Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign isn’t going as planned. He was a piñata in his first two debates and his decision to skip the four early states looks dicey as polls show him trailing in crucial Super Tuesday contests.
Some of these headwinds were predictable, which is why Bloomberg hesitated to join the race. Until the moment he started running, he was telling friends there was no place for him in the Democratic Party.
He may have been right, but Bloomberg was dead wrong in the way he tried to improve his odds. His abrupt decision to apologize for New York’s stop-and-frisk policing undercuts core rationales for his candidacy without curbing his rivals’ appetite for criticism of the policy. He grovels and begs for forgiveness and still they tar him as a racist.
The issue remains potent because of the left’s obsession with identity politics and because Bloomberg vigorously defended stop-and-frisk until he decided to run for president.
Infamously, he said in 2015 that he had “put all the cops in minority neighborhoods” because “that’s where all the crime is.”
He continued: “And the way you should get the guns out of the kids’ hands is throw them against the wall and frisk them.”
There is no record of him ever again using the inflammatory phrase “throw them against the wall,” but otherwise there was nothing exceptional about that speech. He praised the policy scores of times and was wedded to it throughout all 12 years of his mayoralty.
The obvious conclusion, that he is flip-flopping now in a cheap pander for leftist votes, is true as far as it goes. But a far larger issue is that, in saying that stop-and-frisk was racially biased, Bloomberg betrays the very NYPD that made him successful. Every man and woman who wore the uniform during his tenure — black, white, Asian and Latino — now stands implicitly accused of carrying out a prejudicial policy.