Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is running for President on the Democratic side. Mr Bloomberg, despite corporate media’s kvetching, is, in fact, an oligarch attempting to buy the nomination. He has spent more than $300m of his own money so far on advertising and plans to double that moving forward. Van Jones of CNN once said that Hilary Clinton ‘lit a billion dollars on fire’ in reference to her 2016 campaign. Mr Bloomberg is on track to do the same and more. But what is it that Bloomberg actually represents? What is his record? How did he govern in his former role and how does that translate to being President of The United States?
Refloating the Bloomberg, Part One: Stop and Frisk
It is perhaps useful to start with the most infamous aspect of Bloomberg’s record when he was Mayor of New York City: the notorious Stop and Frisk programme. This was a dramatic increase in the powers of law enforcement to stop citizens on the street and ‘pat them down’ in search of contraband. No warrant was required: looking suspicious (whatever that means) was grounds prima facia. Well, it turns out that there is, in fact, a definition of ‘looking suspicious’: having brown or black skin. If you think this hyperbolic or rhetorically charged, there is statistical data to back up the fact that stop and frisk was prejudicial and clearly racist. On average, 78% of stops from 2003-2013 were of black or brown-skinned people. Until quite recently (understood as just before he decided to run for President as a Democrat), Bloomberg defended this policy.
Stop and Frisk Exposed: Attack of the Facts
Leftie commentator Benjamin Dixon has unearthed such a defence from as recently as 2015. The audio that Dixon exposed contains the following gem that would, in any sane world, render Bloomberg’s political career terminal
95% of your murders – murderers and murder victims – fit one MO. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities sixteen to twenty-five. And that’s where the real crime is… You wanna spend the money on a lot of cops in the streets. Put the cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighbourhoods.
So virtually all murders are committed by, and against, minorities. Not just in New York, but in every city. It is the definition of a hasty generalisation to assume that because a statistic holds in a particular location that it can be generalised to ‘every city’, and Bloomberg is a fool for saying so. Also, put the cops where the crime is, which means minority neighbourhoods? Wow. So minorities (read non-whites) commit crimes because that is just how they are. He either does not know or does not care what a total frickin racist he sounds like. As I said before the quote, in any sane world Mr Bloomberg’s political aspirations would be rendered terminal by such comments, but we do not live in a sane world.
Refloating the Bloomberg, Part Two: Which Party Is He Anyway?
This section comprises two parts: Bloomberg’s endorsement of Bush 43 at the 2004 Republican Convention and his financial contributions to Republicans in the 2018 midterms.
First, the GOP Convention in 2004. Mr Bush had been appointed President by the Supreme Court in 2000 amidst much chicanery in Florida where his brother was Governor. Bush started the Iraq war on false pretences and utterly politicised the fear of the post 9/11 world. He was, in short, a terrible President. Mr Bloomberg’s decision to endorse Bush in 2004 after all of his blunders in office suggests either rank partisanship, bandwagonism or woefully inept political assessment. His political affiliation also changed with the times. Bloomberg was formerly a Democrat until he changed his affiliation in 2001 to become a Republican to run for NYC Mayor. He then endorsed a Republican President in 2004, and now expects to be taken seriously as a candidate for the Democratic nomination. Spare us, Mr Mayor: you are a political weathervane.
The second example of Bloomberg’s political opportunism concerns the 2018 midterm elections, with particularly nasty consequences. Bloomberg spent more than $10m to aid in the re-election of a Republican Senator in New York. The candidate won by 1.5 points over the Democrat. The result was Republican control of the Senate. This led to the nomination and confirmation of right-wing ideologue Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. This shaped the Court for decades. In the future, all the 5-4 decisions that strip away, say, abortion rights, can be laid at the feet of one Michael Reubens Bloomberg.
Refloating the Bloomberg, Part Three: Rundown of His Record and Proposals
During his time in politics, Bloomberg put in place/supported some of the following policies
- He has taken diametrically opposite positions on the issue of the minimum wage. He both blocked an increase as mayor of NYC and recently supported an increase. Given that the minimum wage is one of the New Left’s major issues, it takes a great deal of nerve for Mr Bloomberg, with his record, to expect them to support him.
- He banned so-called ‘Big Gulps’, that is large servings of sugary drinks. It had a series of loopholes through which a truck could have been driven, and it was ultimately struck down by a court. A remarkable example of nanny-state authoritarianism on which the New Left would not support him.
- His own issues page says that as President he would ban so-called flavoured e-cigarettes as well as menthol-flavoured tobacco products. His rationale is that the companies who make these products are profiting off the health of America’s children. Will somebody not please think of the children! Mr Mayor, you are either shortsighted or silly: that same rationale could be used to ban many things! It is also noteworthy that he did not say he would ban all tobacco products. Consistency, thy name is Bloomberg
Conclusion: Be Gone, Oligarch!
My message to Mr Bloomberg is as follows:
In an era of anti-establishment politics, the image of an oligarch (and that is what you are) attempting to buy an election through a personally funded media campaign will go down like the Hindenburg. Also, you have nothing to sell that will counter Trump. You are a standard corporate neoliberal running on values and all the other substance-free crap of which corporate Democrats are so fond.
To paraphrase Cromwell as I did in an earlier piece
Depart, I say, and let us have done with you!
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