Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Mike Bloomberg: White Knight With A Tarnished Soul

     A white knight, in business, is a friendly investor who saves a company from a hostile takeover by buying into it heavily themselves. If Bernie Sanders and his political revolution can be thought of as a hostile takeover, then it's clear that the Democratic Party is auditioning Mike Bloomberg for the role of white knight. Sure he used to be a Republican, but that's okay because he was a Democrat before that.

     It's true that Bloomberg was a Democrat before running for Mayor of New York City in 2001, but he ran on the Republican line on the ballot. While in office, he made sure to do right by real estate developers in their neverending quest to extract ever more rent from the urban working class. A piece in the Guardian, written by Adam Gabbatt as Bloomberg was leaving office in December of 2013, is particularly revealing in what it says about his record. You may have recently heard a great deal of discussion of one particular issue, which Bloomberg has now apologized for.

     "Under Bloomberg and his NYPD commissioner, Ray Kelly, there was a vast increase in the number of stop-and-frisks in New York, even though only about 10% of stops result in arrests," Gabbatt writes.

     "When Bloomberg took office in 2002, there were just under 100,000 stops. In 2011 that number had soared to almost 700,000, according to NYPD figures."

     So when Mike Bloomberg said, in his apology, that he inherited Stop-And-Frisk from the Guiliani administration he is engaging in some of what the Orange Troll refers to as "innocent exaggeration." Sure, the cops under the Giuliani Administration conducted 100,000 stop-and-frisks. Bloomberg multiplied Giuliani's repression of the Black population by nearly seven. He chose to make Stop-And-Frisk much worse than it was when he inherited it.

     There was some more innocent exaggeration at work when Bloomberg said that he ended Stop-And-Frisk in the last year of his term. The NYPD was sued over Stop-And-Frisk and a federal judge ruled against the city in 2013. What was Bloomberg's reaction at the time? He said it was a "dangerous decision made by a judge who I think does not understand how policing works and what is compliant with the U.S. Constitution."

     It's okay now though. He's apologized. Probably because he's running for President.

     Even before he apologized he was starting to line up an impressive number of endorsements. Three of those endorsers, Congressmen Bobby Rush, Gregory Meeks, and Ben McAdams have very clear motives. They are conservative Democrats being challenged by progressive local activists who want a Congress oriented toward fighting hard for progressive policy. Others, like Max Rose and Lucy McBath, will need re-election money to fight off well-heeled Republicans looking to take back traditionally red districts.

     Like the white knights of the business world, Bloomberg is only loved for his money. A genuine billionaire, Bloomberg can easily match the huge amounts of corporate money the Republicans will throw at Dems in their attempt to take back Congress. He can bankroll the Dems attempt to take the Senate, if the nominees are agreeable to him. Suddenly Frackenlooper makes sense in Colorado?

     Most importantly to the DNC, he can match the huge corporate Super PAC money behind Donald Trump. Of course he looks good to people who only care about fundraising. When he inevitably loses, they will be able to fundraise off the need to provide a check to the Orange Troll.

     That's right: when he loses. Bloomberg can't beat Trump because he leaves exactly the same room for Trump to run to his left on war, trade, criminal justice reform, and jobs. The fact that Trump will continue along the same right wing road he has always traveled makes Bloomberg's candidacy a sick joke for those of us who have to live with the consequences.

     Bloomberg has a lot of problem policies that should make us hate the idea of him sitting in the White House too. He helped destroy the Oakland public school system. He helped break teachers' unions in New York. He supported Dubya for re-election in 2004. There are a lot of right wing, authoritarian skeletons in that closet along with the Brooks Brothers suits.

     I'm sticking with Bernie.


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