Friday, February 21, 2020


Over the past few decades, right-wing propagandists have done an excellent job of bamboozling the public by portraying cultural "elitists" as the real overlords in American society, thus permitting actual elitists -- you know, people with money and power -- to escape accountability. If you drive a Prius, shop at Whole Foods, or listen to NPR, if you're supportive of your LGBTQ child, if you'd heard of Parasite before the Oscars (or, Lord help us, had actually seen it), you're an elitist as far as the right is concerned. Billionaires? They're just rugged risk-takers. The real elitists are those snooty liberals with their noses in the air, the ones who look down on real working people -- or did, at least, until those rugged folks got their revenge on Election Day 2016.

But in fact, our side's politicians actually want to improve the lot of working people. Many of our voters are blue-collar workers or far-from-elite white-collar workers. Our inclination to judge people by cultural markers has been greatly exaggerated.

Except now we have Mike Bloomberg in the presidential race -- a guy who really might be called an elitist liberal if he were actually a liberal, and who's now mocking Donald Trump (allegedly a "blue-collar billionaire") for the déclassé way he likes his meat:

Mike Bloomberg is looking beyond the war being waged against him by the Democratic primary field toward general election opponent President Trump, trolling him with billboards where the president himself is campaigning in the West this week.

... the billboards are going up in Phoenix and Las Vegas, where Mr. Trump will be campaigning Friday. The billboards are appearing in high visibility areas near a Trump hotel property on the Vegas Strip, and also along potential motorcade routes where the president may see them as he drives by.

Should Mr. Trump look out the window of the presidential limousine, he could see billboards blaring, "Donald Trump cheats at golf," and "Donald Trump eats burnt steak."
Why bring up the burnt steak? It's just a reminder that some people think there's a "right" way to eat and you, ordinary voter, might not know what it is.

And cheating at golf? Who cares?

Other ads in the series are better. I like the first two below, at least:

Mock the wall because it's his signature policy, and it's a failure. Mock the popular-vote loss because Trump clearly hasn't gotten over it.

It should be easy to mock Trump's failures in business, although no one managed it in 2016. (It's hard to make Trump look like a failure when network television made him look like the ultimate rich guy for fourteen years, an image that's clearly indelible for many Americans.)

It comes off as Bloomberg flaunting his own wealth in a haughty way (as opposed to Trump's phony-populist way). Trump has conned his voters into believing that he's their rich guy, someone who uses his wealth and (alleged) business acumen on their behalf, while Bloomberg is coming off as someone who's more interested in competing with Trump for alpha status than helping ordinary citizens.

So Bloomberg should lose the billboards, or at least stick to the ones that sidestep issues of wealth and taste.

No comments: