Reprehensible Nader will not have any influence on the election cycle of 2008. Libertarians and Greens will have close to zero impact as well. But when billionaires decide to run, the earth moves.
Many of us have been warning for well over 2 years that Mayor Bloomberg of New York was a likely candidate for president in 2008. A lot of our friends laughed at this notion. Bloomberg it was said was too much of a nudge, a dork. Bloomberg was a New Yorker, generally a hated group across the country. Bloomberg was short, was jewish, had no charisma, was a turncoat, was inexperienced, was a Republican, was a Democrat, was a local politician, ….
But Bloomberg is in fact likely to run for president. He can wait until next spring before announcing he is running. He will then leverage his money to get him on all 50 state ballots.
Ordinarily we do not comment on these matters. This website will examine the Democratic race for president until the primaries are over and Hillary is the nominee. After Hillary is the nominee we will then begin to examine the Republican opposition. But for those generally interested in the 2008 race a word of warning from us: keep your eyes on Bloomberg.
Bloomberg has many billions of dollars right now. Bloomberg has made clear he intends to sell his business interests soon. At that point he will have tens of billions of additional dollars.
As in ancient Rome, what is a billionaire to do with all his money? Use the money to become Emperor of course.
Let’s examine the pluses for Bloomberg:
The country is polarized so a candidate who used to be a Democrat and is now a nominal Republican can claim to be a unity candidate.
Ballot access laws are onerous in several states but money changes everything. Money gets you on the ballot with ease after hiring election lawyers and professional signature gatherers.
A lot of money allows a candidate to run strong organizations in all 50 states. Campaign strategists can choose where they make an effort to weaken Republicans in normally Republican states and where they weaken Democrats in normally Democratic states. Campaign strategists with lots of money can play presidential chess with both major parties and force the major parties to spend money to defend “their” states.
A candidate with lots of money can spend at will. A candidate with money does not have to fundraise.
In both races for New York City Mayor, Bloomberg spent an enormous amount of money. In his first race he spent nearly $90 million and his Democratic opponent barely broke into double digits. In both of his races Bloomberg spent the equivalent of what the government gives presidential candidates to run nationwide races. Let’s understand this: Bloomberg spent just in New York City what Republicans and Democrats usually spend to get elected nationwide.
How much money would Bloomberg spend to run nationwide? Silly pundits say he could spend an astonishing $500 million. Suppose they are wrong and Bloomberg decides to follow his historical pattern and outspend his opponents tenfold? Bloomberg could spend a billion, if not billions if he so chose. We suspect he will spend a minimum of a billion.
In New York City, Bloomberg hired every consultant who would accept a pay check from him, whether they did any work or not. Bloomberg hired just about every consultant thereby denying his opponents effective staff for their campaigns.
We bring these matters up due to 2 articles that have appeared in just as many days.
The Wall Street Journal wrote an article detailing how voter dissatisfaction and the early primary calendar can help Bloomberg. According to the Journal, the major party candidates will be chosen by early February 2008 and “that means neither party would be able to rethink its candidate during the spring or summer if he or she stumbled or lost steam.” The Journal also notes how much Republican voters are dissatisfied with their Republican choices and that this opens the door to a third party run by a nominal Republican such as Bloomberg.
The second article which comes to our attention contains this little nugget: “In an eyebrow-raising move, Nebraksa Sen. Chuck Hagel and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — both independent-leaning Republicans — supped together at the see-and-be-seen Palm Restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C, according to another diner. That the two would share a meal together would alone be noteworthy, but that it would come on the night before their party’s first debate and at such a conspicuous venue is downright mischevious [sic].”
Could extreme conservative and antiwar Hagel and liberal Bloomberg team up as a “unity” campaign in 2008 and due to Bloomberg’s billions run a powerful nationwide campaign for president? Nothing is certain. But wise campaign strategists keep their eyes peeled for potential threats. And anyone who can dump billions of dollars into a campaign at a whim is certainly a potential and credible threat. A word of warning.�