A very real new threat that liberalism will continue to rule from the White House is emerging in the form of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who reportedly is deadly serious about waging an independent presidential campaign.
Bloomberg, according to the New York Times, has already drawn up plans for the race, retained a consultant to get his name on ballots, and made a study of past independent runs. He will make a final decision after early primaries, with a deadline of early March. Plus, Bloomberg — with a net worth of $36 billion, more than there times that of multi-billionaire Donald Trump — can fund his own run if he desires.
Bloomberg, 73, whose predilection for government intervention has made his name synonymous with the term “nanny state,” favors amnesty for illegal immigrants, is one of the nation’s leading gun control advocates, seeks increased trade with China, and wants binding carbon emission limits.
While it would appear, based on such views, that he would draw more votes from a Democratic nominee than a Republican, how his entrance into the race would actually play out is far from clear.
The latest Gallup poll, done in January 2016, puts conservatives at 37 percent of the electorate compared to only 24 percent who say the are liberal. And Republicans seem less likely to stray than Democrats. While 45 percent of Democrats call themselves liberal, 68 percent of Republicans say they are conservative. Another poll shows some 20 percent of Democrats seriously considering a vote for Trump in the general election, should he win the nomination.
But 35 percent of all Americans view themselves as moderate, a potential gold mine for Bloomberg to draw on, especially if Democrats nominate uber liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders. While Bloomberg is clearly to the left politically, he can claim he occupies middle ground since he temporarily joined the Republican Party to run for mayor of New York.
And Establishment Republicans who say they are repelled by the most likely GOP nominees, Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, could more easily turn to Bloomberg than to Sanders, who is a socialist, or Hillary Clinton, whom they also detest and who is currently under criminal investigation by the FBI.
Looked at from a historic prospective, the prospects for a third-party run would seem poor. No one from outside the two main parties has ever won.
The most recent serious independent challenge was waged in 1992 by business tycoon Ross Perot, who received no electoral votes and just under 19 percent of the popular vote. He ran again in 1996 but only got 8.4 percent of the vote. Still, he did alter the 1992 election by drawing votes from the Republican and putting Bill Clinton into the White House with just 43 percent of the popular vote.
But Bloomberg is different. Not only does he have governing experience, he lacks Perot’s quirkiness, which was disconcerting to some voters. Rather, he projects seriousness and competency and has, according to the New York Times, at least a billion dollars queued up to spend on his campaign.
That he is indeed competent makes him a potentially strong and disciplined candidate and, should he win, a president who could effectively advance a liberal agenda.
This post also appears on LifeZette.