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Choose Your Billionaire

"We New Yorkers know a con when we see one" - Bloomberg's take-down of Donald Trump."We New Yorkers know a con when we see one" - Bloomberg's take-down of Donald Trump.
"We New Yorkers know a con when we see one" - Bloomberg's take-down of Donald Trump.Photograph by Getty Images

I’ve written here before that, for the first time since World War II, there is no candidate of business in the U.S. election. So what’s a voting businessperson to do?

Michael Bloomberg took to the Democratic Convention stage last night to give his answer. Interestingly, the one-time Republican got a prime-time speaking spot – 9:20 p.m. – while his liberal Democratic successor, Bill DiBlasio, was stuck in a dead zone – 4:30 p.m.. Bloomberg made it clear that he’s not endorsing the Democratic platform, and he earned boos from the crowd for briefly suggesting Democrats err in opposing education reform and deficit reduction, and in blaming “the private sector for our problems.”

 

But he then gave a full-throated takedown of Donald Trump – “we New Yorkers know a con when we see one” – and an equally enthusiastic endorsement of Hillary Clinton – whom he called “a problem-solver, not a bomb thrower.”

It’s worth comparing Bloomberg’s speech – which you can watch in full here – to that given by in Cleveland by investor Peter Thiel – which you can watch here. Neither is very long. The news coverage of Thiel focused on his sexual orientation – he was apparently the first openly gay person ever to speak in prime time at a Republican convention. But his real message was that the Democrats’ obsession with inequality and political correctness was destroying innovation and growth. “Fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline, and nobody in this race is being honest about it except Donald Trump.”

Which billionaire has it right? As Roger Ailes used to say: We report, you decide.

And if you care to write about your decision, consider doing so for the Fortune Insiders Network, which we relaunched yesterday on Medium. We are eager to hear from business leaders on how they are navigating this year’s election conundrum.