Republicans Should Beware of What They Wish For if Bloomberg Runs

The Washington Times reports that many Republicans hope Michael Bloomberg will run for president as an independent as it would improve their chances at winning by dividing the Democratic vote.

“Ideologically, Bloomberg is much more aligned with the Democrat base than with Republicans,” says Republican direct-mail fundraiser Richard Norman. “The more effective his campaign, the more he spends, the more he hurts the presumptive Democrat nominee, Senator [Hillary Rodham] Clinton.”
A political operative close to the mayor’s operation says New York Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheeky and some top Bloomberg advisers are urging the billionaire mayor to make a bid for the presidency in 2008. Mr. Bloomberg repeatedly has said he will not do so.
“It’s about 50-50 that Michael will go for it, and if he does I think it would probably help Republicans,” says David Norcross, a friend of the New York mayor and chairman of the Republican National Committee’s Rules Committee

This might help the Republicans, but there is also the danger that they might regret hoping for Bloomberg to run. A lot will depend upon how the campaign plays out and who gets each party’s nomination. If John Edwards wins the Democratic nomination, a Bloomberg candidacy would probably draw off enough votes from affluent Democrats who object to Edwards’ populist campaign based upon class warfare and junk economics to give the Republicans a victory. Obama and Richardson would have a far better chance of holding together a wide based Democratic coalition, and how Hillary would do in a general election campaign remains difficult to predict.

The effect of a Bloomberg candidacy would differ in different parts of the country and among different types of voters. As suggested above, Bloomberg could attract the votes of some of the new Democratic voters who gave them their victory in 2006. Bloomberg could also cost the Republicans some votes. There are many Republican businessmen who do not support the social policies of the Republicans and are seeing that the war was a mistake. Some are voting Democratic, but there are many long time Republican voters who only see the Democrats as a threat to tax them more and are unlikely to vote Democratic under any situation. A socially moderate businessman such as Bloomberg could be attractive to many of these voters.

Ultimately it might make sense for Republicans to hope for anything which might shake up the race since, as things stand now, it appears that a Republican will have a hard time winning in 2008.

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