The Democrats’ showdown Wednesday was a bloodbath, but former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg particularly felt the effects.
The surging billionaire made his debut on the debate stage and it was rather evident that he was unprepared as the group started in on him right away, easily marking the most aggressive democratic debate of this election cycle.
Bloomberg’s beating began with Warren warning that Democrats “take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”
She continued that the field is running against somebody “who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians — and no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”
As some attendees cheered her insults of Bloomberg she added more, “We are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist policies like redlining and stop-and-frisk.” Redlining is systematically denying services to certain neighborhoods.
In yet another explosive moment, attendees erupted in the hall when Warren called on Bloomberg to release women from nondisclosure agreements they have signed concerning their civil complaints that he harassed them in the workplace.
“Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those nondisclosure agreements, so we can hear their side of the story?” Warren asked, to thunderous applause.
“We have very few nondisclosure agreements,” Bloomberg meekly responded. “None of them accused me of doing anything — except, maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.” The audience then booed loudly.
“It was agreements between two parties that wanted to keep it quiet, and that’s up to them. They signed those agreements, and we’ll live with it,” Bloomberg said.
The audience continued to boo Bloomberg as he repeatedly declined to waive the agreements on stage during the discussion, even after Biden yelled that it would be easy to do so.
Bloomberg also did not respond to Warren’s request that he specify exactly how many nondisclosure agreements he had arranged.
For his part, Joe Biden also hammered Bloomberg on his stop-and-frisk policy, saying it “violated every right people have.”
Warren then retouched that point, accusing Bloomberg of “willful ignorance” and “shutting out” the sounds of protests on his own streets. “You need a different apology here, Mr. Mayor,” Warren said, after Bloomberg said he regretted the implementation of stop-and-frisk.
Sanders, meanwhile, warned that Bloomberg couldn’t be elected because he wouldn’t be able to assemble a diverse coalition of voters.
The millionaire also called it “immoral” that Bloomberg had vast wealth while homelessness remained a problem. A debate moderator then asked a pointed question: “Mayor Bloomberg, should you exist?”
Bloomberg then seized the opportunity to land a counter-punch on Bernie saying, “What a wonderful country we have! The best-known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses. What’d I miss here?”
“I work in Washington,” Sanders angrily began his response.
“That’s the first problem,” Bloomberg retorted.
While Bloomberg easily got the brunt of the attacks, the debate descended into all out war at one point with Bernie’s taking shots over his outlandish healthcare plan.
During a discussion with Sanders, Pete Buttigieg said, “We can actually deliver health care without taking it away from anyone.”
Buttigieg added that Sanders’ plans would cost “$50 trillion; he’s only explained $25 trillion in revenue, which means the hole in there is bigger than the entire economy of the United States.”
Democrats were so engulfed by their own hatred that they seemingly forgot one of their main talking points – Donald Trump.
At one point Amy Klobuchar even argued, “We have not been talking enough about Donald Trump.”
Following the debate, Trump weighed in on the weak debate by Bloomberg:
“Mini Mike Bloomberg’s debate performance tonight was perhaps the worst in the history of debates, and there have been some really bad ones,” Trump tweeted. “He was stumbling, bumbling and grossly incompetent. If this doesn’t knock him out of the race, nothing will. Not so easy to do what I did!”
With much of the attention on Bloomberg, there is increasing fear from establishment-minded Democrats about Sanders’ strength in the race.
After he finished at or near the top in Iowa and New Hampshire, polls suggest the self-described democratic socialist is poised for another strong showing in Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday.