Bloomberg just lost the rural vote

And mine, but that goes without saying. He declared that any idiot can be a farmer.

I might think that agriculture has a little too much influence on our elections, but that is unadulterated nonsense. Farming is difficult, and it requires a great deal of gray matter, and always has. Evaluating soils and weather and making decisions about what to plant and when is hard enough, but it also requires sound economic judgment, which you’d think Bloomberg would appreciate. Farming is a sophisticated enterprise, far more than some yokel digging a hole and putting a seed in.

Trump has screwed over farmers throughout his reign, and we could count on at least some of them defecting to the Democrats, at least as long as we don’t nominate Bloomberg. Is there any portion of the electorate that wants that guy, other than the billionaires and Wall Street bankers?


  1. jrkrideau says

    Did you hear about the problems Bloomberg was having on his hobby farm?

    He had ordered some baby chicks forma local supplier. The supplier was surprised to see him back a few weeks later. Bloomberg needed more chicks He did not know what had happened but the first batch had died. Off he went with the new chicks.

    Soon he was back. The supplier was really concerned and quizzed Bloomberg closely on what had happened. Bloomberg said, ‘I just don’t know. I do not know if I am planting them too deep or too close together’.

  2. jrkrideau says

    it also requires sound economic judgment, which you’d think Bloomberg would appreciate.

    No, I grew up on a small farm. I am always amazed at the level of almost total ignorance urbanites have about farming.

    It seems that they formed their ideas based on “Green Acres” and James Herriot novels.

  3. whywhywhy says

    Farming has been breaking ground with IT since it was available. Using encoded ear tags to monitor what each cow is eating and how much is common practice now and has been in use for decades. More recently, the use of radar to measure the stress level of crops as an early indicator of drought and GPS use for micro-targeting and managing fields is all the rage. In fact John Deere has more computer programing engineers than all other kinds combined and can rightly be called a software company.

    I disliked Bloomberg prior to this and now I see him as just another idiot who was successful in one field and thinks that makes him an expert in all fields.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    Considering the political tendencies of rural America, Bloomberg was never going to get their vote anyway.

  5. says

    Then, too, agriculture is also one of the most physically dangerous industries, both from acute injury and chronic conditions (like, say, long-term exposure to pesticides… very much more up close and personal than someone whose entire working life has been within fifteen miles of Manhattan may even imagine).

    <sarcasm> And figuring out when to plant those seeds for reasonable, let alone maximum, yield requires no technology or brains in this era of climate change at all.

  6. Owlmirror says

    In fact John Deere has more computer programing engineers than all other kinds combined and can rightly be called a software company.

    Something that I have no personal experience of, but which I found out from noticing articles on BoingBoing on the topic, is that John Deere has made their newer tractors closed-source locked-down systems, such that farmers are actually searching for older non-computerized ones that are easier to repair and maintain, or downloading hacking software from Ukraine, because if there’s any problem with the new tractors, it requires a very expensive maintenance call to John Deere to fix it. Farmers are not allowed to or not able to do any repairs themselves because of John Deere’s DRM and warranty policies.

  7. vucodlak says

    @ bcwebb, #4

    Yeah, I read the article, I watched the clip, and that argument isn’t convincing. The full context doesn’t change the overall meaning of Bloomberg’s statement. I suppose that if you tilt your head and squint you could maybe argue that he’s making an argument about the industrial revolution improving education, but that’s really stretching it. If anything the quote is too generous, because the context makes it look more like he’s arguing that farming hasn’t changed in the past 300 years.

  8. Becca Stareyes says

    Granted, but that still doesn’t ring true to me. A farmer from 300 years ago who was going to stay a farmer still had a lot of knowledge about their tools, equipment and the local conditions (climate, soil types, etc.). I imagine a lot of farmers and farmworkers don’t like the implication that they would be hopeless without their technical skills, just less efficient at taking their knowledge (‘seeds go X deep and Y far apart when conditions reach Z’) and turning into a result (‘the field is planted and probably won’t all die due to frost’).

  9. Owlmirror says

    There is a piece on that argues that while Bloomberg is a pompous twit this particular snippet is out of context in that he uses the “seeds in a hole in the ground” to contrast farming of three hundred years ago with modern job requirements.

    Three hundred years ago, farmers still needed to deal with multiple variables like weather, pests/predators, soil conditions, diseases, economic factors (if every farmer gets a good yield, the glut means that prices for the crop will be low), care and maintenance of the field (weeds don’t remove themselves; when should crops be rotated?), and so on and so forth. Farming is not simple or easy, and never has been.

  10. acroyear says

    Even in 1984 while making The Day The Universe Changed, James Burke was making a note about how much of even basic farming was being programmed at the time, that computers were handling the schedules of planting, watering, even when to feed the livestock. and not just telling you, but in many cases driving the automation systems (e.g., dropping the food and opening the gates so the animals could get to it, as well as running the water vehicles).

    So on the one hand, yeah there’s ‘brains’, but on the other, there is a lot of agriculture that has been automated, with computers holding onto the knowledge, managed by agro-chemical corporations, with a vested interest in keeping farmers somewhat ignorant to the extent to which the tools they’ve bought (including their fertilizer-dependent seeds) have made them dependent on continually paying up year after year.

  11. says

    @#6, Saad

    He doesn’t realize insulting your voters is a tactic that only works when Trump does it.

    The differences between Bloomberg and Trump are largely matters of taste and presentation. Or had you not heard about the 64 women who have sued Bloomberg for sexual harassment? Or the disturbingly plausible allegation that he said that all his female staffers could be replaced by blowjob machines? (And, of course, all the ways their favored policies overlap, but the 2016 primary showed that Democrats don’t care about policy anyway.)

    Too much of the Democratic establishment — and far too many voters — don’t care about what Trump does, only that he is embarrassingly inept while he does it. If he could contrive to seem witty and suave while doing the exact same things, he would probably not have been impeached. After all, caring about policy means “purity tests”, and the idiots people who supported Clinton in 2016 and support Biden and Buttigieg now tell us how deadly those are, for some reason.

  12. microraptor says

    Bloomberg was a Republican until a couple years ago. I don’t know why anyone on the left actually treats him as a good candidate.

  13. raven says

    He declared that any idiot can be a farmer.

    That isn’t true at all.
    The ignorance in that statement is cosmically immense.

    You have to know a lot about a whole lot of things.
    Repairing equipment.
    Using your equipment which varies with each type of crop you plant.
    What fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides to use and when.
    Dealing with the whole unpredictableness of it.
    Dealing with storage, marketing, capital spending decisions, and economics.
    Dealing with small profit margins, when there are even profit margins.
    Dealing with the arcane tax rules for farming.

    Farming is difficult enough that both my parents left the farms as soon as they could and never looked back. So did all their siblings.
    So did huge numbers of other people in the last few generations.
    That is why the USA is one of the most urbanized countries on the planet.

    Bloomberg is just wrong here and shows that he isn’t all that smart or knowledgeable.
    It’s also a gratuitous and completely unnecessary insult to a small group of hard working people in a difficult business.

  14. brightmoon says

    He would have lost my vote then ( not that he ever had it) . I grow my houseplants(admittedly too many) , on a balcony. I have to watch the weather , check for bugs, see that they’re nourished properly, check that they’re getting enough sun, check that they getting the water they need, check if the soil they’re in is causing problems etc etc etc for every single plant and sometimes different cultivars of the same species have different needs . I literally can spend hours doing that and that’s just the ones outside in the summer, I still have to do the inside ones. I can easily imagine how much work a huge farm is.

  15. says

    We lost our ranch in ’87 so everyone in my family had to find new career paths. Turns out working on a farm endows you with a very diverse skill set. Everything from car repair to building maintenance to a bit of what I would call improvisational engineering. My mom works for the state in water quality. My dad ended up a power plant technition. My brother chose the army. I ended up making beer. If I ever chose to leave the field, I’m seriously considering building maintenance. That’s a union that takes really good care of it’s people.

  16. billseymour says

    Marcus Ranum @13

    Historically, the biggest problem for farmers was lords and landlords. I.e.; Mr Bloomberg’s kind of people.


  17. rydan says

    I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen someone actually defend farmers and suggest it requires intelligence instead of being a default role due to lack of education. Unreal.

  18. Nemo says

    @microraptor #16:

    Bloomberg was a Republican until a couple years ago.

    It’s a bit more complicated than that. Let me quote Wikipedia:

    Bloomberg was a lifelong Democrat until 2001, when he switched to the Republican Party before running for Mayor. He switched to an independent in 2007, and registered again as a Democrat in October 2018.[136][137] In 2004, he endorsed the re-election of George W. Bush and spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention. He endorsed Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012, endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.[138]

  19. says

    Which rich white guy will respond better as people get angrier (assuming Trump is actually rich)? I’m going to shame Bloomberg when relevant, point out where he’s like Trump so it’s taken seriously. Rich Ds and rich Rs probably taste similar.

  20. brianl says

    The other group that wants him are the Professional Democrats who consult on the campaigns who want to take a dive into his money bin.

  21. wzrd1 says

    1 dig a hole 2 put a seed in 3 put dirt on top 4 add water 5 wonder where the fucking corn is.

    So, he knows how to broker stock, manage a software development outfit and team, so now he’s an expert in farming and leading a nation.
    Well, we have an equally self-acknowledged leader, who proclaims his expertise in everything already. If the DNC leaves me a choice between the two equally defective individuals, I’ll go with the evil we already know, just to spite them, as they previously were spited by much of the party at the last election.

  22. says

    Chigau, care to explain why I’m wrong? The claim I was responding to is patently false — urbanites have a perfectly fine grasp on what farming entails. Rural conservatives (farmers) like to make it sound more complicated than it is to boost their own egos. Plus farms are a major source of pollution, particularly when it comes to contaminating water with fecal bacteria.

  23. Curious Digressions says

    Yep. It’s super easy to run what amounts to a small business, maintaining all the skills necessary to operate either yourself or within your family, plan based on an annual cycle with many variables out of your control, costs incurred throughout the year, and receive income ONLY ONCE A YEAR to cover all costs. /sarcasm

    Mr. Regular Paycheck clearly knows all about farming.

  24. chigau (違う) says

    urbanites have a perfectly fine grasp on what farming entails
    MB: “I can teach anyone how to be a farmer 1 dig a hole 2 put a seed in 3 put dirt on top 4 add water 5 up comes the corn”

  25. vucodlak says

    @ WMDKitty – Survivor, #34

    urbanites have a perfectly fine grasp on what farming entails.

    And what does farming entail, oh enlightened and wise dweller of the great cities? Please don’t skimp on the detail; this ignorant mud-dweller wishes to profit from the rich fruits of your swollen faculties.

  26. Porivil Sorrens says

    Patients have a perfectly fine idea of what brain surgery entails. Rich elites (doctors) like to make it sound more complicated than it is to boost their own egos.

    I mean after all it’s just Open skull, fiddle with brain, fix skull. The rest is just unnecessarily mystifying the process.

  27. microraptor says

    Nemo @26: I stand corrected.

    Still, it’s hard to see how such a super-rich, racist, transphobic, misogynistic pillar of white male privilege is being treated like some sort of progressive icon.

  28. Porivil Sorrens says

    For a significant amount of people, politics comes down to a surface-level aesthetic preference, similar to supporting a sport team or a professional wrestler. He’s running as a Democrat and saying the right words, so for some people, that’s enough to convince them that he’s legitimately changed his ways.

  29. jacobletoile says

    @ being a farmer is easy, plant some seeds, let them grow, sell the crop. Running a small profit requires soul crushing hours, reasonable interpersonal skills, excellent money management and a high level of technical proficency across a wide range of subjects. Making a comfortable living as a farmer requires an almost encyclopedic knowlage and a depth of personal experience that even most good farmers never achieve.

    I say this as a lifelong farmer. Who deals with dunning krugers like you all the time. Fuck off.

  30. voidhawk says

    @34 – You’re running a farm of 300 acres, growing primarily corn. Can you tell me:
    How is the Soil Nutrient balance calculated?
    How much fertiliser do you need per harvest? What about if you grow ‘organic’ corn restricting your use of inorganic fertilisers like calcium cyanimid?
    Do you know how you’re going to source and store your fertilisers to prevent outflow to water sources in line with EPA guidance? Do you know which equipment you need to spread your fertiliser?

  31. Saad says

    WMDKitty, #34

    urbanites have a perfectly fine grasp on what farming entails.

    How? They’re taught it in mandatory classes throughout school? Or are city bookstores constantly running out of books on farming because urbanites have an insatiable curiosity about the details of farming?

  32. says

    @34 WMDKitty

    Pretty sure you have the wrong end of this one, if only for the simple reason that most people by definition only have a deep understanding of the problems they encounter in their daily lives and their particular special interests. The assertion isn’t even that ‘most urbanites think farmers are idiots’ but rather than they, that we, have only a dim understanding of the actual work. This is not a strange claim, as most people also only have a dim understanding of software engineering, or organic chemistry, or forensic accounting, or any other field they aren’t involved with.

    I’ve done a little bit of research on farming lately, for unrelated reasons. I didn’t go into this thinking it was trivial, but even so I was surprised at the depth of understanding and arcane knowledge required even to manage just a few fields using multiple-centuries-old techniques. Just the details of crop rotation, the reasoning for animal husbandry even when only farming for plants, and the complex requirements of pest and soil management rocked me on my heels, and if I may be permitted a moment of ego, I think I represent a high percentile well-informed sort of urbanite (i.e. giant nerd who is interested in everything).

  33. says

    @44 Saad

    I recall hearing about agriculture classes and 4H clubs and the like when I was a larva in an urban high school and thinking that was odd and archaic. ‘How rural!’ sort of thing.

    Now I think the pipeline’s gotten way too academic. Agriculture is the foundation of all civilization but the people who consider themselves ‘civilized’ have forgotten it. That’s sad, and possibly even dangerous. We should being those classes back.

  34. says

    Yeah, farming is so easy, that here, in the backward Czech Republic we still have high schools and one university that specialize in that particular subject – agriculture.
    It is so easy that after it was taken over by the Communist Party and out of the hands of the farmers in the 50s, a lot of the land got sour and we started problems that give dividends even today – like extreme wind exposure and low water retention in the landscape.
    It is so easy that after it was taken over by for-profit corporations out of the hands of the Communist Party, new problems were introduced – like erosion, pesticide runoffs, and nutrient depletion.

    Marcus got it right, the biggest problem for farmers were and still are mostly the landlords. It was thus under feudalism, it was thus under socialism, and it is so under capitalism. When the upper classes think they know best for everyone else, you can bet your money they know shit-all.

    I would challenge any so-called “urbanite with a perfectly fine grasp on what farming entails” to try and raise enough to sustain themselves for a few years given big enough area to work on – no cheating by making new research, they have fine grasp already right! – except that they would starve to death and I am not in favor of any cruel and unusual punishments.