After the first two Democratic presidential contests of 2020 — which included a vote-counting debacle in Iowa that could’ve used the help of one of my favorite Sesame Street characters — Bernie Sanders has won a majority of votes and has a pretty favorable near-future ahead of him. I don’t trust FiveThirtyEight but this is worth a look, and even CNN argues that he’s the frontrunner.
But another candidate who isn’t even on the ballot in the first four contests is catching up in the polls, and some pundits are now calling this a two way race because of that candidate: Michael Bloomberg, former Republican mayor of New York and muppet lookalike:
His golf outings with Trump and muppet similarities aside, here’s the unprecedented thing about Bloomberg: he’s jumping into a presidential race very late by skipping the first four contests and basically gambling his own billions to win. That’s a glaring sign of the real and ugly power of wealth (and the consequences of inequality) in American politics. It almost makes billionaire-backed campaigns like Mayor Pete’s appear laughable. Those candidates, at the very least, have to ask billionaires and corporations and Super PACs for money instead of simply emptying their own coffers into a campaign.
Seriously, just look at the massive amount of bucks in play because Bloomberg is using his own fortune:
So, when I think of Bloomberg becoming president by means of billionaire purchasing power, I think of America now except less Trumpy (he calls himself the “un-Trump”). I know he’s obviously not the same; a major respectable difference is that Bloomberg knows climate change is real and has a plan to fight it (even though it won’t work).
But he’s far richer than Trump, and even fellow moderate Amy Klobuchar has a problem with that. Bloomberg could, for example, not barge into an already crowded and confused Democratic primary and instead invest his own billions to combat climate change. His fortune could house the homeless in America and he’d still have plenty left over.
He is, instead, spending of spending hundreds of millions on an anti-democratic Democratic presidential campaign that has low chances of actually winning the nomination.
Anyway, I promised fifteen reasons why Bloomberg doesn’t deserve anyone’s vote. Let’s get into that. What follows isn’t even much of my own writing, which is kind of lazy. It’s mostly quotes from other sources, including quotes straight from Bloomberg’s own mouth, because Bloomberg’s record and campaign tactics speak for themselves.
Also, if there are some “blue no matter who” readers, thank you for making it this far! Please understand that I’m not trying to “attack” Bloomberg as much as present what he’s said and done and plans to do if elected as evidence for why nobody should vote for him.
Michael Bloomberg is trying to buy the Democratic Party nomination and the presidency, which is anti-democratic
I personally believe that Bloomberg’s willingness to buy the election should be disqualifying on its own in a time of rampant inequality. His relative success in polls is due to his exorbitant spending on TV ads:
“Bloomberg entered the presidential race in November, and has since spent more than $300 million of his own money in his effort to secure the Democratic nomination. Much of the focus on Bloomberg’s historic spending spree has been on the TV ads he’s running in at least 29 states, helping boost him into the top tier in polls and driving up the price of air time for other candidates. Beyond pushing out his competitors, though, Bloomberg’s spending is having a shockingly disruptive effect on Democratic politics throughout the country: He is hiring armies of staffers and canvassers in nearly every state in the country at eye-popping salaries, poaching talent from other campaigns and progressive organizations that are now struggling to fill jobs. In just three months, the Bloomberg campaign has hired thousands of people to staff more than 125 offices around the country, the New York Times reported Thursday.
The former New York City mayor, who has committed to directing his money in support of whoever the eventual Democratic nominee is, claims that his billions of dollars will save the party.”
– Ryan Grim, The Intercept
Michael Bloomberg became a Republican just to win an election
In a time when the GOP is willing to do anything, no matter how immoral, dangerous, corrupt, or cowardly, to maintain power, a former Republican who was chosen to run by the GOP is a bad look for Democrats:
“Well, the Republican Party called me, asked me to run. I’ve been endorsed by almost all local Republican government officials and party leaders. And I agree with the Republican values of those inclusive Republicans like the mayor, like the governor. And I’m very comfortable in running as a Republican, and I will stay a Republican long after this election.”
Michael Bloomberg created and oversaw Stop and Frisk, a racist policy that was humiliating, terrifying, and even deadly for people of color
“. . . according to data collected by the New York attorney general, less than 0.1 percent of stops lead to weapons possession, and less than 0.1 percent resulted in a violent crime conviction. During one year of his administration, nearly 700,000 people were stopped by police — with Black and Brown New Yorkers nine times more likely to be stopped than whites. In 2011, there were more stops of Black men 14 to 24 years old than the number of young Black men who lived in New York City, according to census data.
Stop and frisk exploded under Bloomberg, increasing by 600 percent from his first year in office, in 2002, to 2012. As activists and Black people, we knew from experience that police stops were not only a form of racial profiling that cause emotional and psychological trauma, missed school days, and lost jobs — they could also be deadly. Studies show that increased police interaction for Black people means an increased risk of injury or death. The case of Sean Bell, a young man killed by police in a hail of 50 bullets a year into Bloomberg’s second term, remains fresh in our memories.”
– Monifa Bandele, Vox
Michael Bloomberg based stop and frisk on his own racist views
No amount of apologies can erase this one. When a person in power enacts a dangerous policy that can have deadly consequences based on racist views, you can’t fully trust that they won’t do the same again.
“Ninety-five percent of your murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city. . . . Put the cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods. So one of the unintended consequences is people say, ‘Oh my God, you’re arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities!’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is.”
You can listen for yourself:
Stop and frisk violated Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and was ruled as unconstitutional
I think this is probably worse than the Democrats nominating a candidate that was under FBI investigation. At least that was just about emails and servers. This is violating the constitution itself in multiple ways (privacy and equal protection), and we all know Trump is plenty guilty of that, so why put up a candidate who already has been sued for violating constitutional rights while in office?
“Without the reasonable articulable suspicion required under the Fourth Amendment, NYPD officers have been, and are engaged in, rampant stops and frisks of individuals, including Plaintiffs. NYPD officers, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, often have used, and continue to use, race and/or national origin — not reasonable suspicion — as the determinative factors in deciding to stop and frisk individuals. The victims of such racial and/or national origin profiling are principally Black and Latino.
The NYPD’s widespread constitutional abuses have flourished as a result of, and are directly and proximately caused by, policies, practices and/or customs devised, implemented and enforced by the City, Kelly and Bloomberg. The City, Kelly and Bloomberg have acted with deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of those who would come into contact with NYPD officers by: (a) failing to properly screen, train, and supervise NYPD officers, (b) inadequately monitoring NYPD officers and their stop and frisk practices, (c) failing to sufficiently discipline NYPD officers who engage in constitutional abuses, and (d) encouraging, sanctioning, and failing to rectify the NYPD’s unconstitutional practices.”
(Of note, the policy was ruled as unconstitutional and Bloomberg’s appeal was dropped by his successor, Bill de Blasio, who has now endorsed Bernie Sanders for president and is campaigning against his billionaire predecessor.)
Sub-reason: Bloomberg lied about it, too
Then Bloomberg, in his recent “apology” for stop and frisk (which coincides with his presidential run), lied about how he cut back stop and frisk by “95%” when he actually increased it by a lot:
“The statement drew immediate backlash over its twisting of history. In 2001, New York City maintained an aggressive program of stopping and searching people throughout the city, with an overwhelming focus on young African American and Latino men. But, under the Bloomberg administration, the program vastly expanded, from around 97,296 stops in 2002 to a height of 685,724 in 2011 — a more than sevenfold increase during the former mayor’s tenure.”
– Lee Fang, The Intercept
Michael Bloomberg thought white people were stopped by cops “too frequently”
This is a very clear example of how, under systemic racism, some white people claim that they are really the victims of racism, or “reverse racism” — or, in Bloombergs words, “exactly reverse of what they say.”
“Mayor Bloomberg claimed that people of color should be stopped and frisked more — not less — while whites are stopped too frequently.
‘I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they say,’ Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show, in response to the City Council passing two bills aimed at reining in the controversial policing tactic.”
– Yoav Gonen, New York Post
Michael Bloomberg’s climate change plan is not enough and can’t work
Bloomberg’s climate policies are also nowhere near the IPCC’s requirements, and to call a Green New Deal “pie in the sky” will not excite any voters on climate change since the Green New Deal is a highly supported plan to combat climate change among Democrats — 92% of Democratic Iowa caucus-goers support it. Also, similar to Warren’s plan, a market-based climate change plan cannot work:
“In January, he promised to introduce what he considered to be an “achievable” version of the Green New Deal, praising the concept of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s version but calling it ‘pie in the sky.’ . . . In an op-ed announcing Beyond Carbon, Mr. Bloomberg essentially argued that the solution to climate change might not come through government action. The Green New Deal ‘stands no chance of passage in the Senate over the next two years,’ he wrote.”
– Maggie Astor, The New York Times
I don’t know about you, but to me, “the solution to climate change might not come through government action” sounds like inaction by Michael Bloomberg concerning the most severe and urgent crisis humanity has ever faced should be become president.
Michael Bloomberg is a sexist employer who told a pregnant employee to “kill it”
“He asked her about her marriage — apparently part of a pattern that involved Bloomberg prodding and ridiculing women in his office who were married. When Garrison told Bloomberg her marriage was good, in part, because she was pregnant, Bloomberg reportedly made the comments.
‘He responded to her, “Kill it!”’ the court documents read. ‘Plaintiff asked Bloomberg to repeat himself, and again he said, “Kill it!” and muttered, “Great! Number 16!” suggesting to plaintiff his unhappiness that sixteen women in the Company had maternity-related status. Then he walked away.’”
– Connor Perrett, Business Insider
Michael Bloomberg is also a transphobe
“If you want to know if somebody is a good salesman, give them the job of going to the Midwest and picking a town and selling to that town the concept that some man wearing a dress should be in a locker room with their daughter,” Bloomberg said. “If you can sell that, you can sell anything.”
The presidential hopeful, who came in tenth place in the Iowa caucus, then pivoted to explain a policy in New York prisons requiring inmates “drop their trousers” to determine whether they are sent to a men or women’s correctional facility.
“You can’t sit there, you can’t mix things in a jail,” Bloomberg said.
– Connor Perrett, Business Insider
Michael Bloomberg’s campaign is financially self-serving
“Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has released his tax plan, under which he would pay nearly $5 billion less under his wealth tax than he would under Senator Bernie Sanders’s proposal. That’s according to a CBS analysis, which found Bloomberg’s plan would also generate far less government revenue than Sanders’s plan.”
The most important person is yourself, right? Especially given the “far less government revenue” part, Bloomberg might as well make this a campaign slogan: “Not Us, Me!”
Among Democratic candidates, Bloomberg is the most similar to Trump, especially on race
“Bloomberg must never become president of the United States. He and Trump are two sides of the same white supremacist billionaire coin. Heads for a national Muslim ban, tails for spying on thousands of Muslims in New Jersey and New York. Actually, Bloomberg is much more explicit in his intolerable views on people of color. . . .
The billionaire mayor is not only racist, but wrong. In New York state from 2008-2018, people reported for murder were 26% white, 44% black and 29% unknown. And 60% of the victims were black and more than 30% were white. Under Bloomberg’s paradigm, white people could go into black neighborhoods and kill endless amounts of people, but the police would never search or any other suspect who is not a “minority.”
Black boys and men are disproportionately victims of homicides, but prisons increase violence, not decrease it. Additionally, the strongest indicator of murder is socioeconomic disadvantage, not race. Studies show that “violent crime rates for extremely disadvantaged white neighborhoods are more similar to rates for extremely disadvantaged black areas than to rates for other types of white neighborhoods.” Rather than putting more cops on the streets, Bloomberg, or any mayor, could have used community development and investment to reduce violence. But as recently as 2015, Bloomberg doubled down on his faulty claims.
Bloomberg’s logic illustrates Michelle Alexander’s argument in The New Jim Crow, that politicians exploit real concerns and fears about violent crime to push racially biased and punitive approaches to harass and incarcerate black people for all types of harm. The murder rate is in significant decline across the United States, but the government still pours resources into police and prisons to solve problems that are not there. What Bloomberg calls “unintended consequences” are actually a foundational piece of mass incarceration – the raids, frisks, arrests and jail.
The results are fatal. Police kill around 1,000 people every year, and injure, assault, and harass hundreds of thousands more whose names we will never know simply because they do not die and become hashtags.”
– Derecka Purnell, The Guardian
Because of that, Bloomberg will not beat Trump
“We will not create the energy and excitement we need to defeat Donald Trump if that candidate pursued, advocated for and enacted racist policies like stop and frisk which caused communities of color in his city to live in fear. The simple truth is that Mayor Bloomberg with all his money will not create the kind of excitement and energy we need to have the voter turnout we must have to defeat Donald Trump.”
– Senator Bernie Sanders
Even Amy Klobuchar thinks Bloomberg is like Trump and is only trying to buy votes
“During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union in January, the Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, another Democratic presidential candidate, likened Bloomberg to Donald Trump.
“When people look at the White House and see this multimillionaire messing up so many things,” Klobuchar said, “I don’t think they think, ‘Oh, we need someone richer.’ I think you have to earn votes, not buy them.””
– Daniel Strauss, The Guardian
And Warren believes that Bloomberg’s campaign is dangerous to democracy
“I was at an event in Iowa City a couple of days before the caucuses with Elizabeth Warren, and she called Bloomberg a danger to our democracy with the way that he is running the campaign, spending this much and skipping the early states. Not him, but the campaign was a danger to our democracy. That’s the way she said it.”
– Edward-Isacc Dovere, Slate
Sanders will beat Trump and Bloomberg will not because despite his money, he won’t get the votes needed to win
From Sanders himself:
The argument for Sanders over Bloomberg
In terms of campaigning, Bloomberg’s campaign, like Sanders’, is unprecedented in American politics, although for almost polar opposite reasons. Sanders is taking money only from individual donors; Bloomberg is not taking donations (because he’s worth many billions) and has invested hundreds of millions of his own money into his campaign. His ad buys, including an $11 million Super Bowl spot, are a literal definition of oligarchy and plutocracy.
In terms of policy and message, the Sanders vision is one of progress and equality and inclusivity and a great expansion of the commons with plans like Medicare for All and free college tuition; Bloomberg more-or-less promises a continuation of the status quo in terms of the economy (Bloomberg doesn’t support a wealth tax), healthcare (Bloomberg won’t end for-profit insurance), and education (Bloomberg has no plan for student debt).
However, left policies like Medicare for All and free college tuition are gaining rapid support among a majority of Democratic voters. People aren’t just excited to enact policies that would undoubtedly make their lives better, dramatically reduce healthcare costs, and save lives. They’re fighting hard for it because they need it. Unlike Bloomberg’s corporate-based policies, they will vote for the Sanders platform. This isn’t a matter of what’s possible in our political climate. It’s a matter of what’s necessary. It’s about battles over social welfare programs that have been going on in the United States for centuries, and it’s about time what we won them.
Bernie Sanders is a “son of the American working class” and he always fights for us; Bloomberg is a happy member of the ruling class who likes “theater, dining, and chasing women.” It’s a simple fact that Bloomberg doesn’t fight for most of our causes and certainly doesn’t prioritize winning them. In fact, even though he’s rising in the polls, Bloomberg might not win much of anything.
It would be great to see the Bloomberg campaign end sooner than later. So, please don’t vote for Michael Bloomberg. Don’t lend any legitimacy to his billionaire influence and his attempt to buy your vote. He has already proved why he doesn’t deserve it.