A couple of days ago I did a piece on Chafee’s successful bid for Governor of Rhode Island. I used a photo taken on 2 November at the climax of the campaign. It featured the cheery candidate and one other – the Mayor of New York – there to endorse Lincoln.
So what was he doing that for then? Apart from the fundraisers? The answer is he is now drumming up support for his own campaign, and seeking likely independents he helped out to support his bid for President. Lincoln being a like minded opportunist – he is being buttered up. A place in a coalition?
Bloomberg believes that with American support for your standard cookie-cutter party man or woman at an all time low, there is a chance, maybe even a good chance, for an Independent to run and succeed to the White House. And that Independent might as well be that nice 68 year old Jewish New York Mayor – himself.
He has his supporters. Mark McKinon of the Daily Beast is giving Bloomberg a real shove along. “there is a silent majority of Americans starving for another alternative” he says, pushing Michael as a far better alternative than Sarah Palin, “The tea party is just the tip of the iceberg. Mike Bloomberg is the prototype of the kind of leader that could represent a third party movement”.
We have been here before of course, and not just in 2008 when Mike had similar thoughts.
This would be the bit where I would normally say independents have no chance unless funded by the parties. But Bloomberg is different. At an estimated personal fortune of $18 billion (Forbes) he could easily carry the projected $3 billion that a Presidential run might cost without breaking sweat.
But third party candidates do poorly in American elections. Perot did as well as any back in 92 gaining 18.9% of the vote but not getting anywhere near the White House. Ralph Nader earned the eternal condemnation of Democrats in 2000 for splitting the vote and (according to them) letting Bush defeat Gore, and back in 1980 John Anderson vanished. Go on do you actually remember Johnny boy without looking him up in Wikipedia? So money or not it’s a mountain to climb.
However Nader and Perot are worrying even yet, and Obama seems to be paying special attention to Bloomberg lately fearing perhaps that even an few states going to Bloomberg on the coasts might be enough to tip him out of office.
If he does run, and if the Republicans put up a half decent candidate, Obama is in big trouble.
Copyright David Macadam 2010