Monday, February 10, 2020


An African-American academic tweets:

A black Daily Beast writer asks:
Are Black Voters Quietly Turning to Mike Bloomberg?

... Despite a mayoralty defined by the billionaire’s “luxury product” vision of the city that sanctioned stop-and-frisk dragnet policing of men of color, the evaporation of affordable housing, an explosion in the numbers of homeless people, and an exodus of working-class New Yorkers, I’m hearing daily from Democrats evaluating the current crop of candidates and concluding that Bloomberg is best situated to beat Trump and to run the country.

I have spoken to three black NYC political operatives who are quietly thinking about joining the campaign, which is gaining momentum, hiring nationwide, and paying top dollar. These aren’t mercenaries but self-defined pragmatic progressives who believe Bloomberg has the best chance at an electoral victory against Trump in November. I have spoken to a friend who says his black fraternity’s message boards—full of college-educated black men of diverse financial backgrounds, in various professional sectors, living in towns and cities across the country—are full of favorable talk about Bloomberg. As I’m writing this on a trip to Los Angeles, I was surprised to hear my friends here—a diverse group of fortysomething progressives in different professions and from different backgrounds—saying not only that they thought Bloomberg could win but they were inclined to support him.
If this is really happening, I think it's because black voters fear the consequences of a second Trump term in a way that those of us who are white might not -- we know it would be awful, but many of us suspect we'd be somewhat insulated from the worst of it. I think most black voters believe the consequences could be aimed directly at them and the people they care about.

And I think they recognize that Bloomberg loathes Trump -- possibly more than any other candidate in the race. He certainly puts that loathing into his ads in a way that the other Democratic candidates don't.

They may know that Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg are good at raising money, but Bloomberg clearly has serious money. I don't want to think that only a billionaire can beat Trump, but I can't blame anyone for believing that that kind of money improves the Democrats' odds significantly.

Finally, I'll add that Bloomberg's ads have a self-assurance that isn't matched by the real-life and ad personas of the other front-runners. Buttigieg is too polite. Biden stammers and seems to have had the fight knocked out of him. Sanders can rouse a crowd, but if you're not already impressed, he comes off as a rumpled grump. Sad to say, Warren and Amy Klobuchar suffer because of the widespread fear, however unjustified, that running a woman didn't work last time.

Which 2020 candidate can you imagine fitting into this meme?

Bloomberg's ads make him seem as if he could. I don't blame black voters if they think they need someone who's "got this" -- who acts as if he knows how to win, who can win white voters while saying enough of the things black voters need to hear. I don't know whether the real-life Bloomberg can live up to his ads. But I understand why, at this moment, he might seem like the best bet.


UPDATE: Wow -- Quinnipiac's new national poll has Bloomberg with 15% among white voters -- and 22% among black voters.

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