Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. They laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work digging out the truth. Please support this independent journalism today by donating to our critical Fall Campaign. We cannot do it without you. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks during the California Democrats 2019 State Convention at the Moscone Center on June 01, 2019 in San Francisco, California.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks during the California Democrats 2019 State Convention at the Moscone Center on June 01, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

'Read the Room': Hickenlooper Booed at California Democratic Convention for Decrying Socialism, Calling for Pragmatism

The former Colorado governor, who's raised 91 percent of his 2020 campaign haul thus far from big donors, once drank fracking fluid to prove the chemicals weren't dangerous to the environment

Eoin Higgins

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper misread the room at the California Democratic Convention Saturday when he tried to convince the conference that moving to the left is the wrong electoral strategy for 2020. 

Hickenlooper, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president, told the crowd at San Francisco's Moscone Center that looking to socialism for an answer to the problems the U.S. faces in 2019 is an error that could cost the party its chance at the White House next year.

"If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals," said Hickenlooper, "socialism is not the answer."

Loud, sustained booing followed the comment, prompting Hickenlooper to tell the crowd they could re-elect President Donald Trump if they weren't "careful." 

The crowd quieted until Hickenlooper began talking about "pragmatism" as the path forward, telling the crowd that big ideas for solving the country's most pressing issues simply aren't feasible. 

"We shouldn't try to achieve universal coverage by removing private insurance from over 150 million Americans," said Hickenlooper, as the crowd grew louder. "We should not try to tackle climate change by guaranteeing every American a government job."

Hickenlooper, who's raised 91 percent of his $2 million 2020 campaign haul thus far from big donors—including nearly $35,000 from the healthcare industry—once drank fracking fluid to prove the chemicals weren't dangerous to the environment.

After his remarks to the San Francisco crowd, Hickenlooper told The Hill that by "socialism" he meant any Democratic proposal Republicans would reject.

"Massive government expansions may not be strictly speaking socialism, but trust me: Republicans will make it seem like socialism," said Hickenlooper.

In 2009 and 2010, Republicans called a healthcare bill written by ultra-right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation "socialism" once the legislation was proposed by then-President Barack Obama, a Democrat. 

The response to Hickenlooper's comments, activist Jordan Uhl said on Twitter, was evidence that the candidate doesn't understand the new reality of the party. 

"Hickenlooper is polling at 0 percent and was widely booed in his speech today," Uhl said. "100 percent chance he doesn't read the room and stays in the race out of pure hubris."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

The right-wing West Virginia Democrat and fossil fuel investor has previously confessed his intent to quash his own party's sweeping $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package.

Brett Wilkins ·


After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

"When it's time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo," said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Disgraceful': Just 9 Republicans Join With Dems to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

The vote "reveals just how far the Republican Party has fallen" since Trump took control as GOP's de facto leader, said one pro-democracy advocate.

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo