In an appearance Monday on ABC’s “The View” program, the prominent black Democrat Stacey Abrams brushed aside the right-wing, racist record of Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, telling the show’s hosts that the billionaire oligarch’s entry into the race was positive since “for once we actually know where the money is coming from.”
The former New York City mayor, who served two terms as a Republican and one as an independent, and who backed George W. Bush in 2004, has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars from his $60 billion fortune into his campaign to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, or at least secure enough delegates to block Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at the party’s nominating convention in July.
Asked whether she thought it was an issue that Bloomberg was spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy a frontrunner spot in the primary elections, Abrams replied that this was no different than a candidate using his or her pet on the campaign trail to attract voters.
“Every person is allowed to run and should run the race that they think they should run, and Mike Bloomberg has chosen to use his finances. Other people are using their dog, their charisma, their whatever,” she said. “I think it’s an appropriate question to raise. But I don’t think it’s disqualifying for anyone to invest in fixing America.”
She was also asked about the fact that her political action committee, Fair Fight Action, had received $5 million from Bloomberg, the largest donation the group has received since it was founded in 2018. Queried as to whether the donation had any influence on her political views, she replied, “I am grateful to any person who contributes to Fair Fight. We have more than one hundred thousand contributors. His check just had a few more zeros on it.”
Bloomberg met with Abrams in Atlanta in January and gave a closed-door speech to a voting rights summit that she hosted.
The minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017 and defeated 2018 gubernatorial candidate, Abrams is widely seen as a leading pick for vice president by whichever candidate wins the Democratic nomination. She has been courted by former Vice President Joe Biden, who raised her name as a possible running mate in November.
Responding to a question from co-host Joy Behar as to whether Abrams wanted to be vice president, she replied, “Of course I want it. Of course I want to serve America, of course I want to be a patriot.” Abrams has previously made it clear that she has her sights set on the presidency in the coming years. “That’s my plan, and I’m very pragmatic,” she told the political website FiveThirtyEight last month.
Abrams is a proponent of identity politics, asserting in Foreign Affairs magazine last year that blacks and whites have “intrinsic racial differences.” She is seen by party strategists as a good pick to check the diversity boxes for the running mate of a presidential candidate who will likely be a white male. In the same Foreign Affairs article, Abrams denounced politics based on “the catchall category known as ‘the working class.’”
Abrams’ own brand of right-wing racialist politics would not be out of sync with Bloomberg’s racist approach to governing when he was the mayor of New York City, the most unequal city in the United States. Under Bloomberg, millions of mostly African American and Hispanic working class men were stopped and searched by the police without any suspicion of having committed a crime under the notorious police tactic of “stop-and-frisk.”
Last week, audio emerged of Bloomberg addressing an audience at the elite Aspen Institute in 2015 in which he said: “Ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities, 15 to 25.” He went on to add, “The way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them.”
The response of the Democratic-aligned media, which relentlessly promotes racial politics, and prominent black Democrats and other leading members of the party has been to downplay his remarks. While another candidate would have been forced out of the campaign for making openly racist remarks in defense of a policy of mass terror directed primarily against minority youth, Bloomberg has been given a free pass, gaining endorsements from members of the Congressional Black Caucus and a long line of current and former African American mayors.
This only shows that the obsession with race of the Democratic Party and the privileged upper-middle class layers—black as well as white—for which it speaks has nothing to do with the defense of working class blacks. Rather, the politics of race, gender and sexual orientation are utilized by well-off academics, professionals, politicians, union officials and corporate executives to secure a bigger slice of the wealth of the top 10 percent. These layers look on the working class with fear and contempt and are in awe of oligarchs like Bloomberg, from whom they are ready and eager to accept bribes and handouts.
They and their identity politics are part and parcel of the politics of the American oligarchy that controls both major parties.
One of the key strategies of Bloomberg’s campaign has been to use his unlimited financial resources to win the backing of current and former black Democratic officials, ministers and donors. He gave millions in campaign funds to help Democrats get elected to Congress is 2018 and has engaged in strategic “philanthropic” grant-giving to cities, non-profits and churches.
On Tuesday’s episode of “The View”, co-host Whoopi Goldberg (net worth $45 million) dismissed Bloomberg’s racist record as mayor, quipping that “everybody has stepped in it” but that he had issued a sincere mea culpa, unlike Trump, who has never apologized for his racist remarks.
Ariel Investments co-CEO and former DreamWorks Animation CEO Mellody Hobson, a prominent fundraiser for former President Barack Obama and the wife of billionaire film director George Lucas, co-hosted a Bloomberg election event in Chicago Tuesday night. Others at the invite-only event included Steve Benjamin, the first black mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, and Kimberly Peeler-Allen, the director of the Committee for Mike and co-founder of Higher Heights, a group that works to elevate African American women into positions of corporate and political power.
The response of Abrams and this wealthy layer of black politicians and businesspeople to Bloomberg’s campaign makes absolutely clear the class character of identity politics. They know that, if elected, Bloomberg will carry out policies that benefit their bank accounts and stock portfolios.