OK Bloomer

Shame Shuma ‘22, Opinion Columnist

Last Wednesday the Democratic candidates took the debate stage in Nevada. The big question that surrounded the debate was the rise of the new, untested candidate: Michael Bloomberg. Moderates hoped that the new upstart candidate would be able to pose a real threat to the surging democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders. Progressives and skeptics hoped that sustained attacks on the mayor’s record and corporate history would expose Bloomberg as an unelectable candidate. Only seconds into the Democratic debate, voters got their answer. 

Michael Bloomberg sustained repeated attacks on his record as mayor. The mayor rolled over backwards to apologize for his actions and seemed utterly weak in contrast to his opponents. In fact, Joe Biden’s record on civil rights looked stellar when compared to that of Bloomberg’s. Elizabeth Warren completely demolished Bloomberg on his record as a corporate executive. Bloomberg sounded like Trump, defending rude jokes and derogatory statements against women. He refused to release his former female employees from non-disclosure agreements only to release them days later after facing sustained backlash. He even refused to release his tax returns, using defenses that sounded eerily like Trump’s.  

Bloomberg is still a threat in the primary race. His massive spending power allows him to drown the airwaves (and Instagram waves) with his messaging. In fact, an argument could be made that many more people have seen his advertisements than witnessed the train wreck that was his first debate performance. Bloomberg has also qualified for the South Carolina debate, which means he can either recover from his performance on Wednesday or simply look like the least least electable candidate on stage. However, even with his strengths he alone cannot win the nomination. He will need significant help, whether it’s Bernie losing strength, moderate candidates dropping out or Bloomberg gaining a charming personality from some divine being.  

I’d like to talk about the title of my piece, OK Bloomer. At many points during the Nevada debate this was my exact reaction. Because the only reason he was on the stage was because of his fortune, not because anyone generally wanted to hear what he had to say. But this is also a dangerous reaction. Simply dismissing Bloomberg will not be a good strategy if one wants to defeat him. The dismissal of Bloomberg is the reason he has succeeded so far, as he was able to move up the polls unscathed while facing no criticism. If people take him for dead, he could rise up again and he may not be so easy to defeat.