Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bloomberg: Perot Redux?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg changed his party status today from Republican to unaffiliated. This is widely seen as a further step towards running as an independent in 08, which would significantly alter the whole race.

Bloomberg has been a lifelong Democrat and only switched his affiliation for his first mayoral run. A billionaire and former CEO (estimated net worth: $5 billion), he could easily fund his own campaign. Pointing to his record as mayor of New York City, he frequently claims how well "nonpartisan" politics works. Just yesterday, he emphasized yet again:
"The politics of partisanship and the resulting inaction and excuses have paralyzed decision-making, primarily at the federal level, and the big issues of the day are not being addressed, leaving our future in jeopardy"
Given his moderate positions, some think he is likely to take away more votes from the Democratic candidate. A Republican strategist in New York, Greg Strimple even goes so far to predict:
"If he runs, this guarantees a Republican will be the next president of the United States. The Democrats have to be shaking in their boots."
After all, Ross Perot getting 19% of the popular vote in 1992 certainly helped Clinton defeat Bush. This time around, however, the Democrats would be more likely to suffer.

Others, such as former Democratic Party Chairman Donald Fowler, expect that he would get more Republican votes, because "Republicans are more disenchanted than Democrats."

In any case, according to independent pollster Scott Rasmussen,
"He could have a significant impact on the campaign. Nationally there's a significant segment of the electorate that would give serious consideration to Bloomberg as a candidate." (For all references, see this AP article.)

If Bloomberg entered the race, what would this mean for progressive electoral strategy?



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