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How Bloomberg Could Make Palin President

No one takes a run more seriously than the White House

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg earlier this month.(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Though the man himself has ruled it out, New York explores the implications of a Michael Bloomberg candidacy, whose likelihood “is just as great as, if not greater than, it was when he considered taking the plunge in 2008.” If the fiscally conservative, socially liberal Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent three-term mayor of New York City makes himself the first major Jewish presidential candidate, he could siphon votes from President Obama and hand the election to the Republican nominee, even (perhaps especially) if said nominee is a certain former Alaska governor. “The White House has made a gaudy show of sucking up to the mayor,” reports John Heilemann, “to keep him on the sidelines in 2012, where he and his billions would pose no danger of redrawing the electoral map in unpredictable and perilous ways.”

Bloomberg has been spending the midterm season traveling the country endorsing a bipartisan roster of smart, moderate, technocratic candidates (Republican Meg Whitman for California governor; Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) for re-election; independent former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee for Rhode Island governor). Bloomberg probably won’t run unless he is truly viable, and he almost certainly won’t be truly viable unless, primarily, the economy continues to slip, further weakening Obama; and, secondarily, Sarah Palin emerges as the GOP front-runner.

Even if he runs, according to Heilemann, he is not likely to win, and in fact, particularly in the event of Palin’s nomination, he is most likely to hand the election, Ross Perot-like, to Obama. However:

By the accounts of strategists in both parties, Bloomberg—especially with the help of his billions—would stand a reasonable chance of carrying New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, and California. Combine that with a strong-enough showing in a few other places in the industrial Northeast to deny Obama those states, and with Palin holding the fire-engine-red states of the South, and the president might find himself short of the 270 electoral votes necessary to win.

(I can think of one demographic, unusually prevalent in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, and California, that might be unusually inclined to support Hizzoner.)

Assuming you still remember the basics from American Government 101, you know what would happen next: The election would be thrown to the House of Representatives—which, after November 2, is likely to be controlled by the Republicans. The result: Hello, President Palin!

My take, since you asked? The dramatic House of Representatives scenario is far-fetched: If Bloomberg ran and ended up a bigger Democratic than Republican vote-hogger, I still don’t see him winning any states other than, maybe, Jersey and Connecticut. However, the Republican would almost certainly win Florida, and quite possibly New York and California, giving him/her the requisite 270. In other words, it is time for Bloomberg, clear-eyed, to consider his legacy.

2012: How Sarah Barracuda Becomes President [NY Mag]
Earlier: Bloomberg for President?

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Lisa Kaiser says:

Perhaps Obama could pre-empt Hizzoner with an offer of a plum position in the administration? perhaps Hizzoner might consider returning tot he GOP and challenging extremist, not-so-bright Palin head-on?

Daniel says:

. . . or maybe retruning to the Democratic party and challenging the not-so-bright Obama policies head on.

kohler says:

By 2012, The National Popular Vote bill could guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Elections wouldn’t be about winning states. Every vote would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states/

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Article II, section 1 of the Constitution, stipulates that in the event of no candidate getting at least 270 electoral college votes, the House of Representatives decides who will be president.
With National Popular Vote this would never happen, because the compact always represents a bloc consisting of a majority of the electoral votes. Thus, an election for President would never be thrown into the House of Representatives (with each state casting one vote) and an election for Vice President would never be thrown into the Senate (with each Senator casting one vote).

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes — 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


don-eduardo says:

In the run-up to these mid-term elections, there has been a glut of speculative, fear-mongering yet ultimately inane opinion pieces. Heilemann of New York Magazine, whose stock-in-trade is inane political speculation at the NYPost Page Six level of insight and fact-checking, has a wide enough forum without Msrc Tracy wasting his and my time re-packaging Heilemann’s “self-loving”(thanks, Ms. O’Donnell) ramblings for Tablet readers.

The 2010 midterm elections are usually here, and most expect Republicans to create big gains in together chambers of Congress. While prevailing opinion holds the GOP will take over the House of Representatives, there are several dissenters among national politicians. The Senate outlook is much more messy, but it is mostly accepted that Republicans skin a steeper climb to adopt back the upper chamber.

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How Bloomberg Could Make Palin President

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