The New Republic is fretting over presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg: “Can we criticize him without perpetuating harmful stereotypes?” they ask. He’s rich, he’s Jewish … that’s a lot of landmines to avoid.

Now, what would be an anti-Semitic tweet? Back in October 2018, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted, “We cannot allow Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg to BUY this election! Get out and vote Republican November 6th. #MAGA.” The New Republic reports that “Democrats quickly denounced the tweet as anti-Semitic” and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt “condemned such language in an interview days later.”

“When I first read the tweet, I was horrified but unsurprised that McCarthy would stoop to playing on what I, and many others, easily recognized as an anti-Semitic trope,” writes Emily Tamkin. But it’s problematic, isn’t it, when Bloomberg, a billionaire, outspends his opponents by a factor of 10.

Tamkin goes to great lengths to find out how to criticize Bloomberg, with his racist policies and accusations of creating a hostile work environment for women, without getting into anti-Semitic tropes. She thinks she has it here:

Mike Bloomberg has a lot of money is not a stereotype. It is a statement of fact. Mike Bloomberg has poured millions into this race to win the nomination of a party that is not even the party with which he was registered when he pushed surveillance of Muslims as mayor of New York is, again, not a stereotype. It is a reiteration of what happened.

So, McCarthy aside, what about all of the Democrats complaining that Bloomberg is trying to buy his way onto the debate stage and into the Oval Office?

“There is a difference between a concerned citizen saying that Bloomberg is trying to buy the election and McCarthy’s tweet,” Tamkin says. And we know what that difference is.

Related: