We Should Mute Mike Bloomberg

 

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In an election that has been dominated by policy and headlines surrounding the amount of power that billionaires have on our political system, it is not surprising that one of the candidates is running on a campaign backing corporate establishment. Former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg has set himself up to be one of the leading candidates against progressives and other moderates. By using his massive amount of wealth, he has built a strong challenger to leading candidates late into the Democratic primary. Given Bloomberg’s failures as a person and a politician, should Democrats really consider him as a frontrunner? 

No matter where you stand as a Democrat, Mike Bloomberg should make you nervous. An established Republican for the majority of his time as mayor, even in his time as an independent he still continued to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican operatives for his campaign. While some of his donations have helped aid Democratic races in the legislative branch, his history places him as a top Republican donor. A famous example of this can be seen in the millions of dollars he poured into Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s 2016 campaign. And if you need a refresher on his relationship with New York City businessman Donald Trump, please take the time to watch the episode of The Apprentice where Mike Bloomberg rates hot dogs. 

Even looking past his history with the Republican party, many other questions of his past have forced their way up. Notably, in the last debate, Warren quoted the businessman in some of his workplace remarks, such as describing members of the British royal family as a “horse-faced lesbian and a fat broad”, as well as saying that “If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale’s.” This falls in line with reports of sexual degradation of women at Bloomberg LP, the company which Bloomberg owns, that have arisen from lawsuits against the company. This includes reports of a former employee being drugged and raped by her supervisor, and Bloomberg continually making sexual comments about his employees. 

In a campaign more diverse than ever, Bloomberg sticks out as a regressive politician whose campaign is floating on the insane amount of wealth he has accumulated while running on policies that don’t benefit the workers that helped get him to this position. He still continued to defend his infamous racial profiling policy of stop-and-frisk, only officially turning on the policy when running for president. 

Many who support the former mayor argue that his power and influence make him a more viable candidate over other candidates running in the primary. Firstly, I think the amount of power that Bloomberg holds because of the wealth that he has earned off the backs of the people who work for him signifies a flaw in our political system more than anything else. It is the same workers who pushed Bloomberg up who struggled to make a living while he was in office because of his pushes as mayor against increasing minimum wage. We should continue to push for politicians that will continue to limit the amount of influence that money has on our elections. 

But as we still play by the rules that using money to influence campaigns is okay, I first have to ask – are we certain that Bloomberg can rely on just his money to continue pushing him as a front-runner in this election? And will the questions that his campaign faces harm his chances as the potential nominee?

As those who have been following the primaries probably already know, Bloomberg hasn’t participated in any of the primaries so far, as he missed the deadline to enter them by starting his campaign far later than any other major candidate who is currently running. How this will affect later states has yet to be seen, as he has spent far more money in these states than other politicians, but he is also up against candidates who are steamrolling off good results from the first primary elections, namely Bernie Sanders who is coming off a big win in the Nevada Caucuses. 

In the Nevada debate prior to the caucuses, Bloomberg struggled to defend himself from a barrage of attacks from candidates on the stage about his questionable history. While some may see this as asserting his place as a front-runner, his poor answers on questions asking about stop-and-frisk, his treatment of his employees, and his ugly comments on minority groups certainly did not give his campaign a good look. 

So, in an election where divisiveness between candidates over corporate money is at an all-time high – are you planning on voting on a candidate that is willing to make a sincere change on the systems which push up bigoted billionaires like Bloomberg? Or are you planning on voting for the bigoted billionaire instead?