One of the most disturbing trends in the era of Trump has been the flock of billionaires that have come rushing into the Democratic Party to pose as leaders of an opposition movement to the “fascist” predations of the real estate mogul. These billionaires, which include capitalists such as George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, and Tom Steyer are the architects of a “Big Tent” strategy first outlined by Black Agenda Report Editor Glen Ford. This strategy was devised by the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign of 2016. The strategy has two components. The first component is the promotion of “diversity” to distract from the fact that the Democratic Party can no longer appeal to the interests of the poor or working-class, especially Black people who have been held in electoral captivity for a generation. Second, “Big Tent” Democrats actively seek an alliance of Wall Street, the military and intelligence apparatus, and Republicans to provide the financial and political strength behind the strategy.
The “Big Tent” strategy is called the “Resistance.” One of the chief billionaire-backers of the “Resistance” is Pierre Omidyar. Omidyar is the founder of the eBay corporation. His surplus profits have been used over the years to exert “soft power” influence over the U.S. state. Omidyar has given hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of cash to Democratic Party candidates since 1999.
Omidyar was one of the principle donors to the NeverTrump Political Action Committee (PAC) that formed during the 2016 election. The NeverTrump PAC brought together neoliberal and neoconservative Democrats into an alliance against Trump. William Kristol, editor in chief at the Weekly Standard and longtime Republican, has been one of the most vocal supporters of the NeverTrump movement. Kristol is an expert in the think-tank business and understands the importance of “soft power.” He helped found the Project for the New American Century that peddled neocon wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as an escalation of the U.S.’ military presence around the world, including on Russia’s doorstep. Kristol has become a favorite of the corporate media since Trump was elected in 2016. He is a regular on MSNBC and is viewed by corporate Democrats as the “sane” wing of the Republican Party.
That Omidyar would align with Kristol is a stark indication of the “Big Tent” strategy at work. In a post on Twitter after the midterm elections came to pass, Kristol celebrated the support that he has received from “the left” and its benefactors such as Pierre Omidyar. Kristol’s excitement about billionaire support from all sides of the political aisle represents a development in the Trump era that is far more dangerous than Trump himself. The “Big Tent” strategy is a marked political shift to the right. Not only this, but the shift is part and parcel of a covert war against the real “left” that is principally being waged by the fake “left” coalition of thieves and warmongers in the Democratic Party.
The critical question that must be asked is whether there are any benefits for ordinary poor and working-class people in supporting the NeverTrump coalition or billionaire backers such as Omidyar. And the answer is more complex than a simple “no.” It is far worse than that. Omidyar is not a “lesser-evil” billionaire. In the system of U.S. imperialism, those don’t exist.
By supporting Omidyar and his version of the “Resistance,” most of humanity stands to lose. Omidyar’s “soft power” network has only one mission and that is to stabilize an empire in crisis. One of the ways that Omidyar has attempted to stabilize the imperialist system is through investments in journalism. Omidyar is the principle owner of First Look Media, the parent corporation of The Intercept. While The Intercept has covered important issues in the past, it has been charged with privatizing Edward Snowden’s leaks and promoting regime change efforts in Syria through direct attacks on the democratically-elected government of Bashar Al-Assad. Furthermore, The Intercept possesses a troubling record of outing the identities of those leaking secret government information. In a word, Omidyar has used his influence over The Intercept to stifle dissent while promoting the outlet as a pioneer of “independent” media.
Omidyar is most concerned, however, with ensuring that the US empire maintains corporate and military control over the world’s nations and peoples. He has donated millions to the Clinton Global Initiative responsible for imposing ruthless austerity measures on nations such as Haiti. There is also documented evidence that Omidyar used his philanthropic network to support the “Maidan Revolution” in Ukraine in 2014 which propelled neo-Nazis into state power, much to the pleasure of the IMF. The billionaire eBay mogul has also been a critical supporter of the United States Agency for International Development or USAID. USAID is well-known for its support of “soft power” tactics to promote regime change in nations that do not bow down to U.S. military and corporate power such as Cuba.
Omidyar is not just dangerous at the individual level. Rather, the billionaire’s influence over the U.S. power structure is representative of conflict within the ruling class of the imperialist system headed by the United States. On the other side of Omidyar stands Trump, a ruthless billionaire who holds no allegiance to any sector of the imperialist system. Trump is not loyal to the banks or the military and intelligence apparatus. Trump is loyal to himself. His moves as President thus far such as the tax breaks for the rich, his willingness to broker peace in Korea, or his racist dog whistles and policies toward immigration from Central America, are all representative of the sharpening decline of imperialism.
Omidyar wants to save the imperialist system from decline. The section of the billionaire class from which Omidyar belongs is interested only in engendering endless war and austerity under conditions of social peace. The likes of Omidyar pose as the “Resistance” to Trump but really represent a threat of potentially greater proportions. Omidyar actively creates infrastructure for leftists and progressives to be bamboozled into supporting the machinations of imperialism. It is no secret that the section of the Republican Party that supports Trump also wields “soft power” through its own think-tanks such as the Federalist Society. However, in this period of crisis in the political apparatus of imperialism, party lines are becoming blurred. The “Big Tent” strategy reigns and billionaires such as Omidyar will do anything to ensure that the deadly alliance re-assumes full control of the system from Trump.
In conclusion, a dialectical relationship exists between Omidyar and Trump. It was Omidyar’s section of the ruling class that created the economic and political conditions for Trump. For over thirty years, billionaires such as Omidyar, Steyer, and Buffet have bled workers and poor people dry. Wages and wealth have plummeted for the majority while profits and land holdings have soared for the minority. The only thing that workers and poor people can count on is that the military, police, and surveillance apparatus will grow as people become more desperate and impoverished. Omidyar and the Democratic Party-aligned billionaires have coalesced with as many repressive forces in the ruling class as possible to wage a struggle against Trump. In doing so, they avoid the very real crisis of legitimacy that elected Donald Trump in the first place.
We should steer clear of supporting Omidyar and expose his putrid political record as proof that there is no such thing as a “progressive” billionaire. Real progressives and radicals stand for universal healthcare, peace, jobs, and against war, mass incarceration, and mass surveillance. These are the political issues of our time that the entire ruling class stands against. Trump knew this and politically appealed to anti-regime change and anti-free trade sentiment within the Republican and Democratic Party. Through their “resistance” toward Trump, Omidyar and his ilk have as their real goal the suppression of this sentiment so that it never becomes a truly progressive movement for social transformation in this country.