Over the last several days newly declared Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has received the endorsement of — and been complimented by — prominent black leaders and politicians alike. The endorsement of Michael Bloomberg by some of today’s most prominent black political leaders is the epitome of the rot and corruption caused by the influence of wealth in our political system.
Take a moment for a thought experiment and assume that a cogent adult was indeed born yesterday. Their observance of a growing list of black leaders, ranging from congressmen and women, to mayors, to former gubernatorial candidates, endorsing and complimenting Bloomberg, would understandably elicit the assumption that he must have some credible track record of demonstrated good will towards the black community.
For those of us who weren’t born yesterday, Bloomberg’s troubling past regarding overtly racist policing practices, support for the Iraq War, numerous sexual harassment allegations, and attribution of the Great Recession to the black and brown working class, allows us to safely assume the reason underlying this sad irony; Bloomberg’s astronomical wealth.
As of the writing of this article the following black leaders have either endorsed and/or paid public compliments to the billionaire former Republican mayor of New York City.
- Rep Stacey Plaskett (D — VI)
- Rep Lucy McBath (D — Ga)
- Rep Gregory Meeks (D — NY)
- Rep Bobby Rush (D — IL)
- Muriel Bowser, Mayor of District Of Columbia (D)
- Vi Lyles, Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina (D)
- Stacey Abrams, former Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate (D)
If a political candidate’s record is truly an indication of their values and how they’re most likely to wield power, then the endorsement of Bloomberg by the aforementioned black politicians and public figures, is tantamount to a betrayal of the very communities these leaders claim to serve. It must be noted that their decision to endorse a candidate who proudly terrorized the black and brown youth of New York City came at a cost.
The four members of congress above belong to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Given the CBC’s mission, to use the fundamentals of democracy to advocate for the interests of Black Americans, their endorsement of such a controversial figure can only be explained by the fact that Bloomberg is one of the largest donors to the Democratic party, having given millions to congressional democratic party super PACs.
Likewise, Muriel Bowser, Democratic mayor of Washington D.C., a city whose population is nearly 50% black, received $4 million from Bloomberg for the city’s public education fund. Considering the blackness of the citizenry of Washington D.C., it shouldn’t be difficult to imagine the kind of discontent a discriminatory policy such as stop and frisk would have sown if it had been applied in our nation’s capital.
The now well known and damning statistics of the stop and frisk policy makes representative Meeks (D-NY) endorsement all the more puzzling. If any of the aforementioned elected officials know the pain inflicted upon the black and latino populations of New York City, it should be Meeks as he is the representative for New York’s 5th congressional district, a district that contains Queens, New York, where the black and brown population comprise over 40% of New York’s most populous borough.
Yet another uncomfortable reality that can’t be ignored is the fact that 5 out of the 7 endorsements are from women. Bloomberg’s history regarding sexual harassment allegations are as storied as his bank account is large. This brings to light the glaring hypocrisy of not only these officials but of the entire Democratic party leadership who reacted with utter incredulity at Trump’s support among white women given his own despicable past regarding sexual assault and harassment.
While technically not giving a public endorsement, Abrams, who narrowly lost a bid for the governorship of Georgia, publicly defended the inordinate sums of money being spent by Bloomberg on his 2020 bid for the Democratic nomination. Further explanation of Abram’s warmth towards Bloomberg are rumors he may select the former gubernatorial candidate as his vice presidential running mate. Considering Abrams runs an organization that received $5 million dollars from Bloomberg, the former Republican should consider his money well spent.
Perhaps what is most disturbing about Abram’s warm sentiments towards Bloomberg is her apparent championing of identity politics and its incompatibility with Bloomberg’s record. In an age of “woke” identity affirmations and social media outrage, the dearth of audible public disapproval for the increasing number of black political endorsements of Bloomberg is deafening. Although Abram’s is one of identity politics strongest defenders, neither her identity as a woman, a Black American, nor as a Democrat have been enough for her to overcome the allure of millions of dollars and the ascension to higher office.
The increasing number of Black political endorsements of Bloomberg is proof that there are no limits to what can be purchased by the unchecked influence of wealth in today’s politics. Wealth can purchase the leaders of subjugated populations, it can make otherwise vociferous defenders of identity abandon their own, and it can subvert democracy.
The recent supporters of Bloomberg claim to be making the pragmatic choice to defeat Donald Trump, who they claim, if granted a second term, represents an existential threat to democracy. They would appear to be entirely oblivious of their complicity in a glaring non sequitur; wanting to defeat an existential threat to democracy, by enabling an existential threat to democracy. In addition to purchasing their craven endorsements, Bloomberg has also purchased their ostensible ignorance.
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