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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 114)

Michael Bloomberg Leans Left With Plan to Rein in Wall Street

Westlake Legal Group 18db-newsletter-bloomberg-copy-facebookJumbo-v2 Michael Bloomberg Leans Left With Plan to Rein in Wall Street Presidential Election of 2020 Federal National Mortgage Assn (Fannie Mae) Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (Freddie Mac) Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Bloomberg, Michael R Banking and Financial Institutions

Michael R. Bloomberg is proposing to crack down on the industry where he made his name — and fortune.

The former mayor of New York and Democratic presidential candidate announced an ambitious financial policy plan on Tuesday that includes imposing a tax on financial transactions and toughening restrictions on risky banking practices.

Perhaps the most surprising proposal, given the billionaire’s close personal ties to Wall Street movers and shakers, is a plan for the Justice Department to create a dedicated team to fight corporate crime by “encouraging prosecutors to pursue individuals, not only corporations, for infractions.”

“The financial system isn’t working the way it should for most Americans,” said Mr. Bloomberg in a statement. “The stock market is at an all-time high, but almost all of the gains are going to a small number of people.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s plan appears to repudiate positions he has taken on financial oversight over the years, when he often argued that rules aimed at reforming Wall Street were bad for the economy.

The new proposals suggest how far to the left Democratic presidential hopefuls considered moderates have felt they needed to tack. This is especially so for Mr. Bloomberg, a former Salomon Brothers trader whose estimated $63 billion fortune came from selling data to Wall Street.

In 2010, for instance, Mr. Bloomberg urged Democratic lawmakers not to get too tough on banks, and he criticize the so-called Volcker Rule, which prevented banks from making risky trades for themselves rather than clients. He called the proposed new restrictions “shortsighted,” with the potential to reduce middle-class jobs.

A spokeswoman for the Bloomberg campaign rejected allegations of flip-flopping.

“Context matters,” she said. When the Volcker Rule was introduced, “Mike was skeptical of regulators’ ability to divine traders’ intent,” which was how the law required regulators to judge investments, she added. Mr. Bloomberg’s new plan would focus “on the outcome of speculative trading — big gains and losses — rather than on traders’ intent.”

Some of Mr. Bloomberg’s other views on financial regulations have taken heat in recent days. He has had to defend comments he made in 2008 linking the financial crisis to the end of redlining, the discriminatory housing practice in which banks made it harder for people of color to borrow to buy a home.

In 2011, he said, “It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp.”

But as he seeks to shore up his argument as the choice for moderate Democrats in the 2020 race, Mr. Bloomberg has shifted gears.

As part of his Wall Street plan, he is now embracing a tax of 0.1 percent on all financial transactions, a position that he shares with fellow candidates Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren and Pete Buttigieg, as well as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Last year, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez co-sponsored a bill in the House that called for such a tax.

The surcharge on trading, meant to raise money to pay for social programs like expanded health care coverage, has been roundly criticized by the sort of pro-business groups that Mr. Bloomberg had long been sympathetic to, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But the spokeswoman for the Bloomberg campaign argued that such a tax “is an effective and relatively painless way to raise more tax revenue from the wealthy,” citing its use in Britain and Hong Kong. A 2018 analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that a tax similar to the one proposed by Mr. Bloomberg would raise $777 billion over 10 years, albeit with a lot of uncertainty around “how much transactions would drop in response to a tax.” Any drop in trading would probably be bad for Bloomberg L.P., the company that feeds investors data and helps them arrange the buying and selling of securities.

Much of Mr. Bloomberg’s plan is an effort to bolster or restore elements of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law which, like the Volcker Rule, were reversed or reduced under President Trump. For example, Mr. Bloomberg proposes making stress tests for banks more stringent and reinstating the requirement to produce annual “living wills,” which are complex documents that detail how banks would unwind their operations in a bankruptcy.

Elsewhere in his plan, Mr. Bloomberg says he would merge Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-owned housing giants. He would strengthen consumer protections that govern payday lending and financial advisers, as well as give the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau oversight of auto lending and credit reporting. Borrowers of student loans would be automatically enrolled into income-based repayment plans with payments capped at 5 percent of disposable income.

Progressive critics are likely to argue that Mr. Bloomberg’s proposals don’t go far enough. Some Democrats have proposed a wealth tax, while Ms. Warren has called for a complete overhaul of the private equity industry and Mr. Sanders wants to break up the big banks.

The first test of Mr. Bloomberg’s convictions in regulating Wall Street could come at Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas, which is expected to be the first time he will appear onstage alongside his presidential rivals. The billionaire qualified for the contest today thanks to a national poll that put his support at 19 percent, up from only 4 percent in the same survey in December. He trailed only Mr. Sanders, who had 31 percent.

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In Coronavirus Fight, China Sidelines an Ally: Its Own People

Westlake Legal Group 00newworld-1-facebookJumbo In Coronavirus Fight, China Sidelines an Ally: Its Own People Wuhan (China) Volunteers and Community Service Shutdowns (Institutional) Protective Clothing and Gear Politics and Government Philanthropy Masks Hubei Province (China) hospitals Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Communist Party of China China

Hospitals in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei Province have been making urgent pleas to the Chinese people for three weeks as the new coronavirus ripples through the country: Send more protective gear.

Supplies are close — and yet frustratingly out of reach. Medical supplies donated to the Red Cross Society of China’s Wuhan branch sit unused in warehouses. Officials in Xiantao, a city 70 miles from Wuhan and one of the world’s biggest manufacturing centers for protective supplies, ordered factories there to cease operations. Individuals who try to organize relief supplies face violating the country’s strict charity law.

Beijing has shown the world that it can shut down entire cities, build a hospital in 10 days and keep 1.4 billion people at home for weeks. But it has also shown a glaring weakness that imperils lives and threatens efforts to contain the outbreak: It is unable to work with its own people.

The coronavirus outbreak has exposed the jarring absence in China of a vibrant civil society — the civic associations like business groups, nonprofit organizations, charities and churches that bring people together without involving the government.

Think of it as the nervous system that helps a society move smoothly and briskly — something Benjamin Franklin recognized over 200 years ago when he organized Philadelphia’s first volunteer fire department, first public library and first charity hospital. “It is prodigious the quantity of good that may be done by one man, if he will make a business of it,” he wrote in 1783.

“The traditional management mechanism of ‘big government’ is no longer efficient, and is even failing,” Duan Zhanjiang, a management consultant, wrote in an article about managing the epidemic. “The government is very busy but not effective. The social forces aren’t being utilized because they can only stand on the sideline, watching anxiously.”

Mr. Duan suggested the government restrain its urge to be in charge of everything and focus more on supervision.

The Communist Party has never liked or trusted civil society. It is suspicious of any organization that could potentially pose challenge to its rule, including big private enterprises. It has cracked down on nongovernment organizations like rights groups and charities as well as churches and mosques. The party wants nothing to stand between its government and China’s 1.4 billion people.

Big Chinese corporations and wealthy individuals have been donating, many generously. But they also try to keep low profiles for fear of offending a government that is eager to take credit for any success and quick to suspect outside groups of challenging it.

  • What do you need to know? Start here.

    Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

Those gaps are evident on the front lines of the outbreak, where workers have lacked the proper equipment to keep themselves safe. Doctors and nurses wear disposable raincoats instead of protective gowns. They wear ordinary, and inadequate, surgical masks while conducting dangerous throat swab tests. They wear adult diapers because, once they take off their one-piece protective suits, the suits will have to be thrown away. They only get one per day.

Authorities said on Monday that over 3,000 medical workers have been infected, though not all got it from work.

Ordinary Chinese people have set up social media groups to help patients find hospital beds, get volunteers to drive them to hospitals and scavenge the world for protective gear. In coordination with the government, they could do much more.

“We’re just a small boat with very limited capacity,” said Panda Yin, a Beijing-based designer who organized a WeChat volunteer group of about 200 people to help find protective supplies for front line medical workers. “People came to us because they know the highway that’s supposed to move fast has a big black hole on it.”

That “big black hole” is the Red Cross Society of China. Unaffiliated with the Red Cross elsewhere, the Red Cross Society is one of two government-controlled organizations through which Beijing monopolizes philanthropy. The Wuhan government has insisted that all donations go through the local chapter.

The Red Cross Society is notorious for corruption and inefficiency. The Chinese media have reported on many of its scandals, including one nine years ago when a person who reportedly held a senior position there shared pictures of her opulent lifestyle online.

The Red Cross Society has been slow in giving away masks and other supplies, according to analyses by people in China based on incomplete data. Buttressing those claims, the central government on Friday told it to speed up donations.

When the society did give out masks, it gave the best and the most directly to local government agencies instead of to front line hospitals, according to its own data.

On Feb. 11, the Wuhan government’s epidemic-fighting central command, which counts top city officials among its members, received nearly 19,000 N95 medical masks, considered among the most effective in filtering particles. Union Hospital, one of Wuhan’s biggest public hospitals, received only 450. It was one of only four hospitals that received masks. On Feb. 13, all N95 masks went to local heath commissions. None went to hospitals.

Three Red Cross officials in Hubei were disciplined earlier this month. The Red Cross in Wuhan said this week that it was only one part of the city’s resource supplying team and that city officials were in charge of allocating supplies.

If the Red Cross Society is a bottleneck in distributing medical supplies, the local and central governments can sometimes become obstacles in private efforts to make, purchase and distribute these supplies.

In Xiantao, the city government on Feb. 3 shut down all but 10 of its protective-gear factories.

A local official told the official People’s Daily newspaper last week that the city made the decision for quality control reasons. Out of 113 sizable companies in the city, the official said, only two have the certificates to sell medical protective gowns in China because the majority of Xiantao’s nonwoven fabric products are for exports only.

Nonsense, said a factory owner in Xiantao who asked to be identified only by his surname, Wang, for fear of retribution. The protective suits he makes for his British and American clients have to meet equal, if not higher, standards than those of China. Many get sold back to China anyway, he said. Xiantao officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The real reason is that Xiantao officials do not want to be held responsible if factory workers get infected or if quality problems emerge, said Mr. Wang and two other factory owners who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals, a contention backed by local media reports in China. They agreed that in this extraordinary time the government should set prices and scrutinize quality closely. But it can set rules and supervise them, said Mr. Wang and others, instead of shutting them down.

The city allowed 73 more companies back to work by Feb. 9, the local official told the People’s Daily, after getting approval from the provincial government, giving it political cover in case anything goes wrong. But the majority of the factories remain idle, said Mr. Wang and others.

Xiantao also cut off private efforts to secure supplies.

Earlier this month, Xiantao city officials blocked volunteers from Jingzhou, a city in Hubei 100 miles to the west, from getting the supplies it needs. The Xiantao authorities tried to confiscate their gear at a checkpoint as they were leaving, according to one volunteer, and they were kicked out of the city. The volunteer asked to be identified by the surname Zhang because he is a government employee and is not authorized to speak to the news media.

Mr. Zhang said he and other volunteers had to step in because the Jingzhou health commission was overwhelmed and too bureaucratic to move fast enough to provide supplies to local hospitals.

Photos and videos he shared on social media showed volunteers delivered protective clothing, goggles and medical alcohol to hospitals. He almost cried, he told a chat group, when he saw doctors and nurses at a local fever clinic had nothing for protection except ordinary surgical masks. The head of the clinic was so grateful, he said, that she gave him four watermelons.

Volunteers like Mr. Zhang raise money for supplies through social media. One of his chat groups is made up mostly of entrepreneurs like Mr. Liu, a tech entrepreneur in his 50s who only wants his surname used for fear of retribution.

One of the topics the group has debated is whether they can post their fund-raising statements on WeChat Moments, a social media feature similar to Facebook’s time line. China has strict rules regulating individuals raising money from the public.

The business owners in Mr. Liu’s group have experience dealing with the government. Some of them are wary of stepping on the toes of the public health authorities, who can come after them for any potential violation of public fund-raising rules.

If they have to stay clear of a very murky line, Mr. Liu argued, they probably won’t be able to do anything.

“Human lives should come above everything else,” he said.

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Chinese bars delivering happy hour drinks amid coronavirus lockdown,

For the millions stuck at home in China amid the coronavirus outbreak, it’s definitely time for a drink.

With over 60 million people across several Chinese cities on lockdown, and therefore unable to make it to happy hour, happy hour is coming to them. Bars in the bustling cities of Guangzhou and Beijing have reportedly started delivering discounted drinks straight to customer’s doorsteps, as government leaders have temporarily paused all public activities and services in an effort to prevent further infections.

STRIPPER WHO WENT VIRAL AFTER 15-FOOT FALL FROM POLE AT TEXAS CLUB WANTS TO BE FOOD CRITIC

Through the continued confinement, some bars are hoping to keep the good times (and profits) flowing. In Guangzhou, the Mexican-inspired establishment Bandidos is serving discounted margaritas available for order via social app WeChat, while the “speakeasy”-style Hope and Sesame bar is said to be selling bottled-up versions of their cocktails.

Westlake Legal Group AP20045441114107 Chinese bars delivering happy hour drinks amid coronavirus lockdown, Janine Puhak fox-news/travel fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox-news/food-drink/drinks/bars fox-news/food-drink/drinks fox news fnc/food-drink fnc f43edd47-6495-551c-88ba-196068654b1c article

Manager Chen Tiantian, left, hands a takeaway order to a delivery driver at a Moka Bros cafe in Beijing, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

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Beijing’s Jing-A Brewing Co., meanwhile, has extended its hours and offered discounts on beer delivery through local food delivery platform Meituan.

Westlake Legal Group 2358ed33-iStock-173230685 Chinese bars delivering happy hour drinks amid coronavirus lockdown, Janine Puhak fox-news/travel fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox-news/food-drink/drinks/bars fox-news/food-drink/drinks fox news fnc/food-drink fnc f43edd47-6495-551c-88ba-196068654b1c article

For the millions stuck at home in China amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, it’s definitely time for a drink. (iStock)

In a similar move, fast food companies like McDonald’s, Starbucks and KFC have also ramped up their “contactless” pickup and delivery services in China to keep both workers and customers safe.

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As of Tuesday morning, the viral outbreak has reportedly infected more than 73,250 across the globe, while the death toll has risen to at least 1,868.

Westlake Legal Group beijin-china-coronavirus-Feb.-14 Chinese bars delivering happy hour drinks amid coronavirus lockdown, Janine Puhak fox-news/travel fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox-news/food-drink/drinks/bars fox-news/food-drink/drinks fox news fnc/food-drink fnc f43edd47-6495-551c-88ba-196068654b1c article

A food delivery man on his motor bicycle passes by an entrance of residential community on February 14, 2020 in Beijing, China.  (Getty)

The COVID-19 virus is believed to have originated in the city of Wuhan. The outbreak has spread to more than 25 countries, though the bulk of the cases remain in the Hubei province.

Chinese officials have imposed sweeping measures to contain the epidemic, cutting off outbound transportation from the hardest-hit cities and prolonging the Lunar New Year holiday.

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Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Jack Durschlag and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-173230685 Chinese bars delivering happy hour drinks amid coronavirus lockdown, Janine Puhak fox-news/travel fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox-news/food-drink/drinks/bars fox-news/food-drink/drinks fox news fnc/food-drink fnc f43edd47-6495-551c-88ba-196068654b1c article   Westlake Legal Group iStock-173230685 Chinese bars delivering happy hour drinks amid coronavirus lockdown, Janine Puhak fox-news/travel fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox-news/food-drink/drinks/bars fox-news/food-drink/drinks fox news fnc/food-drink fnc f43edd47-6495-551c-88ba-196068654b1c article

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Bernie Sanders Jumps Nine Points Since December In New National Poll, Holds Commanding Lead Among Democrats

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Elizabeth Warren’s Allies Claim ‘Erasure’ as They Seek to Reignite Campaign

Westlake Legal Group 18warren1-sub2-hp-promo-facebookJumbo Elizabeth Warren’s Allies Claim ‘Erasure’ as They Seek to Reignite Campaign Warren, Elizabeth Presidential Election of 2020

RENO, Nev. — A bad month for Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts keeps getting worse. She finished in a respectable third place in the Iowa caucuses, but a results-tallying meltdown muddled what could have been a good evening. New Hampshire was better at logistics but worse for her candidacy, considering she ended up closer to candidates who dropped out after the primary than those who finished on top.

On Sunday, Ms. Warren had a cold so severe it threatened to sideline one of the country’s most famous persisters.

“People told me, ‘You have to cancel your day in Reno,’” Ms. Warren said, hoarse and barely audible. “I said, ‘Reno has been left out of way too many conversations.’”

Ms. Warren and her team feel the same. She is not cratering or surging, neither the most likely to win nor at risk of immediately dropping out, a 40-degree day surrounded by candidates who are hot and cold. Her staff members and plenty of allies argue that as a result, she is being ignored by the news media and some voters during a pivotal moment in the primary, and she is at risk of becoming less relevant in the nominating process — something her campaign is now trying to reverse.

When her caucus-night speech in Iowa was cut off, her campaign aides complained privately to cable networks. When her speech after the New Hampshire primary was not carried live at all, they took their criticism public.

“Elizabeth hasn’t been getting the same kind of media coverage as candidates she outperformed,” read a recent fund-raising email to supporters. “We can’t count on the media to cover our campaign fairly, so we’re taking our case directly to voters.”

If the campaign is trying to rally supporters at a time when Ms. Warren’s candidacy hangs in the balance, it is also trying to move on from some recent political events: Her much-touted campaign organization did not show a dramatic payoff in the first two contests, and polling in Nevada, South Carolina and Super Tuesday states has shown little improvement among the black and Latino Democrats she once thought could spring her to the nomination.

Straining themselves to avoid criticizing the candidate or campaign, Ms. Warren’s most loyal admirers are trying to reframe the New Hampshire outcome in the most flattering light possible: More than two dozen of them, in interviews at events throughout Nevada, argued her fourth-place finish was an aberration, not a blow to the campaign’s core message that should force reflection or correction.

Few admitted disappointment in the outcome of the first two contests and a growing sense of pessimism about Ms. Warren’s electoral prospects. But many of her die-hard backers, the true believers, have gone on the offensive, arguing that the only trouble she faces is that political observers are prematurely writing off the campaign.

At events in Nevada, backers rattled off talking points like members of Ms. Warren’s press team. They pointed to polling that showed her with more support among nonwhite voters than Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. They noted her large staff on the ground in states that vote on Super Tuesday. They criticized the “corporate media” in ways that echoed supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

“She’s a female candidate, and the media hasn’t taken her seriously,” said Matt Newton, 46. “They give so much attention to the male candidates.”

Pat Campbell-Cozzi, 76, said flatly: “New Hampshire doesn’t matter. I know where she’ll be after the final vote.”

Heather McGhee, the former president of the progressive think tank Demos, said it was up to these grass-roots supporters to reverse the direction of Ms. Warren’s candidacy.

“Her supporters have been the ones to have her back and make that rallying cry,” said Ms. McGhee, who is close to Ms. Warren’s team.

“Even in New Hampshire, these voters are very fluid,” she said. “Forty eight percent decided in the last two days, and that just means the race is very much up for grabs.”

In some ways, this dynamic brings Ms. Warren’s campaign back to where it started. When she announced her presidential run, she was considered a political figure in the shadow of Mr. Sanders on the left and fresher faces toward the center, such as former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Senator Kamala Harris of California.

Supporters would complain about her being ignored, as male candidates such as Mr. O’Rourke commanded major early attention. Questions loomed about whether Ms. Warren could raise enough money to keep her large organizing staff afloat.

Throughout the summer, she used policy to help set the tone of the race, shaping the early debates and leading other candidates to face questions about her proposals. But as voting has moved from a hypothetical to a reality, and the primary has stopped being a contest of ideas, Ms. Warren has struggled to adjust.

Fund-raising concerns have returned, and the campaign has set a goal of raising $7 million before the Nevada caucuses. In a recent video, Ms. Warren told supporters: “I need to level with you: Our movement needs to raise critical funds so I can remain competitive in this race through Super Tuesday.”

Ms. Warren currently ranks fourth among the Democratic presidential candidates in mentions on cable news, behind Mr. Sanders, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Mr. Buttigieg, according to the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive.

She has frequently brushed off questions that ask her to reflect on her own media coverage, saying that she tries not to read stories about herself and her campaign.

On Tuesday, she showed no signs of the annoyance that has rankled her supporters, energetically pitching herself to union voters, hosting a town hall event in Henderson, Nev., and attending a Latino market.

Her schedule in Nevada includes events with the actress Yvette Nicole Brown, the former cabinet secretary Julián Castro, and Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico. More campaign staff members and surrogates have hit the television circuit in recent days, including black and Latino supporters who aim to serve as community validators for voters with whom Ms. Warren needs to develop trust.

Supporters and allies are doing their part to generate excitement, New Hampshire be damned. Organizations that are supporting Ms. Warren have blasted out emails with subject lines like “Warren the Warrior Wonk Returns — and people LOVE it,” sent after Ms. Warren criticized one of her favorite targets, Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York mayor and a presidential rival. On Monday, which was Presidents’ Day, Ms. Warren’s supporters helped make #PresidentWarren a national trending topic on Twitter.

“Elizabeth is third in delegates, has over a million grass-roots donors, and is drawing thousands of people to her events,” said Kristen Orthman, Ms. Warren’s communications director. “The pundits have consistently been wrong about this primary and that’s why it’s important for people to organize for and support the candidate they believe in rather than the candidate the coverage says is on top.”

One undecided voter who attended Ms. Warren’s event in Reno said her performance in New Hampshire had sent a troubling message, considering that the state shares a border with Massachusetts.

“It was concerning — do they know something I don’t?” Kristin Ritenhouse, 49, said of New Hampshire voters. “Because my neighbors like me.”

Jocelyn Waite, 66, a caucus captain who also attended the rally, recited the campaign email that was critical of press coverage almost word for word. Ms. Waite said the last week had taught her that “corporate media doesn’t want” Ms. Warren to win.

“Aren’t there supposed to be three tickets out of Iowa? She was third and that wasn’t good enough,” Ms. Waite said. “And then, in New Hampshire, third was good enough for Klobuchar.”

Grievance can be a powerful motivator for political campaigns, bonding supporters against a common enemy, driving small-dollar donations and volunteers, and helping to create an organic network of support, particularly online and on social media.

President Trump has, in the extreme, railed against the news media and other political enemies. Democratic candidates like Mr. Sanders and Mr. Biden have also tried to unite supporters through rhetoric that downplays the significance of traditional political gatekeepers, though they have never approached the president’s tenor.

But the tactic can also be a sign of a campaign in decline. Supporters of Ms. Harris, Mr. O’Rourke, Mr. Castro and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York all criticized outside factors, such as media coverage and the debate rules set by the Democratic National Committee, before their favored candidates exited the race.

Martha Zimmerman and Natalie Buddiga, who attended Ms. Warren’s rally in Reno, both said they felt she was being counted out of the race too early. But they also admitted to a sense of despair that was quietly setting in.

“I just don’t run into other Elizabeth Warren fans, and I’m always meeting these Bernie die-hards,” said Ms. Buddiga, 25, who wore a shirt that read “The Future is Female.”

Ms. Zimmerman, 29, a self-described voracious consumer of political media, said the past week had been difficult. While sexism cannot be separated from analysis of Ms. Warren’s candidacy, she said, neither could the reality of her performance in New Hampshire.

In recent days, she considered changing her vote to Mr. Sanders, a candidate she felt had a better chance at the nomination.

She decided against it.

“We’ve got to stand with our girl,” she said. “We have to persist like she would.”

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Exclusive Details on Michael Bloomberg’s Plan to Rein in Wall Street

Westlake Legal Group merlin_168888213_26f2b287-49b0-4c0f-b58f-e1c0ec6fc14b-facebookJumbo Exclusive Details on Michael Bloomberg’s Plan to Rein in Wall Street Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010) Bloomberg, Michael R Banking and Financial Institutions

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Exclusive: We’re the first to report Mike Bloomberg’s proposals for changing how the financial industry is regulated, which he is planning to announce this morning. The plan features ideas that wouldn’t be out of place for Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Among Mr. Bloomberg’s proposals:

• A financial transactions tax of 0.1 percent

• Toughening banking regulations like the Volcker Rule and forcing lenders to hold more in reserve against losses

• Having the Justice Department create a dedicated team to fight corporate crime and “encouraging prosecutors to pursue individuals, not only corporations, for infractions”

• Merging Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

• Strengthening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and “expanding its jurisdiction to include auto lending and credit reporting”

• Automatically enrolling borrowers of student loans into income-based repayment schemes and capping payments

Many of the proposals are a reversal from Mr. Bloomberg’s previous stance on financial regulation. In 2011, he complained that Democrats were taking “punitive actions” against Wall Street that could harm the economy. And comments he made in 2015 linking the financial crisis to the end of banks’ so-called redlining practices have drawn fierce criticism in recent days.

It’s a sign of how far left Democratic presidential hopefuls feel they need to go to succeed in this year’s primary — even with a multibillion-dollar war chest. Mr. Bloomberg’s financial transactions tax plan is remarkably similar to one that has the backing of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Progressive critics are likely to argue that it doesn’t go far enough. Many Democrats have proposed some sort of wealth tax, while Ms. Warren has called for a complete overhaul of the private equity industry and Mr. Sanders wants to break up the big banks.

Bloomberg’s campaign insists he isn’t flip-flopping: On the Volcker Rule, for instance, a spokeswoman said: “When it was introduced, as now, Mike was skeptical of regulators’ ability to divine traders’ intent.” His new plan would focus “on the outcome of speculative trading — big gains and losses — rather than on traders’ intent.”

The iPhone maker was one of the first big companies to reveal how the coronavirus outbreak was affecting its business. The company said yesterday that “a slower return to normal conditions than we had anticipated” forced it to scrap its guidance for revenue this quarter.

There is more to come. China’s central position in global supply chains — and as a huge market in itself — means that the outbreak could ripple through company’s financials for months.

Good luck, analysts! The virus outbreak’s negative but uncertain effects are coming up often in earnings calls: “Coronavirus” has been cited in 170 investor presentations by S&P 500 companies in the past month, according to a search of transcripts in S&P Capital IQ. Apple’s forecast for future profits was already more vague than usual “due to the greater uncertainty,” Tim Cook, its C.E.O., said last month.

Taking a different approach, Walmart said this morning that its forecast for the current financial year didn’t take into account any potential effects of the virus outbreak.

The London-based bank said this morning that it planned to cut about 35,000 jobs over the next three years as it retreats from the West to focus more on Asia.

“We are intending to exit a lot of domestically focused customers in Europe and the U.S. on the global banking side,” Ewen Stevenson, the bank’s C.F.O., told Bloomberg Television. He said the lender would make “surgical and ruthless” cuts to underperforming businesses.

The plan is to accelerate investment in its Asian and Middle Eastern businesses, which already generate nearly half of its revenue. That’s the strategy that Standard Chartered, another London-based, Asia-focused bank, has followed.

The initiative may not be enough. Shares in HSBC dropped 3 percent this morning. Alan Higgins, the chief investment officer of Coutts & Company, told Bloomberg that the strategy was “on the conservative side.”

The Amazon chief has announced his biggest charitable donation to date, a fund to study and fight climate change, Karen Weise of the NYT writes.

Mr. Bezos is a latecomer to large-scale charitable giving, starting in 2018 with a $2 billion program to combat homelessness created with his then-wife, MacKenzie.

Amazon has been under pressure to reduce its carbon footprint. It revealed in September that it emitted about 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018, making it one of the world’s top 200 emitters. And employees have called on the company to stop providing services to oil and gas industries.

“One hand cannot give what the other is taking away,” said Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, a group of workers protesting the company’s environmental practices.

Atomico said this morning that it had raised Europe’s largest-ever independent tech venture fund, worth $820 million. The London-based venture capital firm’s founder, Niklas Zennstrom, told Michael in an interview that it was a sign of how the European start-up industry is coming into its own.

There are now 99 “unicorns” — VC-backed start-ups worth at least $1 billion — in Europe, compared with 22 five years ago. “Companies are taking on bigger challenges, and there’s more ambition and experience,” Mr. Zennstrom said.

That enabled Atomico to raise more money for its fifth fund than the $750 million it had originally planned. Among the investors in this fund are founders and early employees of Atomico-backed companies like Spotify, the payments company Klarna and the game maker Supercell. Mr. Zennstrom himself is a Swedish billionaire who co-founded Skype.

But Mr. Zennstrom sees hurdles ahead:

• Valuation multiples for European start-ups aren’t as high as those for U.S. companies. (There are twice as many V.C.-backed unicorns in the U.S., according to PwC.) Even so, Mr. Zennstrom said that unlike their American rivals, European start-ups were more focused on creating businesses that can become profitable.

• Although Europe has plenty of gifted coders, getting them to come to a particular start-up — often in a different country — is a challenge.

While on a trip to Europe, the Facebook founder suggested that new rules and standards were needed to promote public trust in tech platforms.

“I believe good regulation may hurt Facebook’s business in the near term, but it will be better for everyone, including us, over the long term,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote in an FT opinion piece. Facebook also published a white paper with “guidelines for future regulation.”

E.U. officials rejected his proposals. “It’s not enough. It’s too slow, it’s too low in terms of responsibility and regulation,” said a European Commissioner. And in response to Mr. Zuckerberg’s opinion piece, George Soros wrote a letter to the FT calling on the C.E.O. to “stop obfuscating the facts by piously arguing for government regulation” and urging him to resign.

Deals

• Pier 1 Imports filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (NYT)

• Univision is reportedly in talks to sell itself to an investor group for about $10 billion, including debt. (WSJ)

• Alstom agreed to buy Bombardier’s train division for up to $6.7 billion to take on China’s CRRC. (Reuters)

• Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sold a third of its stake in Goldman Sachs and a fifth of its shares in Wells Fargo. (Reuters)

Politics and policy

• The millennial goal of retiring early would be bad news for the Fed if they could manage to do it. (NYT)

• Some employees at Oracle are protesting plans by their C.E.O., Larry Ellison, to hold a fund-raiser for President Trump. (Business Insider)

Tech

• Germany is poised to let Huawei into its 5G wireless network, a blow to the Trump administration’s fight against the Chinese telecom giant. (NYT)

• The SoftBank-backed hotel platform Oyo reported a fourfold increase in revenue and a sixfold rise in its annual loss. (Bloomberg)

• Palantir revamped its compensation to give employees bonuses in restricted stock, to save cash ahead of a potential I.P.O. (Bloomberg)

Best of the rest

• BlackRock has become a symbol for anticapitalist fervor in France (NYT)

• The N.B.A. commissioner, Adam Silver, said that the league’s rift with China could cost it up to $400 million in lost revenue. (CNBC)

• Have global carbon emissions peaked? The short answer is probably not. (Bloomberg)

We’d love your feedback. Please email thoughts and suggestions to business@nytimes.com.

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Gingrich says Mike Bloomberg could spend up to $6 billion ‘carpet-bombing’ states with ads

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-02-18-at-8.36.10-AM Gingrich says Mike Bloomberg could spend up to $6 billion 'carpet-bombing' states with ads Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 0c56482c-75d1-575d-8150-88b1f73fcf8e

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Tuesday that billionaire former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg could become the Democratic Party nominee – and possibly the president – solely by spending his own fortune.

“Bloomberg just came in with so much cash, that it made any place irrelevant, and if he’s willing to double-down and triple-down, he could easily spend over a billion dollars just to get to the nomination,” Gingrich told “Fox & Friends.”

BLOOMBERG QUALIFIES FOR LAS VEGAS DEBATE WITH LAST-MINUTE POLL

Gingrich said that Bloomberg’s expenditure on digital campaigning may not suffice to win the nomination due to past controversial comments that were made.

“Advertising at some point ceases to lose its effectiveness –you see your 300th ad, you kind of get it and as other people surface things he said, the question becomes authenticity, and the American people are pretty educated about whether TV commercials are phony and when they’re real,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich’s comments came after Bloomberg qualified for the Nevada Democratic presidential primary debate at the last minute, notching 19 percent support in a Marist, Newshour and NPR/PBS poll, the fourth national poll to put him above the 10 percent mark since Jan. 15. That means the billionaire, who has spent more than $400 million of his fortune on advertising, meets the polling threshold set by the DNC for the debate.

Bloomberg will be on the debate stage, his campaign confirmed in a statement.

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Gingrich estimated that Bloomberg is worth $62-64 billion dollars.

“He could spend 10 percent – $6 billion  – because he wants to be president, and he hates Trump, and the combination is a motivator,” Gingrich said.

“You have this billionaire over here who is just literally carpet-bombing states –a place like Arkansas or Oklahoma. He’s probably putting more money into those two states than the entire Buttigieg campaign so far,” he added.

Fox News’ Kelly Phares, Tyler Olson contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-02-18-at-8.36.10-AM Gingrich says Mike Bloomberg could spend up to $6 billion 'carpet-bombing' states with ads Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 0c56482c-75d1-575d-8150-88b1f73fcf8e   Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-02-18-at-8.36.10-AM Gingrich says Mike Bloomberg could spend up to $6 billion 'carpet-bombing' states with ads Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 0c56482c-75d1-575d-8150-88b1f73fcf8e

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NYU College Republicans call for firing of left-wing professor who led anarchist protest

Westlake Legal Group Amin-Husain-NYU-kids-FOX NYU College Republicans call for firing of left-wing professor who led anarchist protest Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/education/college fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox-news/shows/fox-friends-first fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/health/education fox-news/columns/bias-alert fox news fnc/media fnc f41f8b2d-4028-56ec-9cce-4a6ebe3a6b05 article

New York University’s (NYU) Amin Husain – an adjunct instructor at the school’s College of Arts and Science – should be fired after it was revealed he spearheaded a radical anti-cop rally protesting a police crackdown on turnstile jumping, NYU’s College Republicans said Tuesday.

Husain, 44, is also a co-founder of Decolonize This Place, which urged its radical followers to “f-ck sh-t up” last month in a violent assault on New York City’s subways that concluded with 13 arrests and $100,000 in damage.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends: First” with host Rob Schmitt, NYU College Republicans President Kristen Gourrier and Vice President Bobby Miller said that there is definitely an unbalanced bias toward liberal thought on NYU’s campus and that they were not surprised to learn of Husain’s involvement.

TOMI LAHREN RIPS ANTI-POLICE PROTESTERS WHO TRASHED NYC OVER $2.75 SUBWAY FARE: ‘ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?’

“I mean, I definitely think that there are a lot of people at NYU who have similar kind of extreme views,” said Gourrier. “And it’s the result of being in a place where you’re challenged so little on your ideas that you end up villainizing the other side to the point that you’re able to justify acts like this that to the rest of us just seem really inappropriate.”

“The professor is really just a far-left extremist. He has no business impressing his reprehensible views on the minds of young adults in a classroom setting,” Miller chimed in.

“And, quite honestly, it’s disappointing that NYU hasn’t taken the necessary steps to make sure that this professor is nowhere near students in the future. As you mentioned, this had not just affected students. This affected commuters all over the city and NYU should make a statement by firing this professor so they don’t condone violence,” he added.

In a statement on Husain released Monday, NYU spokesman John Beckman wrote: “The university abhors violence, rejects calls for violence, has longstanding ties to Israel – including a campus there – and is opposed to acts of vandalism on the public transit system, which is needed and shared by all New Yorkers. It is, however, the case that among the thousands of part-time faculty we hire each year some will disagree with NYU’s positions. Such is the nature of free speech and academic freedom.”

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However, in contrast, Gourrier told Schmitt that even some of the NYU College Republicans’ meetings were protested and attended by other students who disagree with “even moderate views” on the right.

“So, I definitely think that if anybody were to do anything like this on the other side it would quickly be buried – strongly denounced – which I think is why we’re so unbalanced here,” she said.

“There’s a complete double standard for conservatives on campus at NYU and really at colleges across the country,” stated Miller.

The New York Post contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Amin-Husain-NYU-kids-FOX NYU College Republicans call for firing of left-wing professor who led anarchist protest Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/education/college fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox-news/shows/fox-friends-first fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/health/education fox-news/columns/bias-alert fox news fnc/media fnc f41f8b2d-4028-56ec-9cce-4a6ebe3a6b05 article   Westlake Legal Group Amin-Husain-NYU-kids-FOX NYU College Republicans call for firing of left-wing professor who led anarchist protest Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/education/college fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox-news/shows/fox-friends-first fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/health/education fox-news/columns/bias-alert fox news fnc/media fnc f41f8b2d-4028-56ec-9cce-4a6ebe3a6b05 article

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Michael Bloomberg Surges in Poll and Qualifies for Democratic Debate in Las Vegas

WASHINGTON — Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York has qualified for Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas, the first time the billionaire will appear onstage alongside his Democratic presidential rivals.

A national poll from NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist released on Tuesday showed Mr. Bloomberg with 19 percent support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, putting him in second place behind Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who had 31 percent. That was a substantial surge since the group’s poll in December, when Mr. Bloomberg received only 4 percent support.

The survey was the fourth national qualifying poll since mid-January that showed Mr. Bloomberg with at least 10 percent support, enough to earn him an invitation to the debate stage before the deadline of 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday.

Mr. Bloomberg will face off against Mr. Sanders; Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind.

The debate, which will air on Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern time, will be hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, Telemundo and The Nevada Independent.

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Mr. Bloomberg’s 19 percent mark was his highest level of support in any debate-qualifying national poll to date. The latest national polling average calculated by The New York Times, which was released late last week, put him at 10 percent nationally, behind Mr. Sanders, Mr. Biden and Ms. Warren.

Mr. Sanders’s support has also increased since the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll in December, when he had 22 percent. The new poll is the first debate-qualifying national poll released this year showing Mr. Sanders with more than 30 percent support.

In the new poll, Mr. Biden had 15 percent, Ms. Warren 12 percent, Ms. Klobuchar 9 percent and Mr. Buttigieg 8 percent. The poll surveyed 527 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents by phone Feb. 13-16 and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points.

Mr. Bloomberg formally entered the race in November, nearly a year after most of the other candidates. He failed to make the cut for the past several debates in part because he is not accepting outside contributions for his campaign. But new rules announced by the Democratic National Committee opened the door to his participation, as they enabled candidates to qualify for the Las Vegas debate, as well as the one that will take place on Feb. 25 in Charleston, S.C., without meeting a donor threshold.

Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that Mr. Bloomberg would take part in the next debate.

“Mike is looking forward to joining the other Democratic candidates onstage and making the case for why he’s the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump and unite the country,” Mr. Sheekey said. “The opportunity to discuss his workable and achievable plans for the challenges facing this country is an important part of the campaign process.”

Westlake Legal Group bloomberg-promo-still-articleLarge Michael Bloomberg Surges in Poll and Qualifies for Democratic Debate in Las Vegas Presidential Election of 2020 Polls and Public Opinion democratic national committee Debates (Political) Bloomberg, Michael R

Bloomberg’s Billions: How the Candidate Built an Empire of Influence

The former mayor’s philanthropy has been a boon for progressive causes, earning support from Democrats nationwide even as parts of his record give them pause.

Also on Tuesday, Monmouth University released a poll of Virginia voters showing Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Sanders tied at 22 percent each and leading the field. With 99 delegates at stake, Virginia is the fourth-largest prize on the Super Tuesday calendar, and Monmouth’s is the first poll to have been taken there since the summer. It is one of the first polls of any state in which Mr. Bloomberg has broken 20 percent, reflecting the intense focus that he has put on the states that vote March 3. (The Virginia poll has no effect on qualifications for this week’s debate.)

Tom Steyer, the other billionaire seeking the Democratic nomination, has participated in the five most recent debates, but he is unlikely to be onstage in Las Vegas. He would need to receive 10 percent support in four national qualifying polls, or 12 percent in two polls taken in Nevada or South Carolina, before the deadline.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, the only other candidate still in the race, has not reached the threshold in any qualifying polls, either.

Candidates are also able to qualify for the Nevada and South Carolina debates by winning at least one delegate in the Iowa or New Hampshire contests; that is the path Ms. Klobuchar and Mr. Buttigieg, who have not met either polling threshold, followed to get their invitations to the stage in Las Vegas.

Mr. Bloomberg has spent over $300 million on TV advertising nationwide — more than the rest of the field combined. He decided to skip the first four nominating contests, held in states where campaigns traditionally spend a year organizing supporters, to focus instead on the delegate-rich primaries that take place beginning on Super Tuesday, March 3.

Mr. Bloomberg has seen his standing steadily rise in national polling as voters have been saturated by his television advertising. His rivals have been torn between attacking him and battling one another in the early-state contests.

Now Mr. Bloomberg is certain to be the target of onstage attacks from his rivals, especially Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, the two candidates who are not appearing at private fund-raisers and who have made cultivating the wrath of billionaires central to their campaigns.

Last week in Virginia, Ms. Warren told supporters that Mr. Bloomberg should not be the Democratic Party’s nominee because of his past remarks linking the end of redlining, a discriminatory housing practice, to the financial crisis.

Over the weekend other Democrats joined in. Mr. Sanders told a crowd in Carson City, Nev., that Americans were “sick and tired of billionaires buying elections.” Mr. Biden attacked Mr. Bloomberg’s record as mayor on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” And Ms. Klobuchar denounced Mr. Bloomberg for not sitting for as many interviews with the news media as she had.

Mr. Bloomberg, who has emerged in recent years as a leading financial benefactor for Democratic candidates and some liberal causes, such as gun control and environmental protection, entered politics as a Republican when he first ran for mayor in 2001. He endorsed President George W. Bush and spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

He has backed other Republicans as well, including Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who was ousted by Ms. Warren in 2012, and Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, a gun control ally, in 2016.

Giovanni Russonello contributed reporting.

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Tucker Carlson: Bloomberg is trying to buy the presidency – he believes only his wealth matters

Westlake Legal Group image Tucker Carlson: Bloomberg is trying to buy the presidency - he believes only his wealth matters Tucker Carlson fox-news/shows/tucker-carlson-tonight/transcript/tuckers-monologue fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 5f7c4daa-e63e-56f7-8c1b-28fb84174cf2

According to new numbers over the weekend, the Democratic primary race is constricting to become really a two-man contest. A lot of people are still in the race, but the outline of the future is getting clearer.

So on one side, you have a candidate, Bernie Sanders, who wants to turn this country into a comprehensive welfare state. He plans to upend every aspect of American life in order to impose a new economic order. Now Sanders isn’t hiding what he plans to do; he is running on what he plans to do.

BLOOMBERG’S ‘MERCENARIES’: BILLIONAIRE DEM FUNDING NETWORK OF CLIMATE LAWYERS INSIDE STATE AG OFFICES

His main rival is Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York. Bloomberg has shot to above 15 percent nationally in the polls from nowhere essentially. He is suddenly leading the race in the critical Super Tuesday state of Florida.

So what is Mike Bloomberg running on? That’s a trick question, actually. Bloomberg isn’t running on anything. Not because he doesn’t have ideas — he’s got plenty of ideas, and some of them are far outside the American mainstream.

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But Bloomberg doesn’t think any of that matters. He’s not running on ideas. He’s not trying to convince voters of anything. He’s not making arguments or working to change their minds on policies they care about.

He is trying to buy them and hence, the presidency. It’s the single most cynical political campaign ever run in this country. Bloomberg is trying to subvert our democracy with cash, and he is going all-in to do it.

According to the latest numbers, Bloomberg has spent more than $417 million on advertising so far in this race. His nearest rival, Bernie Sanders has spent $40 million. That’s less than a tenth.

Bloomberg can’t be bothered with selling ideas or with a platform. He doesn’t care what the public thinks, that’s why. He believes he can win by overwhelming voters with his money.

Joe Biden, the man they told us was the front-runner, has spent just $12.3 million. Compare that, let’s say it again, to the at least $417 million Bloomberg has pumped into the race just on advertising.

And that’s just the beginning. Aides say Bloomberg is willing to spend $2 billion of his own money by Election Day and the number could go higher. Nothing like this has ever happened in America. Bloomberg’s spending is like — and pick your metaphor here — a tsunami breaking over our political system. When the waters recede, there’s nothing left. It’s been flattened and wiped clean by the weight of Mike Bloomberg’s wealth.

Bloomberg is the tallest figure on the landscape. The only one left upright. That’s his plan. He has all but admitted that’s his plan. Watch him disavow stop and frisk, the single most successful policy he had as mayor of New York.

Michael Bloomberg, 2020 presidential candidate: I defended it, looking back, for too long, because I didn’t understand then the unintended pain it was causing to young black and brown families and their kids. I heard their pain, their confusion and their anger, and I’ve learned from them, and I’ve grown from them.

So think about what you just saw. It’s not the normal pandering. Mike Bloomberg believes passionately in gun control. It’s his life’s mission. It’s his signature issue.

Stop and frisk may have been the most effective gun control policy ever administered anywhere. It took thousands of illegal firearms off the streets of New York, but Democratic primary voters have decided they don’t like it. They’re against stop and frisk. So without even pausing, Bloomberg grovels, as you just saw, and attacks his own legacy.

Why did he do that? Because he doesn’t care. Whatever. They are only words. He’ll do whatever it takes. Now, they say politicians are ethically flexible, and of course, they are. But this is different. There’s something ominous about it.

Bloomberg can seamlessly change his core beliefs because he doesn’t think his beliefs are relevant to the outcome of this race. Only his wealth matters.

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And the horrifying fact is he may be right.

How wealthy is Michael Bloomberg? Well, for context, the richest of the fabled Russian oligarchs, Leonid Mikhelson, is worth about $24 billion. Michael Bloomberg could literally give away twice that amount or spend it on a presidential race, if he wanted, and still be five times as rich as Donald Trump is.

It’s hard to imagine just how much money that is. But with that money, Bloomberg can suffocate all opposition and seize power. Our ruling class, which worships money above all, sees nothing wrong with this. They’re eager to help Bloomberg do it. Like Bloomberg, they’re religiously libertarian on economic matters.

That’s a position that’s shared by only a tiny percentage of the population. No normal person in this country thinks the widening wealth gap is a good thing. It’s so obviously making America unstable. But Mike Bloomberg has been one of its chief beneficiaries. He will defend the current system above all else. There’s a reason he is the favorite of finance moguls and tech connoisseurs.

Again, this is a total departure from anything we have seen before in the history of this country. Say what you will about Donald Trump, but in 2016, he ran for president on ideas that large numbers of voters actually liked, whether or not they liked him.

Secure the border, end counterproductive wars, fight the fascism of political correctness. In selling those ideas, he spent about half what Hillary Clinton spent. But Bloomberg can’t be bothered with selling ideas or with a platform. He doesn’t care what the public thinks, that’s why. He believes he can win by overwhelming voters with his money.

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This is the nightmare scenario that campaign finance reform activists used to tell us about. They were right about one thing: our system has been vulnerable to people like Michael Bloomberg for a long time. He is just the first one who’s actually tried to do it. You should be alarmed by his campaign for president.

Democracy doesn’t break when voters choose unwisely; they sometimes do. Democracy collapses when what voters want becomes irrelevant.

Adapted from Tucker Carlson’s monologue from “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Feb. 17, 2020

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Westlake Legal Group image Tucker Carlson: Bloomberg is trying to buy the presidency - he believes only his wealth matters Tucker Carlson fox-news/shows/tucker-carlson-tonight/transcript/tuckers-monologue fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 5f7c4daa-e63e-56f7-8c1b-28fb84174cf2   Westlake Legal Group image Tucker Carlson: Bloomberg is trying to buy the presidency - he believes only his wealth matters Tucker Carlson fox-news/shows/tucker-carlson-tonight/transcript/tuckers-monologue fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 5f7c4daa-e63e-56f7-8c1b-28fb84174cf2

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