Election Year Blues | Politics Are Not Funny | Pillow Talk TV

Guess what 2020 means? F*ck the past. A new decade.
All sins are forgiven! Language. 2020 is an election year. Shut your mouth… I mean. That means that… I know what that means. It is the worst possible thing ever. Everything is ruined now. Why so blue? Because it’s a goddamn motherf*cking
election year. Language. Incessant ads. Garbage candidates. Empty promises.
Friends turning on one another. And let’s not forget, a complete lack a moral decency. All of that is true. We mustn’t forget Trump. Language! I’m sorry. Just 2020 was supposed to be so special
and now everything is ruined. Science? I am not in the mood. Science dance? I said I’m not in the mood. An election year is a time of hope, a time of… Alright, let’s shift gears. An election year is a time of depression and agony. We as Americans are forced to pick sides. Turn on friends and family. All in the
name of the evil demon called democracy. Yes! You get me. How does one avoid losing all respect for family who vote for “that” candidate? It’s impossible. How does one shield themselves
from the onslaught of media? We must destroy our computers and our
televisions. Too soon. We must make smarter choices and avoid click bait. Exactly! We must stop engaging in social media arguments that end in deleted and
blocked profiles and shattered egos. Some of that is okay. Down with profiteering.
Let’s end big government. Wait! Wait wait wait wait wait.
Who’s show is this? What is going on here? You will not destroy 2020, ok! 420 is an entire month goddamnit. You’re ruining everything! Nobody’s ruining anything! You are! This is my show now. I win the election. Ow. Ow. In 2020, every 4:20 will be a mandatory smoke break. I’ve lost control. And the whole month of April will be forced vacation. She no longer respects my opinions. Tuesday nights, all men will have to cook dinner. Tacos. And Wednesday will forever be changed… Are you done? If I am elected host of the science show, Dan will forever do the experiments, And I will be the one laughing! Ha ha ha! I quit. I quit. Science! Pose.

What if the US had a wealth tax? | WHAT IF?

Senator Bernie Sanders: “We’re gonna tell the wealthiest people in this country that they are gonna start paying their fair share of taxes.” Alan D. Viard: Wealth taxes are in the news these days. Senator Elizabeth Warren: “We need to put a tax on the top one-tenth of one percent. The biggest fortunes in this country.” Alan D. Viard: Supporters see a wealth tax as a
way to reduce inequality and reduce the political power of the very wealthy.
Opponents claim that a wealth tax would face serious challenges. But what exactly
is a wealth tax, and would it work for America? First, let’s talk about what a
wealth tax is and what it isn’t. It’s important to recognize that a wealth tax
is not the same thing as an income tax. Instead of being taxed on things like
wages and interest, a wealth tax would apply to assets that are owned, minus debts
that are owed. As you’ve probably guessed, the wealth tax would only apply to the
very wealthy. In the November 2019 version of her plan, Elizabeth Warren
proposed a tax of two percent per year on wealth over $50 million and six percent per
year on wealth in excess of $1 billion. Bernie Sanders’ plan begins with a rate of
one percent per year for wealth above $32 million and reaches 8 percent
per year for wealth above $10 billion. Now these numbers might seem low,
but remember that the same stock of wealth is taxed each year, and that adds
up over time. Let’s put this in terms of income tax rates. Imagine a taxpayer who holds a bond with a
fixed interest rate of three percent per year. A six percent per year wealth tax is
equivalent to a 200% income tax because the tax is
double the taxpayer’s interest income. And don’t forget that a wealth tax would be
in addition to the income tax. Now that we have a basic understanding of what
a wealth tax is, let’s try to predict what would happen if America decided to
adopt it. First, lobbyists would likely fight for special tax breaks, exempting
certain kinds of assets from the tax. Asset exemptions would not only reduce the
tax’s revenue yield, but they would encourage wealthy taxpayers to shift
their wealth to the exempt assets. We’ve seen that pattern occur in France and
Germany, who have since repealed their wealth taxes. Next, taxpayers and the IRS
would have the burden of figuring out what certain assets are worth. Now that’s
easy for bank accounts or stocks, but it’s far more complicated for many other
things. How much would you say this house is worth? This business? This yacht?
Another possible side effect of a wealth tax is the impact on businesses and
workers. Reducing the savings of the richest Americans reduces the funds
available for business investments in factories, equipment, and research. With
less investment, workers would be less productive and would earn lower wages, so
workers could actually end up bearing a small part of the wealth tax burden. To
top things off, the wealth tax might be struck down is unconstitutional. The
Constitution requires that direct federal taxes, other than income taxes, be
divided among the states in proportion to their population. Dividing the wealth
tax in that way would probably not be doable. Some legal scholars argue that
the wealth tax is not subject to this requirement because it’s an indirect tax,
but others disagree. Nobody knows how the courts would rule. With a poor track
record in Europe, the potential for special tax breaks, administrative
challenges, and the risk of being struck down as unconstitutional, a wealth tax
may not be the best strategy for taxing the rich. It might make more sense to use other
policies, such as reforms to the income tax and the estate and gift taxes. But until then,
we’ll just have to ask ourselves “What if?” To learn more about
wealth taxes, check out the link in the description below. Also, let us know what
other topics you’d like AEI scholars to cover on “What If?” and be sure to
subscribe for more videos and research from AEI.

Kamala Harris Drops Out – Who should be next? | 2020 Election | QT Politics

As the crowded democratic primary race for
the 2020 election rages on, voters appear to be coalescing around a narrowing field
of realistic choices. The tier 1 choices at the moment appear to
be Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. These four candidates are the top four in
the national polls, each with more than 10% support, according to the rcp averages, and
each has their own advantages. Joe Biden has probably the best name recognition
in the field, and is polling in first nation-wide. Bernie Sanders has raised the most money from
supporters, and has the greatest number of donors. Elizabeth Warren is the only candidate to
have, although briefly, surpassed Biden in the national polls, leads in her home state
of Massachusetts, and remains in second in Nevada, South Carolina, and California. Pete Buttigieg is currently surging nation-wide,
and leads in both Iowa and New Hampshire. It would difficult for any candidate not already
in the top four to break through at this stage of the game, but that doesn’t mean that everyone
else in the race should pack their bags. Andrew Yang, for instance, has shown remarkable
progress for a political outsider, and the longer he fights on, the more seriously mainstream
democrats are to take his central issues: data rights, automation, and universal basic
income. While there are good reasons to cast a cynical
eye on Bloomberg’s run, his financial power is formidable to say the least. Deval Patrick, too, just joined the race—and
while I doubt his experience at Mitt Romney’s vulture capitalist firm, Bain Capital, will
do much to earn him a place in the hearts of democratic voters—it may be a tad too
early to totally dismiss him out of hand. With a number of candidates recently dropping
out, Wayne Messam, Joe Sestak, Steve Bullock, and Kamala Harris, it seems reasonable to
ask… Who should be next? Tom Steyer has managed to make it onto the
debate stage twice, now, passing the polling and fundraising thresholds set by the DNC. For most, his appearances have been somewhat
overwhelming. But if he’s doing so bad in the debates, you
may ask, how has he managed to do well enough in the polls, and in fundraising, to make
it onto the debate stage at all? Well, unlike most of the candidates, Steyer’s
campaign is astoundingly self-funded. While most candidates release ads, in part,
to fill their campaign’s coffers, Steyer is losing astronomical amounts of money with
every ad buy. According to CNN, by October 10th, he had
spent over 30 million dollars on ads across televison and social media. As a result, he raised a paultry 2 million
dollars from less than 160,000 unique donors. Meaning, for every dollar he spends in ads,
he takes in less than 7 cents. Not exactly a promising return on investment. A businessman should know better. But, of course, Steyer’s goal is not to get
his message out there so that the people will help fund his campaign. His goal is to directly earn support from
uncommitted or uninformed voters through ads purchased from his own pocket book. His wager is, essentially, that he can buy
his way into the White House. This graph from 538 shows the ad spending
of different campaigns. Steyer’s ads are represented in green. As you can see, while Steyer remains a relatively
minor candidate in polling and fundraising, he is outspending his primary rivals many
times over. At the current count, Steyer has already spent
a whopping 46 million dollars. That’s a massive figure, but no suprise, given
Steyer is a billionaire, and in 2016 was the second-biggest Democratic donor in the presidential
race. Now, if we extend the graph just slightly,
to today, we see the big problem for Steyer. There’s another Billionaire in the race, one
with even more money than Steyer, who actually topped the charts as the number one biggest
Democratic donor in the 2016 race. Michael Bloomberg, in the last week of November,
and in December so far, is putting his resources at work, outspending even Steyer, many times
over. He’s already spent $31 million. If Steyer’s strategy is to just use his money
to outspend everyone else in the field, Bloomberg seems to be the only guy who can out do him. He’s quite simply got more money to burn. On top of that, Bloomberg’s spending is more
likely to drive his standings in the polls and with donors. He may be quite unpopular amongst Democrats,
but at least Bloomberg has experience beyond funding campaigns. He’s got actual executive experience, having
served as the Mayor of New York. Not exactly sufficient experience for most
Presidential hopefulls, but it is more than Steyer, and more than Pete Buttigieg, who
is currently showing strong promise in the National and Early State polls. Without original policy ideas, strong debate
chops, or experience in politics, he’s got virtually zero chance of catching fire as
a candidate organically. His only advantage has been his ability to
self-fund his campaign. Bloomberg’s entry in the race totally eliminates
that advantage. Not only should Steyer drop out, he should
do so ASAP, because unlike with most democratic candidates, it’s his own money he’s wasting. From the ultimate political insider, to the
ultimate outsider, Marianne Williamson should also drop out of the race. Williamson has said that she’s going to stay
in the race until the money dries up. Bless her heart. I love the orb mother, but it’s hard to imagine
that her campaign has any reason left to exist at this point. Early on, Williamson was able to get onto
the debate stage, and bring up her issues. At times, she even had reasonably good performances. She can even take partial credit for the fact
that one of her top issues, reparations, became a topic of conversation in the debates—enough
so that even Pete Buttigieg, who enjoys very little support from the Black community—would
attempt to win over black voters with his Douglass Plan. Despite having no experience in politics,
Williamson managed to make a bit of a mark. She should be proud of what she’s done, and
hang her hat on it. Now, there’s very little else she can do. Polling at .4 percent in the RCP averages,
she has no hope of returning to the debate stage, or gaining more attention in the mainstream
media, as the field narrows in on more serious prospects. Like Marianne Williamson, Michael Bennet is
no longer likely to gain any real attention in the mainstream media, or make it on stage
for future debates. Despite his past debate appearances, he’s
failed to make his mark, and is currently polling at .8% in the RCP averages. He was also one of the lowest-fundraising
candidates in the 3rd quarter, but for some reason he’s pledged to stay in the race, at
least until New Hampshire. There’s no reason for him to do that. As Colorado’s senior US Senator, he’s got
bigger fish to fry than a campaign going no where slowly. John Delaney’s reasons to drop out are so
numerous that a small wonder he even remembers what it was like to be on the campaign trail. Sure, unlike Bennet, he’s got little else
going on in his political career, having concluded his work in the House of Representatives in
January. But like Bennet and Williamson, his appearances
in the early Democratic debates gained him little traction. He is currently polling at just .6 percent
in the RCP averages: that’s 25% less than Bennett—although with numbers this small,
his total support is well within the margin of error for most polls. Delaney’s run is also comparable to Steyer,
as before Steyer came around, Delaney was the self-funded candidate. Delaney’s campaign is actually one of the
better funded ones—with over 27 million dollars. All but 3 million of that, however, came from
his own bank account. If Steyer should drop out, now that a bigger
self-funded campaign has entered the contest, it’s astounding that Delaney hasn’t caught
on that he’s wasting his money. Having launched his campaign all the way back
in July of 2017, Delaney has been in this race for literal years longer than the major
candidates. The only benefit to his enduring efforts would
be a Guinness World Record for longest-lived campaign failure. Although a far more plausible candidate than
anyone I have mentioned so far, Amy Klobuchar might seriously consider dropping out as well. When it comes to fundraising, she’s raised
about the same amount as Beto O’Rourke, who has already left the race. Polling-wise, she’s in 8th place, with 2.4%
in the RCP averages—not exactly remarkable for an experienced US Senator. And all of this is after two debates where
she clearly performed significantly better than she had previously done. If Klobuchar was going to surge into serious
contention, she would’ve done so already. The real trouble with Klobuchar is that she
offers very little not already offered by a higher-polling candidate. You want an experienced politician with moderate
ideology? You’ve got that with Joe Biden, the leader
in the national polls. Are you a moderate who thinks Biden’s better
days are behind him? Well, in fourth place, and surging in the
early states, you’ve got Pete Buttigieg—who clearly represents a new generation of moderate
dems, far more convincingly than Klobuchar. Do you not care about ideology, and are instead
focused on gender?, you want a woman president? Well, your best bet in that case would be
Elizabeth Warren. She’s in third place nationally, and in the
first two states. Booker, too, is showing weak numbers in the
polls, even after the 5th Democratic Debate, where he delivered what was probably his best
performance in the primary race so far. He’s polled at just 1 or 2 percent since then,
retaining an overall rcp average of just 1.8%. In terms of fundraising, he’s raised about
18 and a half million, and spend 14, meaning he’s not saving up much cash on hand for an
ad blitz in the offing. Booker has a ton of charisma, and solid experience,
but it appears that voters just aren’t buying what he’s selling. To paraphrase an expression Booker used in
a dazzling debate moment, he’s selling the Kool Aid but nobody wants the flavor. Julian Castro’s campaign has shown a number
of signs of impending doom. He’s begun to struggle to make the thresholds
required to make the debates, and as I’ve previously reported, he’s shutting down what
ought to be major campaign operations in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Sure, the official line is that this is to
focus on other critical states, like Iowa (where he his polling in 12th place), Nevada
(where he is polling in 10th place) and his native Texas (where he is polling in 7th place)… But with less than a million dollars cash
on hand, and declining presence in the press, it’s hard to see his prospects as anything
other than a wild long shot. The reality is that, despite being a recurrently
forceful presence on the debate stage, Castro was essentially put in a no-win situation
after his infamous clash with Joe Biden. After asking Biden “did you forget what
you said two minutes ago?”–and repeating that line of attack—the mainstream press
repeatedly reported the encounter as Castro making a distasteful swipe at Biden’s age. In my opinion, Castro was correct in calling
Biden out, and I broke that down in my analysis of the debate at the time. But I would go on to predict that Castro would
suffer in the polls, and that in the next debate, he’d be between a rock and a hard
place: he would have to chose to double down on his aggressive debate style—one of his
only advantages in the primary race—or bend to media pressure, and soften his approach. Castro seemed to do the latter. As a result, his last appearance on a debate
stage was unremarkable, and the low-polling candidate was lost in the shuffle. It may seem a little mean spirited to suggest
that many of the long shot campaigns should end soon, but as the primaries and caucuses
draw nearer, pruning the crowded field may be extremely useful for democratic voters. Crowded debates tend to translate into little
substance, as minor candidates attempt to make their mark with attacks on the major
players, who themselves benefit most by conveying as little meaning as possible—in order to
avoid rocking the boat. With numerous candidates, it also becomes
next to impossible for working Americans to sufficiently research each of their available
options. In this way, dropping out of the race is not
just the right thing to do in terms of time, and energy, and resources for a variety of
candidates—it is also the right thing to do, morally, for Democratic voters, and the
American people. For that reason, I will end this video honouring
the departed campaigns of the patriots who have respected the voters enough to remove
themselves from the race. But of the fifteen candidates still taking
up valuable air time, I ask, how many are wasting everybody’s time? How many are continuing on out of sheer vanity,
stubbornness, and fantasy?, and how many actually have a message worth listening to? And of those, how many really deserve serious
consideration? The Democratic Party has not always opted
for the best choice when it comes to presidential nominees. It may be time for the long shots to step
aside, so that the voters can inform themselves about the realistic options, and decide… Who should be next?

Mark Zuckerberg Talks About His Dinner With Trump

>>Mark Zuckerberg had an interview with Gayle
King, and he addressed the fact that he had a private dinner with Donald Trump. Let’s take a look.>>Sure. I mean, we talked about a number of things
that were on his mind, and some of the topics that you would read about in the news around
our work.>>People would say the optics weren’t good. Did he try to lobby you in any way?>>No, I mean I don’t think that that’s, I
think some of the stuff that people talk about I think it’s discussing and these discussions
are not really how that works. I also wanna respect that it was a private
dinner discussion.>>He seems like he was really telling the
truth there.>>Yeah, that was not a good answer.>>How is he this bad at corporate stuff? Like he’s this is supposed to be a kind of
a fluff piece, I mean Gayle King asked some good questions, not very forcefully. But I like watching succession they have all
of those erudite kind of ridiculous corporate interviews or whatever to make propaganda
stuff to make people look good, and he can’t even do that?>>Yeah, and they should have known that the
Trump question was coming, that’s super obvious, and it didn’t look like he was prepared for
that question. Yeah, is not a good beginning to any answer,
let alone twice.>>Why would Trump want to have dinner with
him? Because he’s such a charismatic interesting
person to have a conversation with?>>So, which then goes to the more important
point, the substant point which is come on, who are you kidding? Of course Trump lobbied you, of course it
was meant to pressure you to favor Republicans, and the part that’s even worse is of course
it worked.>>Mm-hm.>>And so trump is lying all his ads which
is what Facebook’s policy is. Now as Zuckerberg has had dinner with every
imaginable conservative in the country, ranging from Ben Shapiro to Donald Trump, he has had
dinner with, as far as we know, zero progressives. His entire board is Republicans. Every consultant he hired in Washington, DC
is Republicans. The fact-checkers are Republicans, they also
then write negative articles about the Democratic candidates, like Elizabeth Warren. And we are supposed to believe that somehow
you’re being balanced? Cuz if you are you got a funny way of showing
it. I’d be super open to and really interested
in their evidence that they value and respect and also promote progresses, but I haven’t
seen it yet.>>I wanna go to a Warren quote about this
dinner. She said, amid anti-trust scrutiny, Facebook
is going on a charm offensive with Republican lawmakers, to your point, Cenk. And now Mark Zuckerberg and one of Facebook’s
board members, a major Trump donor, had a secret dinner with Trump. This is corruption, plain and simple. This is how our politics work.>>Yeah, and Democrats, all those years of
taking that big tech money and cozying up to this industry, how’s this working out for
you? When you played by this corrupt game and you
did what Elizabeth Warren said there, doesn’t seem to be helping very much. Because now Zuckerberg is helping further
the GOP conservative agenda by disseminating Republican propaganda at will and taking their
ad money and meeting with Trump.>>And, guys, I don’t think that the owner
of Facebook having dinner with the President is by itself a problem. But covering it up is a problem. Why wouldn’t you just say yeah, dinner with
the President. The President want to have dinner, I had dinner
with him. By the way, Bernie Sanders wants to have dinner,
I had dinner with him. Because the second part it’s not really true,
is it? You wouldn’t reach out to Bernie Sanders,
you wouldn’t reach out to Elizabeth Warren, but you did reach out to Trump. And obviously what you talked about was something
you guys wanted to keep secret really, really badly. So this none of this is playing well at all. I don’t know, at some point, I suppose Facebook’s
gonna say yeah, we don’t despise the left, but they haven’t said it yet. And they’re actually certainly haven’t said
it, so I don’t know when they’re gonna say it or if they’re ever gonna say it. Or if at some point they’re just gonna say
yeah, the entire company is Republican, so it is what it is inside there for everyone
who isn’t Republican.

Michael Bloomberg 2020 – 5 Problems | QT Politics

After initially declaring he would not run
for president in the 2020 election, Michael Bloomberg filled paperwork to qualify for
the Alabama primary in time to meet the deadline. This action, followed soon after by fillings
in other states, has prompted many to speculate that the billionaire is seriously considering
changing his mind about running, and his spokespeople have said he would be making up his mind soon. Were Bloomberg to declare a run, he would
reportedly have at least one supporter: Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, who apparently
encouraged his fellow billionaire to run during a phone call earlier this year. To win the presidency, Bloomberg would, of
course, have to begin by winning the democratic primary contest. In this video, I will lay
out five serious problems he would face, if he were to join the race. Now, before I launch into this, I want to
be straight up about my bias. I think that the fact that Bloomberg is even considering
a run is an unsavory indicator of times we now live in. I do not trust the ability of
any billionaire to empathize with, or understand the problems of, ordinary Americans. I find
it incredibly difficult to believe that any billionaire is likely to favor policy that
would help working class people, over the interests of their own economic class, and
the corporations they often own, work for, and/or own stock in. And, I find it difficult
to believe that a billionaire will faithfully act in the national interest of America, over
and above their own financial interests. Beyond that, regardless of their propensity
to support policy that would widen the already unconscionable wealth gap in America, I believe
there are serious symbolic issues with having a billionaire in the oval office. Bloomberg
is the fourth Billionaire, after Donald Trump, Howard Schultz, and Tom Steyer, to seriously
consider a 2020 run. Were Bloomberg to secure the democratic nomination, the 2020 election
would be the first general election contest between two billionaires in American history,
a disheartening blow to the notion that anyone in America can grow up to become the President
of the United States. So, for full disclosure, even if a billionaire
were to propose the perfect policies, and somehow prove a faithful commitment to it,
I would still be hesitant. Michael Bloomberg does not pose such moral quandary for me,
as I am in general disagreement about much of his ideology. But, to be quite clear, I
am biased to begin with. The very fact that he is a billionaire means that even if he
were running on a platform I loved, I would still have to seriously mull over the idea
of supporting him, and ask myself: Is it worth it? To begin with, were Michael Bloomberg to join
the presidential race, he must contend with the fact that he might be a spoiler candidate
for more popular moderate Democrats, like Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. I don’t generally
like spoiler arguments, but the fact is that he avoided running in 2016 for that very reason.
He opted to back Clinton, rather than running himself, because he wanted to unite in common
cause against Donald Trump. Were Bloomberg to join the current Democratic
Primary, he does so mainly to oppose progressive candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie
Sanders, both of whom propose wealth taxes for Billionaires like Bloomberg. Theoretically,
were Bloomberg to make the debate stage—itself a somewhat dubious potentiality—he would
use his time to rail against the progressive moment, and perhaps bolster candidates more
favorable to his own ideology. However, were he to draw support, there is
no doubt where he would be most likely to draw it from: Joe Biden, who is similar ideologically
and demographically, and has the most support to lose. So, were Bloomberg to be extremely
successful and become a major contender, he would very likely split Biden’s base of support
in the process, thus improving the chances of Warren and Sanders, the very candidates
he would join the race to stop. That said, splitting the vote is the least
of Bloomberg’s troubles, as it’s a theoretical problem for anyone joining any race. It’s
also not likely to become a real problem, as to split the vote, you have to draw supporters,
and Bloomberg is not likely to do that effectively. One obvious problem for Michael Bloomberg
is that he is entering the race late. John Delaney was the first to declare his candidacy
at the end of July of 2017. By the end of April 2015, all of the major candidates had
already declared. Candidates who declared after Joe Biden include: Bullock, Sestak,
Steyer, and de Blasio, none of whom have so far been able to gain serious traction. One
of them has actually already dropped out, and two of them might as well have, as they
have failed keep pace with the DNC’s rules for making the debate stage. Aside from this anecdotal evidence, there
is good reason to suggest any new comer to the race would have a tough time: an October
YouGov/HuffPost poll found that 83 percent of Democratic voters were already satisfied
with or enthusiastic about the current field of presidential choices. With so late an entry into the contest, among
a field of highly-liked candidates, Bloomberg would have to have an incredible plan to gain
sufficient momentum to secure the nomination. According to his adviser, Howard Wolfson,
however, Bloomberg’s plan would be to not campaign in early caucus and primary states
like Iowa and New Hampshire, but instead focus on Super Tuesday. The last time a democratic candidate won the
nomination without winning one of the first two state contests was in 1972. And that was
a strange primary contest—McGovern won the nomination despite the fact that Humphry won
the popular vote—and it was a very different time: the second contest was Florida, and
half the states did not have a caucus or primary. I’m not going to say that avoiding the early
contests is a stupid idea, but history shows that no one has ever won by skipping straight
to super tuesday, since super tuesday began in 1984. So, were Bloomberg to join the race, he’d
be joining astoundingly late, competing against already-popular competitors, and doing so
with an implausible strategy. To pull off a victory in the face of all this, Bloomberg
would have to capture a kind of magic that transcends conventional thinking. But does
Bloomberg represent what Americans love? Mmm, not so much. If you made a list of things all Americans
love, that list may look something like this: Nowhere on anyone’s list would we see Wall
Street, the Mainstream Media, or Power-hungry Billionaires, yet Bloomberg manages to be
all three in one person. Michael Bloomberg began his career on Wall
Street, and made his fortune largely through the Bloomberg terminal, the financial information
computer that became a fixture of Wall Street trading floors. Selling these terminals, Bloomberg’s
company became massively successful, and he became one of the wealthiest people in the
world. He then conceived of Bloomberg Business news,
originally as a way of expanding the services provided through his terminals. Before long,
Bloomberg had a small media empire—Bloomberg Mediagroup–with magazines, a 24-hr business
news network, a radio service, and online platforms. Not satisfied by the power he accrued in the
worlds of finance and media, Bloomberg also began a political career, becoming the 108th
mayor of New York in 2001, and served three terms. He also teased making a run for president
in 2016 as an independent, before eventually endorsing Hilary Clinton. If Bloomberg’s threat of running as an independent
in 2016 sounds familiar, it may be because another billionaire, Starbucks CEO Howard
Schultz, tried the same tact this election cycle, before realizing that there was no
clamour for an arrogant, inexperienced billionaire. He announced he would not run in September
2019. But as veteran GOP propagandist Frank Lunz
points out, “Howard Schultz is not Mike Bloomberg. Mike
Bloomberg has shown his willingness to invest in the campaign. He’s shown his willingness
to be tough enough to be able to take the criticism, which Howard Schultz was not,” Still another billionaire, Tom Steyer, is
investing significant swaths of his own money, backing his own run for the Democratic nomination.
Despite massive spending, he is currently polling in 12th place, at 1.0% in the RCP
averages. Meanwhile, two of the top three candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders,
have largely built their political brands railing against the undue power of the billionaire
class. Together Sanders and Warren represent 38% of Democratic support, a full ten points
ahead of the front-runner, Joe Biden. But one thing that separates Bloomberg from
Schultz or Steyer is the fact that he’s been a politician before. A mayor has never made
a direct leap to the oval office before, but there is no doubt that Bloomberg’s experience
as NYC Mayor makes him at least as prepared for the presidency as South Bend Mayor Pete
Buttigieg, who is currently polling in fourth place. So, while Bloomberg’s political experience
may be distinctly less substantial than typical presidents—who tend to have experience as
Senators, Governors or Secretaries of State—his mayoral experience may clear the bar, perhaps
substantially lowered in light of the fact that the current president—also a billionaire—had
zero experience in politics when he beat the candidate Bloomberg backed in 2016. (Hilary
Clinton). Bloomberg’s ties to wall street and the mainstream
media may be negative indicators for his potential in this race, as would his billionaire status.
But as far as billionaires go, he is not likely to be quite as clownish a candidate as the
billionaires we’ve seen so far: unlike Steyer and Schultz, Bloomberg can call himself an
experienced politician. But as far as experience goes, his may not be the kind the Democratic
electorate is looking for. As with most things, experience is more about
quality than quantity. Valuable experience for a politician means having accomplishments
to boast about, or at least, a track record of making the right decisions. When it comes
to decision-making, Bloomberg has many vulnerabilities. He supported George W Bush for president,
he supported the Iraq conflict, and has been a staunch supporter of free trade with China,
habitually turning a blind eye to Chinese protectionism and currency manipulation. But, of all the policies associated with Bloomberg,
one stands out more than any other: stop and frisk. The issue has been talked about in
recent opinion pieces about Bloomberg that have come out in the New York Times, and the
Washington Post, and will thus be likely to be talked about ad nausium by cable news pundits,
should the billionaire declare himself a presidential candidate. When the constitutionality of stop and frisk
was challenged in Federal court, the presiding Judge Shira Scheindlin considered statistics
of police stops between 2004 and 2019. Here were some of those: “52% of all stops were followed by a protective
frisk for weapons. A weapon was found after 1.5% of these frisks. In other words, in 98.5%
of the 2.3 million frisks, no weapon was found.” “In 52% of the 4.4 million stops, the person
stopped was black, in 31% the person was Hispanic, and in 10% the person was white.” “In 23% of the stops of blacks, and 24%
of the stops of Hispanics, the officer recorded using force. The number for whites was 17%.” “Weapons were seized in 1.0% of the stops
of blacks, 1.1% of the stops of Hispanics, and 1.4% of the stops of whites.” “Contraband other than weapons was seized
in 1.8% of the stops of blacks, 1.7% of the stops of Hispanics, and 2.3% of the stops
of whites.” After assessing these statistics, Judge Scheindlin
ruled that the procedure itself was not unconstitutional, but the way the NYPD carried it out was. “Targeting young black and Hispanic men
for stops based on the alleged criminal conduct of other young black or Hispanic men violates
bedrock principles of equality” In response to the ruling, Bloomberg wrote
a Washington Post editorial called “’Stop and Frisk’ keeps New York Safe,” in which
he called that judge “an ideologically driven federal judge who
has a history of ruling against the police” He also tied the stop and frisk policy directly
to saving lives, writing, “Never once in the judge’s 197-page opinion did
she mention the lives that have been saved because of the stops those officers made.” And he claimed, “when it comes to policing, political correctness
is deadly” Bloomberg’s fear mongering about the need
for stop and frisk is not substantiated by recent crime statistics. The NYPD’s own data
has found no increases in serious crime as a result of declining numbers of police stops.
As Politico reported, “The number of reported police stops have
dropped by a total of 98 percent since their peak in 2011. In that time, homicides have
decreased 43 percent, while major index crimes have declined 9 percent.” Perhaps more politically damaging than the
fact that Bloomberg was absolutely wrong about stop and frisk, is the fact that the policy
is poison to black and latino voters. As the Atlantic reported in 2016, “In a 2012 Quinnipiac poll, seven in 10
black New Yorkers opposed stop-and-frisk. In 2013, Marist found an even higher proportion,
75 percent, wanted an overhaul.” In a primary contest where reparations are
being discussed, and multiple candidates have proposed plans for dealing with systemic racism,
Bloomberg will very easily seen as part of the problem. Were he somehow to become the Democratic nominee,
over the objections of Black and Latino voters, Bloomberg’s nomination would very likely clear
the way for a Trump victory. As Jonathan Cape of the Washington Post explains, “Trump was the first Republican to win Wisconsin since
1984. He did so by about 23,000 votes. Black voter turnout in that state plunged from
74 percent in 2012 to 55.1 percent in 2016. Voter suppression efforts played a part, but
so did distaste for the candidates.” It is difficult to imagine how the Democrats
could beat Donald Trump without recovering at least part of the rust belt states, which
voted for both Obama and Trump. To do so, the party must inspire greater turn out from
Black voters, a task that would be virtually impossible with a candidate so inextricably
tied to the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy. This is a double blow to Bloomberg’s chances
in the democratic primary race. Opposition from people of color (and their allies) doesn’t
just meaning losing their votes in the primaries, it also means losing the votes of whites who
take electability to be a determinative factor when choosing a nominee. Losing the votes of people of color would
enough to end the presidential ambitions of most potential Democratic nominees. The only
thing more fatal to a potential campaign would be to alienate a full 50 percent of the American
electorate. When it comes to his past with women, Bloomberg may have already done just
that. Michael Bloomberg boasted in his 1997 autobiography
that he kept “a girlfriend in every city” during the 60s and 70s, and has claimed “chasing
women” to be one of his favourite things to do. In a 2013 feature in New York Magazine, Bloomberg
is quoted as responding to being thanked for his positions on gun control this way: “Without even acknowledging the comment,
Bloomberg gestured toward a woman in a very tight floor-length gown standing nearby and
said, ‘Look at the ass on her.’” In 1990, colleagues gifted him a booklet called
“Portable Bloomberg: The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Bloomberg.” One piece of wit
the volume contained, was the following “hilarious” joke: “If women wanted to be appreciated for their
brains, they’d go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale’s.” Look, I’d be perfectly happy to accept an
offensive joke, were the joke discernibly funny in anyway whatsoever. While I’m not
particularly offended as supporter of women, I am, in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “offended
as a comedian”. Here’s another piece of Bloomberg wit: when
he noticed a sales representative at his company wearing an engagement ring, he is alleged
to have said to her, “What, is the guy dumb and blind? What the
h-e-double-hockey-sticks is he marrying you for?” That’s according to a suit filed by that sales
representative in the 1990s. She also claimed that when she told Bloomberg that she was
pregnant, he replied this way: “k it!” Bloomberg denied that he ever made those comments,
but did concede that he said of her, and several other women at the company, “I’d do her.” There have been far too many discrimination
and harassment suits filed against Bloomberg and his company to sufficiently detail here.
Several suits of this nature were filed in the 1990s and beyond. In 2008, at least 58
women filed a class-action lawsuit against Bloomberg LP, alleging pregnancy discrimination,
including demotions, cut salaries, and other mistreatment. In 1998 woman filed a suit against
Bloomberg after an executive allegedly forced himself on her. Bloomberg claimed he wouldn’t
believe the woman without an “unimpeachable third-party witness”. A similar case was
filed in 2013, with another female victim and another Bloomberg executive. The suit
alleged the multiple attacks she suffered were assisted in part by a hostile work environment
and a pattern of discrimination and harassment from multiple leaders in the company. It would be unreasonable to hold Bloomberg
responsible for the the worst acts of vylense against women perpetrated by executives at
his company. But it does seem to me fair to hold him at least partially responsible for
the apparently perpetually misogynistic culture of his company, and 100 percent responsible
for his personal history of demeaning and misogynistic comments. After learning about the history of Bloomberg
and his company’s treatment of women, it would be difficult to imagine that any kind of enthusiasm
for his campaign would come from well-informed female voters. But forget how Bloomberg’s past will affect
his popularity going forward. With relatively high name recognition, current opinion polling
about Bloomberg already paints a pretty vivid picture. According to polling by Morning Consult, Were
Michael Bloomberg to join the race today, he would be polling in 6th place, between
Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang, with 4% of the vote. Given the large field overall, and
the fact that candidates tend to experience a surge after declaring their candidacy, these
numbers don’t look altogether horrible for Bloomberg. After all, we saw Pete Buttigieg
rise to fourth place out of almost total obscurity, and he’s currently polling in 2nd place in
Iowa. But, while unknown candidates can join a race
and gain significantly in the polls as people learn who they are, Bloomberg’s single-digit
status has little to do with a lack of name-recognition. Again, according to Morning Consult: “If he were to run, Bloomberg would enter
the 2020 Democratic contest with higher name recognition among the party’s electorate than
11 current contenders, including fellow billionaire Tom Steyer of California. But Bloomberg does
have baggage, with a quarter of likely Democratic primary voters expressing unfavorable views
of him—higher than any of the 15 candidates currently in the race.” FiveThrityEight data confirms this: while
his name-recognition is on par with Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, who enjoy net-approval
ratings in the mid-thirties, Bloomberg’s net-approval is less than a third of theirs, at +11 points. So, not only does Bloomberg already have high
name-recognition, meaning he has little room to grow beyond the 4% support he might already
enjoy, were he to join the race, he would be beginning his run as the most hated candidate
in the field. For a years now, Michael Bloomberg has been
teasing presidential runs. There is no doubt that he wants to become the president. But,
to even have a chance of winning, Bloomberg would have to give up a great deal of privacy,
face enormous criticism, expend a small fortune of his personal wealth, and submit himself
to an exhausting process: with debates, rallies, interviews, and the behind-the-scenes efforts
of building an effective campaign team. All this, and he would still face incredibly long
odds for even becoming a top contender for the Democratic nomination. Were he some how
able to secure that, he would then face the even more exhausting process of running in
the general against a notoriously vicious and energetic rival. Not to mention, actually
being the president is a stressful, mostly thankless task. Bloomberg may very well want to become the
president, but given all he would have to go through to even have a remote chance of
winning the prize, I wonder if he has asked himself… Is it worth it?