Nevada Democratic Debate: Bloomberg’s Battle


Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Democratic presidential candidates at the Nevada Debate continue their campaigns.

Kobi Khong, Photojournalist

The ninth Democratic presidential debate began in Nevada on February 19, 2019, with billionaire and former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg making his debut on stage. With him was Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. The Democratic National Committee dropped its requirement for a donor threshold, a requirement for candidates to have received donations from a certain number of people, for its Nevada Debate, requiring only 10% in four national, Nevada or South Carolina polls; or 12% in two qualifying polls from Nevada or South Carolina.

The debate began with a fiery start as Michael Bloomberg became the focus of many of the other candidate’s attacks, targeting his racist policies, tax returns, and history of gender discrimination within his company.

Elizabeth Warren was quick to point out similarities between Michael Bloomberg and our current President, saying “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against — a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians, and no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.” Even further pointing out how Bloomberg, like Trump, hasn’t made his tax returns available to the public.

Bernie Sanders at this point in the primaries has been the frontrunner, and as a result has also attracted attacks; Pete Buttigieg focused on Sanders’ controversy within the ferocity of his “Bernie Bros” supporters, Medicare for All, and his issues with Nevada’s Culinary Union.

Focus drew back to Bloomberg for his support of Stop and Frisk, a policy criticized as racially disparate for targeting African-Americans and Latinos, that he headed within his police department when he was the mayor of New York City.

Another point of interrogation towards Mr. Bloomberg wasn’t only from the moderators, rather from Elizabeth Warren who questioned the sexual harassment lawsuits filed towards Bloomberg and his media company. Warren questioned Bloomberg regarding the amount of NDAs he has filed against the women of his company, as well as challenged the founder to release them from their contracts. He also drew “boos” from the audience for his response replying that his company had only a few NDAs and that, “none of them accuse [him] of doing anything except maybe they don’t like a joke [he] told.”

All in all, the debate was a success for both Sanders and Warren, and not as much for Michael Bloomberg, as it illustrated his inexperience within the political debates; former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang, as a political analyst on CNN’s panel after the Nevada Debate remarked on Bloomberg’s unpreparedness, as the Bloomberg campaign should have expected and prepared for the points of contention regarding the NDAs, tax return, and stop and frisk/redlining policies as they were recent controversies that the candidate had faced.

Anna Zhang (11) said, “These debates may seem trivial, but no matter what it’s important to see how these candidates will react to pressure and how they can best portray their political stances and ideals.”