Wednesday, July 27, 2016
PHILADELPHIA ― Americans should vote for Hillary Clinton because, unlike Republican nominee Donald Trump, she is a “sane, competent person,” Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor and founder of the Bloomberg media empire, said at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday.
The line was an unscripted addition to a speech in which Bloomberg criticized Democrats, but argued that Trump was a “dangerous demagogue” and a bad businessman who would be a disastrous president. “I’m a New Yorker,” he said, “and New Yorkers know a con when we see one.”
The billionaire ex-Republican, who has endorsed Democratic presidential nomineeHillary Clinton, made the case that Trump’s career is characterized by a litany of collapses and missteps, and that the Republican presidential nominee’s boasts don’t match reality. Americans who want a great businessperson in the White House should look for someone who isn’t Trump, Bloomberg said.
“Throughout his career, Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry stockholders and contractors who feel cheated and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off,” Bloomberg said. “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s running his business? God help us.
Bloomberg’s scathing speech seemed designed to chafe Trump’s rawest nerves, mocking Trump’s business prowess, his inheritance from his late father, his ego and his intellect.
“Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy,” Bloomberg said. Trump claims great wealth, but won’t disclose his real net worth and refuses to release his tax returns. The real-estate developer also reacts defensively when his success is questioned.
Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us.Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg ― who rivals Trump in unwavering self-assurance ― favorably compared his own achievements in business and politics with Trump’s.
“We’ve heard a lot of talk in this campaign about needing a leader who understands business. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve built a business ― and I didn’t start it with a million-dollar check from my father,” Bloomberg said. “Because of my success in the private sector, I had the chance to run America’s largest city for 12 years.”
Bloomberg weighed an independent bid for president this year because he objected to both Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Clinton’s primary challenger. Bloomberg was a vocal critic of the Republican candidate ― his former friend ― long before backing Clinton’s White House run.
The financial industry tycoon ridiculed Trump’s statements on immigration, national security, foreign trade, and his use of overseas labor. And Bloomberg made dire predictions about the damage a Trump presidency would wreak on virtually every aspect of American life.
“I understand the appeal of a businessman president,” Bloomberg said. “But Trump’s business plan is a disaster in the making. He would make it harder for small businesses to compete, do great damage to our economy, threaten the retirement savings of millions of Americans, lead to greater debt and more unemployment, erode our influence around the world and make our communities less safe.”
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
PHILADELPHIA ― Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) walked into the Wells Fargo Centeron Monday night with a tough assignment he never wanted: bringing his passionate but frustrated supporters under the banner of Hillary Clinton, a politician he had sharply criticized for the past six months.
Until Sanders spoke, the first day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention had been dominated by conflict, with Sanders supporters leading anti-Clinton protests around Philadelphia’s city hall and haranguing delegates as they entered the arena ― named, some noted, for a bank that Sanders wants to break up. Chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” broke out during the event’s opening prayer, and even Sanders’ closest ideological ally in the Senate, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, had to speak through sporadic protest chants during her speech just moments before Sanders’ own moment in the limelight.
Sanders quickly transformed the evening into a final, fevered hurrah for the political revolution that had not quite proved strong enough to win him the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. The tension that had permeated the arena for much of the evening morphed into a celebration as Sanders heralded his supporters and detailed the policy changes his team had won in the Democratic Party’s platform.
“This election is about ending the 40-year decline of our middle class, the reality that 47 million men, women and children live in poverty,” Sanders said. “It is about understanding that if we do not transform our economy, our younger generation will likely have a lower standard of living than their parents. … This election is about ending the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in our country.”
He praised his supporters and the “unprecedented” 8 million individual contributors to his campaign. “Anyone know what that average contribution was?”
Primed for the line, the audience eagerly roared back in unison: “Twenty-seven dollars!”
But after hitting on the standard themes he had wooed his supports with over the previous year, Sanders shifted his approach, describing Clinton as a committed champion of those very issues. He went item by item through issues he and Clinton have both elevated and Republicans have avoided addressing: college debt, the criminal justice system, raising the minimum wage, climate change.
Both candidates, he said, believe in coming together “to create the kind of country we all know we can become.” Sanders promised Clinton would fight to make sure every working American had a living wage, and said she would appoint Supreme Court justices that would overturn the Supreme Court’s unpopular Citizen’s United decision.
“Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” Sanders said. “The choice is not even close.”
After throwing his weight behind Clinton, Sanders acknowledged their differences.
“It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues,” Sanders said. “But I am happy to tell you that at the Democratic Platform Committee there was a significant coming together between the two campaigns and we produced, by far, the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party. Among many other strong provisions, the Democratic Party now calls for breaking up the major financial institutions on Wall Street and the passage of a 21st century Glass-Steagall Act. It also calls for strong opposition to job-killing free trade agreements like the TPP.”
The crowd burst into chants of “No TPP! No TPP!” at the line, and Sanders ad-libbed an addition, calling for the crowd to ensure that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact negotiated by President Barack Obama, does not receive a vote in the lame-duck session of Congress.
“Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House and a Hillary Clinton presidency ― and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen,” he added.
It was all the Democratic National Committee could have asked for.