It is hard to tell if former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a credible presidential contender but he could be the most controversial person in the race.
For instance, Bloomberg was the eighth richest man in the world; with a personal fortune of $54.5 billion on 1 December 2019, according to Forbes. Additionally, the former mayor has a history of supporting racist and authoritarian policies.
In particular, Bloomberg was an outspoken proponent of Stop & Frisk. Under Stop & Frisk, New York Police stopped pedestrians and searched them for guns in an attempt to enforce gun control.
Racism and Gun Control
Critics; such as U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin; and the American Civil Liberties Union, contend Stop and Frisk is racist because most of those stopped were people of color.
In addition, Scheindlin alleges Stop & Frisk violates the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution. The Fourth Amendment bans unreasonable searches and seizures.
Additionally, Bloomberg apologized to African Americans for Stop and Frisk at a Brooklyn church on 17 November 2019, The Associated Press reports. Thus Bloomberg himself admits Stop & Frisk was racist, unconstitutional, and wrong. Yet he only made the admission after leaving the Mayor’s office. That does not reassure me.
Beyond Stop & Frisk, Bloomberg is an outspoken proponent of gun control; whose gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety is outspending the National Rifle Association (NRA), CNBC claims. For instance, Everytown donated $2.5 million to candidates in the 2019 Virginia state elections, while the NRA spent $300,000.
I think Stop & Frisk; and gun control, will make Bloomberg a hard sell outside of suburbs and urban areas. The gun control moves will not be popular in rural areas and blacks will be skeptical of “Mayor Stop & Frisk.
Republicans can easily portray Bloomberg as “a rich racist white guy from New York who wants to take your guns and trample your rights.” Hence, Bloomerg could help Trump get both rural white and black votes.
The Controversial Mr. Bloomberg
Another controversy is that Bloomberg was historically a Republican but he is running as a Democrat. Such party switching did not hurt Donald J. Trump (R-New York) in 2016, however.
Bloomberg’s role as a media mogul will raise more controversy. For instance, Bloomberg ordered his Bloomberg News agency not to investigate himself, Rolling Stone claims. Notably, Bloomberg News employs 2,700 journalists, Politico claims.
Many will wonder if journalists who could one day apply for a job at Bloomberg can cover the Mayor objectively. Likewise many publications and websites rely on Bloomberg content. So there is a blatant conflict of interest for journalists.
Finally, Bloomberg is running TV ads that make the ex-mayor appear to be America’s savior. Many Americans; including me, will see those ads as supporting a low-key variety of fascism. However, such ads could have wide appeal in a country of growing income inequality, family and community breakdown, and economic insecurity.
Bloomberg’s Odd Strategy
Bloomberg is implementing an interesting strategy that could disrupt presidential politics.
To explain, Bloomberg is running TV ads all across the country in Super Tuesday states; such as Colorado. Super Tuesday; 3 March 2020, is the day that 16 states hold primaries. The nation’s two most populous states; California and Texas, will participate in primaries on Super Tuesday.
Therefore, Bloomberg plans to bypass the early voting states; Iowa, New Hampshire, etc., and concentrate on Super Tuesday. I think the strategy is sound because Super Tuesday gave Trump the Republican nomination in 2016.
However, the risks are great because Bloomberg lacks the groundwork and media exposure other candidates have. For example, Bloomberg could be outside the news cycle for two months.
How Bloomberg could Change Presidential Politics forever
Moreover, I do not think Bloomberg has not built the grassroots organization other candidates have. Hence, the ex-mayor is taking a huge gamble that could change presidential politics forever if it works.
To explain, presidential campaigns have revolved around Iowa and New Hampshire for 50 years. Bloomberg hopes to change that by ignoring those low-population, white, rural states, and concentrating on the population centers.
In addition, Bloomberg is ignoring current political logic that digital advertising is more important than television. Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, for example, have spent over $33 million on Facebook and Google ads but only $7.5 million on television this election cycle, CNN claims.
In retaliation, a Democrat group called PACRONYM plans to spend $75 million on digital ads against Trump. Therefore, the supposed tech billionaire Bloomberg could run an outdated campaign.
Could the Death of Television Doom Bloomberg?
I have to wonder if Bloomberg and his aides have looked at TV ratings recently.
I calculate only 3.5% of America’s population watched the top broadcast network show; CBS’s NCIS, during the eighth week of the 2019-2020 TV season. In detail, Series Finale estimates NCIS had 11.573 million viewers in week eight but there America’s population was 329.065 million people.
Unless only TV viewers vote, Bloomberg could be in trouble. However, Bloomberg’s gambles on TV and Super Tuesday could pay off big time. My guess is Bloomberg hopes his message will be the only ones many voters see, because of his rivals’ obsession with Iowa and New Hampshire.
In fact, the presidential race could be over on 4 March 2020 if Bloomberg’s gamble works. Therefore, the two-way presidential race could start in March and drag on through November.
Why Bloomberg will Probably Loose
I think Bloomberg, will fail because he is too moderate for the left-leaning Democratic base. I estimate 53% of Democrats are backing left-wing candidates in the 2020 primaries.
Specifically, the 17 to 20 November 2019 November Emerson Poll shows five leftists: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), U.S. Senator Liz Warren (D-Massachusetts), Andrew Yang (D-New York) and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) doing well. In detail, Sanders had 27% of the vote, Warren 20%, Yang 4%, and Gabbard 2%.
Meanwhile, the top moderates; former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Delaware), Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-Indiana), U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) and billionaire Tom Steyer (D-California), get 39% of the vote. In detail, Emerson gives Biden 27%, Buttigieg 7%, Harris 3%, and Steyer 2%.
Thus, moderates do not have enough votes to win the Democratic primary. Under those circumstances, I do not think moderate Bloomberg can get enough votes to win. Instead, the most likely scenario is Bloomberg will take votes from Biden or Buttigieg and help put Sanders, Warren, or Yang over the top.
Is Bloomberg really Running for President?
Given the numbers, I have to wonder if Bloomberg is actually running for President? Instead, Bloomberg could be promoting his pet issues; such as gun control and global warming.
Notably, another businessman candidate from New York; Yang, has pushed his issue of basic income into the national dialogue through a presidential campaign. I have to wonder if Bloomberg hopes to follow Yang’s example. The former mayor does not believe he will win, but he thinks can make the election about gun control, or Climate Change.
Bloomberg’s money and presence in the race will jump start one political discussion: that over money in politics. Bloomberg already spent $34 million on television ads in 48 states, Politico claims. In contrast, the Trump campaign has only spent $7.5 million on TV advertising so far, Kantar Media/CMAG estimates.
I predict one result of Bloomberg’s campaign will be more efforts to restrict campaign spending. Many poorer candidates will jump on the campaign finance restriction bandwagon out of fear of competing with billionaires – such as Bloomberg.
Why I am Afraid of Bloomberg
Finally, Bloomberg scares me in ways that Donald J. Trump (R-New York) does not.
Stop & Frisk shows Bloomberg has a history of racism and trampling Constitutional rights. I do not want a man who approves of Stop & Frisk in charge of the U.S Department of Homeland Security and all its resources.
I think Bloomberg is a racist who displays authoritarian and fascist tendencies, in a similarity to Trump. However, Bloomberg; in contrast to Trump, covers his fascism in a respectable middle-class veneer.
Additionally, Bloomberg appears to be far more intelligent and competent than Trump is. Notably, Bloomberg is a successful self-made businessman, who built a huge fortune in a tough business. In contrast, the Donald inherited everything from his dad Fred Trump and wasted it.
In addition, Forbes estimates Bloomberg has a fortune of $54.5 billion to waste on the campaign. Thus, Bloomberg already has far more wealth and power than Trump did when he started.
A Fascist who can Appeal to Soccer Moms
Frighteningly, I think many middle-class, moderate, and progressive Americans who fear Trump; and change, will find Bloomberg attractive. Remember, Bloomberg won three terms as mayor of New York City by pandering to the fears of middle-class Gothamites.
I think Bloomberg is dangerous because he is a closeted fascist who can appeal to soccer moms. For instance, Bloomberg claims he is protecting children with his gun control crusade, an issue that will appeal to soccer moms. Additionally, some white soccer moms will approve of Stop & Frisk because it gets guns; and blacks, off the streets their children play on.
Worse, Bloomberg has a shallow but potentially effective means of silencing critics of his racism and authoritarianism. Bloomberg can claim, “I am not a fascist or a racist because I am a Jew. Furthermore, anybody who criticizes me is an anti-Semite and a Nazi.”
However, it is a false argument. A Jew can be a fascist, and a racist. Contrary to popular belief, not all racists and fascists are Nazis. Nazism is only one variety of fascism. In fact, there were fascists in Israel before World War II, and Jews who supported fascist leaders such as Benito Mussolini.
Sadly, I think that simplistic argument could work with soccer moms and people in newsrooms. Remember, these are the same “journalists” who bought Trump’s bull shit and George W. Bush’s (R-Texas) blatant lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Plus, many of those soccer moms voted for both Bush and Trump.
Disgustingly, Bloomberg could end up encouraging anti-Semitism by lending credibility to anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. In fact, I think Bloomberg is the Alt-Right’s dream opponent; rich Jewish, New York, and authoritarian.
Why we need to fear Bloomberg
Disturbingly, Bloomberg has a history of promoting civil rights violations and trampling Constitutional rights. Do we really want to put the man behind Stop & Frisk in charge of the National Security Agency, the U.S. Military, and the Department of Homeland Security?
Hopefully, the American people will see through Bloomberg. The man’s agenda is one of restriction of freedom and empowerment of the rich. I think those are the last policies America needs.
When I see a man such as Bloomberg attracting support, I thank God America has a Constitution.