Ed Driscoll

President Bloomberg?

OK, it’s not very likely, but John Fund looks at Michael Bloomberg’s odds as a third party presidential candidate:

In the end, all this speculation may not pan out. Mr. Bloomberg knows that the odds are against him: No modern third-party candidate has come close to winning, and even if one managed to poll close to 40% of the popular vote, it would be hard to carry a majority of the Electoral College. In the absence of an Electoral College majority–something that hasn’t happened since 1824–the next president is selected by a vote in the House, with each state’s delegations casting one vote and a majority needed to prevail. Given that almost every House member is a Democrat or Republican (Vermont’s Bernie Sanders is an independent, but he’s leaving to run for the Senate), an independent’s chances of victory there are slim.
At the height of Perotmania in 1992, the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call surveyed 301 House members as to how they would vote for president in the absence of an Electoral College majority. Two-thirds said they were uncommitted; the vast majority of the remainder indicated they would either vote the same way as their congressional district or would vote for their party’s nominee. “The clear upshot was that Perot was going to have a tough time winning in a two-party dominated House,” recalls Jim Glassman, publisher of Roll Call at the time. The same would likely be true of Mr. Bloomberg should he run.

Thus, while the mayor could afford the stratospheric spending requirements of a national campaign, observers think that in the end the 64-year-old mayor is likely to skip the race. “It’s a lot of punishment and long hours, and if a reformer like McCain is the GOP candidate, the rationale for [his] candidacy is dramatically reduced,” says Ed Rollins, the GOP consultant who along with former Jimmy Carter aide Hamilton Jordan initially ran the 1992 Perot campaign.

The rules and obstacles that stack presidential politics against independent or third-party candidacies aren’t fair, but they are nonetheless very real. In the end, three is still usually a crowd when it comes to high-stakes White House politics.

Still though, it’s worth noting that Bloomberg shot his first television ad aimed towards a higher office earlier this year…