Bloomberg grounds presidential campaign in fear, discrimination

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GRAPHIC BY ANGELA VASISHTA / THE FLAT HAT

It is incredibly important that whoever wins the Democratic presidential primaries can beat Donald Trump in November and clean up the mess he has made. Fellow Democrats, if we want to beat Trump and bring about the sweeping change that this country desperately needs, we must not nominate Mike Bloomberg.

You may know Bloomberg from the flood of TV and internet ads that he has spent hundreds of millions of his own dollars to make. This strategy of self-funding has made it possible for Bloomberg to spread his message without working too hard to defend his ideas on the campaign trail or the debate stage. One such ad that keeps coming up on my YouTube feed proclaims, “Mike got it done as mayor and he’ll get it done as president.”

Perhaps it’s worth examining what exactly Bloomberg got done.

From 2002 to 2013, Mike Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City. He served as a Republican, and did not become a Democrat until late 2018 — not even two years ago. As mayor, Bloomberg expanded the racist “stop-and-frisk” policy that allowed police officers to target African Americans and other minorities. Under Bloomberg’s leadership, the New York Police Department spied on Muslims using undercover agents and secret informants. New York Times writer Jamelle Bouie said that under Bloomberg, New York City became “a quasi-authoritarian state for many of its black, brown and Muslim residents.”

Don’t just take my word for it. Bloomberg has been incredibly open about his racist leadership. In 2015, he told a crowd at the Aspen Institute, “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.” When explaining why he allowed the NYPD to target minority neighborhoods, Bloomberg said, “Because that’s where all the crime is.”

That’s not the only time Bloomberg has publicly expressed his outdated beliefs. Just last year, Bloomberg discussed transgender rights by saying, “If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she, or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula for most people.”

When Sen. Elizabeth Warren confronted Bloomberg on the non-disclosure agreements that his company signed with employees to keep allegations of sexual misconduct and gender discrimination quiet, Bloomberg would not say how many of these agreements exist and added with a smirk, “None of them accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.” That is a confession of sexual harassment.

Despite all this, Bloomberg’s supporters claim he is the only person who can beat Trump. But Democrats do not win elections by sacrificing our core values. We win by bringing disenfranchised voters into the political system and building broad coalitions of young people, working class people and people of color. That’s what Barack Obama did in 2008, and what Hillary Clinton failed to do in 2016. Mike Bloomberg’s record will make it impossible for him to do that.

In 2016, a New York billionaire with a history of racism, bigotry and sexual misconduct bought his way to the top of the Republican primary field. Trump’s election made it clear that this country needs big, structural change. Bloomberg, a New York billionaire with a long history of racism, bigotry and sexual misconduct, is not the change we need.

Bloomberg’s popularity is based on politics of fear; specifically, fear of another four years of the Trump administration. Trump and the GOP deal in politics of fear. Democrats are better than that.

When faced with threats to our democracy, we do not cower behind wealthy con men who claim to be our only hope. We look to inspiring, precedent-breaking leaders with vision and courage.

We stand in solidarity with the oppressed and the downtrodden and declare in one voice, “Yes we can.” For the sake of the party, the country, and the future of our democracy, do not give Mike Bloomberg the Democratic nomination.

Email Aidan White at

amwhite02@email.wm.edu.