Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Run Through The Jungle

My ballot for the California presidential primary has been sitting on my desk for about two weeks now. I have another week to get it in the mail.
Or not.
Each time I feel that I have a clear path, a choice, a candidate with whom I can relate and trust, something new comes tumbling in. Sometimes it's a revelation. Sometimes it's an omission. Sometimes it's even more simple: the person whom I have chosen drops out of the campaign. Somewhere back there in the distant haze we called 2019, there were twenty or more choices. Attrition has taken care of most of them. It is ridiculously expensive to run for President of the Untied States. Banners and stickers and street signs and those inflatable things you bang together to make noise. It all adds up. Millions of dollars. Michael Bloomberg has spent more than four hundred and fifty million dollars on ads alone. There was no quick estimate for the amount of money he has spent on those inflatable things that you bang together to make noise.
Probably a lot.
This past weekend, it became common knowledge that Elizabeth Warren's campaign was looking into taking out a three million dollar loan. This was in addition to the ten million she raised in January (one month) which was more than any of the other Democratic hopefuls. Mister Bloomberg doesn't have that particular challenge. He is a billionaire. He is one of those folks who benefited from the current "president's" tax cuts. Maybe somewhere in the four hundred fifty million dollar range? Money makes more money, which puts me in mind of the scene in It's A Wonderful Life, when the Bedford Falls Savings and Loan survives a run on their institution and George takes the two remaining dollars left from his travel fund and suggests the put them back in the safe so they can propagate.
There are not very many working class candidates for office. Once upon a time, Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle ran for governor of California. Mister Sinclair was not exactly "working class" at the time, but he ran an EPIC campaign, as in "End Poverty In California." So alarmed by this potential redistribution of wealth, Irving J. Thalberg who ran MGM at the time, created some of the first attack ads in American history. Bit part actors were paid to perform as "working class" Californians who expressed their views to the "roving cameraman." These newsreels, as they were billed, were such effective propaganda that Sinclair lost the race for governor to his Republican rival. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Upton Sinclair was the Democrat in that race, and he lost by just three hundred thousand votes.
I checked my ballot, and Upton Sinclair is not one of my choices.

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