Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bloomberg Would Need To Spend At Least Two Billion To Buy The White House

Mayor Moneybags wants to be president and he's willing to spend some of his personal fortune to do it.

The Washington Post
says today that he is willing to spend somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion on a presidential bid (Fortune says Bloomberg is worth $5.5 billion, others estimate he is worth as much as $20 billion.)

Chris Cilliza of The Fix
wrote in late May that the major party candidates are expected to raise as much as $500 million to $750 million dollars each to spend on the campaign.

Leaving aside the obscene amounts of money candidates need to run for president and the injurious effects that may be having on the overall health of American democracy, let me ask you this: can Bloomberg actually beat both major party candidates if he can only outspend them by $250 million-$500 million dollars?

Think about the impediments to an independent candidacy. Think about the highly partisan nature of presidential elections and try and figure out just who would support Bloomberg (Repubs? - he's pro-gay rights, pro-gun control, pro-choice; Dems? - he's anti-union, pro-outsourcing and wants to bring back feudalism so that he and his rich billionaire buddies can rake in more money and build more football stadiums.) Think about the political apparatus and the GOTV machines needed in all 50 states and ask yourself if Bloomberg, even with the help of some independent organization like Unity08, can actually win enough votes to garner 270 electoral votes and win the presidency.

I say he cannot, especially if he's only going to outspend the major party candidates by about $250 million bucks. Remember, Bloomberg won the NYC race by spending 4 times as much as his opponents. He had very low approval numbers for his first few years as mayor until he spent another $100 million on campaign advertising 1 full year before his mayoral re-election and then he still outspent his Dem opponent (the hapless Fernando Ferrer) by 4 times as much to win re-election.

For Bloomberg to actually be able to win the WH, he probably needs to again spend 4 times as much as the major party candidates (especially given that he has no national constituency, little recognition outside of NY, and will only have the political aid of people he buys to help him GOTV.)

This means he probably realistically needs to spend more than $2 billion to have a chance to win (and even then, his chances aren't so good.). Is he willing to do that?

Dunno. He's got a pretty big ego, so perhaps. But for now, he's just going to tease us and we'll have to wait until early next year to see what signs he's sending out.

If I had to wager, in the end I'd say he does not run unless something major happens to bring down both major party candidates. As it is now, if Romney or Thompson runs against Clinton, I don't see how he can realistically run in that race and expect to be anything other than a spoiler.

I don't know enough about him to say much. So instead I'll point out that it wasn't that long ago an extremely rich man bought his way into an election cycle... and he had quite the following as I recall. His slant was a little different than Bloomberg's, more libertarian as I recall.

The big winners here are both the voting public (more choice is good in my opinion) and the media (so many more dollars going to advertising and such). Too bad the media isn't facing the tax hikes the oil companies are.
reality, nothing can stop Bloomberg from seeking the Democratic nomination.

A third-party candidate cannot win the White House. Bloomberg is especially weak as a third-party candidate because he appeals to some members of both major parties. That means his impact on the outcome isn't clear. Unlike Perot, who was certain to take votes from Bush, or Nader, who was certain to take votes from Gore, Bloomberg's appeal might be evenly split between the major parties. Thus, his presence in the race might have no affect other than to increase the anxiety of the two other candidates.

Why take the path of guaranteed failure? Why go that route when he can expend the same amount of time and money obtaining the nomination of the party with which he is most truly aligned?

However, if he is unable to win support in the Democratic primaries, he will save himself a lot of time and money and emotional capital by getting out of the race.

As an independent, he can only bring chaos to the election process. I don't believe that's his goal.
If he was going for the Dem nomination, why not change his affiliation to Democrat? Is he going to do this later?

On a national ticket, Michael Bloomberg could not win as a Democrat. He cannot get through the primary (just as he couldn't get through the Dem mayoral primary in 2001 - that's why he became a Repub.)
I'm still not convinced he can get through the conservative Republican barrier.
On my reading of it he is "East Coast" (in the broadest sense) and simply has no wider appeal.
reality, you wrote:

"If he was going for the Dem nomination, why not change his affiliation to Democrat?"

Why help his opponents by revealing his entire hand now? If you believe he is running for president, why would you expect him to take the "independent" path and guarantee his own defeat?

You wrote:

"Is he going to do this later?"

Yes. At the last permissible moment.

You wrote:

"On a national ticket, Michael Bloomberg could not win as a Democrat."

If he were nominated to head the Democratic party, he would have a far better chance of beating the Republican nominee than any other Democrat now in the race. Al Gore is the wild card.

You wrote:

"He cannot get through the primary (just as he couldn't get through the Dem mayoral primary in 2001 - that's why he became a Repub.)"

You don't seem to understand NY City politics. There are always a long list of Democrats seeking every office in the city. NY City dependably elects Democrats. Even Rudy holds many views that are dear to Democrats.

Why would a candidate slog through the Democratic primary process in NYC when a good, well financed candidate can simply fill out the forms and run as a Republican?

Bloomberg took the path of NO resistance when he ran for mayor.

He is now assessing the electoral calculus of running for president.

Here it is: Independents always lose because the only advantage they bring to the election is their total independence from party restraints. But that is also their biggest flaw at the national level.

Ross Perot spent a lot of time and a lot of money to spread his reasonable message about fiscal sense around the country. I attended one of his NYC speeches. He addressed a Wall Street crowd at the Grand Hyatt. Good speech. The crowd was with him. Didn't matter. He was in NY, where the Democrat always gets all the electoral votes.

The result? Whopping Failure. Did he know he would open to door for Clinton?

If Bloomberg intends to run for the presidency the only way he can win is to represent a major party.

To obtain the nomination he's got to win some Democratic primaries. Nothing prevents him from organizing and campaigning. But he does face filing deadlines, which I think are in October. That gives him plenty of time to attract supporters.

In 2004 it was widely assumed Howard Dean would represent the Democrats. We know how well that worked.

Hillary, on the other hand, is not likely to land in the ditch like Dean. She won't defeat herself as Dean did. However, she faces the problem of gender and the problem of the weirdness of bringing Bill back to the White House. Neither factor is a complete deal killer, but they add up to lost votes.

She is beatable, especially because there are a number of contestants in the primary races.

Thus, Bloomberg must focus on winning Democratic primaries if he is serious about the presidency.

If he's merely into creating electoral chaos (I am sure he is not) as an independent, he must pound along all the way to election day. That would be an act of political vandalism.

Anyway, why would he bother heading down the path to certain defeat when the path to winning is open?
More choice is good, Luke, but I'd rather the entry fee was based on a wealth of good ideas, not dollars.
That's exactly right, abi - Bloomberg doesn't really stand for anything other than ambition and opportunism. It's all egotism for him.

You are wrong about Bloomberg entering the Dem primaries, n_s. He will poll in the single digits in Dem primaries. In fact, in a recent Pew poll, Bloomberg polled nationwide in the single digits and 56% said they would NEVER vote for him, no matter who the Dem and Repub nominees are. Granted, this is before he throws in $2 billion in advertising, but even so, his cahnces in the general election are daunting at best and his chances in the Dem primaries are non-existent.
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