Bloomberg, McKinney, and Paul


An independent presidential run by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg now looks like a near-certainty.

For Bloomberg to achieve 270 electoral votes in November, he would essentially have to supplant the Democratic nominee. Bloomberg’s strength would come in states like Democratic-leaning California and New York, not the GOP-dominated states of the South and West. That means creating a two-way contest with the Democratic ticket essentially pushed into a position of irrelevance — either that, or an election that could be decided in the House of Representatives.

Hmm, Bloomberg would certainly pull lots of potential Republican votes too, so I’m unclear on why the Democratic candidate would be irrelevant. But with a major third party candidate, the entire dynamics of the election would change. It would no longer be the tiresome ritual of two parties mud-slinging at each other.

If you then factor in a probable Green Party run by Cynthia McKinney and quite possible third party run by Ron Paul (who has specifically not ruled it out), you get the Republican and Democratic candidates, Bloomberg who says he will run right down the middle, and highly visible third party runs on both the Right and the Left.

If this happens, it will be an election unlike any we’ve had. With five prominent candidates, triangulation and the usual political machinations would be nigh on impossible. Rather than the standard slime-the-other-side approach. Campaign strategies would become so convoluted that they’d look like the image to this post. Perhaps the thought of such convoluted tactics will inspire them to talk about the issues as a way of differentiating themselves from the other candidates. It could happen.


  1. “Perhaps the thought of such convoluted tactics will inspire them to talk about the issues as a way of differentiating themselves from the other candidates. It could happen.” At a holiday party a couple of weeks ago the conversation rolled around to politiics and I made the statement that the next President does not yet have his or her name on any ballot, and your thinking supports this. It’s 1/3/2008 today and already the campaign (for lack of a better word) is entering a state of Gestalt with the candidates starting stumble and stammer, finding themselves with a populace that not only wants to define the issues but is demanding that the issues it defines are addressed. Sounds to me a lttle like government by the people for the people.

  2. If that’s the case, it would be a great departure from the two-party system we’ve been stuck with for the last hundred-odd years (or arguably a one-party system, since both are former factions of Jackson’s Democratic-Republican Party). But I think you’ll find that the Dem/GOP nexus will bend a little before they’ll allow anyone to break their hegemony on power. They’ll give a little this year, enough for the third-party candidates to lose appeal, and next election it will be business as usual. Because the one thing they hate more than each other is someone from outside wanting in.

    But hey, I’d love to be proven wrong on this!

  3. Historically, third parties evidence some discontent that the major parties pick up in the next election round, which is why third parties rarely survive.

    I haven’t seen anything from Bloomberg that leads me to think he would be an electrifying candidate who would change votes. The most likely outcome is increased Democratic gains in Congress and a likely Democratic president. The reasons are traditional: most Democrats are desperate to get ANYBODY back into the White House who isn’t Dubya or a Dubya wannabe, and will pay as little attention to Bloomberg as most Dems paid to John Anderson in 1980 (ended up with 7% of the vote instead of 20% in the polls as Democrats contemplated (correctly) the disasters that a Reagan presidency would bring). The Republicans are fracturing in their base and are about to have some more years in the Wilderness after 30 years in power. All this is more the electoral cycle than anything else, IMO.

    One quibble with DJ’s comment: I don’t see the Republicans as an offshoot of the Jeffersonian party. (I assume he meant Jefferson and not Jackson, since the Whigs were formed out of the opposition to Jackson, and led directly to the Republicans). True, for about 10 years during the 1810s, there was no formal opposition party, and indeed one didn’t really form until 1832 as a reaction against the abuses of power of Jackson, the opposition was clearly congealing during that time period, even if it didn’t show itself until 1824 and get formally organized until 1836 or so as the Whig party. I don’t buy the argument tracing the Whigs back to the Federalists, although there were some similarities, but the northern Whigs certainly were the basis of the Republican party. But, as I said, this is a quibble for history buffs.

  4. Bloomberg who says he will run right down the middle

    As I’ve said before, “running in the middle” of the Democrats and Republicans would require you to stand sideways, and be very thin on top of that. What will he be advocating, withdrawal from Iraq in 6 years instead of 4 (Democrats) or 8 (Republicans)? Mandatory health insurance for half of the uninsured? Bombing only half of Iran, and blockading the other half? Ending the blockade of Cuba with respect to cigars, but not rum?

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