So there has been a lot of speculation about Mike Bloomberg running for President as an independent or 3rd-party candidate. Ralph Hallow at the Washington Times wrote stories yesterday and today on the question. First, Bloomberg would have the financial resources:

 "He has set aside $1 billion to go for it," confided a long-time business adviser to the Republican mayor. "The thinking about where it will come from and do we have it is over, and the answer is yes, we can do it."

 "If Bloomberg runs, he could have more money on hand than either of the two major party nominees," said Mr. Toner, the former FEC chairman. "It would be the first time that happened in the modern era."

The questions are whether this is real and who it will impact. The real question, only time will tell. However, there are multiple arguments for who will hurt. Hallow argues that it will be a threat to Democrats in today’s article:

"If Bloomberg and his people can pull together a serious run, it will allow some blue states to become very competitive for the GOP, such as New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire, maybe Colorado, 0hio — and the Northeast in general," said New Hampshire-based Republican campaign strategist David Carney.

The short version of the argument seems to be that there are more conservatives than liberals and the GOP has a stronger GOTV operation. This would suggest that in enough places the GOP would have the plurality. This argument assumes that Bloomberg would pick up independents, but not cut into the GOP base. I am not sure that this is a plausible assumption.

The other question, is, of course, what would be Bloomberg’s objective? Would he want to be President? Would he want to change the debate? Would he want to throw the election to someone? If so, who?

In the end, a Bloomberg candidacy, if it happens at all, will probably depend on who the GOP and Dem candidates are. But that is quite a ways off. In the mean time, he will almost certainly continue to travel to important states.

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4 Comments

neil · May 16, 2007 at 5:05 PM

It certainly does intuitively seem that Bloomberg would siphon votes from the Democratic candidate, but the polling seems to indicate the opposite.

Rasmussen polled Hillary vs. Giuliani and Hillary vs. McCain, both with and without Bloomberg as a third party. Both two-way races are tied; Hillary wins both three-way races by 9 points.

I wish they’d polled with a Democrat other than Hillary, but I doubt the results would have been much different. My interpretation is that Republican voters are eager to vote for someone other than a Republican, as long as that person is not a Democrat (and especially as long as that person is not Hillary Clinton).

eye · May 16, 2007 at 5:09 PM

Thank you. I had been looking for that poll. I knew I had seen it…

eye · May 16, 2007 at 5:12 PM

the other thing is that McCain’s numbers have gone up with independents recently.

Diane · May 17, 2007 at 6:53 AM

I think we face the very real possibility of having up to 4 parties/tickets that each garner at least 10% of the vote. We could have a Unity Party Ticket, an independent candidacy (like Bloomberg’s), or a libertarian candidacy. I could see Ron Paul running as a libertarian, as he has in the past. Though he’d never win the republican nomination, I don’t think we should discount the buzz he’s gotten recently. I could see him being fairly popular with independents and maybe getting 10% in a general election. This really should worry republicans because I fear, as this Rasmussen poll indicates (thanks neil), that these candidates would primarily take support away from the republican candidate (though I could see some democratic supporters shifting towards a libertarian). The question, I think, is whether republicans like Bloomberg and Hagel would be willing to significantly increase the chances of a republican loss in order to make a point, further their own careers, or whatever else their motivation is. The GOP really needs to work to sew up these loose strands of the party that are drifting off (and that includes libertarian-leaning republicans who have probably drifted most). The democrats are going to be unified around their candidate, and their core of support is probably going to be solid no matter what. If one thing will guarantee a loss in 2008, it is disunity. We simply cannot afford it with such a tough election ahead.

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