Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a surprising theory about why young people love Sen. Bernie Sanders: They’re morons.
In a wide-ranging interview one month after President Donald Trump won the 2016 election, Bloomberg said Sanders would have won that race if he had gotten the Democratic nomination in large part because young people have no idea what they’re doing.
“I don’t mean to knock young people — I wish I was one again — but young people listened to [Bernie Sanders] and they said, ‘Yeah, Democratic: That’s good. Socialism: Yeah, that’s that social media stuff,’” Bloomberg opined. “Because our kids no longer learn civics in school they longer study Western history, they no longer read Western literature.”
“We are trying to change and dumb down the system and if you don't know what happened in the past you're going to have to relive it,” he continued.
The comments were delivered in December 2016 in front of a college audience at Oxford University’s Saïd School of Business. The school posted the entire discussion on YouTube.
Bloomberg was responding to a young woman, who asked whether Bloomberg agrees that lack of communication or socialization between the upper and lower classes led to breakdowns in society and the election of Trump or Brexit.
Bloomberg answered, unprompted, that social grouping has less to do with race and gender than it does with class, because people of the same class generally care about the interest of that class. Widening wealth gaps, however, do lead to gaps in understanding, he seemed to say.
“Look at a mirror if you want to see why society is the way it is,” he told the Oxford audience. “We're the ones that didn't see Brexit coming, not the people in the rest of the country. We're the ones that didn't think that Donald Trump had a chance; I don't know anybody that thought Donald Trump had a chance.”
But he added that lack of education among the lower classes is equally to blame.
“The solution to our problems is more open borders not closed borders. The solution to our problems is to improve education, not to try to penalize people because they are successful,” he said. “If you don't have successful people you're never going to have the wherewithal to support to help those who are not. We've tried socialism, it doesn't work.”
He then launched into the above-mentioned rant about young people supporting Sanders, before concluding that centrists are necessary to moderate the impulses of “extremists” on both sides of the political spectrum.
“It's very dangerous, the world we're going into,” he said. “You see both the left and the right coming up here, and the middle is getting unfortunately not listened to anymore and it's the extremists that are going to shape the political culture if we're not careful going forward.”
“And we've had extremism before, particularly on this continent, and it didn't work out very well,” he concluded.
Asked if Bloomberg still stands by those 2016 comments, spokesman Stu Loeser responded with another attack on Sanders: "The Bernie who ran in 2016 called himself a truth teller. Even Bernie wouldn't honestly say that about himself anymore — let alone his allies."
The Sanders campaign declined to comment.
Cover: Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg campaigns and opens his Denver field office February 01, 2020. (Photo: Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
This article originally appeared on VICE US.