Progressives celebrated the end of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's short-lived presidential campaign Wednesday after the billionaire dropped out, but warned that Bloomberg's immediate endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden displayed the corporate establishment's commitment to defeating the broadly popular, working class-focused agenda of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Bloomberg poured more than $500 million into his Democratic campaign, less than two years after re-joining the party following nearly two decades as a Republican and an independent. The former mayor focused much of his spending on attacking Sanders.
According to former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, Bloomberg's support for Biden now confirms "what the Democratic establishment wants—and what it doesn't want: a wealth tax, Medicare for All, and a Green New Deal."
The fact that Bloomberg has thrown his support to Biden should remove any lingering doubts about where the big money is going and what the Democratic establishment wants.
And what it doesn't want -- a wealth tax, Medicare for All, and a Green New Deal.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) March 4, 2020
Reich also called Bloomberg's exit from the campaign a "relief."
"Bloomberg's departure shows it's impossible for a terrible candidate to buy the presidency," Reich tweeted.
Activist and filmmaker Sarah Sophie Flicker said Bloomberg's decision was a "victory" for democracy and all voters.
Democracy should not be purchasable. This is a victory. The amount of money he spent is disgusting. https://t.co/VIMmT71FrD
— Sarah Sophie Flicker (@sarahsophief) March 4, 2020
Bloomberg won just 44 delegates during his campaign—carrying only American Samoa in the territory's caucuses on Tuesday as voters in 14 states went to the polls. The former mayor is expected to now pour hundreds of millions of dollars into Biden's campaign.
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Writer Daniel José Camacho suggested the billionaire's alignment with Biden should give pause to the former vice president's supporters regarding whose interests his White House would ultimately serve.
The fact that Bloomberg can, so quickly, endorse Biden and see Biden as aligning with his interests should also trouble people.
— Daniel José Camacho (@DanielJCamacho) March 4, 2020
Other critics pointed out that following Bloomberg's entrance into the race in November, his opponents, particularly Warren, spent significant energy on lambasting him over his history of sexual harassment allegations and his record on racial justice—resulting in an expensive campaign which exposed Bloomberg's record to the entire country.
"Michael Bloomberg spent half a billion dollars so that the world could find out he thought redlining was a good idea," tweeted writer Clint Smith.
Michael Bloomberg spent half a billion dollars so that the world could find out he thought redlining was a good idea.
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) March 4, 2020
Michael Bloomberg spent $500 million to tell us he made sexually harassed women sign NDAs
— Jensen "Mutie Pie" Karp (@JensenKarp) March 4, 2020
Bloomberg's campaign also offered a stark illustration of the massive wealth inequality on which Sanders and Warren have centered their campaign platforms, said sports analyst Darren Rovell.
The former mayor's spending amounted to about 1% of his net worth, Rovell tweeted.
Mike Bloomberg spent a reported $500 million on his campaign, which is roughly 1 percent of his net worth. That’s the equivalent of the average American family spending $800.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 4, 2020
"That's the equivalent of the average American family spending $800," he said.