Did you witness that murder last night!? Never in my life have I seen one candidate, from any political party, just completely eviscerate another candidate so viciously and leave them speechless and defenseless. That’s what Elizabeth Warren did to Michael Bloomberg last night.
Over the last year, America has gotten to know more about Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg; regardless if they are your first choice, you have to give them all credit and respect for enduring the long and draining process of running in an election. They have all paid their dues, earned countless donations and supporters, and showed up to every debate.
Enter Michael Bloomberg: the multi-billionaire who literally bought his way into the election, spending over $500 million of his own money in ads, billboards and commercials. He has been in no debates before Wednesday night, and didn’t even bother to show up to Iowa or New Hampshire. Many Americans are frustrated by that, and last night, Elizabeth Warren was having none of it.
Whether you like her or not, whether she is your first choice or not, or whether you are more progressive or moderate, Warren said what so many of us in the Democratic party wanted to say: We need someone for the people, voted in by the people, who will fight for the people, and not a billionaire who wants to just buy the Presidency because it will look good on his life resume. Pete, Bernie, Biden and Amy all sat by and let Warren do the heavy lifting last night, and no one stepped in her way. Bloomberg spent most of the debate barely able to defend himself and looked exhausted and completely defeated.
Let’s go down the list:
Warren: “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.”
Bloomberg: no defense.
Warren: “Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee [Bloomberg] who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist policies like red-lining, and stop-and-frisk. Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”
Bloomberg: no defense.
Warren: “When Mayor Bloomberg was busy blaming African-Americans and Latinos for the housing crash of 2008, I was right in here in Las Vegas literally just a few blocks down the street holding hearings on the banks that were taking away homes from millions of families.”
When Bloomberg’s past endorsement of the racist “stop-and-frisk” policies in New York city that he knew targeted people of color was brought up, Warren responded…
Warren: “When Mike Bloomberg says that he apologized, listen very closely to the apology. The language he used is about how stop-and-frisk turned out. But this isn’t about how it turned out. This is about what it was designed to do to begin with. It targeted communities of color. It targeted black and brown men from the beginning. If you want to issue a real apology, the apology has to start with the intent of the plan as it was put together and the willful ignorance of admitting what was happening even as people protested in your streets, of you shutting out the sounds of people telling you how your own policy was breaking their lives. You need a different apology, Mr. Mayor.”
But the biggest bomb of the night came when this exchange happened in regard to Mayor Bloomberg’s history with supposedly harassing women in the workplace:
Warren: “I hope you heard what his defense was, ‘I’ve been nice to some women.’ That just doesn’t cut it. The mayor has to stand on his record, and we need to know exactly what’s lurking out there. He’s gotten some number of women, maybe dozens, who knows, to sign non-disclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and for gender discrimination in the workplace. So, Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those non-disclosure agreements so we can hear their side of the story?”
Bloomberg: “We have a very few non-disclosure agreements-“
Warren: “How many is that!?”
Bloomberg: “Let me finish! None of them accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told. And let me just, let me, these are agreements between two parties that wanted to keep it quiet, and that’s up to them. They signed those agreements, and we’ll live with it.”
Warren: “So wait, when you say it is up to them — and I just want to be clear — ‘some’ is how many?”
Bloomberg: (Looking like he’s about to pass out), stares off into space for a few seconds and gives no reply.
Warren: “And when you say they signed them, and they wanted them, if they wish now to speak out and tell their side of the story about what it is they alleged, that’s now okay with you? You’re releasing them on television tonight?”
Bloomberg: “Senator, no.”
Warren: “Is that right?”
Bloomberg: “Senator, the company and somebody else, in this case, the man or the woman, or it could be more than that, they decided when they made an agreement, they wanted to keep it quiet for everybody’s interests. They signed the agreements and that’s what we’re going to live with.”
Warren, again, not having any of this, replied: “I’m sorry. No, the question is, ‘Are the women bound by being muzzled by you?’ And you could release them from that immediately?”
Bloomberg sits there quietly, in no hurry to jump in and defend himself.
Warren continues: Understand, this is not just a question of the mayor’s character. This is also a question about electability. We are not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who has, who knows how many, non-disclosure agreements and the drip…drip…drip of stories of women saying they have been harassed and discriminated against.”
If there was ever a time when Warren needed to prove to America that she has the wit, the intelligence, the drive, the heart, and the guts to take on Donald Trump, last night proved it. She has spent her whole life fighting against billionaires, and last night she gave Donald Trump a tiny sliver of what she will do to him if she debates him. I imagine Trump is now going to his aides to dig up dirt on her like he did with Biden before. This was probably the first debate Tom Steyer was happy he didn’t participate in.
Warren definitely won me, and I think many Americans, over last night. Even if you still don’t like her as much as your first choice, there is no denying that Warren is a fighter and still has a lot of gas in the tank and will go for Trump’s jugulars if she’s our nominee. She reminded us that Democrats should put up a nominee who can not only beat Trump, but who is one of us: a self-made American who wasn’t born into great wealth, who had a dream of being successful, who actually does fight for the “little-guy”, has a record to prove that, can’t be bought, and refuses to step down from a fight even when everyone else tells her it’s unwinnable.
About the Author:
Brian Moniz is from San Jose, Calif. He studied filmmaking and writing at San Jose State University from 2010–2013 and got his bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV-Film. Throughout his high school and college years, he worked as a music and movie journalist and critic. Having only recently come out of the closet himself in 2014, Brian enjoys writing about LGBTQ issues. His only regret when it comes to his sexuality is that he didn’t come out sooner.
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