Michael Bloomberg announced his departure from the GOP yesterday, and the news is abuzz with what-ifs about a potential ’08 Presidential run as an Independent. Bloomberg presents an interesting case. He was most recently a Republican, but holds the job of Mayor of probably the most Democratic city in the U.S. Also, his views are decidedly liberal and he has a long history as a Democrat prior to the run for Mayor. Would he be a spoiler? Maybe, but it’s not clear to who. It would be interesting to see Rudy Giuliani have to run against him. The battle of the two liberal GOP NYC mayors. Especially since Bloomberg knows first hand the mess that Giuliani left behind. But NY is not a popular state on the national scene and the idea of up to three major candidates all hailing from NY could spell trouble for everyone.
To me, the most interesting aspect of a potential Bloomberg run is that it could be self-funded. This would remove him from being beholden to donors post-election, and might help break some of the political stranglehold that corporate and special interest lobbies have on the federal government.
Yet I wonder, given the way that states allow only two parties to control much of the election process, is anyone really electable from a third party? Ross Perot was well funded as well, but still failed to get on all the state ballots. It would seem that for anyone to get elected from a third party, it would require someone of enormous popularity. Someone who literally dwarfed the other major party candidates in terms of charisma, stage presence, poise, and good looks. Because let’s face it, good ideas are secondary to delivering sound bites with credibility and savoir faire in this country. All of which leads me to believe that if Michael Bloomberg really wants to finance a 3rd party candidacy, he should focus on getting Martin Sheen or Harrison Ford to run.