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Bloomberg: Clearing the decks for an independent run?
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Despite his claim it better reflects how he's governed as mayor of NYCX, most see this as a move to set himself up to run for the presidency as an indpendent:
Michael R. Bloomberg, a longtime Democrat who switched to the Republican Party to run for mayor of New York City in 2001, announced this evening that he is changing his party status and registering as an independent.
So what is he really? He's been a Democrat when it was cool to be a Democrat. He switched to Republican when he thought that was a better bet for him politically. And now that that party has hit a rough patch (and the presidential field is quite crowded) he's going independent.

Just the fact that he's that wishy washy on his political affiliation sends up a red flag for me.

Frankly I don't think Bloomberg has a snowball's chance in Hades with an independent run, however it is fun to consider which side he'd hurt most should he run. Perhaps that depends on who the nominees are. Obviously a Dem ticket with Hillary and a Republican ticket with Rudi would put NY in play bigtime. Add Bloomberg to that and it becomes even more interesting.

But as I consider Bloomberg and what he's done as the mayor of NY, I can't help but believe that his candidacy is more likely to steal votes away from the Democrats than Republicans. Yes, he claimed to be a Republican when it was politically expedient to be one (and when he was following a popular Republican mayor after a tragedy when being a Republican was considered a good thing), but he certainly hasn't governed in a manner which reflects Republican principles. In fact, Republicans can use his shift to independent status as a sort of proof of that assertion.

The question is, if he does indeed run as an independent, and his candidacy does hurt the Democrats, what would that effect be? Big enough to keep them out of the White House? The man has enough personal wealth to never take a single donation and run a competitive campaign for the presidency. And the conventional wisdom is that the independent voter is the growing group of voters comprised o those who are disgusted with the present two parties.

So how successful can an independent be? Is there really enough disgust to make such a candidacy viable? Does Bloomberg have the appeal, outside of NYC, to make a viable run, or is this all a bit of a billionaire's vanity and ego?

Obviously he's testing the waters. Most political observers think he won't enter until relatively late in the game (next year). Thoughts?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

He seems to be trying for the middle. The trouble is, he has succeeded in labeling the Republican party and the Democratic party as the ends of the spectrum.

Which, I suppose, might make sense to some, until they considered how far left the Republican party has been leaning of late.

There is, admittedly, part of me that would like to think that Mr. Bloomberg was taking the moral high road, because both parties have leaned so far to the left... But the logical mind says that what’s really going on here is the Bloomberg is cynically attempting to do what Dick Morris counseled the Clintons to do a decade gone, now: Triangulation.

However, I don’t think that’s going to buy him anything. It’s my take that the center is like a played out mine... there’s not enough gold left in it to make it a viable enterprise, anymore.

On that basis, and assuming that Mr. Bloomberg decides to use some of his vast personal funding to launch an independent campaign for president, it will succeed in freeing up a conservative candidate and a liberal candidate to play more to their base in the general election. The center, what there is left of it after Bush, Clinton, and Bush, will be off the table, and yet not large enough to win an election.

ALl of which bottom lines at: Bloomberg running as an independent might be just the thing to help put someone like Fred Thompson in the White House.
Written By: Bithead
So how successful can an independent be? Is there really enough disgust to make such a candidacy viable? Does Bloomberg have the appeal, outside of NYC, to make a viable run, or is this all a bit of a billionaire’s vanity and ego
It sure is interesting. He stands out from the Dem pack on several key issues:

1) Guns. He’s more rabidly and visibly anti-gun than any Dem.
2) Environment. By introducing congestion pricing for NYC and his PlaNYC idea, he’s got maybe more "cred" on this issue than any Dem not named Gore.
3) The war. He’s totally untainted by any war votes, and they really can’t tar him with any association with Bush.

If the election is close, Nanny Bloomberg will tip it for the GOP ala Nader.
Written By: shark
URL: http://

I think Bloomberg has a much better chance than you give him. He seems likely to await the nominations of both major parties before deciding. But let’s say, as it now appears, that Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are the nominees. Bloomberg could beat them both, I think. First, hard-core Republicans will never warm up to Rudy because of his stance on social issues. The Democratic base will go wild over Hillary, but the rest of the country will be dismayed at the prospect of 4 more years of Clintonian polarization. The country wants something different after 2 consecutive failed presidencies. Bloomberg has the money (obviously) and, with the internet, political organizing is much easier. My prediction is that Bloomberg runs as the Unity ’08 candidate, which already has a technology-based ploitical organization in place. Will he win? Maybe. I hope he runs.
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
I think Bloomberg has a much better chance than you give him.
David, here’s the most important question - What does he do if he wins? How does he govern with no representation in Congress?
Written By: McQ
Rudy is actually fairly popular here in very conservative Nebraska, and if the social conservatives are faced with a choice of the three, Rudy wins hand down. Bloomberg is even more of a non-starter than Rudy in places like the South and West due to issues like abortion and gun rights.

However, I think Rudy doesn’t get the Republican nomination, I think Fred Thompson does (once he actually starts to campaign, he’ll take off), and probably takes the general election as well if he faces Hillary. I’d take either Rudy or Fred over any of the other candidates myself, and I think the primary fight will be decided between them and will be close, with Fred eventually winning due to overwhelming support from his home region. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of fund raising Fred can get done this month.
Written By: kalthalior
What does he do if he wins? How does he govern with no representation in Congress?
Yes, McQ, it will be very interesting if Bloomberg (or any other third-party candidate) wins. How would the major parties react? Beats me. But it sure would be interesting to watch. In any event, things must change. The two-party system is hopelessly oppositional and dysfunctional. The time is right for something new. And the confluence of circumstances — money, technology, and the prospect of more of the same nonsense — looks promising for Bloomberg. Most of the country now considers itself independent and, I think, feels held hostage by the blowhard partisans on either side.

The Republicans are going down in 2008 because of Bush and the war, regardless of who their candidate is. Thompson changes nothing. Not to mention that he is little more than a figment in the fervent imaginations of desperate Republicans. The question for the country will be whether it wants another President Clinton —asssuming she is the nominee — with all that entails. Or something else. My guess is something else will look pretty good to a lot of people.

Returning to your question, my guess (hope) is that, if Bloomberg were to win, Congressional politicians would fall all over themselves trying to show that they "get it," that they know "the people want change," they realize the "American public is looking for a new way of governing," etc., etc, etc. It would take a brave politician indeed to stand in the way of public opinion that had just elected a president. And I haven’t seen many brave politicians around lately.
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Returning to your question, my guess (hope) is that, if Bloomberg were to win, Congressional politicians would fall all over themselves trying to show that they "get it," that they know "the people want change," they realize the "American public is looking for a new way of governing," etc., etc, etc. It would take a brave politician indeed to stand in the way of public opinion that had just elected a president. And I haven’t seen many brave politicians around lately.
I think you’re dreaming David, and I don’t say that to be offensive. My guess is the politicians would indeed fall all over themselves, but it would be to prove how ineffective a Indie prez would be. Their loyalty is to their party and they know full well that’s where their future lies. I think that would manifest itself in even sharper and more divided discourse as the pols not only talk about his ineffectiveness, but they work to make it obvious.

BTW, I have no idea how old you are, but I’ve heard all of this before and, well, here we are.
Written By: McQ
My guess is the politicians would indeed fall all over themselves, but it would be to prove how ineffective a Indie prez would be.
Maybe, McQ. Lord knows I’ve been wrong before. But I hope we find out.
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Actually, Q’s got it on the button about how congress would react to an Indie Prez. Goppers and Dems may not play well, but they have to realize they got a good thing going in their two party system, and it does not do well for their organizations to allow a third party concept even be feasible.

I am going to interject this bit right here, and mainly because every conservative tea leaf reader is saying this will split in favor of the Republicans.

I’m just gonna go ahead and be the voice of dissent here (and no I’m not trying to establish myself as the librul troll of your blog McQ. I just find myself unable to update mine being on a computer that has blogger firewalled).

Anyway, my theory pretty much comes from two pieces of information. Piece one, I think the most likely running mate at this time would be a Senator Chuck Hagel. I was kind of confused when Bloomberg made his announcement because no one brought Hagel’s name up in their quick off the cuff analyses, at least no one I read. But if we go back to earlier this year, one thing that got tongues wagging like mad was a dinner between the two (well at the time) Republicans. A dinner that had Hagel not so mysteriously saying that a Bloomberg Hagel ticket of some sort would be "good for the country."

Which brings me to point two, that being the polling of the republican party. The number one issue is the Iraq war. The democratic party is pretty much unanimous in being anti war. We want out, sooner the better. On the Republican side, though, you find an interesting thing in recent polling, and that there is actually a pretty big split in the Republican party in regards tot he war. About two thirds are pro war, but one third actually favors pull out.

So if we accept triangulation, and running as a third party candidate you have to. What we see is from the established voters, the largest chunk that is up for grabs right now are Anti War Republicans. That’s about a third of the voting populace, and I would probably put a couple cents down on that fraction getting bigger as we get closer to 08.

As a result this will enforce a Hagel running mate scenario as this would maximize the possibility of collecting on that demographic, especially with the conservatives who just happen to be not in step with the pro war movement.

If done right, he’s gonna split the Republican party by about ten to thirty percent. He’s going to attempt to pick up the rest from the Democratic party, but I’m going to tell you that not only do Dems want a Dem in the White House, and not an I, Democrats are actually pretty happy with their field of candidates.

Even Hillary.

Look, I’m personally ambivalent to Hillary Clinton. Don’t hate her don’t like her. Politically, I’ve thought from day one she should not have ran. I still don’t get inspired positively or negatively by her, but one thing that has wowed me is that her campaign has been phenominal. I study campaigns pretty closely, and I have to tell you, I am slowly beginning to think she is electable because there is no campaign in this race on either side of the aisle as tight, creative, and efficient as hers (and this hurts to admit considering my guy’s campaign just sucks, and I really would like to see him fire the whole lot and start over).

So I think it’s going to be pretty rough peeling those voters away.

As for Fred. Look, it’s impossible to know how well he’s going to do. He, like Obama, has had this groundswell of support from supporters who have done nothing but hype the guy up. He’s got to weather that first. I think he has a good shot, Republicans don’t seem overly pleased with their field in general, so even if he doesn’t meet the hype, his support will likely rise in spite of it. But assuming Bloomberg goes after the anti war republicans with Hagel at his side, I think Fred’s stronger without bloomberg in the race. At least then I’m sure he’ll get some anti war Goppers voting for them because they won’t vote for a Dem/Lib/Hillary.

This is just my take. I would be lying if I said that Bloomberg entering the race didn’t make me a little queezy. I’m definitely not jumping for joy the longer I look into things. But looking at things as objectively as I can, I am going to say that this could end up being a benefit to us if it happens at all.
Written By: Mr. M
While I think it is always a good thing when a strong third party candidate runs, Bloomberg scares the hell out of me. He is all big government all the time.
Written By: Liberty Dog
What does he do if he wins? How does he govern with no representation in Congress?

At the risk of being an obvious, the same question should be asked if any third party candidate. Ron Paul, for example... and yes, there are some interesting twists to that. But it also seems to me that the current president falls in the same category. Yes, he’s a Republican supposedly, but frankly, the last few years the amount of support he’s gotten from republicans in Congress has been shaky at best. Meanwhile the support that he’s been getting from rank and file republicans out here and fly over country, has been rather strong.

At least, until just recently. Just recently, that situation has reversed, were flying over countries got some serious problems with Mr. Bush, and they suppose of republicans in Congress, same tool of reverse their position as well.

I guess part of the answer to your question, then, depends on how far left within the reaches of each party, a hypothetical Bloomberg administration would be willing to go. Congress, apparently regardless of party, seems to favor of presidents who lean left.

Since we already have a fair idea of where Bloomberg is on most issues of the day, this would not seem to be a problem for him.

Thing is, all of this will never happen. I tend to agree with you that he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of getting elected.

I should also comment, on your statement about party loyalty. Perhaps in years gone by that would be true, and still is for the democrats. but amongst republicans? I’m not so sure, given what we’ve been saying with the immigration bill.

Written By: Bithead
Cor: /saying/seeing/
Written By: Bithead
Bithead... Dear me... I honestly can’t believe this. Are we living in a time where Democrats might actually be more unified than Democrats. If so, I expect my head to start spinning any moment.
Written By: Mr. M
I had a thought lately I’d been chewing on, and that was American’s won’t elect Hillary Clinton, because if they won’t watch a woman on the evening news (Katie Couric), then they wouldn’t vote for a female president. Some would say that the CBS ratings are not a gender thing, but a personality thing. Well, Clinton’s negatives are higher than Couric’s, so that doesn’t bode well for Clinton either. Note that I’m not speaking my opinion of female politicians or newscasters, just trying to feel out the current polls.

Anyway, Bloomberg’s announcement has me rethinking the position. I sort of agree with Mr. M, but I thought that if Bloomberg would siphon anti-war voters, he’d siphon more potential D voters than potential R voters. Not R’s or D’s themselves, mind you, but leaning independents. Anti-war Republicans aren’t tired of the war as much as they are tired of Bush’s war, and after the election, it isn’t Bush’s war anymore.

At any rate, I anticipate supporting the Republican nominee, not because I’ll like that nominee, but because I expect the Democrats to still control Congress, and split government works for me.
Written By: Joe R.
URL: http://
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