Alan Zendell, February 20, 2020
It’s time to get serious about finding a candidate who will defeat Donald Trump. Nothing is more important than that, and the way the Democrats are going right now, it’s clear that a major values-shift is in order. The pundits, i.e., the people who are handsomely paid by the various networks to opine whether or not they have anything meaningful to say, seem to be in agreement after last night’s debate that it was a disaster for Michael Bloomberg, and that as many had predicted, Bloomberg’s debating skills were rusty.
As to the latter, I’d put that in the category of a self-fulfilling prophesy, and with respect to the former, I say, “Nonsense!” Bloomberg may have been surprised by the vehemence of Elizabeth Warren’s verbal attacks, but his answers weren’t particularly unreasonable. I like Warren, and I understand her anger after a lifetime of fighting for equality for women. But I also understand that her campaign was in desperate straits after Iowa and New Hampshire, to a large degree because of Bloomberg polling second nationally, well ahead of her. And give Bloomberg credit for maintaining his cool and not responding with the same fury she directed at him.
His rivals look at the Nondisclosure Agreements he cosigned with some unknown number of female employees and associates and say, “You’re as bad as Donald Trump.” Really? Has anyone accused Bloomberg of consorting with prostitutes and then conspiring with a tabloid mogul to buy them off? Has anyone accused him of any form of sexual assault?
While Stop and Frisk is viewed by many as a racist approach to law enforcement, Bloomberg has humbled himself, apologizing and admitting that he made serious mistakes in judgment while attempting to curb the horrific murder rate he inherited when he became Mayor of New York. How does that compare with Donald Trump’s pandering to KKK’ers and neo-Nazi groups? How does it compare with the president’s patently racist approach to immigrants, refugees, and Dreamers? And how does it compare to a president who is incapable of acknowledging that he is anything but perfect?
How does Bloomberg, who made his fortune entirely on his own, compare with Trump, who constantly exaggerates his wealth, lies about getting close to half a billion dollars from daddy, and whose favorite sport is fighting in bankruptcy court? And we needn’t compare him only with Trump. As Mayor of New York, he was head and shoulders above Rudy Giuliani who preceded him. Facing the same issues Bloomberg did, Giuliani had a far more overtly racist approach to crime in New York. While Bloomberg has been free of scandal throughout his political career, Giuliani twice paraded mistresses before the media while he was still married.
I do not have a predilection for Bloomberg in the primaries, except from the standpoint of who is best positioned to defeat Trump in November. My preferences are Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar, but I will eagerly support Bloomberg if it’s clear that he has the best chance to win.
If I’m Michael Bloomberg, and I get the same questions I got last night in the next debate, my first response is, “How many of you on this stage never made an inappropriate remark you wish you could take back in the last thirty years? Are we better off investing our campaign funds and energy digging up dirt on each other or finding ways to work together to save our country from Trump?” I would remind them that all of us are committed to science and mitigating the effects of climate change. All of us believe health care for every American is an inalienable right, and we all believe it’s essential to achieve and maintain a majority in the Senate. But who else has spent millions of his own money supporting Congressional candidates who want to get those things done?
I know it’s a big ask, but it’s time for each candidate to put a lid on his ego and demonstrate that he or she places the good of the country ahead of personal success. Pete Buttigieg, for example, has had his time in the limelight, and garnered many accolades that he can build on for decades. But it’s time for him to accept that 2020 is not the year America is ready to elect a gay man as president and graciously throw his support to someone who has a chance to win.
We mustn’t get bogged down in the kind of character assassination Trump practices. If the polls show that Americans are losing their infatuation with Mike Bloomberg so be it. But continuing to trash someone who might turn out to be best suited to end the Trump nightmare is wrong and irresponsible.