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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Bloomberg Baggage

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, has begun.

At Axios, Mike Allen sums up some of Bloomberg's vulnerabilities:
  • He bought power and silence: He hid behind $400 million in ads to buy his way to second place — after spending billions of dollars to ingratiate himself with would-be critics.
  • He was crude and sexist: The N.Y. Times and WashPost unloaded detailed investigations of sexist language and behavior. The WashPost reported a lawsuit by a former Bloomberg LP saleswoman: "She alleged Bloomberg told her to 'kill it' when he learned she was pregnant," which she interpreted as "have an abortion to keep her job." Bloomberg denied that under oath and reached a confidential settlement, per the Post. The campaign said: "Mike simply does not tolerate any kind of discrimination or harassment."
  • When he was New York mayor, the city's stop-and-frisk policy targeted black and Latino people. Bloomberg told a black church in Brooklyn in November: "I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong."
  • He has Cheney-like authoritarian instincts: He called the NYPD the "seventh largest army in the world," and joined George W. Bush in Muslim-targeting crackdowns in the years after 9/11. "I think people, the voters, want low crime," Bloomberg told the N.Y. Times in an interview in 2018. "They don’t want kids to kill each other."
  • He censors and silences media. He owns one of the largest media companies in the world, with his journalists under orders not to cover his "wealth or personal life." After he announced, Bloomberg News journalists were told in an internal memo: "We will continue our tradition of not investigating Mike (and his family and foundation) and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries."
  • He coddled China for business reasons. Bloomberg told PBS' "Firing Line" in September, during a discussion of climate, that Xi Jinping "is not a dictator — he has to satisfy his constituents or he's not gonna survive." Michael Forsythe, one of the top journalistic diggers in Hong Kong, left Bloomberg News in 2013 and later joined the N.Y. Times, where he's now an investigative reporter, after Bloomberg News sat on an exposé about financial shenanigans by the regime, because of fears that Bloomberg would be expelled from China. Bloomberg editors said the article wasn't ready.