February 14, 2020

Bloomberg’s Candidacy

“U.S. presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, rising in public opinion polls in recent weeks, found himself on the defensive on Tuesday over newly surfaced remarks from 2015 in which he said 95% of murderers and murder victims were minorities…

Bloomberg has long struggled with the legacy of the ‘stop-and-frisk’ policing policy he used as mayor of New York, which encouraged police to stop and search pedestrians and ensnared disproportionate numbers of blacks and Latinos.”

See past issues

From the Left

The left is divided about Bloomberg’s political chances and condemns the ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy.

“Mike Bloomberg Is hacking your attention… There are his ubiquitous television, YouTube and Facebook ads. There are his tweets, many of which are weird enough to generate the right amount of viral confusion or are pugnacious enough toward Donald Trump to provoke the ire of the presidential Twitter feed. Then there are the influencers. Starting this week the Bloomberg campaign enlisted the help of a number of popular meme-makers to create sponsored Instagram content for the candidate…

“On Twitter, where some Democratic hopefuls have adopted a ‘they go low, we go high’ mentality, Bloombergians have instead opted to wade into the mud and wrestle with Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed… For citizens looking for a movement or big, structural change or even just a genuine vision for the future of the country, the strategy is disheartening — just another brazen attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator instincts of the internet that leaves a sinking feeling that shameless memes, Twitter dunks and toxic screaming into the algorithmic void have become politics as usual. Or maybe it’s always been this way. After all, what is politics if not a long, well-funded attempt at hacking people’s attention?”
Charlie Warzel, New York Times

“What’s interesting here is that, even if Bloomberg doesn’t win the nomination — which he very likely will not — this [digital ad] spending could end up mattering, anyway. That’s because Bloomberg has pledged to spend a large fortune to dislodge Trump even if he’s not the Democratic nominee…

“That a democratic socialist could end up as the nominee, even as Democrats end up relying in part on billionaire Bloomberg’s money to fend off what may be the largest disinformation warfare campaign in U.S. history — one partly enabled by the threat the Big Tech oligarchy poses to democracy — is another measure of just how weirdly unsettled our politics are right now. It also hints at the odd compromises that might be necessary to survive the current crisis.”
Greg Sargent, Washington Post

Throw them up against the wall. It is impossible for me to imagine that those words would have rolled off Bloomberg’s tongue had he been speaking to a room full of young black and brown men. Or, if people who looked like members of his own family faced that kind of scrutiny as they moved about their communities… In order for people to unfold their arms, he is going to have to face the wall of justified anger and absorb it at full blast… He has to be willing to talk about race and racism, not once or twice but with consistency and courage…

He has to be willing to address the mind-set that created stop-and-frisk and keeps some version of it alive. And that means bringing cops to the table and pushing the leadership and the rank-and-file in blue to interrogate the social and racial factors that lead to disproportionate levels of scrutiny aimed at black and brown men. That will not be easy. But it is worth the risk. A leader who can create a pathway toward a model of policing that seeks justice, while facing up to historical injustice, would be doing a great thing for all of America.”
Michele Norris, Washington Post

“‘Ninety-five percent of murders, murderers and murder victims’ are male minorities between 16 to 25, Bloomberg [said in 2015]. This is actually not true -- not in New York City, and not nationwide… Lots of Democrats made significant mistakes in the 1990s when it came to being tough on crime -- mistakes that were readily apparent by the mid-2000s. [But] You cannot be the leader of a diverse, justice-oriented party when you said, just a few years ago -- well after we well knew just how damaging over-policing and mass incarceration are -- that ‘the way you get the guns out of the kid's hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them.’”
Jill Filipovic, CNN

Some, however, argue that “[Bloomberg’s] mistakes… have to be weighed against a record of courageously speaking out and devoting enormous personal resources to virtually every progressive cause — gun control, abortion rights, climate change, Planned Parenthood, education reform for predominantly minority schools, affordable housing, income inequality and tax reform. And he has vowed as president to focus on building black wealth, not just ending poverty… Sitting here today, Bloomberg — paired with a progressive vice-presidential candidate who can appeal to Sanders’s voters — has the best chance to carry the day.”
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times

From the Right

The right is divided about both Bloomberg’s political chances and the ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy.

The right is divided about both Bloomberg’s political chances and the ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy.

“In an ominous report Wednesday, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg came in first in a poll in Arkansas. No one has yet assessed the sheer amount of money he is spending. He may spend more on Facebook than Klobuchar will spend on her entire campaign…

“[But] Bloomberg’s problem was made vivid this week as his past comments about stop and frisk policing in Black neighborhoods received widespread condemnation. The massive, well-executed Bloomberg ad campaign may crash and burn on the reality of the true Bloomberg. As an old adage goes, the ads failed because they worked. A good ad campaign kills a bad product fast – because it gets more people to try it. Bloomberg may have a clever ‘buy the White House’ idea. But it may be that the country gets vaccinated by Bloomberg himself, and the billions he spends in the end can’t move people once their minds are made up.”
Newt Gingrich, Fox News

“Most critics argue the recording [from 2015] will make it difficult for him to attract far-left liberals and black voters, and some think it could be fatal to his chances. I don’t think that’s true… He was a successful mayor without seriously compromising his blunt style, and New Yorkers generally liked that about him, even when they disagreed…

“Assuming the issue recedes, I think he has a good chance of landing the most important endorsement of all — Barack Obama’s. The two have been allies, if not friends, and Obama did not endorse Bloomberg’s black Democratic opponent in 2009, Bill Thompson, instead using an appearance with Bloomberg to call him an ‘outstanding mayor’… Obama has let it be known that he does not want Bernie Sanders to get the party’s nomination. If Bloomberg can manage to make himself Sanders’ top opponent, it’s easy to imagine Obama leading the establishment in backing him, which would go a long way toward securing the nomination.”
Michael Goodwin, New York Post

Some posit that “There’s a lot that can and should be said about Bloomberg’s comments. First, the stop-and-frisk policy Bloomberg was advocating for was of questionable necessity. When New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio did away with the policy a few years ago, many conservatives expressed concern that de Blasio was effectively handicapping the city’s law enforcement. But... crime in the city continued to decrease significantly — even without stop and frisk…

“And it should go without saying that Bloomberg is engaging in deliberate racial profiling and that this is wrong and shameful. This mindset should give any reasonable person pause, and it should call into question Bloomberg’s ability to lead a diverse country that is already divided… With that said, the timing of when this audio was released reveals something about the Democratic Party and the war for the black vote among its presidential candidates.”
Kaylee McGhee, Washington Examiner

Others argue that “There are some legitimate civil liberties concerns about [‘stop-and-frisk’], although living in a city the size of New York comes with some loss of personal freedoms. But the application of [‘stop-and-frisk’] was not motivated by race, it was motivated by policing where the crime is. It’s was what Thomas Sowell called disparity rather than discrimination… There are electoral reasons conservatives might want to help paint Bloomberg as racist, even if they don’t really believe it… This trolly approach with its healthy dose of schadenfreude is understandable, but it’s also wrong. The larger opportunity here is to use this incident to expose how irrational leftist definitions of racism are.”
David Marcus, The Federalist

“It is too bad that Bloomberg has to tar the Stop and Frisk program with such over the top generalizations of who commits murder. What Bloomberg also misses out on is that while there are good reasons to disarm criminals, poor minorities, the very people who are most likely victims of violent crime, are the ones who benefit the most from carrying concealed handguns… [Bloomberg’s claim] doesn’t distinguish between law-abiding blacks who want to protect themselves and the criminals…

“President Trump’s moves on criminal justice reform, coupled with historically low minority unemployment rates, are already threatening to make inroads on minority voting. A Bloomberg nomination might make these inroads even greater and set the stage for a resounding electoral victory by Trump.”
John R. Lott, Fox News

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