16 Nov 2010

Bloomberg Probably Right In Saying Independent Can’t Win the Presidency… YET

From a post up at Bloomberg’s own Bloomberg.com, New York City’s mayor had this to say, regarding a potential independent run:

“Unless you get a majority, it goes to the House,” he said today during a conference sponsored by the Wall Street Journal in Washington. “It’s going to go to the Republicans because the Republicans have just taken over the House.”

Bloomberg is probably right. We can never really be sure… I mean would ALL of the republican party vote to install their candidate if they had neither won the popular or electoral college vote?

Regardless, it would certainly be difficult, even for someone with relatively bottomless pockets like Michael Bloomberg. When you sit down and think about it, its a bit foolish to think that a currently nonexistent network of independent and moderate activists could pull together and pull off a huge win against nationwide parties that are exponentially better organized, better funded and more experienced.

What we need to focus on is building capacity at every level, starting at the bottom. This is why, whenever I mention Bloomberg’s chances of running for president, I say maybe in 2016. People like him don’t get as rich as they do by throwing money away. He’s not going to run unless he sees a pathway to the White House.

2016 might look different however. Groups all over the country are growing at the grassroots level. We’re seeing more non major party candidate both run and win. Big groups like No Labels are starting to fill the vacuum, and moderate think tanks like Third Way are gaining strength. People are leaving the major parties as they move farther and farther towards their more purist bases, and the likely candidates in 2016 are not exactly inspiring.

Regardless of whether 2016 is a realistic possiblity or not, what we need to do is the same. We need to focus our efforts on building a foundation of centrists and moderates coming together in opposition of both parties and their irresponsible actions. THAT is what will speed up the day that we’ll see a centrist in the White House… not pinning our hopes on one man, however inspiring he may be.

Author Details
After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
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After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
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6 thoughts on “Bloomberg Probably Right In Saying Independent Can’t Win the Presidency… YET”

  1. Yeah, it's a problem, and it will be in 2016, too. First, in the case of Michael Bloomberg, he will be 74-years-old in 2016, so he'd have to be on his toes mentally and probably see Dick Clark's plastic surgeon to have a chance at that age.

    Second, if no presidential candidate wins a majority in the Electoral College, the House vote happens by state, and each state gets one vote (Twelfth Amendment). Republicans dominate a lot of lesser-populated states, and Republicans would hold a majority in such a presidential tie-breaker vote in the House, as they would have even in 2004 or 2008.

    Maybe Bloomberg can help lead a charge or electoral reform, including but not limited to shifting presidential elections to "one voter, one vote." Of course this would require a Constitutional amendment. The only form of Constitutional electoral reform that really grips public opinion is term limits, and perhaps other reforms (also Federal candidates must win by 50% + 1) could pass along with term limits.

    (I remain ambivalent about term limits, but K decided in their favor during my recent Congressional campaign, in the face of entrenched party hierarchies, not just incumbents.)

  2. Sucks, but makes sense. I mean hell, all we need is a handful of independents in the senate who are roughly centrist and everything that goes through there has to go through them. I don't know about all of these rules, but if we made sure that neither party could get a majority without us, maybe one of the parties would strike a deal. Like if the independents would caucus with them in exchange for their votes to put our guy into the White House. You're right though. We need to work on the local stuff.

  3. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere would be equal and counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

    Now 2/3rds of the states and voters are ignored — 19 of the 22 smallest and medium-small states, and big states like California, Georgia, New York, and Texas. The current winner-take-all laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states, and not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution, ensure that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. Voter turnout in the “battleground” states has been 67%, while turnout in the “spectator” states was 61%. Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. It does not abolish the Electoral College, which would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado– 68%, Iowa –75%, Michigan– 73%, Missouri– 70%, New Hampshire– 69%, Nevada– 72%, New Mexico– 76%, North Carolina– 74%, Ohio– 70%, Pennsylvania — 78%, Virginia — 74%, and Wisconsin — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska — 70%, DC — 76%, Delaware –75%, Maine — 77%, Nebraska — 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, Rhode Island — 74%, and Vermont — 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas –80%, Kentucky — 80%, Mississippi –77%, Missouri — 70%, North Carolina — 74%, and Virginia — 74%; and in other states polled: California — 70%, Connecticut — 74% , Massachusetts — 73%, Minnesota — 75%, New York — 79%, Washington — 77%, and West Virginia- 81%.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia (3), Maine (4), Michigan (17), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), New York (31), North Carolina (15), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California (55), Colorado (9), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), New Jersey (15), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), and Washington (11). The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes — 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See https://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  4. Yeah, it’s a problem, and it will be in 2016, too. First, in the case of Michael Bloomberg, he will be 74-years-old in 2016, so he’d have to be on his toes mentally and probably see Dick Clark’s plastic surgeon to have a chance at that age.

    Second, if no presidential candidate wins a majority in the Electoral College, the House vote happens by state, and each state gets one vote (Twelfth Amendment). Republicans dominate a lot of lesser-populated states, and Republicans would hold a majority in such a presidential tie-breaker vote in the House, as they would have even in 2004 or 2008.

    Maybe Bloomberg can help lead a charge or electoral reform, including but not limited to shifting presidential elections to “one voter, one vote.” Of course this would require a Constitutional amendment. The only form of Constitutional electoral reform that really grips public opinion is term limits, and perhaps other reforms (also Federal candidates must win by 50% + 1) could pass along with term limits.

    (I remain ambivalent about term limits, but K decided in their favor during my recent Congressional campaign, in the face of entrenched party hierarchies, not just incumbents.)

    1. If it came down to it… an independent won the popular vote and electoral vote, but didn’t get a majority… I’d love to see what the House would do. I imagine there would be rioting if they went against the clear will of the people, and the backlash would be gigantic.

      Regardless, our focus needs to be on foundation building. Building local groups, getting people elected in smaller races, all the way up through congress. We need to take a long term perspective on this.

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