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The Bloomberg Conundrum: kakistocracy or oligarchy?

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The mainstream media, ill-informed individuals, and needy Democrats with acute long-term memory loss are all salivating over the potential presidency of billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Aside from the fact that voters might not cotton to replacing one New York billionaire with another, the Bloomberg presidential run has opened what would be a pyrrhic choice between a wobbly kakistocracy, and a scion of the American oligarchic class. If Bloomberg wins the Democratic Party's nomination then woe be on to America for its dalliance with a man whose record aside from the sexism, misogyny, and rancid bigotry of the present POTUS is one of arrogance who sees Black people as inferior.

In his quest to buy the Democratic Party's benevolence, Bloomberg is spending money in the Black community and has bought off a number of Black pastors, politicians and opportunistic leaders as he tried to reinvent himself and run away from his spotty record. They're now singing their master's praises in a shameless display of craven genuflecting, gleefully accepting the crumbs from a contemptuous oligarch.

Nowadays, Bloomberg who has been a former Republican (just as Donald Trump was a Democrat) is - has again changed his political spots and is now masquerading as a Clinton-like conventional, center-left Democrat. He's gone into the political gutter to try and "out Trump, Trump" in shameless pandering to Black, brown and democratic voters. Bloomberg has called King Donald ugly names. And to draw a political contrast between them, he now says he will raise taxes on greedy, selfish wealthy oligarchs like himself. Yes, to "out Bernie, Bernie" the man also wants a higher minimum wage.

Both Donald Trump and the supine and sycophantic Republican AND Mike Bloomberg should worry ALL Americans, not just Democrats. With enough cash to finance a small nation-state of his own, Bloomberg clearly does not want to get into the messy business of hand-to-hand combat politics if he can help it. He much prefers to buy the nomination and perchance the presidency. Still, even though in politics strange things happen, for now, I believe that he has a remote chance of buying the Democratic nomination for president. And just like Trump on the Republican side, he's banking on the Democrats genuine hatred for the POTUS to see him as the anointed political savior.

Fact is that Bloomberg and Trump represent two different acute perversions of American democracy. First, Trump is a corrupt, aspirational autocrat, flagrantly comingling his family business interests with the nation's own. He rose to the presidency on a wave of white anger and distrust of the Democrats and Washington's corruption. En route to the White House he benefitted from a barrage, incessant, constant and unrelenting wall-to-wall cable television coverage with his raucous, race-baiting rallies carried live. It seemed that America's whorish corporate networks could not get enough of Trump's made-for-TV carnival act.

Bloomberg, again like Trump, with his mindboggling and unprecedented wealth, has bought his way into contention without the daily political grind for now. To date he has plowed more than $300 million into his own campaign, with no end in sight. This has had a measured effect on the Democratic Party and its members. For example, some Democrats, already broken by Trump now welcome Bloomberg as a political savior who can defeat Donald Trump. Other Democrats, especially those in elected office, are far more transactional: We now see the growing roster of local officials and members of Congress endorsing him all eyeing the largesse of a fat campaign check or some other political kickback.

Democrats and people of color should not allow Mike Bloomberg to get away with buying the party's presidential nomination. They should remember his tenure as New York City's mayor and how Black and brown people were horribly treated. Moreover, if you were a Muslim back then it was a sure bet that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) spied on your organization (and you) without probable cause. Interestingly, this spying and infiltration program produced nothing of value but did trigger three lawsuits that were settled by the city.

And you have to admire the unmitigated gall of the man to pick a Black church in Brooklyn to cynically launch his campaign and to apologize for his police department's terroristic and maniacal abuse of stop-and-frisk tactics. During the Bloomberg Administration NYPD officers routinely and overwhelmingly targeted and stopped Black and Latino men. The stop-and-frisk police pogrom increased from 97,296 events in 2002 to a peak of 685,724 in 2011. These stops were traumatizing as heavily armed police officers stalked and then aggressively searched their bodies with no justifiable cause. They did it just because they could. In 2013, a federal judge ruled the practice unconstitutional.

Before realizing that this hateful overreach by the NYPD would be harmful to his presidential aspirations, Bloomberg doubled down and rather than accept responsibility he appealed the ruling saying: "There is just no question that stop-and-frisk has saved countless lives. I worry for my kids and I worry for your kids." This the man's public record. But, I submit, it does not end there and his putrid record should disqualify him from getting the Democratic Party's nomination.

Under the Bloomberg Administration New York City's inequality became protracted and pervasive. Today, the city's record high homeless population was and is a direct result of his administration's cavalier approach to the massive internal displacement. Rezonings in formerly working-class neighborhoods spurred luxury development and increasingly unsustainable rent hikes. New York City is now reaping the whirlwind. Complicit with an arrogant and autocratic mayor the Republican in the New York State Senate capitalized on the State Democratic Party's infighting, political opportunism, and inertia to make sure Bloomberg got what he wanted.

Huge political campaign donations from his deep pockets made sure that laws protecting tenants would remain in a weakened state. And public housing further crumbled and decayed under his watch. This contempt for the city's most vulnerable reached its most insensitive and brutal heights in 2011 when Bloomberg killed a safety net housing subsidy program for homeless families. This callous act was directly responsible for triggering the homelessness crisis that New York City is still dealing with today.

Finally, it is the height of unadulterated arrogance and hubris that Mike Bloomberg now says he supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15. Or maybe he is getting senile and forgetful. As New York City's mayor, Bloomberg repeatedly and publicly blasted wage increases as anti-business. In 2015 he stated that he was "not in favor, have never been in favor, of raising the minimum wage." Now he wants us to believe that the oligarchic tiger has changed his spots to counter the Trump kakistocracy. Now, I'm a proud Brooklynite, and if you are stupid enough to believe Mike Bloomberg I have a bridge to sell you.

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

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