On Wednesday and Thursday, the first Democratic presidential debates will take place with ten different candidates debating on each of the days in Miami, Florida.
Since the 2016 elections, the Democratic Party has been attempting to brand itself as the party of typical Americans. It began by requiring all of its TV network partners to livestream primary debates for free, which was not required in 2016.
However, with regards to its leading representatives, the Democratic Party still remains out of touch. Among the twenty Democratic presidential candidates selected for the upcoming debates, at least seven of them are or have been millionaires, while another three could very well be millionaires.
Among the candidates in the first Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday, Former Rep. John Delany leads the pack with a total net worth of $93 million in 2016. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke trails him with at least $9 million in net worth in 2015. Senator Elizabeth Warren has a net worth between $4 and $11 million in 2017. Lastly, Senator Amy Klobuchar is valued at a net worth of $1.2 million in 2015.
Another candidate who may fit the bill on the Wednesday debate is Mayor Bill de Blasio, who owns two properties worth more than $500,000 each, along with a $258,750 annual salary as mayor, although he reminds his supporters that he “is not a man of tremendous wealth.”
Among the candidates in the second Democratic presidential debate on Thursday, Senator Michael Bennet wins with a net worth of at least $6.6 million. Senator Bernie Sanders is behind with a net worth around $2.5 million in 2019. Spiritual guru Marianne Williamson trails with $957,000 to $4.5 million in 2014.
It is highly likely that former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is a millionaire given that he sold a $5.8 million stake in a chain of breweries and restaurants in 2007. Despite having accumulated debt during his public service, former Vice President Joe Biden is another contender, given that he rebounded financially, purchasing a $2.7 million vacation home in 2017, charging fees of more than $100,000 per speaking gig, and obtaining book deals worth around seven figures.
Most of these candidates do not have a significant history of specifically attacking millionaires, usually going after billionaires instead and sometimes even reassuring the rich that they will not “demonize” them.
Senator Sanders remains the exception as he once called millionaires in the Senate “immoral” and frequently lashed out against millionaires and billionaires on the campaign trail in 2016: “There is no justice when, in recent years, we have seen a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires while at the same time, the United States has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world.” However, progressive news website Think Progress notes that once Bernie Sanders became a millionaire in 2017, his rhetoric against millionaires and billionaires primarily transformed into one just against billionaires.
Regardless of their personal statements, the candidates all ironically remain part of a party that claims in its platform: “Democrats believe that today’s extreme levels of income and wealth inequality are bad for our people, bad for our businesses, and bad for our economy.” It also supposedly claims to stand for “those families who suffered the loss of their homes,” “low-income families,” and those “living below the poverty line.”
So while the Democrats will claim to represent low-income individuals and typical Americans on the debate stage this Wednesday and Thursday, at least be skeptical whether they really know how to do that and what is best for them.