One problem for really old candidates when they jump back into the game is that they tend to have so much history for their opponents to draw from. In the case of Michael Bloomberg, it’s starting to look like there isn’t a single issue currently under debate where he hasn’t said something offensive to the Democratic base. Now you can add the debate over the rights of transgender people to the list, as some patently crude comments on that topic have surfaced as well. But there’s a catch. These weren’t things he said in the distant past when he was still officially a Republican. They’re from last year. (Buzzfeed)
A newly uncovered video shows Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg in 2019 describing transgender people as “he, she, or it” and “some guy in a dress” who enters girls locker rooms — invoking a conservative cliché as he argued that transgender rights are toxic for presidential candidates trying to reach Middle America.
And yet, Bloomberg’s campaign published a new video on Tuesday that pledged the former New York City mayor believed in “inclusivity” for “LGBTQ+ youth,” featuring fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi declaring, “Mike is so incredibly sensitive to this issue.”
Bloomberg’s sensitivity was far less apparent at a forum hosted by the Bermuda Business Development Agency on March 21, 2019, in Manhattan, where Bloomberg derided Democratic candidates for talking about transgender protections.
All of this is happening just as Mayor “We’re Pulling Over Too Many White People” prepares to take the stage for the first time in a debate tonight. At this point, his opponents are probably huddling somewhere in Reno passing out assignments and figuring out who will hit him on racism, who gets sexism, who goes after stop and frisk and who will brush up on the transgender agenda.
Before we go any further, we should look at exactly what Bloomberg said during that business forum. “If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she, or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula for most people.” He also went on to say, “I don’t know what progressive means.”
When looked at in context, however, the crazy part is that Bloomberg wasn’t really off the mark. Granted, that’s not language that even I would use and I’m frequently involved in this debate on “the wrong side,” at least according to liberals. You don’t refer to someone as “it” unless you’re deliberately trying to insult them. And people are allowed to dress as they please, even if it defies normal conventions.
But the thing is, Bloomberg wasn’t even talking about transgender people or what they should or shouldn’t be allowed to do. He was warning about the reaction from middle America if you ran a campaign featuring that as your signature issue. And he’s right. We’ve covered one poll after another here showing that while most people support the rights of others to express themselves as they wish, a majority are not comfortable with ideas like biological males sharing bathrooms, locker rooms and showers with schoolgirls. They also don’t want to see males competing against women in competitive sports. These are not winning issues.
Unfortunately for Bloomberg, they are winning issues with enough of the progressive base of the Democratic Party to make him feel unwelcome in their clubhouse. But that’s just the primary we’re talking about here. At the same event, Bloomberg went on to say, “you can understand where somebody like Trump comes from.” These are not crazy concepts when discussing a general election strategy.
Those are all questions that have to wait until after the DNC convention, however. For the moment, Bloomberg has to deal with the very easily offended base of his new party. And they’re going to be hearing all about his history of problematic comments to women, his generic descriptions of persons of color as criminal suspects and now this transgender stuff. Any one of the many comments that have surfaced should have been enough to tank the candidacy of any other Democrat, and yet Bloomberg continues to rise in the polls. But that may change after the debates if a larger portion of the electorate is exposed to this information.