February 20, 2020
LAS VEGAS – Mike Bloomberg took a heavy hit from all candidates, and Elizabeth Warren showcased her grit. The Democratic candidates conjoined in Las Vegas on Wednesday night to once again debate for the Democratic nomination. This time, however, the candidates were joined by Mike Bloomberg.
From the start, the candidates rallied around bashing Bloomberg on almost anything, including his previous support for stop and frisk, accusations against him of inappropriate behavior towards women, and his support of George Bush in the 2004 presidential election.
It began with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders attacking Bloomberg for his implementation of stop and frisk while he was governor of New York. Sanders said that the policy “went after” black and Latino people specifically, and those groups would not turn up at the polls this November if Bloomberg were to be the Democratic nominee.
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota followed up with the attacks, stating “I don’t think we look at Donald Trump and say we need someone richer in the White House.” Eventually, Bloomberg was able to respond, as he highlighted “I’m a New Yorker, I know how to take on an arrogant conman like Donald Trump.”
In regards to stop and frisk, he said the policy is “one thing I’m embarrassed about,” adding that he believed “it got out of control.” Former Vice President Joe Biden was quick to jump in, adding that the “reason stop and frisk changed was because President Obama sent moderators” to diffuse the situation, which Biden says Bloomberg opposed. Bloomberg concluded by stating that the bottom line is, he stopped the policy.
The conversation eventually turned to Bloomberg’s alleged inappropriate behavior towards women He declined to say whether he would release female employees from non-disclosure agreements having to do with his alleged sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Bloomberg stated that he has “no tolerance for the kind of behavior that the Me Too movement exposed” and that he has “very few non-disclosure agreements.” He proceeded by arguing that “none of them accused me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts then asked Bloomberg if he would release the women from the non-disclosure commitment, but Bloomberg stated that the women “signed the agreements and that’s what we’re going to live with.” Senator Sanders later changed the conversation to highlight Bloomberg’s past support of Republicans, criticizing him for serving as a former Republican and supporting George Bush in his 2004 reelection campaign.
Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, stated “Let’s put forward someone who is actually a Democrat,” in reference to Bloomberg and Sanders. He followed up with “we can do better.” Buttigieg’s attacks didn’t stop there, as he also called Bloomberg one of the most “polarizing figures on this stage.”
Overall, Wednesday night’s debate proved to be one of the most aggressive debates in this election cycle. After facing a plethora of attacks, post-debate polls will show whether Bloomberg’s electability is as questionable as the other candidates think it is. Whether or not the debate had an influence on the electorate will be reflected in the results of the Nevada caucus this Saturday, February 22nd.