Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was met with loud boos from the audience — and other candidates — at the February 19 Democratic debate when he said that Senator Bernie Sanders‘ economic platform would make people vote again for President Donald Trump. “I can’t think of ways that would make it easier for Donald Trump to get elected than by listening to this conversation. It’s ridiculous,” Bloomberg said. “We’re not going to throw out capitalism. We tried that. Other countries tried that. It’s called communism, and it just didn’t work.”
What Sanders was proposing, that American workers have some say in the economy, is not communism — it’s democratic socialism. Sanders famously identifies as a Democratic Socialist, a supporter of political democracy and socially owned economy. All of Bloomberg’s fellow candidates had something they wanted to say in response, but Sanders got to him first. “Let’s talk about democratic socialism, not communism, that’s a cheap shot Mr. Bloomberg,” The Vermont senator said. “We are living in many ways in a socialist society right now. We have socialism for the very rich, rugged individualism for the poor.”
Clearly taking umbrage at the allusion to him being a billionaire, Bloomberg shot back about Sanders’ own wealth: “What a wonderful country we have. The most well-known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses.” Bloomberg was loudly booed by the audience at this point.
It was a rough night for Bloomberg. Senator Elizabeth Warren attacked the former mayor within the first few minutes of the debate, comparing him to Trump. “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against — a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” she said. No, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Michael Bloomberg. I’ll support whoever the Democratic nominee is, but understand this: Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”
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