Does Stop-and-Frisk Disqualify Bloomberg for President?

The policy was undeniably harmful and unconstitutional. Is it forgivable?

As the combination of his spending spree and erstwhile frontrunner Joe Biden’s faltering campaign elevate Mike Bloomberg into the top tier of the Democratic candidates for President, there has rightly been a renewed focus on his past. There are some troubling issues with women who worked for his company; we’ll get to those in a subsequent post. But his increased use of “stop-and-frisk” tactics against young men of color during is tenure as Mayor is particularly ripe for discussion.

Philip V. McHarris, a PhD candidate in sociology and African American studies at Yale, has been given precious op-ed space at WaPo to answer the question, “Should Mike Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk record disqualify him?” He, alas, does not do so. He does, however, provide an excellent backgrounder on Bloomberg’s past explanations, the legal fight that ensued, and Bloomberg’s recent apologies.

This assessment of the situation is fair:

[H]is administration promoted policing tactics that deepened the racial inequality that plagues our criminal justice system. Under his tenure as mayor, stop-and-frisk increased dramatically from 97,296 documented cases in 2002 to 685,724 at the height of the practice in 2011. His 2015 remarks suggest that he believed labeling and targeting young black and Latino men as inherently criminal was good policy — but the data shows that that’s not true, and the historical record shows the dire consequences that racial profiling has had on black and Latinx communities.

And, while he doesn’t answer the question the headline writer asked, he closes by asking one of his own:

As mayor, Bloomberg showed a stunning disregard for the civil and constitutional rights of millions of the city’s residents, only rolling back stop-and-frisk reluctantly as a result of lawsuits. If Bloomberg — or any candidate without a strong commitment to anti-racist polices — becomes president, we have to wonder if he will recognize that the constitutional and civil rights, which the president must swear to uphold, apply to all, including black and Latinx people.

Columbia University linguistics professor John McWhorter fleshes the issue out beautifully in an Atlantic essay titled “Bloomberg Flunks the Wokeness Test.” It’s incredibly nuanced and I encourage you to read it in its entirety. But I’ll highlight a few excerpts here for the purposes of our discussion.

His Intro sets the tone:

Is the American left about to prioritize virtue signaling over keeping an unqualified monomaniac from a second term as president? This is what would happen if Michael Bloomberg’s failed stop-and-frisk policy is treated as automatically disqualifying him from serious consideration as the Democratic presidential nominee.

That’s a surprising lede in that the second paragraph seemingly contradicts it:

When Bloomberg was mayor of New York City, the police department dramatically expanded a policy under which officers stopped people on the streets to question them and pat them down for weapons. This draconian practice unforgivably stifled black and Latino life in New York City for years.

Bloomberg’s policy was unforgivable. And yet not disqualifying. How can that be?

Yet black America needs Bloomberg neither to have had a perfect past on race nor to “get it” 100 percent today—and neither does the rest of America. What black Americans want by overwhelming margins is for a moral and intelligent candidate to replace Donald Trump, and fetishizing wokeness above all other concerns may be antithetical to that paramount goal.

McWhorter’s argument, then, is purely pragmatic. And it’s a particularly cogent version of a discussion that has percolated through several recent OTB comments threads.

His take on the policy and its justifications is nuanced. He rejects calling them racist even though they were racist in effect because, like it or not, crime was in fact disproportionately concentrated in black and Latino neighborhoods. But the impact was catastrophic and ultimately self-defeating:

[A] whole generation of young black men grew up thinking of the cops as their enemy, with hostility toward the police becoming essentially a defining trait of authenticity. This abuse by cops infused black conversation, journalism, creative writing, and performing arts throughout New York in the Bloomberg years. I will never forget meeting a 13-year-old black kid in the Bronx who was already imprinted with a fury against the cops and their behavior.

Those who wonder why black people can’t just “get past” race tend to miss how central the cops are to a sense that the nation is united against black people. From the Black Panthers to gangsta rap to Ferguson, the relationship between black people and the police has been the very fulcrum of interracial relations in modern America. Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policy baldly nurtured exactly this kind of hostility.

His take on Bloomberg the man is harsh but fair:

A white man minted in the 1950s, Bloomberg clearly doesn’t pass our modern wokeness test on race. He is hardly the first white man of his age and milieu who cannot seem to understand the nuances of race and racism in America, beyond knowing that one is not supposed to be prejudiced. A man who could watch what the stop-and-frisk regime did to black New Yorkers and not recognize the sociological damage it involved is someone who perhaps does not always see black people as fully as we would like to be seen.

Not that he sees us as animals, or even as inferior humans. But for some white Americans, we look how a photo looks on your phone when you have weak coverage—recognizable and then some, but not fully filled in.

But, at the same time, in twelve years as mayor Bloomberg did a lot of good and many of his most controversial initiatives, like the infamous soda tax, were designed primarily to help poor and minority residents.

For some, stop-and-frisk is a deal-breaker. Note how modern—up-to-the minute, even—it seems to disqualify Bloomberg for one mistake on race, even if he would govern better than Trump has in all ways. It’s straight from the woke playbook. Freezing out the former mayor would also be a kind of atonement for the left’s having let pass Hillary Clinton’s “superpredator” comment in the 1990s. Atonement is the operative word here. To shout down Bloomberg because of that one policy would constitute a strain of anti-racism that has all the characteristics of religion rather than rationality. By denouncing a candidate as formidable as Bloomberg, people will show one another that they understand the evil of racism and go in grace—even on the pain of an impeached, amoral Trump being reelected.

[…]

We are faced, as so often of late, with white social-media commentators being woker on race than the black people they mean to support. Black America is coming around to Bloomberg in poll after poll, apparently unaware of the new wisdom that one unwise policy on race must render a man eternally dismissible even after multiple apologies.

The truly enlightened response to any pious insistences that Bloomberg be sent home over stop-and-frisk is to ask: Even if it means letting Trump have a second term? People who say yes will reveal themselves as fringe extremists, while the harrumphing of those less forthright will illuminate the difference between striking a pose for posterity and working for the better in an imperfect world.

Now, a sustained policy that was grossly unconstitutional is more than “one mistake.” He doubled down on it time and again when its disparate impact was pointed out to him and ended the practice only when forced to by the courts.

Further, there are, after all, five other serious candidates for the Democratic nomination. (Although Biden, at least, also has similar questions surrounding the crime bill he helped get passed in 1994.) Why not support one of them?

Still, McWhorter is surely right that, if it comes down to a choice between Trump and Bloomberg, those who care about minority rights shouldn’t hesitate to choose Bloomberg.

But, between the lines, he may be saying more than that.

Contra McHarris, we can rather safely assume Bloomberg isn’t going to implement stop-and-frisk or a similar policy as President. So, Americans of color and their allies should evaluate the candidates in their totality and not disqualify them on the basis of past mistakes.

McWhorter is almost exactly my age. And he’s making an observation about Bloomberg that I have previously made about Biden: that we have to give some leeway to people who were born a generation or more before us.

While people can learn and grow—-and there’s every indication Bloomberg and Biden have—-they grew up in an age with entirely different sensibilities on race, gender, sexuality, and other identity issues. Even though Biden and Bloomberg had relatively progressive views for their time, what passed for “liberal” on these issues in 1960 was “conservative” by 1990 and “bigoted” in 2020.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Gender Issues, Mike Bloomberg, Presidency, Race and Politics, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jay L Gischer says:

    I love the McWhorter piece. For instance, this is brilliant:

    But for some white Americans, we look how a photo looks on your phone when you have weak coverage—recognizable and then some, but not fully filled in.

    P.S. I didn’t realize Bloomberg was quite that old.

    2
  2. Stormy Dragon says:

    It’s not just stop and frisk at this point.

    In the past week it also comes out he was in favor of redlining, that he was apparently a serial sexual harasser, and that he has a long history of screaming racist and misogynist things at low level employees (which is bad on two different levels).

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  3. Teve says:

    Claiming that the root of the housing crisis was banks lending to shiftless coloreds is probably disqualifying. But should he get the nomination I’d vote for him over Trump because he won’t try to wreck Obamacare and kill a friend of mine.

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  4. CSK says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Bloomberg turned 78 yesterday.

    1
  5. Butch Bracknell says:

    FUCK ME TO TEARS!!! Why is the current Democratic candidate the best we can do? Jesus H Christ.

    This calls for desperate measures: we have to take all the Dem candidates and throw them into a wood chipper and press out one candidate combining Bloomberg’s resources, Pete’s raw intellect, Gabbard’s physical appeal, Biden’s experience and Obama cred, Klobuchar’s pragmatism and appeal to middle America, Bernie’s passion and Warren’s, well, I don’t know what. Add in Jim Webb’s foreign policy expertise and clarity of strategic vision and then above all else have it banish HRC into the Spartan Bottomless Well of Politics. That’s a candidate we can support.

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  6. Butch Bracknell says:

    @Butch Bracknell: “field of candidates” not just “candidate.”

  7. Kit says:

    I see Bloomberg less through the lens of racial inequality and more through that of economic inequality, the defining structural issue of our time. In fact, why not argue that stop and frisk is of a cloth with the soda ban, namely a paternalistic noblesse oblige born from the sense of entitlement that only jaw-dropping fortunes can grant?

    Or he might just be a racist. In any case, unless Bloomberg comes out saying that he’s going to end the reign of the plutocracy, there’s no way that he’s getting my support.

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  8. Kylopod says:

    @Butch Bracknell:

    This calls for desperate measures: we have to take all the Dem candidates and throw them into a wood chipper and press out one candidate combining Bloomberg’s resources, Pete’s raw intellect, Gabbard’s physical appeal, Biden’s experience and Obama cred, Klobuchar’s pragmatism and appeal to middle America, Bernie’s passion and Warren’s, well, I don’t know what. Add in Jim Webb’s foreign policy expertise and clarity of strategic vision and then above all else have it banish HRC into the Spartan Bottomless Well of Politics. That’s a candidate we can support.

    From John Powers’ 2004 book Sore Winners:

    “I sometimes fantasized about the ideal Frankenstein candidate one could stitch together from the contenders. He would have the passion of Dean, the good looks and trial-lawyer eloquence of Edwards, the physical stature and gravitas of Kerry, the brains and record of Wesley Clark, and the left-wing dreams of Kucinich–topped off by the sharp wit, and incomparable hairdo, of Al Sharpton. But such daydreams all too easily turned into nightmares: I kept picturing Kerry’s yard-long face atop Dean’s ham of a neck, framed by Kucinich’s hairline and Wesley Clark’s sweaters, and talking about Tawana Brawley with all the moral smugness of Joe Lieberman. The scariest thing was, I thought even this second jerry-built Democrat would be a better president than George W. Bush. And I surely wouldn’t have been the only one.”

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  9. @Butch Bracknell: @Kylopod: No candidate is perfect (although we always think there is one out there) and we go through this “is the best we can do?” every four years.

    Even the greatest presidents we have had had major flaws (none could pass current standards on race and gender, to pick some low-hanging fruit).

    Of course: the system we use to choose candidates bites.

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  10. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Of course: the system we use to choose candidates bites.

    This. To that point, this twitter thread from Matt Grossman is really sobering:

    If Dem race comes down to frontrunning Bernie vs Bloomberg $ (two non-Dems) would suggest much of what I & other scholars thought was unique to last Rep nomination is part of a broader shift: the parties have fully lost control to $, media, & the polarizers (at least for prez)

    It perhaps should also localize our theories about Trump’s rise (& related reform ideas). A lot that seemed inevitable afterward or fundamentally revealing about Republicans might have instead been attributable mostly to the hackability of the broken prez nominating process

    It’s not just that the party didn’t decide. Big fields with lack of coordination, early states followed by SuperTues limiting paths, elites hesitant, unpredictable media narratives & events all make ultimate nominee more likely due to idiosyncratic factors & timing over consensus

    Talk after 2016 focused on whether Dems would also go for outsider celebrity or whether Dem electorate was less predisposed. But may have missed the point: prez nominations are now open to factional & media/$ driven candidates & they may not need to reflect changing voter desires

    With Trump, so tempting to spin broad narratives of cultural change & inevitability. If Bloomberg wins, I hope we don’t say was due to some big Dem desire. Story of left turn will at least make sense for Bernie, but will be odd to tell if he wins with ~same vote share in a crowd

    Source: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1228680785969983489.html

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  11. Modulo Myself says:

    He’s a brute. Plain and simple, and there’s no mutable standard here either. Being extremely rich and not giving a shit about people beneath you has not been considered a good quality for a very long time. They had John Rockefeller give out money to humanize his image, but it took a couple of generations of WASP remove before they could try to get Nelson into the Presidency, and Nelson was a fairly charming guy.

    I think this fake candidacy will blow up fairly quickly. He has no charm and he is not at all transparent. He just has money but it’s going to go having his vices defended by the same people who become very upset when a few Bernie bros booed Mayor Pete. These are the same center-living people who months ago were touting up Biden’s lock on the nomination and telling everyone to ignore how senile and demented he sounded.

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  12. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: Yeah, it’s odd that I don’t hear much about Bloomberg’s age although he’s the same age as Bernie and Biden. Per SS, his average life expectancy is 9.8 years. That would be like a year past his second term, assuming he bought one.

    4
  13. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    Yes; it’s interesting that Bloomberg has escaped the speculation about his age that’s dogged Biden, Sanders, and Warren. That could be simply because he jumped into the race relatively recently in comparison with the other three.

    2
  14. @mattbernius: I started to respond, but it became a post.

    2
  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Teve:

    But should he get the nomination I’d vote for him over Trump because he won’t try to wreck Obamacare and kill a friend of mine.

    Sure about that?

    Mike Bloomberg in 2010 called Obamacare legislation ‘a disgrace’ and ‘another program that’s going to cost a lot of money’

  16. Gustopher says:

    I just want to quote the entirety of @Kylopod’s comment on the open thread.

    Michael Avenatti has just been convicted on all counts, and it got me thinking about something. A while back, when Avenatti was mulling a possible presidential bid, I encountered many online Dems who seemed to like the idea, including a couple of people here. Michael Bloomberg may not be total scum like Avenatti, but I’m getting similar vibes from those who support him–the way they hand-wave away his all-too-obvious flaws, because they’re so enamored by his tough-guy shtick as he goes after Trump.

    For the record, I think Bloomberg’s attack ads against Trump have been excellent, and I hope he continues making them even if he doesn’t get the nomination. But this attempt to base one’s entire support for him on his ability to go after Trump like this, and to ignore practically anything of substance about what kind of president he would be, raises some disturbing questions. I think many people have developed a superficial–and rather cartoonish–understanding of what drove Trump’s electoral success in the first place, as well as the proper way to deal with him.

    It relates to another phenomenon I’ve noticed, which is people who claim Hillary’s main mistake was being overly nice toward Trump–a claim that is not remotely accurate and requires selective amnesia of the highest order. In any case, seeing a Dem troll Trump effectively may be emotionally satisfying, but is it the sort of thing that wins elections? I’m not arguing we should sit back and be all kumbaya–not by a light year. Indeed, one of my main objections to Biden all along has been that I believed he’d be weak and ineffectual in the face of the GOP slime machine. But some Dems seem to have gotten the idea in their head that the only way (or the best way) to take on Trump is to (in effect) sink to his level of pro-wrestling, adolescent-bully antics, which I think is a grave error.

    I just think it’s very relevant to this discussion.

    1
  17. Gustopher says:

    Bloomberg has a lot of negatives. It’s also worth noting that he followed Giuliani, and kept and expanded the greater police presence that Giuliani had created.

    Part of that was 9/11 — that happened in the fall of the last year of Giuliani’s term — but policing was much more active long before that. Bloomberg expanded it, sometimes using 9/11 as an excuse/reason, sometimes not. Stop-and-frisk was an extension of the Giuliani era implementation of the Broken Windows Theory of policing — go after low level offenses hard to remove the appearance that crime is ok.

    Bloomberg likes order, and will use the power available to him (constitutional or not) to create order as he sees fit. Bloomberg has also not had to answer any questions about how he would handle CBP and ICE abuses at the border.

    I’m looking forward to his inclusion in the debates.

    1
  18. gVOR08 says:

    Kevin Drum sees new candidates following a four step path. Bloomberg has gone through Phase I – sudden fascination and Phase II – learning more. Now he’s entering Phase III – oppo and investigations. Phase IV is takeoff or failure depending on how Phase III went. So far, not promising for Bloomberg. But. with enough free speech money, anything is possible.

    2
  19. Jay L Gischer says:

    I just came back to reiterate something. Regardless of what you think of Bloomberg, McWhorter’s piece is well worth reading, in full. (If you are white! If you’re black, you probably already know it, so carry on.) Digest what he says about “atonement”. This is not the first black intellectual I’ve heard this sort of thing from, and it’s important.

    “When the white man learns to love himself, there will be no race problem” – James Baldwin

    2
  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Even the greatest presidents we have had had major flaws

    It should go without saying that none of our Presidents entered the WH as great Presidents, though a few were great generals. They were competent men who rose to extraordinary challenges and in retrospect we view them as great.

    McWorther crystallizes the argument as to why wokeness should not be a criteria for the party membership to choose a candidate. For some it is and that’s fine, they can support a different candidate. If Bloomie ends up the nominee, they’ll have a choice.

    At present, I don’t favor Blommie as the nominee for a host of reasons, none of which involve stop and frisk or his alleged creepiness around female employees (we’re talking about someone who will be opposing Donald ‘Grab em by the Pussy’ Trump), but if he ends up the nominee, I’m voting for him.

    2
  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    Bloomie is getting a pass on his age, mostly due to the fact that that discussion has run its course. Neither, Bloomie, Biden or Bernie will be running for a second term, which is a reason not to choose one of them, as you will be sacrificing the advantage of incumbency in 2024.

    2
  22. JKB says:

    What always struck me, and this goes double in the Bloomberg era when Stop and Frisk was being challenged in court, the NYPD did nothing to refine the tactic. A 90% false rate with no efforts to improve your hit rate, tells you the tactic was more about harassment than interdicting guns, etc. At a minimum, it would have been a good argument before the judge. But Bloomberg and the NYPD took a “we will not be challenged” stance.

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  23. Tyrell says:

    No apology needed. From what I have read, most of the NYC people and the police supported this policy. The studies are mixed about the impact on crime. Now the police are on edge about the new policy of no bail required. Criminals are literally taken in and walking right out. I don’t know whose bright idea that was, but they need to be held legally accountable for any crimes committed by these criminals who walk on no bail. And we are not talking about people with parking tickets or jaywalking.
    I know people who have visited NYC in the last few years and talked about the trash, crowds, graffiti everywhere, and nude people wandering the streets. Under the current mayor, it appears that things are going to the dogs. Some local schools are not going back there on their spring trips.
    Some of other the things Bloomberg has done are questionable: his proposal to ban soft drinks, calorie limits, ban on trans fats, salt limits, and more strict gun laws for the citizens while he goes around protected by personal guards toting automatic rifles.
    Biden went around apologizing too. Look where it got him.
    ‘Bail reform, it’s lit!’ NYC transit recidivist brags he can’t be stopped after his latest arrest for turnstile jumping, skipping court dates”: arrested 139 times for stealing and other offenses. (Daily News) Bail policy: another bright idea of some politician who probably lives in a gated community.

  24. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    McWorther crystallizes the argument as to why wokeness should not be a criteria for the party membership to choose a candidate.

    Complaining about wokeness is the hippie-bashing of the modern day, but it’s worth noting that the hippies were right.

    They smelled bad, but they were right.

    I would also point out that opposing unconstitutional searches by an increasingly active and militarized police force isn’t just some fringe woke issue. It strikes at the heart of what America is, and why we revolted, and why we have a constitution in the first place.

    7
  25. Kylopod says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Regardless of what you think of Bloomberg, McWhorter’s piece is well worth reading, in full.

    Is it a sign of “virtue signaling” or “wokeness” to consider stop-and-frisk disqualifying for a Democratic candidate? This isn’t something abstract like blackface in college, it’s something that has negatively affected the lives of numerous people.

    Add to that the fact that you have to be a real sucker to trust him now that he’s (sort of) apologized for it, just at the point when it was convenient for him to do so. I’ve got no problem with people whose politics evolve. Warren has been my favorite candidate for a while (though it’s unlikely she’ll be around by the time of the New York primary on Apr. 28), and she’s a former Republican. Bloomberg’s apology has more the feel of those Christian pastors caught in bed with hookers, who cry in front of their congregation about how they’ve sinned.

    Is this really a “woke” issue at all? Why does concern for anything remotely having to do with race automatically get cast into the “woke” dustbin? Is it not possible that people are bringing it up because it is a serious negative mark on his record? (I was going to say “black mark,” then stopped myself. Does that make me overly “woke” too?) To me, the closest analogy isn’t anything race-related, but voting for the Iraq War. When you put it in such extreme terms as “Is it disqualifying?” you’re just stacking the deck to make it easier to dismiss. I’ll vote for anyone in the current field who happens to win the Dem nomination. And there are circumstances in which I may even support someone who has something like this on their record over someone who doesn’t (for instance, I’d vote for Biden or Bloomberg sooner than I’d vote for Tulsi Gabbard–though, of course, she’s got her own past “woke” issues to deal with).

    For the record I’ve long been a fan of McWhorter’s writings on linguistics (Kathy here is too). But I’ve often been annoyed by his political commentary. He has long had a tendency to engage in chin-scratching bothsiderism that reminds me of Fox News Dems (you can find clips of him from early 2008 claiming he sees nothing special about Obama other than his being black), and he has over the years gotten heavily into the anti-PC (now called anti-“woke,” but it’s the same damn thing) crusade that has driven once-liberal commentators like Sam Harris to the hard right. Just because McWhorter is black himself does not make him immune to these tendencies.

    10
  26. @Sleeping Dog: My comment was not to defend Bloomberg. My point was that during every nomination fight we go through this process of pointing out flaws and bemoaning our choices as if there are some really awesome choices out there that we would trade the current crop for (it is the perpetual “grass is always greener” syndrome).

    Ultimately, I think that we just get a pile of adequate possibilities every four years, with a lot less greatness that we like to pretend we deserve (or that we are likely to get).

    2
  27. Gustopher says:

    @Tyrell:

    I know people who have visited NYC in the last few years and talked about the trash, crowds, graffiti everywhere, and nude people wandering the streets. Under the current mayor, it appears that things are going to the dogs. Some local schools are not going back there on their spring trips.

    Singapore is very clean and orderly. It is also a police state.

    I left NYC in 2004, after having been there on and off for the Dinkins, Giuliani and part of the Bloomberg administrations. I will grant that in 2004 it was much more orderly than in 1988. But it was also much less free.

    After 9/11, there were kids from the national guard with assault rifles in the subways. By 2004, these were being replaced by police officers with assault rifles. The response to the emergency had become institutionalized. The city felt occupied.

    Stop and frisk came into full force after that.

    6
  28. @Tyrell:

    I know people who have visited NYC in the last few years and talked about the trash, crowds, graffiti everywhere, and nude people wandering the streets.

    I was in Manhattan two years ago. I found it to be an extremely enjoyable experience (and crowded because, you know, people wanted to be there).

    Yes, there were a couple of semi-nude folks in Times Square, but most places we went I found people to be quite clothed.

    This just sounds like hang-wringing from a distance.

    Also: how much of the improvement of places like Times Square was via zoning and investment? I agree law enforcement is important, but that doesn’t mean you have to have and frisk.

    7
  29. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod:

    To me, the closest analogy isn’t anything race-related, but voting for the Iraq War.

    90% of Americans were in favor of the Iraq War, and it was very clear that it was going to pass. I don’t expect a politician to make a brave vote for a lost cause.

    (90% of Americans were wrong…)

    There’s a world of difference between that vote and being the guy ordering stop-and-frisk.

    1
  30. t says:

    @Tyrell:

    ‘Bail reform, it’s lit!’

    10/10. i was chuckling by the end. but this got me good. and to do it when i finally start to question my own sanity and why i keep coming back to this hellsite.

    “just when i thought i was out…they pull me back in…”

  31. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher:

    90% of Americans were in favor of the Iraq War, and it was very clear that it was going to pass.

    Where’d you get that stat from? Here’s Wikipedia:

    According to a Gallup poll conducted from August 2002 through early March 2003, the number of Americans who favored the war in Iraq fell between 52 percent to 59 percent, while those who opposed it fluctuated between 35 percent and 43 percent.[10]

    Days before the March 20 invasion, a USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll found support for the war was related to UN approval. Nearly six in 10 said they were ready for such an invasion “in the next week or two.” But that support dropped off if the U.N. backing was not first obtained. If the United Nations Security Council were to reject a resolution paving the way for military action, 54% of Americans favored a U.S. invasion. And if the Bush administration did not seek a final Security Council vote, support for a war dropped to 47%.[1]

    An ABC News/Washington Post poll taken after the beginning of the war showed a 62% support for the war, lower than the 79% in favor at the beginning of the Persian Gulf War.[2]

    Support for the war did surge after it started, but it was never at 90%.

    An overwhelming percentage of New Yorkers supported stop-and-frisk, however—higher than national support for the Iraq invasion at any point.

    https://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/poll-stop-frisk-supported-but-with-revisions-1.6316830

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  32. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    My favorite type of response! The post is great.

    What always struck me, and this goes double in the Bloomberg era when Stop and Frisk was being challenged in court, the NYPD did nothing to refine the tactic. A 90% false rate with no efforts to improve your hit rate, tells you the tactic was more about harassment than interdicting guns, etc.

    Funny how that works. It’s almost like the NYPD thought it could do whatever it wanted and it didn’t matter if was harassing and disproportionately affecting young men of color.

    4
  33. mattbernius says:

    @Stormy Dragon FTW. We’re just at the start of seeing all of the Bloomberg’s dirty laundry and it really seems like there’s a pattern of behavior that is going to be really increasingly hard to ignore.

    I’ll also add to that things like speaking out against the ACA and saying in an interview that Barak Obama hurt race relations in the US. He might be able to win the nomination, but he’s going to have a real difficult time building the necessary coalitions to get elected.

    2
  34. Stormy Dragon says:

    @JKB:

    A 90% false rate with no efforts to improve your hit rate, tells you the tactic was more about harassment than interdicting guns, etc.

    Another revealing set of statistics is stuff like this:

    LA police search black drivers most – even though white people have more drugs, report finds

    Traffic stop data from a recent 10-month period across LA revealed that black drivers and passengers were four times more likely to be searched by police than white people, and that Latinos were three times as likely to face searches, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday.

    In stops across the city, 24% of black drivers and passengers were searched, compared with 16% of Latinos and 5% of white people. White drivers were found with drugs or other contraband 20% of the time, a higher rate than other groups; the contraband rate was 17% for black people and 16% for Latinos.

    When you put four times the effort to policing a population with one-third less results, it’s pretty clear it’s driven more by animosity toward that population than legitimate law enforcement concerns.

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  35. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod: If I have to choose between my memory, and your research, I’ll choose your research.

    I mean, this is never going to stick, and I’ll make the same mistake forever, but you’re right.

    Now I wonder what was polling at 90% around that time related to the war. God, I hope it isn’t just that it took place in the early 90s…

  36. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    When you put four times the effort to policing a population with one-third less results, it’s pretty clear it’s driven more by animosity toward that population than legitimate law enforcement concerns.

    Or lazy stereotypes.

    It’s a distinction without a difference until you’re trying to fix the problem, and no one is ever really trying to fix the problem…

    Bias is also often expressed as giving people who remind you of yourself a break, as opposed to actively discrimating against the other groups.

    It’s why “disproportionate impact” is a much better test than intent — it’s really hard to measure intent, and often the intent isn’t even there.

    1
  37. Gustopher says:

    @JKB: I like your comment enough that I upvoted it twice!

    (I am skimming in a coffee shop on my phone, and forgot I upvoted earlier on another device…)

    1
  38. Gustopher says:

    @Gustopher: I’m now mixing up my Iraq Wars. I have no idea what numbers I got from where.

    Kids, this is what happens when you don’t smoke enough pot.

  39. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I didn’t take your comment to be in defense of Bloomie. Lord knows he has enough money to pay for his own defense. My point was we don’t know the great presidents till they leave office.

    …really awesome choices…

    Fully agree with this

    1
  40. Mikey says:

    @JKB: I agree with this comment, wholeheartedly. I know I am often snarky toward you, especially concerning your views of Trump’s offenses, but seeing that even we can find common ground in another area gives me some hope for America.

    4
  41. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    His article is, as they say in France, Bull$hit. Spoken like someone I would say has never been Stopped and Frisked. I would suspect if he had, it would have been mentioned in the article to give his arguments some credibility.

    I’d been at the business end of Police gun barrels probably 7 times before the year 2000. THAT gives you some credibility. His characterization was that Stop & Frisk was merely one little policy “mistake” and was ok because of his commitment to Gun Control and Climate change is ridiculous. These policies affected the day to day lifestyles of people and families. I have no use for the Police today because of Broken Windows and draw weapons first, ask questions later type policing. Eff the Police. They are a malignant force in neighborhoods overrun by malignant forces.

    As my Grandmother used to say, all my skinfolks ain’t my kinfolk. Mcwhorter is writing to and for white liberals…he wouldn’t publish his name next to this article if it were on The Grio.

    Sure, racism is nuanced. There are prejudice people, and there are Rascists. I’m ok with the prejudice people,they are polite, and you might have to get their ass straight, but in general they just want to live their lives just like you do. Anyone who didn’t go to an integrated school starting from Kindergarten is probably prejudice. Racists on the other hand have the viewpoint that the best black man is lesser than the lowest white man. Prejudice people in the other hand know that many white people, unlike them, ain’t $hit, compared with some black people (usually the ones they know). So yes, Bloomberg is an old prejudice white man. If I came up like he did, I’d be like that too.

    Instead of trivializing what Bloomberg did…just say the guy is a “hold your nose” candidate for African Americans. Say he did terrible things but we can get more out of him than Trump. Bloomberg has the typical prejudice white man’s mentality that crime is only in the black community. Let me launch a crime on Pedophilia, prescription drug abuse, fentanyl, and/or human trafficking and I can turn Americas prisons snow white overnight. No, in America we have to get a War on Black Vices. Bloomberg is part of that. Eff him…but he could still, however, prove to be useful should he be the Dem Nominee.

    7
  42. An Interested Party says:

    Eff him…but he could still, however, prove to be useful should he be the Dem Nominee.

    Well that’s the bottom line, isn’t it? Can anyone make an argument that Bloomberg as president would be worse for this country than the reelection of Trump…

    2
  43. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My comment was not to defend Bloomberg. My point was that during every nomination fight we go through this process of pointing out flaws and bemoaning our choices as if there are some really awesome choices out there that we would trade the current crop for (it is the perpetual “grass is always greener” syndrome).

    As someone who has often mentioned the “grass is greener” analogy with presidential candidates–including just a few days ago–I think that’s a misunderstanding of what’s going on here. Ever since 2016 Dems have been in this panicky mode–what Ed Kilgore has called PTSD, or “Post-Trump Stress Disorder.” A sizable number of them have gotten the idea in their head that Trump is some formidable behemoth who will destroy anyone in his path (as opposed to a weak nominee who lucked into getting a weak opponent, and whose current strength comes mostly from his being an incumbent in a good economy, not from any particular qualities of his), and the only way to beat him is to get someone who can deliver a knockout punch that puts him away for good. This kind of superficial macho view of what happened in 2016 is what leads to flirtations with figures like Avenatti, and I believe it’s what’s behind much of the Bloomberg push.

    It comes out of all the complaints about how the other Dem candidates are so busy trying to destroy each other they’ve been distracted from the all-important task of going after Trump. This has come to be called the “circular firing squad,” even though it is in fact perfectly normal in a competitive primary contest. Remember how ugly the Obama-Hillary fight got in 2008? Or take this moment from 1992 where Jerry Brown attacked Bill Clinton’s ethics, and I swear it looked like the two were right at the brink of breaking out into a fistfight right there on the stage. Compared to what we’ve seen in previous cycles, the debates about wine caves seem almost civil by comparison.

    In the face of all this, Bloomberg comes along and attempts to bypass all that and go straight to the source. It’s a highly unusual method of trying to win the nomination, and we’ll see whether it actually works. But the important thing to remember is that only someone with his money and name recognition is capable of even attempting such a thing. Other candidates don’t have that ability–but it doesn’t automatically make them weaker candidates. He can’t avoid the scrutiny forever, as we are already starting to see. The picture of him as somehow immune to the vulnerabilities of the other candidates is a dangerous illusion.

    The highly substantive criticisms of his record aren’t coming out of some demand that a candidate be perfect. They are reflections of the fact that in the past few weeks many people have been recklessly throwing their support behind him in a mad frenzy, and willfully blinding themselves to his flaws under the dubious notion that he’s got exactly what it takes to take down Trump, which is all that matters, so screw ’em. If these people didn’t view the election in such desperate and pugilistic terms, they wouldn’t give him a second look.

  44. @Kylopod: I agree with your assessment.

    I think that anxiety over Trump is amplifying the search for greener grass, so to speak (and concur about how that situation has made Bloomberg’s strategy more possible than it usually would be).

    1
  45. Console says:

    It’s not said enough in this debate, but stop and frisk wasn’t just racist, it did nothing for crime rates. Cities without the policy saw the same drop in crime. NY’s crime dropped at the same rate after the policy was killed.

    Just calling the policy unconstitutional makes opposition to it sound like it comes from technicalities and political correctness. The reality is that stop and frisk is as stupidly incorrect as phrenology.

    I don’t know if it’s because the media has a soft spot for old white racists (grandpa felt the same way and he wasn’t bad!) but the pushback on blatantly false racist policies is never there. The formulation is always: Policy A is harmful, but might be necessary if we acknowledge some hard truths.

    Yet those “hard truths” are never actually truths at all. They are just things people feel should be true. And if lots of people harbor racist feelings, then you get lots of people ignoring the actual facts about racist policies

    6
  46. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “If I have to choose between my memory, and your research, I’ll choose your research.”

    Wow. That separates you from something like 99.7% of the American people. Sadly, I expect, from me as well.

    Next thing you’ll be admitting you’re wrong on the internet…

    3
  47. Mikey says:

    @wr:

    Next thing you’ll be admitting you’re wrong on the internet…

    I’ve been wrong on the internet. Two prime examples: as a vocal supporter of the 2003 Iraq war, and later as a believer in the right-wing balderdash about Benghazi. Through discussions with those who disagreed with me, I came to change my view on both–in fact, on Benghazi, it was discussions with a former OTB poster, Jukeboxgrad, that led to the change.