Who Would Bloomberg Hurt?

When talk first started about Michael Bloomberg running for President, I saw some opinions expressed that he would divide the Repubican vote and make it easier for a Democrat to win. The effects are far from that predictable, and The Washington Times even has an artilcle predicting the opposite. If Bloomberg prevents the Democrat from taking the electoral votes in New York and neighboring states, either by winning outright or by dividing the socially liberal vote and allowing the Repubican to win, this could prevent a Democratic victory nationally.

Making any predictions of the effect of a Bloomberg campaign is risky since we don’t know who the opposition candidates will be. The major issues might even be different than we now anticipate. We saw with both 9/11 and Katrina that the views of the major parties can change drastically following such major events. With Republican moderates threatening to abandon Bush on Iraq this fall, even the war might no longer be the major issue.

In trying to guess the impact of Bloomberg running, the geographical consideration is important considering the electoral college. It is also possible, especially if Giuliani isn’t the nominee, that a Democrat might still win in the Northeast, possibly with Bloomberg coming in second. Bloomberg might help the Republicans by dividing the vote and giving them a shot, or the option of voting for Bloomberg might be the final straw keeping many from even considering a Republican in the Northeast.

There is also the question of Bloomberg’s impact nation wide. Bloomberg could take votes from the Republicans from voters who don’t share the agenda of the religous right and the foreign policy views of the neoconservatives, dividing the GOP vote. The problem for the Democrats is that these are largely the voters who provided them with their Congressional victories in 2006, and are needed to achieve a majority in many states in 2008.

Despite all the talk of bringing out the base, Democrats didn’t win because there were more voters on the far left going out to vote. Democrats won because independents and moderate conservatives abandoned the extremist policies of the Republicans and voted Democratic, seeing no other alternative in a two party system.

Many of the new Democratic voters are the “Starbucks Republicans” who remain fiscally moderate or conservative but are more liberal on social issues. The number of middle class and higher income individuals voting Democratic increased tremendously. The challenge for the Democrats is to keep those votes if they desire to win.

If the Democrats are again seen as “tax and spend” liberals and supporters of expanding the “welfare state” many of those who voted Democratic in 2006 might have second thoughts. The Repubilcans do not have any credible candidates running, but someone like Bloomberg, might be seen as a more viable alternative.

Like Obama, Bloomberg is partially a blank slate at this point. Not having clearly defined positions on national issues, it is possible that some looking for a third party are projecting their desires onto him. How Bloomberg is perceived, and who he takes the most votes from, will depend a lot on how the campaign plays out. Between now and election day candidates will be forced to take some positons, as much as the media tries to avoid discussing issues. The fortunes of candidates can also change based on factors independent of their views, including from gaffes and from dirty tricks from the opposition. Ultimately a third party could wind up affecting the outcome in ways entirely different from what we would predict now, and neither party can afford to see this as making their task simpler.

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3 Comments

  1. 1
    Tano says:

    I diagree.
    Bloomberg would have traction in the Northeast only. He has all the money he could hope for, but he does not have the charaismatic skills, nor is he tapped into gut-level emotional issues such that he could build a large following in a short period of time around the country.

    In the northeast he will appeal to the moderate / liberal Republicans who already have one foot outside the GOP. He thus would preclude a Democratic landslide in the area, but he is not going to attract any Democratic votes (either Hill or Obama will have no problem winning the traditional Dem votes in the northeast). So I dont see Bloomie doing anything that would hurt the Dems. He will definitly hurt the GOP, since most of their NE support is from people he could win. Especially damaging to Rudy, since he could split Rudy’s base.

    You should have figured out long ago that whatever the Moonie Times proposes is certainly agenda-driven, and probably wrong.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    How could you disagree when I’m laying out various scenarios, including the one you describe?

  3. 3
    PolitiChris says:

    It’s interesting to note that Bill Clinton was praising Mike’s environmental record recently… Can’t think why he’d do that unless 1) he thought a Bloomberg ticket would help his wife, or 2) HRC is secretly planning to invite Mike to be her veep.

    LOL that would be something.

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