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Bloomberg and Trump are two sides of the same sinister coin | Derecka Purnell | Opinion


Donald Trump is president of the United States. He must lose the next presidential election and leave office. Stakes feel higher than ever, which makes me suspicious of anyone who refuses to support the Democratic presidential nominee in the general election. Well, with one major exception: Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg must never become president of the United States. He and Trump are two sides of the same white supremacist billionaire coin. Heads for a national Muslim ban, tails for spying on thousands of Muslims in New Jersey and New York. Actually, Bloomberg is much more explicit in his intolerable views on people of color. Political commentator Benjamin Dixon recently unearthed and shared a clip of Michael Bloomberg’s 2015 speech at the Aspen Institute:

“95% … murderers and murder victims fit one MO. You can just take the description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city. And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed. You want to spend the money on a lot of cops in the streets. Put the cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods. So one of the unintended consequences is people say, ‘Oh my God, you’re arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities!’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them. And then they start, ‘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.”

The billionaire mayor is not only racist, but wrong. In New York state from 2008-2018, people reported for murder were 26% white, 44% black and 29% unknown. And 60% of the victims were black and more than 30% were white. Under Bloomberg’s paradigm, white people could go into black neighborhoods and kill endless amounts of people, but the police would never search or any other suspect who is not a “minority.”

Black boys and men are disproportionately victims of homicides, but prisons increase violence, not decrease it. Additionally, the strongest indicator of murder is socioeconomic disadvantage, not race. Studies show that “violent crime rates for extremely disadvantaged white neighborhoods are more similar to rates for extremely disadvantaged black areas than to rates for other types of white neighborhoods.” Rather than putting more cops on the streets, Bloomberg, or any mayor, could have used community development and investment to reduce violence. But as recently as 2015, Bloomberg doubled down on his faulty claims.

Bloomberg’s logic illustrates Michelle Alexander’s argument in The New Jim Crow, that politicians exploit real concerns and fears about violent crime to push racially biased and punitive approaches to harass and incarcerate black people for all types of harm. The murder rate is in significant decline across the United States, but the government still pours resources into police and prisons to solve problems that are not there. What Bloomberg calls “unintended consequences” are actually a foundational piece of mass incarceration – the raids, frisks, arrests and jail.

The results are fatal. Police kill around 1,000 people every year, and injure, assault, and harass hundreds of thousands more whose names we will never know simply because they do not die and become hashtags.

Unfortunately, Bloomberg, like Trump, does have some black support. Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and San Francisco Mayor London Breed have both endorsed Bloomberg. Why? Birds of a feather stop and frisk together. San Francisco has notoriously bad stop and frisk policies that shape the city’s police, and the DC police underreported stop and frisk for years, even after the unconstitutional program failed in New York City.

He’s on their ballots and in their pockets. Bloomberg has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to initiatives that Mayor Breed supports; $4 million to Mayor Bowser’s causes, and a recent $5 million donation to Stacey Abrams for her voting rights political action committee. Although Abrams has yet to endorse anyone, no black woman could sway my vote that way. Not Stacey, London, or Muriel.

It is clear what is going on here. Bloomberg’s campaign agenda does not threaten the black political establishment. On their other hand, more progressive presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren do. Bloomberg is a gift to the black elite.

Actually, Bloomberg is a gift to all elites. With the help of the Democratic National Convention, he is buying an election and using favorable rule changes to rise in the polls. Despite the obvious conflict of interest, two of the people responsible for changing the unique donor fundraising requirement are actively working on Bloomberg’s campaign.

If this is what it takes to defeat Trump – supporting a scheming, racist, Islamophobic billionaire – then we will lose much more than an election in November.



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