Bloomberg Cannot Represent Today’s Democratic Party
He would only represent a return to racism, bigotry, and misogyny.
The cringeworthy photo above reminds one of nothing more than the campaign rally where Trump crowed, “Look at my African American over there,” and adds a whole new context to Bloomberg’s television commercials highlighting his interactions with President Obama. I admit I was sucked in by Bloomberg’s ads, mainly because I so deeply admire and trust Barack Obama.
A few days ago I read an article titled “A Black Vote For Bloomberg Is The Same As A Black Vote For Trump”. It’s a master class in fact, accuracy, and passionate rhetoric. Those familiar with my articles know I was raised in a racist environment, and that I’ve often stated that most racists are good-hearted, well-meaning people who do not recognize their racism for what it is. That’s why my first reaction was to disagree with her article, to show that while Bloomberg is racist, he himself may not realize it. I had every intention of comparing Bloomberg to LBJ who somehow straddled the fence of being both a racist and a civil rights hero.
But Marley K.’s article shows that my points were non sequitur in toto, that it really doesn’t matter whether Bloomberg is self-aware enough to recognize his own racism. She showed that what does matter is that he is racist, that he not only supported the racist stop-and-frisk policy in New York City and put it on steroids, but he aggressively defended it until he was essentially forced to put a belated end to it. The only two possible explanations for his actions are that Bloomberg either accepted his own racism for what it was, or he was simply too arrogant to think that his policies might be wrong. Either explanation adds veracity to Marley’s points. After all, even if Bloomberg were to somehow follow in the footsteps of LBJ by supporting and strengthening Civil Rights despite his own racism, the fact that he would be doing so as a racist would be akin to setting our national discourse back to the 1960s when the national discussion still concerned segregation.
But Bloomberg’s racism isn’t the only factor that should be setting off alarms in the halls of liberalism. He is one of the wealthiest people not just in the world, but in human history. One might think that such shouldn’t be considered a disqualifying factor, but great wealth does seem to do something to the brain. I’ve never been a fan of Bernie Sanders, but he may have had a point when it comes to billionaires:
“Billionaires . . . are addicted to money. . . . We all know people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs; these people are addicted to money.” (source)
It turns out that he’s not wrong. Here’s an article in Psychology Today describing the results of research showing that the super-rich generally have a different mindset than the rest of us. It reminded me of what I read many years ago in the original financial self-help book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, who had interviewed the super-rich from his day — including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Charles M. Schwab — and found they all appeared to hold a particular attitude in common. In so many words, that common thread was focus, always concentrating one’s efforts on what increased one’s wealth, on continually thinking about money (hence the title). I strongly remember finishing the book with a strong sense of disgust, for it seemed that Napoleon Hill’s conclusion was that one should give the pursuit of wealth the same degree of priority that many of us give to religion or patriotism.
Does this apply to Michael Bloomberg? Think on this: Bloomberg has refused to publicize his tax returns until after Super Tuesday. I seem to recall another billionaire presidential candidate who said something very much the same.
The moment I read that, everything clicked into place. As Marley K. said, Bloomberg is very much like Trump. To be sure, he’s generally more honest and trustworthy and is apparently much more intelligent than Trump, but Bloomberg still seems to share the basic attitude of the insanely wealthy, including a lack of empathy for those who live paycheck-to-paycheck.
What is most alarming is that if Bloomberg wins the nomination of the Democratic Party, it really is in the best interests of all Americans of any political stripe to vote for him. Don’t get me wrong — I’m certainly not endorsing and never will endorse Michael Bloomberg for president. I will vote for any Democratic candidate (except for Tulsi Gabbard) other than Bloomberg. But if he still wins the nomination, as racist as he is, we should vote for Bloomberg for president.
There’s an old saying: “Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t.” In this instance, I strongly disagree with that saying. It’s not just a matter of racism — it’s even bigger than that. Trump is tearing apart our relations with our allies in Europe and Asia. Trump flatly ignores the word of any experienced diplomats in the State Department. Trump is tearing down the Department of Justice and is using it as his own tool to attack those he sees as enemies. And then there’s the thousands of refugee families Trump has torn apart seemingly out of spite for anyone whose skin isn’t as pale as his own.
If the Democratic Party nominates Bloomberg, it may well cost the soul of the Democratic party by shredding the multiracial and multicultural alliance that has given such promise, that gave us President Obama and all that he accomplished, that gave life to Ezra Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus” engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty. But if Bloomberg is nominated and we refuse to vote for him, thus giving Trump four more years, what happens?
Quite possibly, the end of American democracy.
That’s not really an acceptable choice, is it? But we don’t have to make that choice if Bloomberg isn’t nominated. Better yet, we do have a choice. It’s called educating other Democrats about Bloomberg and demanding better of the Democratic Party. We must be active in voicing what we know to be good and right in our interactions with others prior to our respective Democratic primaries and caucuses. For the sake of all of us who oppose racism and all other forms of prejudice, please vote for any Democrat other than Michael Bloomberg.