Bernie takes aim at billionare Bloomberg. Northwest US rally draws thousands

Bernie Sanders terrifies corporate America, much of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media. Should he become President on January 20, 2021 the days of business as usual will be over.

It could be that Bernie Sanders will become the Democrats nominee. People who fear he can’t win the election are really afraid of what he would accomplish as President.  A massive shift in government priorities.

The American political campaign will be a brutal, nasty affair. Bernie will lay to waste the Trump administration, corporate America and the priviliged class. The Wall Street Journal is the best barometer in voicing the fears of the ruling class.

The Guardian 2.18.2020

Bernie Sanders railed against his fellow Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg during his first 2020 campaign visit to Washington state, as the billionaire continues to rise in the polls despite mounting criticism over his past remarks about women and minorities.

A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll published on Tuesday showed Sanders leading in the Democratic primary contest at 31% support nationally, with Bloomberg surging into second place with 19% support.

But the two put forward starkly different visions for the future of the Democratic party, and a post-Trump America.

Sanders called the programme “racist” and said it “caused communities of colour, African Americans and Latinos, to live in fear and humiliation in New York City”.

Speaking about inequality in America, he also called out Bloomberg’s wealth (he is estimated to be one of the 10 richest people in the world), which has repeatedly been a point of contention for many of his Democratic opponents.

“We have a corrupt political system which enables billionaires to buy elections,” he said. “So today we say to those billionaires who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to support candidates who represent the rich and the powerful; today we say to Mayor Bloomberg: we are a democracy, not an oligarchy.”

Bloomberg has said he will not take political donations and is expected to work for only $1 a year if elected to the presidency.

The media mogul has also received recent criticism for comments he made four years ago in which he seemingly questioned the intelligence of American factory and farm workers, as well as comments he made in 2013, in which he compared local members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and New York’s teachers union to the gun lobbying group the National Rifle Association (NRA).

According to Politico, a Bloomberg campaign spokesman, Stu Loeser, responded to the comments by saying, “reference to the [teachers union] was something Mike said in the heat of the moment that he now regrets.”

Sanders said: “As a United States senator, I truly appreciate the power of the corporate elites and the 1%; they have endless and I mean endless amounts of money. They own, to a large degree, the media; they have tremendous control over our economy; they are very, very powerful. But at the end of the day, we are the 99%.”

Sanders’ extremely positive showings in Iowa and New Hampshire boosted his chances of winning the Democratic nomination and ultimately beating Donald Trump. In an unorthodox strategy, Bloomberg skipped the early states, and will instead enter the race on Super Tuesday on 3 March.

People line up at a campaign rally for Bernie Sanders at the Tacoma Dome.
People line up at a campaign rally for Bernie Sanders at the Tacoma Dome. 

In 2016, Sanders won Washington’s Democratic caucuses. The state has since switched to the primary system and moved up its vote to 10 March.

Sanders has raised over $2m in Washington state, the most of any Democratic presidential candidate, according to the Seattle Times, which cited data through the end of 2019 from the Federal Election Commission. The Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg, were right behind, with about $1.6m and $1.5m raised respectively. Trump has brought in over $2.7m from the state.

Despite Sanders’ criticisms of Bloomberg, several of his supporters said they would still vote for the billionaire if he wins the nomination.

“I would be sorry to turn my back on a president who has manipulated and bought in order to get the position to go to somebody who would be a passable middle-of-the-road Republican, who also buys and barters for the position instead of turning to the people,” said Dusty Collings, 68, a Sanders supporter from Poulsbo, a small city north-west of Seattle.

But when asked during the rally whether she would support Bloomberg if he won the Democratic nomination, she didn’t hesitate. “I would vote for the Congress of tropical birds to get rid of Trump,” said Collings, an artist who was a Sanders caucus delegate for Washington state’s Kitsap county in 2016. “If that’s who we nominate, that’s who I will vote for.”

Ryan Hull, 20, said he supports Sanders primarily because of his stance on the environment. But the sophomore at Clark College, in Vancouver, Washington, who drove about two hours for the rally with his mom and sister, said if Bloomberg wins the nomination, he would ultimately vote for him.

“He shares enough of the same ideals for me that it’s not too big of a movement,” said Hull. But he said he would also just like to see Trump leave the White House, so “whoever’s going to win for the Democrats, that’s who I want,” he said.

However, not everyone at the rally shared that same sentiment. Leanne Young, 28, a Seattle resident, called Bloomberg “basically the Democratic version of Trump”, and said she would probably not vote for him if he’s the nominee because she doesn’t “see him being much better than Trump”.

Bloomberg, who launched his presidential campaign in November, will appear in Wednesday’s televised presidential debate in Las Vegas alongside Biden, Sanders, Warren Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Bloomberg’s campaign said it was seeing a groundswell of support across the country and that qualifying for Wednesday’s debate is the latest sign that Bloomberg’s plan is resonating with more Americans.

The primetime event will be a stark departure from Bloomberg’s highly choreographed campaign. He has poured more than $300m into television advertising, a way to define himself for voters without facing criticism.