Monday, February 18, 2008

Bloomberg's Bubble

Has the bubble burst on Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's third-party candidacy? If the Mayor's avoidance of the subject means anything, then the bubble has burst.

But why?

Certainly money is not the reason. After all Bloomberg's multi-billion dollar fortune makes Mitt Romney's multi-million dollar fortune look like a pauper's.

If we take the Mayor at his word, he would only seek the presidency if he thought he could win. And therein he must have checked the history books.

Between 1848 and 2004 only eight third-party candidates received more than 10 percent of the popular vote. And of the eight:

• No one won;
• Only two received more than 30 percent of the vote, and
• And their average vote was a mere 19.9 percent.

The eight years and third-party percentage of the vote were: 1848 (10.2), 1856 (21.6), 1860 (30.7), 1892 (10.9), 1912 (35.0), 1924 (17.1), 1968 (13.9) and 1992 (19.6).

Bloomberg's fortune didn't come by making unwise financial investments. He understands that "History is the best predictor of the future" and that "The past is prologue."

Knowing that most Americans are politically neither far right nor far left, Bloomberg premised his candidacy on the prospect that he could appeal to the American mainstream, hoping that the Democratic and Republican Parties would nominate candidates outside the mainstream. For example, Bloomberg saw an opening for his candidacy if Democrats nominated Senator Clinton with her high negative ratings and liberal record and Republicans nominated Governor Huckabee with his conservative religious beliefs.

Now that Senator Obama's "phenom" candidacy draws rock-star crowds and Senator McCain's appeal to independents and moderates makes him a formidable challenger to either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, Bloomberg's bubble has burst.

For further analysis, see: Charles W. Dunn, The Seven Laws of Presidential Leadership (Prentice-Hall, 2007).

1 comment:

Jeffersonian said...

Yes, I agree that third party candidates are long-shots in almost any election but 2008 is unique.

As I view the landscape, never before have we seen such a gross disconnect between Washington and the people. Ratings for Congress are near all-time lows. The president's are not much better.

In terms of lobbying power, it seems that foreign interests trump the will of the American people. Take border control for example. An overwhelming majority consider the matter a crisis yet Washington prefers to ignore us as lord-knows-who slips into our country. This is national security?

Moreover, conservatives have no candidate they can claim as their own - not even Huckabee, really. Though Ron Paul might be one great exception, the media wants to make him a non-factor. Because the grassroots have been dissed, there is a now powder-keg developing.

For the first time in my life, I see real hope for a third party victory.

[By the way, these patterns are not lost on Bloomberg. Rumor has it that, if Clinton wins the nomination, Bloomberg is prepared to back Obama , as a third party candidate, with $1 billion, and run as his VP.]