Michael Bloomberg’s identity crisis

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Michael Bloomberg thinks he can reach Donald Trump’s supporters. Bloomberg doesn’t understand them even slightly. Contrary to Trump’s brash, off the cuff brand of politics, Bloomberg at best offers a return to the political status quo. By trying to halfheartedly apologize his past away and buy his way through the Democratic primary, earning the favor of career politicians along the way, he’s losing people that very well might have crossed the aisle. 


Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg waves after speaking at a campaign event, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City.  Photo by Rick Bowmer/AP

Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg waves after speaking at a campaign event, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Rick Bowmer/AP

I’ve always been somewhat critical of Michael Bloomberg — the government apparently has no business telling you who to marry, agreed, but your choice of beverage is fair game. He mirrors the so-called small-government conservatives that grow surprisingly authoritarian if they personally object to something. Bloomberg wants to take firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens; even massacre averting heroes such as Jack Wilson from White Settlement, Texas, are doing “the job of law enforcement”. Even in former Mayor Bloomberg’s New York bubble, which says nothing about comparably underfunded, understaffed, communities such as White Settlement, where the difference between life or death is a matter of seconds, the police are just minutes away. Although I have many policy disagreements with Bloomberg, said disagreements don’t turn me away from him nearly as much as his insincerity does.  

While I won’t call myself a supporter, I will say that I once greatly admired Michael Bloomberg. He has the opportunity to take credit for reducing New York City crime by over 30% (NOTE: All NYC crime data from Citywide Seven Major Felony Offenses 2000-2019 ). His expansion of stop-and-frisk policies removed thousands of illegal weapons, and violent criminals, from the streets. Under Bloomberg, New York became one of the safest cities on Earth. Today, Mayor Bill DeBlasio and his soft on crime policies — stop-and-frisk is nearly extinct, and bail and pretrial detention have been eliminated for felonies such as peddling drugs to children in school — have resulted less glamorous figures than Bloomberg’s, such as a ~32% increase in rape. New York City is markedly less safe today than it was under Bloomberg, yet, instead of touting his accomplishments, he runs from them because the demographics of the Democratic party have forced him to apologize for cutting the murder rate roughly in half and significantly improving the quality of his city. 


Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during campaign event, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City.  Photo by Rick Bowmer/AP

Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during campaign event, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Rick Bowmer/AP

Contrary to what the above defense might suggest, I do not wholeheartedly support stop-and-frisk; I can recognize its effectiveness without ignoring its unintended consequences. If I wanted to propagandize stop-and-frisk, I could lie by omission and not make clear that there is not a single year in which less than 50% of stops were against African Americans. Despite my attempt to go deeper into the publicly available stop-and-frisk data, there’s no honest way to ignore the racial bias employed in the so-called random stops. However, in the early 2000s, New York was ridden with crime, and stop-and-frisk, like virtually any government policy, presented a trade-off. While it’s regrettable that stop-and-frisk cultivates racial discrimination and tensions between citizens and law enforcement, it’s not entirely unfair to consider the trade-off between discrimination and marked safety. 

Michael Bloomberg has defended stop-and-frisk since its conception. With that in mind, I don’t believe that he’s really sorry for it. As recently as 2015, he definitely wasn’t. Unfortunately, in the world of politics, insincerity is all too common. That Donald Trump appeared genuine, whether true or not, was a big part of his 2016 victory, and Bloomberg has shown that he’ll be guided by the shifting winds. 

There is a universe in which I vote for Michael Bloomberg. Unfortunately for him, it is not the one where he abandons his principles and accomplishments to try and sneak through the Democratic Primary. Today’s Michael Bloomberg doesn’t remind me of Michael Bloomberg, and that, more than any policy disagreement — I’ve got plenty of those with all of the candidates I am considering voting for — dissuades me from hearing him out. I’m looking for a reason not to vote for the current President of the United States, but I haven’t found one in Michael Bloomberg. 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual writers in the opinion section do not reflect the views and opinions of The Daily Campus or other staff members. Only articles labeled “Editorial” are the official opinions of The Daily Campus.


Dev Chojar is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at dev.chojar@uconn.edu.

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