Weekly Presidential Politics - 6/20/07
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has left the Republican Party. Months of rampant Bloomberg presidential speculation nearly culminate with that announcement, convincing most pundits that this is a clear indication that Bloomberg will run for president as an Independent. He insists he doesn't know if he's running or not, but for the moment we'll assume that he is. What impact would this have on the presidential race?
The answer: He can't win, but depending on the nominees, he could swing the race in either direction.
Giuliani vs. Clinton vs. Bloomberg - How angry would this make conservatives? They get their most hated politician (Clinton), the only Republican pro-choice candidate (Giuliani), and someone who just made the conscious decision to leave the Republican Party (Bloomberg). Moreover, running for President of the United States would be three candidates from New York. Result: Conservatives stay home. Giuliani takes most of remaining moderate Republicans while Bloomberg definitely puts a dent into that demo. Clinton wins. Note, in a Giuliani vs. Clinton match up, it's a toss up.
Romney vs. Obama vs. Bloomberg - A Romney nomination means that conservatives got their man. Depending on where Bloomberg comes down on the war and national social issues, this scenario has him taking votes away from Obama, especially the state of New York and its 31 electoral votes. Plus, since Clinton and Obama are in the midst of an arms race before a potentially explosive primary, there's a strong chance that, through the primary process, 30-40% of Democrats will be convinced to hate the party's eventual nominee. Result: Dems don't unite behind a candidate, Romney wins.
See? It could go either way.
Let's take a brief look at the Bloomberg candidacy itself. It's been leaked by a staffer that Bloomberg and his aides were having a discussion about how much money it would take for a 3rd party candidate to run for President. The response: 500 million dollars. He didn't bat an eyelash. Now the word is out that he's willing to spend $1 billion of his personal fortune to not only run for President, but win it.
Well, let's be serious, Mayor. You're not winning this thing. A third party has no shot unless both major nominees are somehow out of step with the rest of the country. If two pro-war candidates were nominated, than of course a third party candidate would be viable. But short of that? Not a chance. The best a third party candidate can hope for, a la Perot and Wallace, is to siphon votes away from one or two of the big nominees.
Also, Bloomberg needs to hope that neither Giuliani nor Clinton get elected, as both of those candidates take the Mayor's home state. The problem is, of course, that Giuliani and Clinton are leading the polls in their respective primaries. The likelihood is quite strong that at least one of those two candidates will be in the general election, effectively eliminating Bloomberg's candidacy.
Ultimately, the best Bloomberg can hope for is a McCain-Obama nomination (for the record, I predict this man receives zero electoral votes). He can then throw a boatload of money into big markets (read: West Coast and Northeast), hoping to take California, New York, and New Jersey, with some smaller states following suit. This gets him to about 100 electoral votes and kills Obama. However, McCain might very well fail to make it to the 270 necessary electoral votes, too. So what does this do? It throws the election to the House of Representatives, with each member getting a vote. And do they vote for a guy who's not in their party? Of course not.
Michael Bloomber cannot win the presidency, and if that's truly his intention, this blogger suggests he find another way to spend his money.