Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Judge Judy - Operation Take Down Trump

Judge Judy Sheindlin is one of my favourite TV characters - the straight-talking, no-nonsense New York judge doesn't suffer fools gladly as she dispenses justice in her small claims courtroom. 

And Judge Judy has come thrown her weight behind Michael Bloomberg as the candidate to beat Donald Trump in this year's presidential election.

Judge Judy’s verdict on Michael Bloomberg: He’s the one

By Boer Deng - The Times

Profile of Michael Bloomber
America’s most popular judge has endorsed Michael Bloomberg for president as he seeks to break out from the crowded Democratic field before the first votes of the contest are cast next month.

The support of Judy Sheindlin, a television judge who hosts a long-running series, has been compared to Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008, which pundits say helped him to win a million extra votes in the Democratic primary contest.

Mr Bloomberg, 77, who has gambled on skipping the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries next month, hopes that the seal of approval from Judge Judy, as she is known, will propel his campaign into Americans’ living rooms. Like Mr Bloomberg, she is a New Yorker who is not afraid to dispense tough love. She is also known to millions of Americans outside New York; beloved in the heartlands and trusted more than the US Supreme Court, according to a Reader’s Digest poll.

Ms Sheindlin, also 77, a former family court judge, has presided since 1996 over a daytime TV courtroom show in which she adjudicates on civil disputes and dispenses pithy aphorisms.

Each episode attracts ten million viewers on average, more than the combined audience of Sean Hannity, President Trump’s favourite Fox News host, and Dr Phil, a daily therapy show.

She earned $147 million in 2018 for the 23rd season of the Judge Judy show, the most of any American television host, but her plain speaking appeals to ordinary people.

Her endorsement is exactly what Mr Bloomberg needs as he seeks to shed his reputation as a big-city liberal and appeal to more voters in the run-up to November.

An advert for Mr Bloomberg entitled “Judge Him”, featuring Ms Sheindlin, is expected to be shown in 26 states and is already circulating on the internet. “I like to say you can judge someone’s character by what they’ve done. Mike Bloomberg has done amazing things and will be a truly great president,” she says. “No one comes close to Mike Bloomberg’s executive achievement, government experience and impactful philanthropy. His steady leadership will unite our country and bring us through these very challenging times.”

Ms Sheindlin will appear on the campaign trail with Mr Bloomberg. Although the media tycoon’s $56 billion fortune ensures he has the resources to stay in the race, his late entry and relatively unknown status beyond his reputation as an anti-gun campaigner has limited his appeal.

A national average of polls puts him on 5 per cent support, in fifth place, despite having spent more than $120 million since announcing his bid in November. However, a national HarrisX/Hill poll has put him in third place, tied with Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator, on 11 per cent.

Mr Bloomberg has decided to ignore the early primaries and concentrate on later contests when substantially more delegates who elect the Democratic candidate are up for grabs.

Ms Sheindlin first voiced her support even before he entered the race, in a column in USA Today in October praising his record as mayor of New York. “I have carefully stayed away from politics for 50 years, except to vote,” she wrote. “But times have changed in our country, and I believe the moment has come for me to step out from behind the curtain. I want to speak honestly and from the heart, regardless of the consequences.”

She has appeared on television to defend him: he is not merely “another rich guy” in politics, she told a morning chat show, and praised his bipartisan approach to politics.

His centrism is being held up in contrast to two of the frontrunners, Mrs Warren and Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator whose left-wing politics Mr Bloomberg believes will serve only to ensure the re-election of Mr Trump.

Mr Bloomberg has staked his campaign strategy on an unprecedented advertising blitz. He has been flooding the airwaves with adverts highlighting his plans for the healthcare system.

Mr Trump’s campaign intends to show a 30-second advert during the Super Bowl championship next month, traditionally one of the most expensive advertising slots. Mr Bloomberg plans to best him with a 60-second commercial costing at least $10 million.

Mrs Warren received a boost after she was endorsed by Julian Castro, who dropped out of the race last week. He was the sole Hispanic candidate and his support for Mrs Warren could well broaden her appeal.

Joe Biden, the centrist former vice-president, remains the frontrunner, followed in national polls by Mr Sanders.

The candidates will have a final opportunity to win over undecided voters in a televised debate next week before the Iowa caucuses on February 3.

• Prosecutors are seeking a six-month jail sentence for Michael Flynn, Mr Trump’s former national security adviser, despite his efforts to avoid jail by co-operating with the authorities. The retired general has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI over his dealings with Russia and failing to disclose foreign lobbying work. He will be sentenced on January 28.