Great Debate: Sanders Surrogate Cornel West vs. Bloomberg Co-Chair Bobby Rush, Former Black Panther

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Today people in 14 states and American Samoa go to the polls for Super Tuesday. About a third of the delegates needed to secure the Democratic presidential nomination are at stake. This comes after former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race on Sunday and Monday and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. As the race heats up, billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed to stay in the race. This will be the first time he is on the ballot, and while he has not won a single race, he does lead his challengers in one key sense: he leads in campaign spending by a wide margin. He recently crossed the $500 million mark in ad spending alone — more than 10 times that of any of his Democratic rivals. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders remains the front-runner. We host a debate on Sanders versus Bloomberg with Cornel West, professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard University, who has endorsed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and is his surrogate, and Congressmember Bobby Rush of Illinois, who is national co-chair for the Mike Bloomberg 2020 presidential campaign. Rush has served in office for more than two decades — since 1992. He got his start as a civil rights activist in the 1960s. His background includes being both a co-founder of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers and the only member of the Democratic Party to have defeated Barack Obama in an election, in the 2000 Democratic congressional primary.

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AMY GOODMAN: Today people in 14 states and American Samoa go to the polls for Super Tuesday. About a third of the delegates needed to secure the Democratic presidential nomination are at stake. This comes after former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race on Sunday and Monday and, last night, endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. A slew of other Democrats have also endorsed Biden following his South Carolina win, including former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice and former presidential challenger Beto O’Rourke. As the race heats up, billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to stay in the race.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: I talked to Mayor Pete and to Amy Klobuchar, both, talked to them, Pete earlier today and Amy just a little while ago. And I wish them all the best. I thought both of them behaved themselves — is a nice way to phrase it — but they represented their country and their states very well. And I felt sorry for them, but I’m in it to win it.

AMY GOODMAN: This will be Bloomberg’s first time on the ballot. And while he has not won a single race, he does lead his challengers in one key sense: campaign spending. He recently crossed the half-a-billion-dollar mark in ad spending alone — more than 10 times that of any of his Democratic rivals. Bloomberg’s presidential campaign purchased primetime ad space Sunday night worth as much as $3 million so he could address the nation about the threat of coronavirus.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: I know this has been a very worrisome week for many Americans. The coronavirus is spreading, and the economy is taking a hit. Markets have fallen because of uncertainty. At times like this, it’s the job of the president to reassure the public that he or she is taking all the necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of every citizen.

AMY GOODMAN: Since Bloomberg entered the race exactly a hundred days before Super Tuesday, he’s campaigned in all 14 Super Tuesday states and focused on states rarely visited by Democrats in primary fights, like Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Also on the campaign trail, of course, is Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, who remains the front-runner. At a campaign rally in St. Paul, Minnesota, he told supporters of his former rivals Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg that “The door is open. Come in.”

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Whether you are conservative or whether you’re progressive, whether you’re Republican, independent or Democrat, you understand that the United States cannot continue having as president somebody who is a pathological liar. And I think there are a lot of conservatives who understand that. You cannot continue having somebody who is running a corrupt administration. We cannot continue to have somebody who apparently has never read the Constitution of the United States, who is undermining American democracy and thinks that he is above the law. Well, in November, we are going to remind Donald Trump what democracy is about, because we’re going to throw him out of office. But Trump is not just a liar, he is a fraud. … And let me tell you something: The establishment is getting very, very nervous.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Senator Sanders speaking in Utah. He was also in Minnesota yesterday.

For more, we host a debate today on the Democratic presidential rivals Senator Bernie Sanders and billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. We’re joined by two guests.

Dr. Cornel West is professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard University. He’s endorsed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and is his surrogate. He’s written numerous books, most recently The Radical King: Martin Luther King, Jr. His other books include Race Matters, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the publication of this work with a new release. He’s joining us from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

And with us in Washington, D.C., is Congressmember Bobby Rush of Illinois. He’s national co-chair of the Mike Bloomberg 2020 presidential campaign. Congressmember Rush has served in office for more than two decades — since 1992. He got his start as a civil rights activist in the ’60s. His background includes being both a co-founder of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers and the only member of the Democratic Party to have defeated Barack Obama in an election. That was in the 2000 Democratic congressional primary.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! I want to begin with Dr. Cornel West because of the unusual developments that took place in the last few days, on the eve of today, on the eve of Super Tuesday, where you have several presidential candidates dropping out — Pete Buttigieg on Sunday, followed by Amy Klobuchar on Monday — and yesterday both of them endorsed Joe Biden, after his major win in South Carolina. But it was not only them who endorsed Joe Biden, also former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and a roster of the Democratic establishment, leading President Trump to say it’s a coup against Bernie Sanders. Dr. Cornel West, if you can talk about the significance of what has just taken place, with NBC also reporting on the, quote, “hidden hand of Barack Obama” in urging people to coalesce around Biden?

CORNEL WEST: I hope what we are witnessing is the last gasp of not just the establishment in the Democratic Party, but the neoliberal wing of the power elites, of the ruling class. We’ve got three options right now, Sister Amy. We’ve got neofascist gangster status with Trump. You’ve got neoliberal wing of ruling class with the establishment of the Democratic Party. And you’ve got the progressive neopopulists, because Brother Bernie, my dear Brother Bernie, is not running on a Democratic Socialist platform, he’s running on a progressive neopopulist — it’s FDR-like — platform. We’ve got these three options.

And the establishment now in the Democratic Party is in panic. They’re hysterical, because they don’t know which way to go, and they’re now falling behind a Joe Biden, who is so weak in energy, weak in vision, weak in courage, nothing but a hangover from the earlier neoliberal elites in the Democratic Party. So, in that sense, it’s a compliment to Brother Bernie, it’s a compliment of all of us, because we are unstoppable.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Dr. Cornel West, why do you support Bernie Sanders? You did in 2016. You did — you are now.

CORNEL WEST: I think he provides the only hope, the only vision, energy, excitement, bringing different people together, not just the new voters, but, most importantly, those who are concerned about poor and working-class folk. We’re right now in a moment of ecological catastrophe. It’s a moment of unbelievable political dysfunctionality. And neoliberal elites in the Democratic Party do not have what it takes to push out the neofascist gangster in the White House.

And I must say this about Brother Bloomberg. I know Brother Rush ain’t gonna say this. But see, Brother Bloomberg, neoliberal gangster, gangsterized the police — 5 million precious black and brown young folk pushed against the wall — tried to crush public education, pushed out quality teachers in bringing in all kind of bureaucratic folk under Joel Klein, and then, of course, tied to Wall Street and, most importantly, the escalation of the wealth inequality that’s pulling the rug from under American democracy. So, in that sense, Brother Bernie is the grand hope. That’s why I was with him four years ago. That’s why I’m with him now. And that’s why I’d take a bullet, not in my heart — that’s from my mama — on my side, for my dear Brother Bernie.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Congressmember Bobby Rush, he has laid down the gauntlet, Professor West has. Can you explain why you’re the co-chair of the Mike Bloomberg presidential campaign, why you’ve chosen to support the former New York mayor?

REP. BOBBY RUSH: Well, thank you very much, Amy. And I want to say good morning to my most profound friend and someone who I love and admire and respect, my soul brother, Dr. Cornel West. And, of course —

CORNEL WEST: How are you doing, my brother? How are you doing, my brother?

REP. BOBBY RUSH: My brother, my brother. I respectfully do not agree with Dr. West on this most important matter. I believe that Mike Bloomberg is singularly one individual that can, one, beat Donald Trump. It seems to me it’s not — should not be, rather — it should not be overlooked that the Trump gang is exuberant in their support of Bernie Sanders. And the reason why is that they think that Bernie Sanders is the ideal candidate. They could not create a better candidate to run against than Bernie Sanders, because they know that Bernie Sanders, his plans, his ideology, the things that he wants to represent and the things that he has promised — he knows that those will be regurgitated by most of the American voters, including many in the Democrats. So I don’t think that Bernie Sanders’ candidacy will represent such a promise, and will allow those of us who are really concerned about some of the most serious problems that’s associated with social dysfunction in our community — and that dysfunction in our community has been highlighted and created and developed because of the disinvestment in our community.

And we certainly want to have, finally, finally, someone who understands the economic issues that the African-American community is reeling against and that’s suffering because of the economic disinvestment in the African-American community. And I believe that Mike Bloomberg, in spite of and because he understands the economics of how to create businesses, how to do investments, that he is the only candidate that could — that have a hands-on idea about how to create the kind of investment in our community that will result in more stable community, a bigger, a robust economy, better schools, better homes. I think that Mike Bloomberg is the candidate and will be as president — he’ll be the one that will make sure that African-American communities thrive.

You know, I sit in my own city of Chicago. At one time, there were nine black-owned banks in the city of Chicago. Today there is only one. Across the nation, only 23 black-owned banks in this country. That is horrible. How can we ever get our fair share of the economic pie without having access to banks and access to capital? That’s just one of the things that Michael Bloomberg stands for. He’s promised that he will create a million new black homeowners. The wealth in the African-American community is $17,000. The wealth in the white community is $117,000 — 10 to one. And what is that wealth based on? That wealth is based on homeownership. Most of the white, middle-class wealth is centered on their homeownership. We don’t own homes. We need to have a president who understands that, who can look beyond all the rhetoric and see that that’s a fundamental problem that we have to address. Secondly, Mike Bloomberg said he will create a million black-owned businesses. A million. That creates an economy, a robust economy. He will invest $70 billion directly into the black community. No other president, no other candidate, no other president has ever promised to invest $70 billion in the African-American community.

So, not only, and he will help Dr. West and I deal with this issue of the criminal justice system. We’re going to correct that issue. We’re going to make sure that the criminal justice system is fair. You know, but on that, in terms of criminal justice, I have to say one thing. You know, look, Cornel and I, we understand about racial profiling. I have been against racial profiling all my adult life. I am against — and I use this term from this instance — I am against racist dog pig policemen operating in our community in a lawless way. Now, that’s not to say the whole departments across the nation acts in a lawless way, but there are some police officers who’s hell-bent on misusing their badge and brutalizing the African Americans. I am against that policy, always have been and always will be. So —

AMY GOODMAN: So, then, how, Congressmember Rush, do you deal with those 5 million stops-and-frisks over the three terms of Mayor Bloomberg, that he presided over, with massive marches against him, etc.?

REP. BOBBY RUSH: I am absolutely opposed to that. But I believe that we are in a critical point in time. We are at a critical juncture in our history. And I believe that once we deal with the reason that the criminal justice system and the crime is — in terms of the African-American — crime is high now. I’m not going to apologize. I live in the hood. Crime is high in our community. All right? And there are millions of people who come to me every day, asking me, “What are we going to do about this crime in Chicago? What are we going to do about this killing?” I am concerned, because, you know, we do have a high murder rate in my city and across this nation. So I’m not just going to say — put my hand over my eyes and stick my hand and not hear these crimes.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me bring Cornel West back into this.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: We’ve got a problem. But the problem —

CORNEL WEST: Brother Rush.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: But let me say this.

CORNEL WEST: But, Brother Rush —

REP. BOBBY RUSH: Let me say this. Let me say this. The problem — yes, sir. Let me just finish this. But that crime, those high rates of crime, that’s a symptom of the problem. The problem really is the lack of — I mean, the disinvestment. The problem is the disinvestment in our community. We don’t have no business. We have no jobs.

AMY GOODMAN: OK, let’s have Cornel West respond.

CORNEL WEST: But see, this is the challenge, though, Brother Rush. And I want people to know that I consider Brother Rush one of the great freedom fighters in the ’60s. We were talk — a couple of months ago. I see you there at the wedding of Fred Hampton, you the best man.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: Right on. Right, yes, on, brother.

CORNEL WEST: And I say to myself, now, Fred Hampton was one of the great freedom fighters. I think he would be with me on this, though. I don’t see him going with Bloomberg. And I’ll tell you why.

AMY GOODMAN: Of course, Fred Hampton gunned down in 1969 by the Chicago police.

CORNEL WEST: I’ll tell you why, my brother. I’ll tell you why. Because, one, Bloomberg didn’t say a mumbling word when all of those homes were destroyed with Wall Street greed, when Wall Street was bailed out. When Wall Street was bailed out, they had a choice: They could support the homeowners or to go with Wall Street greed. The neoliberals went with Wall Street greed, one. Two, education, jobs and investment in the community requires trying to transfer the money from the Wall Street greedy elite to working people. Bloomberg was against that. But not just Bloomberg, the whole neoliberal crowd, all of the folks now who are part of the Democratic establishment. Their base is dissolving. The establishment itself is being pushed. And here comes Bernie Sanders. Here comes the vision. Here comes the power for the poor and working people.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: But, my dear brother, every one of those candidates — every one of those candidates who have run for nomination have had to apologize to the black community for something. Bernie Sanders voted against the Brady Bill five times. He’s given comfort, aid and comfort, to the NRA. And do you know what — I know you would agree with me, or not. You would agree with me on this. Guns have been just dumped in our community. We’ve got better access to guns than we do have to a bottle of Bayer aspirin. Guns are so available to young, immature young men and women. They got [inaudible]. And the reason why is because the NRA has been the vanguard of dumping these guns into our community. And I tell you, we don’t —

CORNEL WEST: But the NRA hates Bernie Sanders. The NRA hates me. You know it.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: But Bernie’s on the record. But the record says that Bernie Sanders has voted five times. Five times.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break, and then we’re going to come back to this discussion.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: Against the Brady Bill.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined by Bobby Rush, the national co-chair for the Mike Bloomberg 2020 presidential campaign, and Dr. Cornel West, now a professor at Harvard University. This is Democracy Now! Back with them in a moment.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: “The Masquerade” by the Carpenters. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we host a debate on the Democratic presidential rivals Senator Bernie Sanders and billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — on the ballot for the first time today on this Super Tuesday. And, of course, there were many people who have voted before today. More than a hundred leading black scholars, writers and educators, including Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Barbara Ransby, Marc Lamont Hill, issued a joint letter endorsing Bernie Sanders this weekend. It read, in part, quote, “A Sanders presidency would go a long way toward creating a safer and more just world. The commitment to free college education, the elimination of student debt which so many of our students suffer under, and the enfranchisement of incarcerated citizens, are only some of the reasons we have come to this conclusion. His support of a commission to study reparations for slavery is another reason for our decision, as well as his staunch commitment to the needs of poor and working people over the course of his career,” they said.

Well, we’re joined by two guests. Washington, D.C. — in Washington, D.C., Illinois Congressmember Bobby Rush, the former Black Panther, he was first to beat President Obama when he ran for Congress decades ago. But he is now national co-chair for the Mike Bloomberg 2020 presidential campaign. And from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., we’re joined by professor Dr. Cornel West, who’s endorsed Bernie Sanders.

So, this issue of — well, you’ve got this letter from the black academics. You have the massive win in Nevada, a real sweep, and in New Hampshire. But his loss in South Carolina, which seemed to be a turning point for so many — South Carolina, the first mainly African-American Democratic primary voting state, with 60% of the Democratic Party African-American there. Cornel West, if you can talk about the significance of this, and what the plans are for today and ongoing?

CORNEL WEST: Well, I think it was highly appropriate to hear Sister Karen Carpenter sing so beautifully about the masquerade, that George Benson has sang about it, because the neoliberal politicians in the Democratic Party constitute a masquerade. They hide and conceal their connection to Wall Street, their connection to militarism through the military-industrial complex, their connection to wealth inequality and poverty, and act as if they’re concerned about working people and poor people. Every four years, we discover the language goes one way, the policies go somewhere else. They’re tied to big money. They’re tied to big military. And they cannot execute what they talk about, precisely because they do not have the organic links of everyday people, and their interests and moneys are tied to the power elite.

And so, what we’re actually witnessing for the first time is Bernie Sanders’ campaign, no ties to big money, telling the people exactly what they need. They say they’re empty promises. They said overthrowing apartheid was an empty promise. They said organizing the working class against greedy bosses was an empty promise. They said women and gays and lesbians and precious trans and others could have rights and liberties — “Oh, that’s an empty promise.” No, Bernie Sanders is saying what appears to be empty promises can in fact become real, if people come together in the name not of the masquerade, you see, not of the neoliberal project that fetishizes markets, that privatizes education, that unleashes Wall Street greed, that repeals Glass-Steagall, which is very much what Biden has done — Biden unleashed that greed by repealing Glass-Steagall, crushing working people, architect of mass incarceration going back to Strom Thurmond. We can go on and on and on. Biden, Bloomberg: masquerade. Karen Carpenter is right. If you want the real thing, if you want the Curtis Mayfield — Brother Rush, you know Curtis from Chicago — if you want the real thing, that’s Bernie Sanders, my brother.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: My dear brother, my dear brother, social practice is the criterium of the truth. And if you look at Bernie Sanders’ social practice, he has not passed, in all his time in the Senate, anytime in the Congress — and I served with him — he has not passed not one single, solitary bill that speaks to anything that he’s promising right now. Not one bill has he passed. He has been one of the most —

CORNEL WEST: Because the Congress has been so right-wing, brother.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: Anything — but, no, no, no, no, no. Listen. Listen. No, brother, no, no.

CORNEL WEST: The Congress has been so centrist and right-wing, my brother.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: I just passed anti-lynching legislation last week in the Congress, in the House. All right? Bernie — now, you know, you have to be able to get things done. You just cannot promise. Again, brother, my friend, Dr. West, social practice is the criterium of the truth. You know, this revolution that Bernie Sanders is promising, you know, where is that coming from? You know, you know as well as I do, Dr. West, back in the ’60s, when we were on the streets doing grassroots organizing —

CORNEL WEST: Right.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: I mean, I’m still in there.

CORNEL WEST: That’s right.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: I live in the hood. I live among the people who I’m trying to — who I represent and who I know that we — I know that we have been trying something different. You know, there was a phenomenon in the ’60s, they were called armchair revolutionaries. Armchair revolutionaries. All right? Those who had theory and little practice. Theory, a lot of theory, and a little practice. And I say that Bernie —

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we don’t have much time, so I want to put your question to Dr. Cornel West, the issue of —

CORNEL WEST: But Brother Bernie’s got millions of us behind him. That’s social practice, when you have millions of you behind you. But it’s building on the legacy of Fred Hampton and the others, brother. Every attempt of a social movement —

REP. BOBBY RUSH: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Look, look, look, look, Dr. West. Dr. West —

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you, Bobby Rush, a question. And this goes to your extremely valiant defeat, in your own personal case, of salivary cancer. You certainly have made healthcare an important issue. But Mayor Bloomberg does not agree with Bernie Sanders that Medicare for All is an answer. He said replacing private employer-provided health insurance is financially impossible, and it wouldn’t work in the United States. Yet, in state after state, this issue of healthcare and the polls around Medicare for All are overwhelmingly positive. How do you respond to that, Congressman Rush?

REP. BOBBY RUSH: Well, I think that Medicare for All is certainly the goal. It’s a question of how do you get to that goal. You have to — incrementally, you have — or, step by step, you have to get to that goal. I’m for — look, I believe that if you were born, then you have a right to the best healthcare that is in existence. You have that right. But how do we — as responsible individuals, how do we get there? How do we pay for it? How do we keep a sense of faith in a system? All right? Just from the time now —

AMY GOODMAN: Well, let me put that question to Dr. Cornel West, because you’re saying, “How can this be implemented?” This critical question.

CORNEL WEST: Absolutely. Absolutely, because, see, Brother Rush — what Brother Rush will not say is the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, the greed of the private insurance industry, that’s what stands in the way. That’s what makes it incremental, because their interests are so entrenched and tied to neoliberal Democratic Party politicians. Same was true in terms of our struggle against white supremacy. They told us to do what? Be incremental. Be incremental. No, it was the greed of white supremacists that stood in the way. We had to be courageous. We had to be visionary. That’s what the Sanders campaign’s all about, my brother. That’s what it’s about.

AMY GOODMAN: Cornel West, I wanted to ask you a question about one of the candidates who dropped out. It may surprise many people.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: Amy, can I — Amy, can I just —

AMY GOODMAN: Bobby Rush, let me just ask him this question.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: All right.

AMY GOODMAN: Cornel, the question of Pete Buttigieg. It may surprise many that you’ve known him since he was in diapers. You’re extremely close friend of his father, the Gramsci scholar, professor Buttigieg, who famously wrote, “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” Do you consider Biden and Bloomberg morbid symptoms?

CORNEL WEST: Well, let me first say that Brother Pete Buttigieg is like family to me. His father was like a blood brother. He’s the great Gramsci scholar, dean of humanities at Notre Dame. He and I would go to Italy every summer and be part of the International Gramsci Society. I loved Brother Joe. I love Brother Pete. And I just have political and ideological disagreements with my dear Brother Pete. But Pete has now — now has adjusted to this neoliberal rule. There’s no doubt about that.

And I think Biden does not have what it takes to beat the gangster in the White House. I don’t think Bloomberg has what it takes, because he’s a gangster, too. You can’t have a neoliberal gangster against a neofascist gangster and think you’re going to generate the kind of moral and spiritual vision and energy needed to push out Trump. And so that’s the reason why Bernie Sanders is so very important.

And yet I can understand people will — we’re desperate. The establishment is desperate. American democracy is going under. The planet is going under. Everything’s at stake, as my dear Sister Nina Turner says, that we love. We are in this thing all the way. We’re going to Milwaukee. We’re going to Washington, D.C. We’ve got to reinvigorate American democracy, or it’s over.

AMY GOODMAN: Bobby Rush, I’m going to give you the last word. And you mentioned something earlier about you being the sponsor of this historic bill that passed the House, almost unanimously, the Emmett Till anti-lynching bill. Emmett Till, of course, the 14-year-old boy from Chicago, where you’re from, who went to Money, Mississippi, for the summer, asleep in the house of his uncle and aunt and cousins, and he was lynched by a white mob. If you could, finally, comment on your deep concern about police brutality, about lynching, and, again, going back to — because I’m sure many people are scratching their heads — the mayor, Mike Bloomberg, not just being from New York City, but presiding over this massive disenfranchisement of black and brown children, more than 5 million stops-and-frisks during his three terms? He even went after the judge who ruled the stop-and-frisk program unconstitutional.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: Let me say, Amy — and I’m glad you asked that question, because, to me, there’s really not any contradiction. I am for justice, freedom, justice and equality. That’s been the hallmark of my life. I also know that, you know, if we’re — to me, what’s catalyzing, what really is making the — I want to try, once and for all, in this critical time, as Dr. West said — in these desperate times, I want to try something else. Dr. West, I agree with you. The liberal elite, the liberal elite, has been a barrier to those critical concerns that we have in the African-American community. The life concern, death, life and death, is really the issue. And I, for the first time, I’m looking for something different. I’m looking for a candidate for president, and I believe that candidate Mike Bloomberg, who really understands mistakes that he made. He didn’t listen to people. He apologized. He asked for forgiveness. He has made atonement. But I also know that he’s not just a one-dimensional man. I know that the House of Representatives, when Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the House, would not be in place right now, the Democrats would not be in control —

AMY GOODMAN: We have 20 seconds.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: — if Mike Bloomberg had not spent his money to help elect Democrats to take the House back. This, his investment.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Bobby Rush, we’re going to end it here, but I’m going to ask you both if we can have a rematch here. Today is Super Tuesday. Coming out of Super Tuesday, we’re going to set up another head-to-head between Bobby Rush, the national co-chair for the Mike Bloomberg 2020 presidential campaign —

REP. BOBBY RUSH: No, no, no, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: — former Black Panther —

REP. BOBBY RUSH: My friend and I just — my friend — my friend —

AMY GOODMAN: — the person who beat President Obama when he was running for Congress decades ago.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: My friend and I disagree, and this is not a head-to-head, not in that sense. I love my brother.

CORNEL WEST: I love my brother, too.

REP. BOBBY RUSH: I want him on my side. I love my brother.

AMY GOODMAN: I meant that in the most respectful sense. And, Dr. Cornel West, thank you so much for being with us —

CORNEL WEST: No, we’ll be back. Love both of you. Love both of you.

AMY GOODMAN: — a professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, The Intercept’s Ryan Grim joins us to talk about the latest developments on this Super Tuesday. Stay with us.

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