What’s Left: Bloomberg is a Problem, Not a Solution

Glynnis Harvey, Maroon-News Staff

In a Democratic nomination process defined by grassroots fundraising and organizing, Michael Bloomberg’s bid for the White House is an out-of-touch attempt to exploit the corrupt power of money in the American Political System.

After pondering and teasing the media with a run for president for years, the former Mayor of New York filed the official papers three months ago. He cited the importance of beating President Trump and the lack of a viable candidate who could deliver that in November in his explanation for entering the race. He believes he is a problem-solver with the pragmatic plans and political relationships needed to be an effective leader in 2020. 

Recently it seems like this message is resonating with the Democratic electorate. In national polls, Bloomberg has seized a commanding 15 percent. He’s picked up endorsements from an array of members of Congress, and you’re probably starting to hear family members making arguments about how “young people don’t remember but he was a pretty good mayor” and other compliments along those lines. Heading into Super Tuesday on March 3, there is convincing evidence that Bloomberg will take home a good portion of the delegates. 

Let’s be clear. Bloomberg bought this “momentum.” He is not the savior voters are waiting for. He simply bought the most air time and incessantly muscled his message into the brains of American voters. If Bloomberg secures the Democratic nomination, our political system has failed and the consequences will long outlast this election cycle. 

Since joining the race, Bloomberg has spent 450 million dollars on his campaign, more than the next six candidates combined. This money is coming directly out of his wallet to pay for ads in Super Tuesday states. Some money went towards paying meme accounts to post about his campaign to draw in younger voters, a move that for the most part has fallen flat. More insidiously, funds were used to contract the call center company ProCom, which exploited prison labor to phonebank in support of his candidacy. He has flooded the airwaves with character-bolstering ads, inculcating all the positive attributes that he and his campaign possess before his message can be tested on a debate stage or at public campaign events.

Bloomberg eerily resembles Trump. A New York businessman who has flip flopped between political parties when it suits him best. Close ties with the Democratic establishment and a major donor to their causes. Multiple #MeToo allegations and Non-Disclosure Agreements that have kept said allegations under wraps. A proponent of policing policies that target and harm people of color and Muslims. While he has championed gun law reform and protecting the planet from climate change, that “does not erase his nefarious track record.”

For over a year now, Democrats across the country have had a Brockhampton sized field of candidates to choose from for their 2020 nominee. The messy journey to whittle down the field to five candidates attempting to secure delegates does not need to be complicated by a sixth poised to buy those delegates. The DNC seems unbothered by this undemocratic entrance into the primary, going as far as eliminating the number of individual donor requirement for entry to the debate, opening the door for self-funded Bloomberg. It is unfair that this standard previously barred other candidates who campaigned for months in order to gain the grassroots donor support.

The idea that Bloomberg is only the candidate with a real shot at defeating Trump is false. His candidacy does not introduce a new vision for American politics but a Democratic version of Trump’s 2016 candidacy. Democrats have a chance to redefine the American political process by rejecting the status quo and introducing a new era of politicians not bound to corporate interests or bound by personal wealth. We do not need another uber wealthy white businessman with no consistent message and a knack for racism. We can not let our parents succumb to the temptation of nostalgia for the mayor of NYC. In the long run, Bloomberg’s campaign tactics fail to foster the grassroot enthusiasm we will need to win in November.