Written by Joey Slusher
Michael “Mike” Bloomberg, a late entry into the Democratic race for the presidential nomination, saw a strong uptick in support in recent weeks as the early primaries in New Hampshire and Iowa passed. Bloomberg missed the filing deadlines to be put on the ballot on either of the two earliest primaries and therefore has seen no electoral victories as of yet. That being said, some polls just last week put Bloomberg in third place among the candidates stealing much of Joe Biden’s support among black Democrats.
Bloomberg’s political experience was gained during his role as the Mayor of New York City, a position he held from 2002 to 2013. Prior to running for office, Bloomberg had been a lifelong Democrat and had started his own multi-billion dollar business.
In 2001, he switched over to the Republican Party in order to run in the mayoral election. In his time as Mayor, Bloomberg continued the “tough on crime” policies of the prior administration by expanding the infamous stop and frisk program which have been criticized for the use of racial profiling. This policy was eventually found by the U.S. Federal Courts to violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
Bloomberg also initiated a secret program that targeted Muslim communities. NYPD officers were placed in prodominantly Muslim neighborhoods, mosques, cafes, and schools to surveill Muslim citizens in the New York area. The program never exposed any terrorist plots among members of these communities. In 2009, Bloomberg left the Republican Party and won his third term as Mayor as an Independent.
By 2018, Bloomberg had returned to the Democratic Party, prompting rumors that he would be running for the nomination in 2020. With his entry in late November, his candidacy has quickly shaken up the already intense race. In recent weeks, a number of issues have come to light and will likely have detrimental effects on his campaign. A number of his former employees have accused Bloomberg of having made sexually explicit and misogynistic comments, with one employee having gone so far as to sue him. Other comments have included those made in late 2019 about transgender women, in which he refferred to them as “it” and “some guy in a dress,” despite the fact that Bloomberg has claimed to be very sensitive toward LGBTQIA+ rights.
Many have also called out Bloomberg for his “flip flopping” on a number of positions, including stop and frisk. This past week, a speech resurfaced in the public eye that he delivered in 2015 at the Aspen Institute, in which Bloomberg stated that the only way to stop violent crime was to put more officers in minority neighborhoods and increase unwarranted stop and frisk. Bloomberg has since wholeheartedly rebuked that position as wrong. He now touts that a 95 percent decrease in the use of the policy occured during his latest tenure as Mayor, all the while forgetting to mention the 605 percent increase of stops in his first ten years in office.
Bloomberg took to the DNC debate stage in Nevada last Wednesday. With his quick rise in support largely attributable to a generously funded flurry of campaign ads, he was the target of most of the candidates on the stage. He was criticized for being unprepared and for his spotty political record. With over 400 million dollars invested in his young campaign already and a rapidly narrowing Democratic field, Bloomberg’s prospects are still relatively uncertain. He is currently polling at about fourth place in the public opinion polls, jeopardizing his status as a frontrunner.