By Stephen Gandel
May 12, 2016

Michael Bloomberg predicts the votes for Republicans and Donald Trump in November won’t come from top executives, but union members.

In a wide ranging talk at the SALT hedge fund conference on Wednesday, the former Mayor of New York, and top executive at his eponymous media company, said that he thought the Republican Party in the past few years had turned against corporate America.

“The Republican Party is no longer the party of business,” Bloomberg says.

Instead, Bloomberg said the Republican Party has spent the past few years trying to appeal to union members, who he said will likely overwhelmingly vote Republican in the upcoming election. One example Bloomberg gave was Common Core, an education policy generally supported by business leaders. Nonetheless, Bloomberg said Common Core was killed by Republican politicians. “Some crazy right wing people claimed it was a federal program, which it wasn’t,” says Bloomberg. “Like most social issues it became a political issue.”

Bloomberg says Republicans have turned away from the issues that businesses care about because they figure corporate leaders will always back the conservative candidate. But Bloomberg said that may be a miscalculation, and he predicted that businesses may soon stop contributing to Republican politician’s campaigns.

“The Republican calculus is that they will hate Hillary so much they’ll give to us,” says Bloomberg. “Why on earth would you give money unless you thought you could influence the policy.”

Here are some other topics that Bloomberg touched on in his talk:

On Education: The only way you are going to help kids is if you raise standards and then make sure the person at the front of the room can teach. It’s a local issue. You can’t solve it on the national level.

On why didn’t he run: The system is designed for a two-party, two-candidate race. So you just can’t win. I am a believer that this country needs a different direction, a different kind of management, and different policies. I would have loved the opportunity to go and try to implement those. But if you are going to spend a billion dollars and put your family’s lives in jeopardy and give up seven months out of your life and don’t have a chance to win, that’s a fool’s errand.

On Trump: He is ostensibly a businessperson. Yes he is. Does he have the kind of executive experience to run a big organization? I don’t know that. Of all the candidates who ran, there were three that I thought had the skills to run the railroad whether you like their policies or not. Bush, Kasich, and Clinton. You may not liked any one of them. Two of them didn’t do well at all. But at least they could do what the basic president’s job is, which is run the railroad and deal with Congress.

On Middle Class America’s unease: Our kids are not really doing what we counted on. They are hooking up. They are sexting. They are marrying outside of the faith. They are marrying outside of the ethnicity. And they are marrying inside the gender. And the adults can not deal with that. And they want a solution for that. And that’s why people are so upset. It’s their financial future in jeopardy, and their world is being turned upside

On things to worry about: If you want to worry about America, I would look at two numbers. One is the suicide rate for white high school women in the Midwest. It is off the charts. The other number is the percentage of white high school educated men in middle America that are using heroin. Once again, off the charts. Things that we used to say are minority problems. Middle class Americans are being left out.

On computers taking our jobs: But if you really want to worry about the future, 40% of all jobs in America today look like they could be automated in the next five to 10 years. And we say automation creates jobs. But it really doesn’t.

On income inequality: People don’t want homeless people in the streets, because it offends them, not because they are going to trip over them or anything. We have to find a way to make those people as productive as we possibly can, and give them the dignity of a job. At the same time making sure they have the wherewithal to support their family. And if you don’t, someday people are going to set up the guillotine. You just can’t have this rich-poor divide.

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