I was about halfway through a rant post about Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg that I've linked in this long footnote.* But, especially after his disastrous debate performance, I realized that Bloomberg is not the biggest threat right now. After his win in the Nevada caucuses, Sen. Bernie Sanders became the most likely person to be the next President of the United States.** And Sanders would not be an effective leader, making basically no progress towards the progressive ideals he champions. Why? Because he has been incredibly consistent over the course of his illustrious career, and one quality shines through: the complete inability to compromise.
Howdy! Welcome to Chromatic Conflux, the site where you get to experience the full madness of my brain, but written out in a nominally formal manner. The top three contenders for the Democratic presidency, Sanders, Former Vice President Joe Biden, and Bloomberg, all have big problems, whereas Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as well as Sen. Amy Klobuchar, are languishing in the polls. For today, I'm going through a major issue with the frontrunner, Sanders, who has gone largely ignored in his dominant state. His total inability to put the progress in progressive would do a lot of damage to America.
Sanders on USMCA
Case in point: in the sixth Democratic debate, Sanders was asked about his opposition to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, a trade agreement with the strong support of both Republicans and Democrats. He stated that USMCA would be "a modest improvement over what we have right now. It would allow, hopefully, Mexican workers to organize into unions, independent unions, and be able to negotiate decent contracts. But at the end of the day, in my view, it is not going to stop outsourcing, it is not going to stop corporations from moving to Mexico, where manufacturing workers make less than $2 an hour. What we need is a trade policy that stands up for workers, stands up for farmers–and by the way, the word climate change, to the best of my knowledge, is not discussed in this new NAFTA agreement at all, which is an outrage. So no, I will not be voting for this agreement, although it makes some modest improvements."
"So no, I will not be voting for this agreement, although it makes some modest improvements." –Sen. Bernie Sanders
In other words, the senator literally said that USMCA was better than what we have now, yet he wasn't voting for it. Why? Because it didn't solve every problem he laid out. Let's imagine that Sanders "won" on USMCA,*** and it didn't pass. Is Pres. Donald Trump going to sign a trade policy with "the word climate change," as Sanders brilliantly put it? Doubtful. If you can make progress towards solving one problem, a good legislator doesn't throw that in the garbage for the faint hope of more progress. A good legislator reaps the gains they can.
In the New York Times "endorsement" of both Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, the editorial board wrote of Sanders that that "only his prescriptions can be the right ones, even though most are overly rigid, untested and divisive. He promises that once in office, a groundswell of support will emerge to push through his agenda. Three years into the Trump administration, we see little advantage to exchanging one over-promising, divisive figure in Washington for another."
"Only [Sanders'] prescriptions can be the right ones." –The New York Times' editorial board
An Ideal Leader
An ideal government would be composed of people united by their mutual drive to maximize happiness among the population, considering all perspectives when doing so. These ideal leaders would have conviction in their values and beliefs, but recognize in the moment when those beliefs need adjustment.
Sanders' Effectiveness, Or Lack Thereof
Bernie Sanders struggles with adjusting his beliefs; ever since he was the mayor of Burlington, he has preached the exact same message, not far from verbatim. The changing of minds is critical to an agenda as radical as Sen. Sanders'. He has no plan for convincing Republicans, along with conservative and moderate Democrats, in Congress to enact policies such as Medicare for All which don't have broad support. That leaves a fruitless effort to convince people of his liberal talking points that will result in a government still more deadlocked than in recent years.
In my post "Klobuchar is Super Effective," I looked on GovTrack and compared the lawmaking record of the Democrats in Congress who are running for president. I found that during the most recent legislative session, Sanders was the cosponsor of a whopping 0 laws that ended up getting signed by the president. Klobuchar, on the other hand, is very effective, having enacted the third-highest number of laws of any Senate Democrat.
I want my president working on small-picture things as well as the big-picture stuff.
What are these laws, you might ask? They aren't flashy. One has increased review of government reports around sexual harassment. Another helped combat pollution in America's waters. A third requires cell companies to register with the government, holding them accountable to rules. These are the sorts of common-sense reforms that Sanders wouldn't bother with as president. Who cares about these small-picture things, he might say, when we have the top 1% earning more wealth than the bottom half of Americans? But big-picture things require a long road of hardship with no guarantees at the end. Small-picture things are more secure, and I want my president working on small-picture things as well as the big-picture stuff.
Elizabeth Warren, by the way, also has a very good record with small-picture stuff, similar to Klobuchar. My support is behind Warren now that everyone else I can stomach is unviable. (Buttigieg is somewhat viable, but Warren's beaten him in nearly every poll since the msot recent debate.)
That was his problem when he voted against USMCA. He knew it was good for the country, but stubbornly refused it, holding out for a better law that would never come. What progress will the most progressive president in history make? Not all that much.
We've established that Bernie Sanders doesn't deserve to be the President of the United States. So what can we do about him?
Does Sanders Have A Ceiling?****
Anecdotally, he does. Most people I know are either Sanders supporters or Sanders haters. However, there's not that much data to back this up. Most Democrats approve of him, which wasn't the case for Trump in 2016–who never really had a ceiling anyway. The other candidates shouldn't be counted out by any means (a contested convention could legit happen), but he is on a good trajectory to victory.
The Call to Action Section
Don't vote Sanders! Or Biden, or Bloomberg. Warren has a good record of getting things done, and would be perhaps the most liberal president in history. Both of them, ironically, would enact Sanders' agenda better than the namesake candidate. So, yeah. Let's hope.
*"So as I’ve thought about a possible presidential campaign," Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote last March, "the choice before me has become clear. Should I devote the next two years to talking about my ideas and record, knowing that I might never win the Democratic nomination? Or should I spend the next two years doubling down on the work that I am already leading and funding, and that I know can produce real and beneficial results for the country, right now?"
But in November, Bloomberg changed his mind. He was running for president, having declared his candidacy later than any nominee from history. His strategy: to skip the first four states entirely, as well as the debates. Instead, he would spend [censored]-loads of money running TV ads. In my post "Harris and Gillibrand Way Underperformed," I mentioned that "I will bet you a significant amount of money with high odds that Bloomberg will not be elected as the next President of the United States."
But I was wrong. Michael Bloomberg could very well be the next President of the United States. As I write this, nationally, he's polling in third place with 15%, and FiveThirtyEight's forecast of the primaries gives him a 15% chance to clinch the most delegates, including a 7% probability of an outright majority.
Now, this is not an ideal figure for Bloomberg. Sen. Bernie Sanders is a strong frontrunner at the moment, and Former Vice President Joe Biden and arguably Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg are still in better positions than he is. But the point is that a guy who got worse than "Uncommitted" in the Iowa caucuses is a significant threat to the presidency. So the question–the most interesting one, at least–is how. Let me say that again. How?!?
Introduction Season's greetings, and welcome to my blog! This time, I'm talking about how Mike Bloomberg hypnotized America. His absurd and unprecedented strategy should have been laughed off and ignored by the media, but it never was. He should have been written off for getting obliterated in Iowa and missing the New Hampshire filing deadline–but no. He "wasn't competing," and it's okay to lose when you don't try. His late start should have prevented him from building an effective campaign structure, but he had enough money to sculpt new rules.
He "wasn't competing," and it's okay to lose when you don't try.
Elizabeth Warren's Scrutiny Cycle To fully examine Bloomberg, we first must examine Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She was an (and my) early favorite to win the Democratic nomination, but in late 2018, took a hit from the DNA test scandal. In 2019, she began rebounding, and during the summer, rose to an essential tie for first in the polls.
But we forgot about one question–is Warren electable? Will Democrats go for a woman after all? Will we ever beat the immensely popular, formidable, and electable Donald Trump? The media picked up on this narrative and perpetuated it for a week or two, which was long enough for "party donors" to panic. And enough for Mike Bloomberg (and Former Gov. Deval Patrick, but he was never relevant) to jump into the race. Warren's polls tanked.
(This was the point where I stopped writing, and I'm not going to bother with finishing it. This is just a footnote after all, right?)
Another Bit I Wrote That Was Going To Get Slotted In Somewhere
But he does have serious issues. As mayor of New York City, Bloomberg was a staunch supporter of stop-and-frisk, a widespread form of racial profiling. The logic behind racial profiling is this: a disproportionate number of crimes are committed by a specific identity group (in this case, young men who are black or Latino). Therefore, we should aggressively target this identity group to catch crimes.
Just because of a person's race and gender, they are automatically under intense suspicion and scrutiny. And also, it's a self-reinforcing cycle. By going after the identity group, you're going to convict more people of that group, which perpetuates the very idea that they commit crimes in the first place.
The Justice Democrats, a group of extreme liberals, send me emails. I find most of them annoying and disrespectful towards the Democratic leadership. (One email denounced Nancy Pelosi and other mainstream Democrats for pessimistic "doom and gloom" emails, when meanwhile the Justice Democrats send me tons themselves.) But one of them struck a chord. It included a tweet from a Justice Democratic candidate, Jamaal Bowman, a candidate for the House of Representatives. It said:
"Bloomberg has not shown he understands the pain he caused in our community -- at all." –Jamaal Bowman
"One day driving home from school, I was pulled over by the cops. Taken out of my car. Handcuffed. Placed in the back of a police car. Then released without explanation. Bloomberg has not shown he understands the pain he caused in our community -- at all."
To be clear, Bloomberg is no longer for racial profiling. His campaign has realized it doesn't poll well. But since the Bloomberg ads tout how great he's been historically, why shouldn't we take a hard look at what he's done?
**Trump is the second-most-likely. Sanders has been the most likely Democratic nominee since Iowa, but his chances haven't been high enough in my books to outweigh the scenarios where Trump wins the general.
****i.e. What's the highest vote share that he'll ever get? There's a school of thought that says, if all the opposition coalesced behind one candidate, Sanders would surely lose, as he is a factional candidate. Is that true?