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Bloomberg gets criticism over stop and frisk policy

by Joe Tomlinson
Wed, Feb 26th 2020 12:00 pm
After denying he would run in early 2019, Michael Bloomberg launched his campaign in November and has since poured millions from his personal fortune into advertising.
After denying he would run in early 2019, Michael Bloomberg launched his campaign in November and has since poured millions from his personal fortune into advertising.

Michael Bloomberg, the infamous three term mayor of New York City, has generated a substantial buzz around his 2020 presidential campaign. Initially in March of 2019 he denied that he would run in the 2020 election, but has since thrown his hat into the ring as a Democratic candidate by officially launching his campaign on Nov. 24. 

“It’s essential that we nominate a Democrat who will be in the strongest position to defeat Donald Trump and bring our country back together,” Bloomberg wrote. “We cannot allow the primary process to drag the party to an extreme that would diminish our chances in the general election and translate into ‘Four More Years.’”

With a net worth of over $60 billion, Bloomberg is definitely the best funded candidate in the race. His massive wealth is illustrated by the fact that if he were to spend $100 million every day on his campaign, by the conclusion of the election in November he would still have above $30 billion. 

In reality, Bloomberg has spared no expense in promoting his candidacy, spending cash in cartoonish proportions. So far he has expended $452 million on advertising alone since entering the race in November according to Advertising Analytics. Of that amount, $401 million has been spent on radio and TV advertisements alone, which is a new record for expenses. In total, Bloomberg has spent more than the top five candidates have altogether. 

At this point in the race, Bloomberg has not had a vote cast for him or been eligible to receive a single delegate. Abstaining from the first four states in the election, Bloomberg is banking on cleaning house on Super Tuesday — when 14 states across the country weigh in on March 3. The Bloomberg campaign has targeted these areas, spending $124 million in advertising in those states alone, signaling that he has a seemingly endless supply of cash. 

Despite entering the race so late, Bloomberg managed to get himself a place on the debate stage on Wednesday, Feb. 19, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Many people have responded with outrage over his presence on stage, accusing Bloomberg of buying his place at the debate. That night Bloomberg found himself also facing attacks from his fellow candidates. 

Recently Bloomberg forced the spotlight to shine on him through his money, with little to no resistance. At least that was the case until on Tuesday, Feb. 11, when an independent journalist named Benjamin Dixon unveiled video and audio of Bloomberg speaking in 2015 at the Aspen Institute. 

The video includes Bloomberg’s explanation for his dubious stop-and-frisk policy that was enforced as mayor of New York City. 

“Put those cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods, [the] unintended consequences is people say, ‘Oh, my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true,” Dixon wrote in The Guardian. “Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods... Yes, that’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is.” He goes on to say: “95% of your murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one MO. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops.”

The audio is indicative of a racist and misinformed perception of criminality, law and order. Illustrating how that world view impacted policy and disrupted the lives of thousands of people. Overall he expanded the police state within the city and empowered law enforcement to harass and ruin the lives of countless people simply because they were a minority or fit a preset description. 

Bloomberg displays a complete ignorance of the source of societal problems like violence, choosing to punish people most affected by violence rather than addressing the root of the issue. 

“And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them. [Inaudible] and then they start, they say, [inaudible] ‘Oh, I don’t want to get caught.’ So they don’t bring the gun. They still have a gun, but they leave it at home,” Bloomberg said.

Over time, the multi-billionaire has amassed several troubling items on his public record as a leader. In the past 20 years, his media empire has been served almost 40 discrimination and harassment suits from 64 employees. He is renowned for making statements like, “if women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale’s.” Bloomberg has also said “I know for a fact that any self-respecting woman who walks past a construction site and doesn’t get a whistle will turn around and walk past again and again until she does get one.”

Bloomberg has poured money into his campaign and has forced his way into the election conversation through a coercion of capital. Whether his past misdeeds or an organized resistance can halt his ambitions remains to be seen. 

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