On Bloomberg and the boys in blue

Daniel Walker


On February 29th, the first official month of the Democratic primary closed out with former Vice President and current bumbling coot Joe Biden netting an unexpected win in South Carolina. While some have found occasion to fret that this win might disrupt the forward momentum of left-leaning candidates like Bernie Sanders, there are down-sides and upsides to this turn of events.

The downside is that Joe Biden stinks, and when he wins things it is a personal affront to myself and the American people. The upside is that his win seems to have rattled his center-left competitors like Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg, who were competing alongside Biden for the title of “Most Popular Democrat Who Isn’t Bernie.” As I write this, Buttigieg has just dropped out of the race; but only time will tell if other candidates will follow his lead. One candidate who should definitely follow Pete’s lead– and frankly, already should have — is Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg’s claim to fame is serving as the mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013, and serving as the chairman and CEO of his own financial information firm for 20 years before his mayoral stint. Those who support Bloomberg argue that since he’s someone who has spent the majority of his life within the political establishment, naturally he will have some idea of how to restore order and sanity to the White House in the wake of the rancorous Trump administration. The argument that Bloomberg’s status as an “establishment” candidate is a reason to trust him is the central crippling flaw with his campaign’s ideology.

Some of his supporters liken him to Trump, but on the Democrats’ side, which is certainly true — more true than either might be willing to acknowledge. They’re both businessmen who transitioned into political careers, they both have well-recorded histories of publicly denigrating and sexually harassing women, and they both have ties to deposed child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. But the most telling similarity that both men share is their role in shaping the geopolitical landscape of New York — specifically in ways that endanger the historically marginalized and prioritize the comforts of the wealthy and privileged.

A central point of criticism people have leveraged against Bloomberg is the unjust policies carried out by the NYPD during his tenure as mayor. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, mosques in New York City and New Jersey were unjustly and covertly surveilled by the NYPD under Bloomberg’s watch. But as CNN reports, when Bloomberg was challenged about this policy, he dishonestly responded by saying that police only entered mosques when invited in. More infamous is the “stop-and-frisk” policy instituted during Bloomberg’s tenure, which, according to NPR, targeted over five million New Yorkers — most of whom were young men of color, and most of whom were totally innocent. Based on this evidence alone, Bloomberg’s role in perpetuating racially biased policing is undeniable. Trump’s career as a New York mover and shaker began well before Bloomberg’s: he started off at his father’s real estate firm the Trump Organization, which had previously been charged with violating the 1968 Fair Housing Act by discriminating against African-American tenants. He rose in profile as a real estate magnate in the 1980s and ear-ly 1990s, concurrent with then-mayor Rudy Giuliani’s campaign to “clean up” NYC by cracking down on crime, which is to say, locking up lots and lots of minorities. In one very well-publicized 1989 incident, Trump took out a full-page newspaper ad calling for the execution of five youths of color accused of the assault of a white, female jogger in Central Park. The suspects were later cleared of the charges after DNA analysis, but as recently as his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump still maintained that they were guilty.

So Trump is a demagogue. That much is obvious to anyone with a pulse. But if Trump is an outgrowth of a racist system, Bloomberg is one of the few actively working to ensure that that racist system stays in place. His campaign serves as further proof that the people deserve politicians who fight on behalf of them, and not on behalf of faceless institutions like the police who do not always have their best interests at heart. And unlike the staggeringly many victims of police brutality, if Bloomberg’s campaign dies a premature death, I doubt many will mourn it.