By Brian Garrard Contributing Writer
“‘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 do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is.” -Michael Bloomberg, 2015. So… How about those Bloomberg memes huh?
Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, currently polls within the top 3 Democratic candidates nationally, and has just recently qualified for the Democratic Debate in Nevada. He’s also probably most well known for enforcing one of the most notoriously and overtly racist policing policies of the current century, the infamous “Stop and Frisk” of New York. Stop and Frisk, to briefly recap, was the practice of sending police into minority neighborhoods to randomly pat down Black and Latino people, justified above by Bloomberg because these neighborhoods were just “where all the crime is.” Now the Federal Appeals courts eventually struck down the practice as unconstitutional, noting both the racial profiling involved and that police were seemingly given a pass to enforce without the need for reasonable suspicion, both of which are explicitly prohibited by the Constitution. Bloomberg consistently defended Stop and Frisk, only apologizing for it for the first time during his campaign for the presidency.
All of this is interesting to note because it bears the question: why are we letting this man run for the Democratic primary at all? After all, the Democrats are trying to beat the Republican President Trump, a man whose tendency toward racist, nationalist and classist policy is the very reason most Democrats want him out of office. And yet, the similarities between the two don’t stop at encouraging racist policing.
For example, Bloomberg is also a Republican. He first won the mayorship of New York as a Republican, became an Independent without changing his political views and then changed his party to Democrat for this election. And as for classism? Well Bloomberg, in interviews during his tenure as mayor, advocated both to cut social security benefits and to not increase taxes on the rich, moves that only hurt the less well-off and only help the wealthy. Bloomberg is also at least acquaintances with Trump, having golfed together and both being friends with who else but America’s most famous alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Bloomberg is actually among those who have been on Epstein’s private plane, referred to by those who knew of it as the “Lolita Express,” a reference to the young girls allegedly trafficked into the sex trade on it. He is also one of the frontrunners of the Democratic Primaries in terms of most sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits, at 40 from 64 separate employees, the details of which are frankly too awful for me to recount right now. But needless to say, they could be another series of articles in and of themselves.
So with sexual harassment, classist rhetoric, explicit racism and sexism and Jeffrey [explitive] Epstein in common with Trump, the question still remains. Why are we letting Bloomberg run as a Democrat against Trump? The answer lies in the biggest thing the two have in common: absurd and seemingly endless wealth. Yes, like Trump, Bloomberg is also a billionaire seemingly trying to buy his way into the election, except where Trump used his inflammatory personality and rhetoric to consistently stay a part of the story, Bloomberg is explicitly using his wealth as a strategy. At a whopping $188 million, he has already outspent the other 3 frontrunners entirely from his own personal wealth. This actually means he has spent more on his own campaign then Trump spent on his in 2016, and, terrifyingly, it’s working. Bloomberg has aggressively spent money on ads, both online and on TV, and of course, has inexplicably spent thousands on… memes. Social media is an important platform to reach out to people of all ages, and social media influence has become paramount. And more than any other candidate, Bloomberg is not trying to earn that influence, he’s trying to buy it. The corporate mindset that encouraged some Sunny D brand manager to play suicidal on Twitter has now found its way into politics, and like other social media savvy brands, its inauthenticity is insidious.
I titled this Op-Ed “A wolf in sheep’s clothing”, because I want to make one thing very clear. I believe that Trump is dangerous, that voting him out of office is important and that we should vote against him no matter what. But Bloomberg isn’t an oppositional candidate, he’s not even a lesser of two evils. There’s so much here left unaddressed but I hope I’ve convinced you of this. Voting for Bloomberg isn’t voting against Trump, because in absolutely every way that matters, Bloomberg is Trump.