You don’t hear Tom Steyer on the lips of Democratic presidential hopefuls, or even Tulsi Gabbard. Even though both of those candidates have graced the debate stage and appeared on ballots, they aren’t polling well in South Carolina or other primary battlegrounds, so they aren’t worth mentioning.
Instead, the front runners are aiming their collective guns at the one candidate who won’t be able to collect a vote before Super Tuesday, but is still generating buzz… Michael Bloomberg.
The other candidates are bringing up Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk program that was successful but controversial because it disproportionately targeted black young men. Now he’s also taking heat for discussing the mortgage meltdown, pointing out that when lenders began expanding lending into questionable neighborhoods, the quality of borrowers dipped, which exacerbated the housing bust.
Biden, a moderate whose early front-runner status has been dented by poor early performances, said he planned to debate Bloomberg on his record on racial discrimination, while Warren slammed the former New York mayor’s past defense of discriminatory housing practices.
About the race for the presidency, Bloomberg said:
“I am a New Yorker. I know how to deal with New York bullies. I’m not afraid of Donald Trump.”
Several voters in the crowd in Winston-Salem said they wanted a moderate candidate who could beat Trump in November. Some said they were looking for an alternative to Biden after becoming concerned by his debate performances and weak showings in the first two voting states.
Cassaundra El-Amin, a black voter in Winston-Salem, said of Bloomberg:
“I just feel like he might be able to beat Trump.”
As the mayor of the largest city in the U.S. Bloomberg developed relationships with city leaders across the nation. One such leader, Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston, endorsed Bloomberg when he visited the town on Thursday. More city endorsements are likely. It’s the sort of “grassroots” support that will be expensive for other candidates to develop.