the ready in case our democracy gets in trouble.
But over-reliance on plutocrats threatens our democracy….
Through campaign finance vouchers, the American people can give up their dependence on billionaires and be their own white knight.
The full Room for Debate is on this topic: Could Michael Bloomberg and His Millions Save Us From Ourselves?