Wednesday, February 19, 2020

How to Talk to Your "Socially Liberal But Fiscally Conservative" Friends About Bloomberg

Mike Bloomberg's candidacy has a lot of online leftists lighting their hair on fire. While I have long been a Bloomberg opponent, I also would like to see a more productive response aimed at actually winning the struggle.

In order to do that, those of us who want a more progressive Democratic party are going to need to make our case to those currently being swayed by an onslaught of Bloomberg advertizing. Bloomberg's biggest consticuency are those who call themselves "socially liberal but fiscally conservative." I have heard that phrase my entire life from middle class white people who think they're really smart when they say it. Of course, it's a total contradiction, because socially liberal things like affordable housing, livable wages, and the social safety net cost money.

What those people are REALLY saying is "I am financially comfortable and do not want to pay higher taxes, but I also am okay with weed, abortion, immigrants, and gay marriage." People who say it are also letting on that they are fairly apolitical and not that invested in partisan identity. As the Republican Party has become more extreme, many people with this mentality have started voting Democrat by default. Bloomberg, who migrated from the Republican to the Democratic Party, is their man.

They are, of course, plenty of Democratic candidates who are suitable to these voters. I'd rather have them voting for the likes of Biden, Klobuchar, or Buttigieg because they are not plutocrats buying an election. You may not get these voters to go for Warren or Bernie in the primary, but you can get them from Bloomberg. Here's how:

"Do you know he tried to ban large sodas in New York City, right?
Some SLFCs (my new acronym) are fine with policies aimed at punishing poor people, but a lot of them are pretty libertarian when it comes to people's choices. The soda ban goes against that impulse, and might make a different candidate more palatable. I find electability arguments tiresome, but if you want you can say "This is the kind of thing that voters in Michigan and Wisconsin will hate!"

"He has a pretty awful record of saying nasty things about women."
This is pretty well established. This sadly might not sway a lot of male SLFCs, but if more women knew about this stuff I think could potentially sink his candidacy.

"Stop and frisk was a racist policy that the data shows was not necessary to fight crime."
The crime rate in NYC has continued to go down after Bloomberg left office and stop and frisk was discontinued. Your average white SLFC might try to say "he was just trying to fight crime," but you can show them the data. If they have a libertarian orientation the fact that the police acted in an overbearing fashion ought to be something that concerns them.

"He's not even a Democrat!"
While SLFCs fancy themselves as "non-partisan" a lot of them do identify as Democrats. There are other rank and file Democrats out there who may have seen Bloomberg's ads who are awed by the razzle dazzle. Tell those folks he's been a Republican his whole life.

"He's actually not that electable."
Democratic primary voters are obsessed electibility to a morbid degree. This has been a big part of Bloomberg's appeal. This is easy to turn back. Trump's big appeal is anti-elitism, nominating Bloomberg feeds into that. His horrible record on race means a lot of voters of color won't come out to the polls for him.

When making these points just show videos of Bloomberg talking, since his demeanor often comes across as condescending and dickish. That's something the ads are trying to hide.

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