The Bloomberg Candidacy...Again?
1:52 PM, Dec 14, 2010 • By JAY COST
We've been here before. Back in mid-2007, the political world was swirling with talk of a third-party presidential run by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. And on this week's Meet the Press, the subject came up once again as David Gregory interviewed Mr. Will-He-Or-Won't-He:
It's a two-hundred-year-old tradition for political anglers to swear that they are not in fact angling for anything, so Bloomberg's denials are not necessarily to be believed.
I remain totally bemused by this talk, as I was back in 2007. There is really no practical way for Michael Bloomberg to become president. Sure, it's possible in the sense that anything is possible. But the Mayor of Gotham really has but an infinitesimal shot.
Bloomberg's immediate problem is the 12th Amendment, which determines what happens when no presidential candidate receives an Electoral College majority. The bottom line is that the race gets thrown into the House of Representatives, which is a totally partisan body. It is hard to believe partisan Democrats or Republicans would actually vote against their own candidate.
Practically speaking, Bloomberg would probably have to receive an Electoral College majority, which is even more difficult to envision. After all, in many states the number of partisans or ideologues on one side or the other make it just too much for a third party candidate to overcome. In California in 2008, for instance, 42% of voters called themselves Democrats. In a three-way race, that would be a huge advantage for Barack Obama. Similarly, 46% of Texas voters called themselves conservative that year, giving the Republican nominee a great advantage. How does Bloomberg win the presidency while losing both California and Texas?
Bloomberg commented to Gregory on Meet the Press that the Founding Fathers "didn't seem to have an interest in party politics." This is partially true. They did not anticipate political parties as we know them today, but they were acutely aware of the potential for the formation of factions. And in fact, the Founding Fathers turned around to become the Founding Partisans! You can go all the way back to 1792 -- the year of George Washington's reelection -- and see the first stirrings of partisan electoral politics, as the vote for Vice-President is split between John Adams and George Clinton. And actually those divisions had their roots in the debate over the Constitution itself, i.e. the Federalists versus the Anti-Federalists.
Recent Blog Posts