Mike Bloomberg has qualified for the next Democratic debate, after receiving 19% in a national NPR, ”PBS NewsHour” and Marist poll. He needed at least 10% to qualify. The Democratic National Committee was recently widely condemned for overhauling its debate requirements to eliminate the need for candidates to obtain a significant number of small donations. Bloomberg has poured over $400 million of his own money into his campaign. The debate will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, in Nevada ahead of Saturday’s caucuses. Bloomberg is not on the ballot in Nevada. Senator Bernie Sanders leads in the same poll with 31%.
In related news, Bloomberg is coming under fire yet again for his past remarks. This time, the former New York City mayor can be seen telling an audience at Oxford University in 2016 that farming requires less “gray matter” than working in the “information economy.”
Michael Bloomberg: “I can teach anybody, even people in this room — so, no offense intended — to be a farmer. It’s a process, see. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. Then we had 300 — you could learn that. Then you had 300 years of the industrial society. You put the piece of metal on the lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow, and you can have a job. And we created a lot of jobs. One point, 98% of the world worked in agriculture; today it’s 2% in the United States. Now comes the information economy. And the information economy is fundamentally different, because it’s built around replacing people with technology, and the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze. And that is a whole degree level different. You have to have different skill sets. You have to have a lot more gray matter.”
The now-viral video comes as Bloomberg is facing a barrage of criticism over his past comments and actions on policing, race-based housing discrimination, and sexual harassment and discrimination at his company. A 1998 lawsuit details an interaction with a female employee he shouted at in front of others after she expressed trouble finding a nanny. Bloomberg allegedly yelled, “It’s a fucking baby! All it does is eat and shit! It doesn’t know the difference between you and anyone else! All you need is some black, who doesn’t even have to speak English, to rescue it from a burning building!” In another incident, Bloomberg allegedly told a pregnant employee to “kill it.” And in another lawsuit, in which an employee accused her superior of rape, Bloomberg was asked in a deposition what evidence would be necessary in the case. He responded, “I guess an unimpeachable third-party witness.” He said there would be no way of knowing who is telling the truth in a rape case. The cases were detailed in a recent report by The Washington Post.