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The 9th Democratic Presidential Primary Debate: “Bloomberg Failed Miserably”

By, Michelle D. Bernard, Published in POLITICO MAGAZINE

02/20/2020 01:50 AM EST

Michelle Bernard is a political analyst, lawyer, author and president and CEO of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy.

After 10 weeks of hype, millions of dollars spent on ads, endorsements from highly respected members of the African American community and a double-digit surge in the polls, we learned that Bloomberg does not deserve any of the African American support he has received to date. From stop and frisk to overt and unapologetic sexism, the former mayor appears to be nothing more than Trump bathed in blue.

I watched this heavily anticipated debate wondering whether Bloomberg and his billions can beat Trump and herald in an era of racial, gender and religious justice—all casualties of Trump’s presidency. Bloomberg failed miserably.

It doesn’t matter how many African Americans of note endorse him. In his debate performance and his failure to respond to questions about stop and frisk and discrimination against communities of color, Bloomberg gave me no reason to believe that if elected, he would be any different than Trump. There was no real apology. No declaration of shame. No statement about the need for racial or gender justice.

In watching him on the debate stage, I saw only the faces of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Atatiana Jefferson, Michael Brown, Natasha McKenna, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo and all of the other African Americans who have been persecuted by and lost their lives as a result of police violence. I saw all of the black boys and men in New York thrown up against walls, terrorized and searched repeatedly by NYPD because of a bigoted assumption by Bloomberg that brown skin is to be equated with criminality. In Bloomberg, I saw “Golfcart Gail,” “Permit Patty,” “BBQ Becky,” “Cornerstore Caroline,” and all of the white women who have called the police on black people for things like yelling instructions at their own child during a soccer match or charcoal grilling without a permit. And in Bloomberg, I saw white men scheming about ways to suppress the black vote and laughing behind the backs of women they “would do in a minute.”

The emperor has no clothes.

And then, there was Warren, who took one helluva a stand. She skewered Bloomberg, making sure that America knows that Bloomberg is no different than Trump, as evidenced by his reportedly calling women “fat broads” and “horsey faced lesbians.” On Bloomberg’s stop and frisk, Warren declared: “This isn’t about how stop and frisk turned out. This is about what it was designed to do to begin with. It targeted communities of color. It targeted black and brown men from the beginning.” She forced the issue of environmental justice and the impact of environmental policy on communities of color. She masterfully attacked the issue of nondisclosure agreements relating to the treatment of women in Bloomberg’s workforce, using the term “muzzle” in a way that any woman in the workplace could relate to. Warren dispelled any doubt that she can beat Trump, and she proved that she is everything women and communities of color could want in the next president of the United States.

This article appeared in Politico Magazine on February 20, 2020 at 01:50 AM EST

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