Click to go to the Subscriber Log In Page
Go to menu with buttons for all pages on BC
Click here to go to the Home Page
Est. April 5, 2002
Jan 30, 2020 - Issue 803
Bookmark and Share
This page can be shared

Bloomberg as 2020
Democratic Pres. Candidate?

"With its broad array of programs—home ownership,
criminal justice, black business development, poverty
alleviation, etc., Bloomberg’s blueprint, with its $70
billion plus price tag, is the closest to the African
American proposal to reparations which no other
presidential candidate has come close to replicating."

As Democrats hobble toward their first 2020 presidential competition, there is no clear front runner. The polls are all over the place, and the candidates and pundits are relying on them to project a winner. These polls have an average margin of error approaching nearly 6%, with small sample sizes, making them questionable for drawing serious conclusions as to their results. When you add in all the social media platforms, many of which are omitted, the outcomes are further in doubt.

Iowa is still viewed as giving the winner the momentum she/he will need to become the eventual nominee, and the candidates are attacking each other as if they are children in a sandbox. Déjà vu all over again.

In 1980, George H.W. Bush won the Republican Iowa caucuses and was supposedly on his way to the White House before Ronald Reagan overwhelmed him to lead the Party to a crushing victory over President Jimmy Carter. In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s alleged Iowa victory, and subsequent primary triumphs, coupled with her campaign’s data analytics, had apparently assured her election to the presidency. Then Trump happened.

Now Hillary has inserted herself into the 2020 Democratic primaries by attacking Bernie Sanders for being “anti-woman” on behalf of Elizabeth Warren who she is quietly advising with the expectation that she would be a major player in an eventual Warren administration. Hillary is like Freddy Krueger, the antagonist in A Nightmare on Elm Street horror film. She just won’t leave the political stage after screwing up a race she should have won, and she still blames everyone else but herself.

As noted in last week’s column, the five current leaders among 2020 Democratic candidates--Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar—are so flawed that either will be easy pickings for Trump. His political machine is operating effectively in every sphere of America’s political life: race, immigration, income, class, religion, sexual orientation, and region. Neither of the aforementioned candidates has a comprehensive understanding of and the intersections between the aforesaid indices of political orientation.

Thus the Democratic political class seems poised to repeat the same mistake of 2016 unless Mike Bloomberg is the standard bearer. He has a firm grasp of the relevant issues, but more importantly, he is growing in his understanding of them, with the advice of a racially and ideologically diverse team of advisers, and he has shown a willingness to change his views above and beyond political calculations.

But his key assets, in addition to his wealth, may be that he is not weighed down by the petty squabbles among his competitors and that his policy positions encompass the divides in the contemporary electorate. And his billions provide him the latitude to pursue a political path that is not impacted by donor preferences. But his trek to the nomination is not guaranteed.

So far, his platform prescriptions have enveloped and improved upon those of his rivals. For example his approach to health care has subsumed those of Biden, Sanders, Klobuchar, Warren, and Buttigieg, and he appeals to the broad American populous on gun control, criminal justice, voting rights, and social justice.

His most problematic program area is his “stop and frisk (SAF)” policing strategy, which disproportionately targeted African American, Asian, and Latinx males during his tenure as Mayor of New York City from 2002-2013. Although he apologized, shortly before he announced for president (which many consider opportunistic), it still lingers in the political ether. He will suffer withering attacks after his likely electoral breakthrough on Super Tuesday in March.

In addition to his mea culpa, Bloomberg’s best defense for SAF is to contrast its effect with the negative consequences of Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill. Biden, Sanders, and the overwhelming majority of the Congressional Black Caucus voted for it, and it contributed to significant numbers of minority males being killed, incarcerated with draconian sentences, and reduced employment opportunities post-incarceration as so cogently outlined in Michelle Alexander’s seminal book, The New Jim Crow.

If SAF is considered to be a disqualifier for Bloomberg, then Warren’s cultural appropriation of Native American identity which benefitted her economically and occupationally, and Harris’s and Klobuchar’s discrimination against males of color while they served as city and county attorneys, respectively, should also be fair game for comparison, as should Buttigieg’s work for McKinsey and Company. “Let him (or her) without sin cast the first stone.”

Bloomberg also instituted a ban the box initiative to prevent employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal record during his mayoral term. Thus SAP may not prove to be the Achilles heel of the Bloomberg campaign that many expected it to be.

Furthermore, his Greenwood Initiative, which he announced on January 19th at the site of the Tulsa massacre, is a response to “…one of the deadliest and ugliest attacks in American history…” of the Black Wall Street business district and for black economic justice. White villains murdered more than 300 African Americans in 1921, and this proposal dwarfs Pete Buttigieg’s Douglas plan for the same group.

With its broad array of programs—home ownership, criminal justice, black business development, poverty alleviation, etc., Bloomberg’s blueprint, with its $70 billion plus price tag, is the closest to the African American proposal to reparations which no other presidential candidate has come close to replicating. Additionally, he is addressing a potpourri of concerns of all Americans, and its implications for K-12 public education are positive in that it would ameliorate many negative influences in students’ overall communities.

A critical component to Bloomberg’s electability is his funding of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abram, in her Fair Fight project. She is crisscrossing the nation to counter Trump’s voter suppression activities: gerrymandering, purging of voting rolls, and the promotion of more rigid Voter ID legislation which the other Democratic aspirants are largely ignoring. This focus may prove acute in a close election.

Moreover, Abrams is the only contemporary Democrat who would bring value-added to a Democratic presidential ticket. Unlike Warren, Klobuchar, and Harris, she would not be a polarizing figure among any group of voters. Since the present Democratic political environment dictates that a woman be selected for the VP slot, she is the only female who could bring a cross-section of voters, across Party lines, into the Democratic fold. With Abrams as his running mate, whom he has already respectfully approached, Bloomberg would be unstoppable.

We will take a deeper dive into the election next week.

links to all 20 parts of the opening series Columnist, Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr., PhD, MSPH, is a Fellow of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado-Boulder and has written widely on vouchers, charter schools, and public school privatization. He has served as Professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and as Professor of Educational Policy and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact Dr. Farrell. 

Bookmark and Share
This page can be shared




is published every Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

Perry NoName: A Journal From A Federal Prison-book 1
Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers