Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is set to face the first big test of his candidacy Wednesday night on stage with his Democratic rivals at the Las Vegas Paris Theatre for the next primetime debate.
Until this moment, Bloomberg has avoided the scrutiny that comes with mounting a competitive presidential bid by circumventing the first four primary states and pivoting resources to the nationwide contests held on March 3 dubbed “Super Tuesday.”
While the candidates sparred through Iowa and New Hampshire, Bloomberg spent millions running a massive operation to build up his name and reputation in states across the country in preparation for an upset after making a late entrance in November. Now, with less than two weeks to go until 16 states hold their Democratic nominating contests, Bloomberg will be challenged live before a primetime national audience while polling in third place in RealClearPolitics’ latest aggregate of national surveys. Candidates are eager to turn their knives on the New York billionaire as a series of unearthed revelations begin to bombard the businessman’s blitzkrieg to the nomination.
Stop And Frisk
Bloomberg has come under fire in recent weeks for formerly championing the controversial “Stop and Frisk” policing strategy employed under his tenure as New York mayor. Despite dramatically reducing crime in the city, the tactic was declared racially discriminatory and unconstitutional by a federal judge. Last fall, Bloomberg apologized for promoting the effective method of crime fighting with the knowledge that his former embrace of “Stop and Frisk” would hurt attempts to court minority voters in the Democratic primary.
Earlier this month, an audio recording of Bloomberg’s comments defending the policing policy targeting minority communities will make the businessman’s effort to redefine himself to voters all the more difficult.
“Ninety-five percent of your murders – murderers and murder victims – fit one M.O.” Bloomberg explained to attendees of a 2015 event with the Aspen Institute.
You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city (inaudible). And, that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed. You want to spend the money on a lot of cops in the streets. Put those cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods. So one of the unintended consequences is people say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them.
Share this far and wide. Unless the mainstream media picks it up, it will be isolated to twitter. pic.twitter.com/Fm0YCi4ZRy
— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) February 11, 2020
The comments prompted Bloomberg’s rivals to take aim, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders issuing the sharpest criticism.
“Regardless of how much money a mulit-billionaire candidate is willing to spend on his election, we will not create the energy and excitement we need to defeat Donald Trump if that candidate pursued, advocated for, and enacted racist policies like stop and frisk, which caused communities of color in his city to live in fear,” Sanders said over the weekend in Nevada.
Fellow billionaire Tom Steyer also issued criticism of Bloomberg, calling the former mayor’s past comments “scary” to reporters.
Bloomberg Gets Me Tooed
Past allegations of sexist comments and hostile work environments are also coming back to haunt Bloomberg. Over the weekend, the Washington Post published a lengthy chronicle of Bloomberg’s history in New York of combatting charges of inappropriate behavior towards women.
In 1990 the Post reported, Bloomberg was given a booklet of remarks attributed to him. In one instance, Bloomberg is accused of marveling how the company’s financial information computers “will do everything, including give you [oral sex]. I guess that puts a lot of you girls out of business.”
Bloomberg also allegedly told one female employee to “kill it” upon learning she was pregnant. In a primary that even saw one candidate try to rise on the back of the Me Too movement, past allegations of workplace sexism are sure to be an issue to Bloomberg as he continues to navigate through the process.
Bloomberg Knows Nothing About 21st Century Farming
In a willful display of arrogant ignorance, Bloomberg played right into the characterization as an out of touch New York elite who knows very little about the people living America’s heartland.
More embarrassing comments of Bloomberg’s past at a university forum were unveiled over the weekend where Bloomberg cast farmers as individuals in the workforce who are unable to adapt to the 21st-century information economy.
“The agrarian society lasted 3,000 years and we could teach processes. I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer,” Bloomberg told students at the University of Oxford in 2016. “It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. You could learn that. Then we had 300 years of the industrial society. You put the piece of metal on the lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow and you can have a job. And we created a lot of jobs. At one point, 98 percent of the world worked in agriculture, now it’s 2 percent in the United States.”
Bloomberg on why farmers can’t work in information technology
MB: “I can teach anyone how to be a farmer 1 dig a hole 2 put a seed in 3 put dirt on top 4 add water 5 up comes the corn”
— Pete (@NYBackpacker) February 15, 2020
Of course, farming in the modern era has become one of the most sophisticated industries in the 21st century as farmers and scientists continue to develop better ways to grow enough food to feed the world.
Soybean farmer Sid Rodgers told Fox News that farming in the digital age has pushed those harvesting the nation’s crops to be more innovative than ever.
“Listen, farmers have been innovative people all their life,” Rogers said. “They have to be well-versed in multiple occupations from welding and fabricating to electrical, plumbing, being a vet… we have to be masters of GPS, soil science, weather, marketing – in order to stay alive.”
Fourth-generation farmer Mary Blackmon explained to Fox that farming requires “a very well-informed, detailed strategy on every single aspect from financing your seed selection to your planting to what tractors and machinery you are going to use.”
Farming is hardly just sticking a seed into the ground and hoping something worth selling grows.
It’s Just The Beginning
The recent slew of damaging details from Bloomberg’s past have only just begun, and have likely just scratched the surface of the 78-year-old businessman’s long history as a business tycoon and politician in New York City. As the primary progresses and Bloomberg’s billions threaten to peel off delegates from the other candidates, Bloomberg will face tougher obstacles moving into the subsequent stages of the Democratic contest.