Tout à coup, Mayor Mike’s entry into the Presidential sweepstakes is beginning to look serious, and not just a function of the money he can spend. The most recent Morning Consult poll shows him beginning to pull even with Lizzie Warren, and by the way, Bloomberg’s increased numbers have come at the expense of the three leading contenders – Joe, Bern, Liz – all of whom have lost a bit of ground since Mike began to surge after December 29th.
I hate to give Sleazy Don any credit for anything, but I believe that some of Bloomberg’s support stems from the fact that being a business guy and being a politician is no longer a contradiction in terms. The only other candidate who promoted himself politically based on his business career, was Ross Perot, and all he accomplished back in 1992 was to get Bill Clinton into the White House with a minority of the popular vote. Gee, how come all my liberal friends weren’t complaining about the electoral college back then?
What makes Bloomberg really different from the other guys and gals still in the race, however, isn’t the fact that he can spend a gazillion dollars on his campaign. I signed up the day he announced and of all the candidates who send me daily emails, he’s the only one who has yet to ask me for one, thin dime. That’s a refreshing change.
What makes his candidacy different is the fact that for the first time the issue of gun violence would be front and center in a national campaign. Because if Bloomberg is known for anything, it’s not those bike lanes on New York City streets that are primarily used by the kids who deliver Chinese food; it’s not the tax he tried to put on soft drinks that was overturned by an appeals court; it’s not even his ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy which became a non-issue as soon as it was raised by other Democratic Presidential wannabees in the current campaign.
Front and center is the issue of guns. And most of Bloomberg’s baggage in this respect isn’t due so much to anything he has done or said, rather, it’s because he’s been a convenient target for Gun-nut Nation’s continued attempt to push the false issue of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ into the national debate.
The only thing Mike did in New York City to regulate gun ownership was to increase the annual license fee for owning a gun. Now granted, a fee of $340 for a handgun renewal is a pretty steep price, but the good news is that you can now do the entire application process online. In the good old days, you had to shlep down to 1 Police Plaza, stand online in front of Mrs. Skeba’s desk, wait an hour or so for Jose to find your file, and wait another hour or so until your name was called. In other words, you lost an entire day of work. Frankly, I’d rather pay the $340 and avoid the trip downtown.
The law covering gun ownership in ‘da friggin’ city’ has been in effect since 1912. It hasn’t changed and it didn’t change under Mayor Mike. What did change during his mayoralty tenure was a steep decline in the number of New Yorkers shot with guns. The year before he became Mayor, the city recorded 650 gun deaths; in his last year the number was 325.
The 2020 Presidential campaign will probably come down to the same swing states that from blue to red in 2016 – Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida – a few more. If Mike is our candidate, you can bet your bottom or top dollar that Sleazy Don will pull out all the stops to sell himself as America’s staunchest supporter of gun ‘rights.’
What Bloomberg needs to do is sell himself as a supporter of everyone’s ‘right’ to walk down the street and not duck for cover if a gun goes off. That’s not a violation of the 2nd-Amendment; that’s common sense.