It would be highly disturbing that Michael Bloomberg is using a tsunami of money to buy himself into contention for the Democratic nomination if he had good politics. Needless to say, he does not:
Let’s state some facts: Michael Rubens Bloomberg notoriously expanded stop-and-frisk in New York City to obscene proportions, violating the bodies and constitutional rights of mostly minority men and boys, and not only defended the policy, but mocked his detractors and bragged about it.
What Bloomberg did as mayor amounted to a police occupation of minority neighborhoods, a terroristic pressure campaign, with little evidence that it was accomplishing the goal of sustained, long-term crime reduction.
Nearly 90 percent of the people stopped were completely innocent. He knew that. They were the collateral damage in his crusade, black and brown bodies up against walls and down on the ground, groped in the middle of the city by strange men with guns, a vast expanse of human psychological wreckage about which he couldn’t care less.
A recording from a speech Bloomberg delivered at the Aspen Institute in 2015 underscores just how callous and cavalier he was in his thinking about this racist policy.
“Ninety-five percent of your murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O.,” Bloomberg said. “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.”
He goes on to say: “One of the unintended consequences is, people say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana, they’re all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is.”
Later he says, “The way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them against the wall and frisk them.”
And then there’s this:
At the height of the 2008 economic collapse, then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the elimination of a discriminatory housing practice known as “redlining” was responsible for instigating the meltdown.
“It all started back when there was a lot of pressure on banks to make loans to everyone,” Bloomberg, now a Democratic presidential candidate, said at a forum that was hosted by Georgetown University in September 2008. “Redlining, if you remember, was the term where banks took whole neighborhoods and said, ‘People in these neighborhoods are poor, they’re not going to be able to pay off their mortgages, tell your salesmen don’t go into those areas.’”
He continued: “And then Congress got involved — local elected officials, as well — and said, ‘Oh that’s not fair, these people should be able to get credit.’ And once you started pushing in that direction, banks started making more and more loans where the credit of the person buying the house wasn’t as good as you would like.”
And then there’s his extensive record of public sexism. We could go on like this.
Look, the idea of Bloomberg being the Democratic nominee is ridiculous. Among people still in the race, the only question is whether he should rank just ahead of Tulsi “I like to go on Hannity and applaud Donald Trump’s authoritarianism” Gabbard or just behind. Substantively, he’s awful. I don’t believe in “electability” as a criterion for the simple reason that nobody will ever know ex ante or ex post who the best candidate was, but as a member of the the nearly empty “fiscally conservative socially liberal” quadrant Bloomberg’s speculative, unfalsifiable “electability” case is much weaker on its face than, say, Klobuchar’s. Just say no.