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If Bloomberg Had Run...

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

On the Bloomberg news wire this afternoon:

"New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ended months of speculation that he might become a candidate for U.S. president, saying he would use his influence to push for nonpartisan solutions to the nation's problems."


The next-to-last graf of that piece by reporters Joseph Galante and Henry Goldman read:

"Bloomberg, the billionaire founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, has the capacity to self- finance a presidential campaign."

Mike Bloomberg didn't become a billionaire by getting into deals which were guaranteed to fail. And a Presidential run by Bloomberg was absolutely guaranteed to crash.

Put aside, for a moment, a bunch of people around Bloomberg reprising the Peter Boyle role in the 1972 movie, "The Candidate" - looking for a candidate so they can make some money.

If I were advising Mayor Bloomberg I would ask those people to get map of the United States. I would ask them to get a big magic marker. On the map I would ask them to indicate the number of electoral votes available in each state. Then I would ask them to bring it into Mayor's conference room, unroll it, and place it on the table.

Then, with Mayor Mike Bloomberg looking on, I would ask them to show me the states we could win which would add up to the 270 electoral votes necessary to ensure that Mayor Bloomberg would be elected President Bloomberg.

No further questions, your Honor. Your witness.

The assuming Bloomberg actually won some electoral votes the best he could hope to do would be to throw the election for President into the House of Representatives.


Dear Mr. Mullings:
I'm kind of new at this. How would that work, anyway?
Sen. Barak Obama

Yes, well, the first thing we would want to do is to go to the rule book. In this case the U.S. Constitution. Specifically the Twelfth Amendment which tells us, that if no candidate has a majority of electoral votes when the ballots are counted by the President of the US Senate:

… then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.

But wait! There's more!

The Amendment goes on to describe how the votes in the House will be counted (Read this part. It is a great bar bet. You will never pay for another beer in your whole life):

But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote …

California, with its 53 Members of Congress gets exactly the same number of votes as Wyoming - One.

According to a 1999 analysis by the Library of Congress, the Senate votes for Vice President (each Senator gets one vote, an absolute majority - 51 - needed to elect) but the House votes by State (26 States needed).

The District of Columbia, which has three electoral votes, does not get to vote for either the President or Vice President.

This means it is possible for one political party to control the House but not have the votes to elect the President.

How? Because it is quite possible for the Democrats to have a majority of the Congressional Districts, but not control a majority of the State delegations.

As it happens (by my, probably inaccurate, count) the Democrats do control 26 State delegations. Republicans control 21 delegations, four are tied with an even number of Republicans and Democrats.

Having looked all this up, I have changed my mind.

I DO want Mike Bloomberg to run and I want him to win enough electoral votes to throw the whole thing to the House and Senate, if only to have California, New York and Texas howl with outrage as their delegations are given the same weight as Delaware, Wyoming and Alaska in the process.


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