Political reporter von Sternberg links to an article suggesting the New York Mayor’s independent run could be good news for the GOP:
It might seem to be a stretch, but if newly-independent New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg throws his hat (and his billions) into the presidential race, it could reverberate as far away as Minnesota.
The new, counterintuitive, conventional wisdom is that, contrary to the initial conventional wisdom, a Bloomberg candidacy could hurt the Democratic nominee more than the GOP’s.
According to a column by the New Republic’s John Judis, it all boils down to independent voters.(Registration is required and they’ll try to sell you a subscription, but you can get a couple issues free.)
His argument: “Independents are no longer a catch-all in American politics for people who can’t make up their mind, but a distinct political tendency: liberal on social issues, fiscally moderate (skeptical about new taxes and about large-scale government initiatives), and deeply committed to political reform (that is, convinced that special interests hold sway in Washington and over the two major parties).”
Judis lumps Minnesota into states he calls “Blue-state Independents,” as opposed to Western “Sagebrush Independents.”
“With his strong stand on social issues, including gun control, global warming, and non-partisan government, Bloomberg would stand an excellent chance of winning a share of the Blue-state (although probably not the Sagebrush) Independents,” Judis wrote. “He could make life difficult for Democratic candidates in parts of New England, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon, and even California. In a close election, that might be enough to put a Republican in the White House.”
For the record, in Minnesota (an increasingly purple state that nonetheless hasn’t voted for a Republican since Richard Nixon) the November exit poll found that independents made up 24 percent of the state’s voters, compared to 36 percent Republicans and 41 percent Democrats.
Bob von Sternberg