US Election 2020: Meet the voters behind Bloomberg's surge – BBC News, BBC News

US Election 2020: Meet the voters behind Bloomberg's surge – BBC News, BBC News

                                 Presidential candidate Mike BloombergPresidential candidate Mike Bloomberg Image copyright                   Getty Images                                                    

He’s one of the richest men in the world, a polarising candidate in a crowded race and he’s about to make his first appearance on the debate stage after rising to second place in the polls. So who are Mike Bloomberg’s supporters, and why have they backed him?

Recent polling by NPR / PBS / Marist puts Mr Bloomberg in second place, behind Bernie Sanders, with (% of the Democratic vote.)

Mr Bloomberg will no doubt face questions on his political past – including recently revealed comments on women, farmers and minorities – on Wednesday, when he takes to the debate stage for the first time in Las Vegas, Nevada.

He won’t appear on any ballots, however, until Super Tuesday – 3 March, when some of the biggest states, like California and Texas, hold their primary contests.

while liberals have attacked him over controversial policies during his tenure as mayor, his billionaire status and for having switched party affiliations in the past, Mr Bloomberg has also been a strong investor in many key causes for Democratic voters.

He spent some $ (m) £ m) backing Democrats in the mid -term elections, which saw a record number of women voted to Congress. He founded the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety group to lobby for gun control policies. He has given more than $ 1bn to public health causes and over $ m to climate change initiatives. Think of a Bernie Sanders supporter and there’s a good chance an image pops into your mind of someone young, progressive, possibly male.

But what does a Michael Bloomberg fan look like?

Looking at polling data and anecdotally at rallies, it appears most of Mr Bloomberg’s grassroots supporters skew older. Pro-Bloomberg groups on social media are run by older-than-middle-aged Americans; there may be some racial diversity, but little when it comes to age.

A Quinnipiac poll last week found most of the former mayor’s support came from voters aged and up who make over $ , a year. Here’s how Mr Bloomberg’s grassroots supporters responded to some of the biggest criticisms against him – and why they say they are all in for Mike

                                                                                                                        What about the money?

For New Yorker Laura Wagner, Mr Bloomberg’s money is far from a downside.

“You have to be a billionaire [to run] and then when you are, you’re criticized for it!” she says, adding that most modern US presidents have been very wealthy.

Ms Wagner, a Sotheby’s realty associate and contributing columnist to the Italian and English newspaper La Voce, agrees the money plays a big factor in Mr Bloomberg’s candidacy. But that, she says, is not a bad thing.

“All the power to him because he’s using it, in my opinion, so effectively. He’s not going to be bartering with these big oil companies and organizations, the NRA [National Rifle Association], or trying to appease.

“Donald Trump would like to be what Michael Bloomberg is in terms of the power, the money.”

All of the supporters who spoke to the BBC echoed that Mr Bloomberg’s successful business record was a highlight, not a hindrance.

“And being the mayor of New York City for three terms is pretty close to being president of the United States,” Ms Wagner adds.

What about ‘stop and frisk’?

Perhaps the biggest issue from Mr Bloomberg’s mayoral past is this policy, which allowed police to question and search individuals for weapons or illegal items based on extremely vague criteri a . Most people stopped were innocent; most were black or Latino.

“Stop, question and frisk” began under Mayor Rudy Giuliani but peaked under Mr Bloomberg with over 720, stops. Analysis of the program in the years since has suggested the random investigative stops did not have a meaningful impact on crime. This month, audio emerged from 2018 where Mr Bloomberg claimed male minorities perpetrate “the real crime”. He’s since apologized for the policy and “the impact it had on black and Latino communities.”

Sheikh Musa Drammeh, , is a religious leader and community activist who has lived in the Bronx and Harlem neighborhoods of New York City for the last 50 years.

When asked about the controversial policy, Mr Drammeh emphasized : “No candidate will ever do as much for the blacks and Latinos as Bloomberg.”

black, “Mr Drammeh continues. “Nobody can tell me about the ravages of crime in this city – I know it, I live it, I’m a victim of it.

“And Bloomberg did not create stop and frisk, [but] Bloomberg’s administration saw that you must have a habitable environment otherwise investors, residents, high-earning individuals who will pay taxes to support social services, will leave the city. “

                                                                                                       Image copyright                   Getty Images                                                    

Mr Drammeh says from what he has seen as an activist working to stop gang violence, people in his neighborhoods have ” benefitted from stop and frisk “.

” It’s not discriminatory, it’s life saving. The lives that are being saved are black and brown, not white. ” What makes him the best to take on Trump?

Carla Shead, a – year-old from Maryland, told the BBC: “It’ll take another New Yorker to beat Trump.”

Ms Shead adds that Mr Bloomberg has proven himself by being “a successful businessman and a successful mayor” and “has put his money where his mouth is”.

“When I started listening to his ads and what he had to say about building the community and what his plan was to do for the United States – he is everything Trump isn’t. And that to me, is the bottom line. “


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                            Media caption Bloomberg: “We cannot afford four more years”

Ms Shead says that the divides in this country have been around for a long time. Her family is from Mississippi, she says, and many were active participants in the US civil rights movement.

“America is looking for a safer right now,” she says. “Trump from the beginning has split the nation and has dredged up old wounds.

” My family and other African-American families – are vested in this – in seeing the country coming together and I think Mike Bloomberg is doing the exact opposite of what Trump is doing. “


What are Bloomberg’s key campaign issues?

Ban assault-style weapons and implement better background checks for gun purchases Tuition-free two-year public college, debt-free four-year college for lowest income students Cutting greenhouse gas emissions

% by Create public health insurance option while expanding enrolment in Obamacare plans New 5% wealth tax on annual incomes of over $ 5m

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