If Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump win their party's nominations, the stars will be aligned perfectly for a third party run. There's never been an election with two candidates with such high disapproval ratings.
Hillary is a corrupt, hypocritical opportunist who would have gotten nowhere had she not been married to a President. From the cattle futures trading bribe to the selling of the State Department to Clinton Foundation donors, it's always baksheesh time for the Clintons. Hillary decries Wall Street while taking their money for speeches, and says all rape victims deserve to be believed after having savaged women who accused her husband of abuse.
There are plenty of liberals who despise her.
Trump has said that John McCain was not a war hero, made fun of a New York Times reporter for his physical disability, mocked Carly Fiorina for her appearance, and exhibited plenty of other bullying, un-Presidential behavior. He seems to feel he should be President because he's leading in the polls, will do a great job (without giving any specifics), is rich, and is the author of "The Art of the Deal."
Plenty of traditional conservatives actively dislike Trump.
Third party candidates have always had the ability to influence electoral outcomes. John Anderson may have turned the 1980 election in Reagan's favor. Ross Perot drained support from George H.W. Bush, and allowed Bill Clinton to be elected with a plurality in 1992. Even Ralph Nader may have handed the 2000 election to George W. Bush, since he drew his support mostly from idealistic Democrats.
But none of these third party candidates ever had a realistic shot at winning. It may be different this time. Bloomberg, as he told friends early on, would have been unable to secure either party's nomination. But now the moment seems right.
Who will he get support from? First, the disaffected voters who don't like their own party's candidates. That's a sizable fraction.
Second, independents who like the idea of a genuine centrist. Bloomberg didn't kowtow to the municipal unions in New York, nor did he kowtow to business. The biggest criticisms he incurred were for his nanny state views (like limiting the size of soft drinks), and his three terms were scandal-free.
Third, he'll get the support of all of the voters who want to feel good about themselves. They can tell themselves they're being free thinkers by voting for the independent candidate. They can tell themselves they're being "balanced" by voting for the middle-of-the-road guy. And they can tell themselves they're being broad-minded by voting for the Jewish guy.
It may sound silly to say that some voters vote to feel good about themselves. But realistically, that's human nature. (Think of all the whites who voted for Obama to prove they weren't racist.)
Finally, Bloomberg will have most of the mainstream media on his side. He is, after all, one of them.
Bloomberg isn't charismatic. He's short, nerdy, and has a nasal voice that sounds like a kazoo. And some say he has no influence beyond New York because his national anti-gun movement never gained traction. He's not the type of guy people go crazy about. But, he'll get the better-than-the-alternatives vote, which will be sizable this year. And, his strengths play well against both of the other candidates' strengths and weaknesses.
Hillary seems to think her biggest asset is her vagina; and feminists do thirst for the first woman President. But Bloomberg would be the first Jewish President. And Hillary, who is always embroiled in some scandal or other, is going to make the incorruptible (because he is already rich) Bloomberg look pristine by comparison.
Trump's biggest weakness is that he offends a lot of people; Bloomberg is inoffensive. And a large part of Trump's justification for running has been that he's such a successful businessman; some of that rationale will melt away in the face of Bloomberg's $37 billion.
Anyway, my guess is that it's going to be a three-way race, and a close one. Someone might win with 36% of the vote.
Don't take this as an endorsement of Bloomberg, by the way. He's a bloodless manager who wouldn't change the direction the country is headed in. They used to call Alfonse D'Amato of New York "Senator Pothole," because that's essentially what he was, a guy who went around taking care of all the small problems New Yorkers had.
Bloomberg would be President Pothole.
What we need is an obnoxious, blunt-spoken guy like Trump who understands that we're gradually turning into a Third World nation and wants to stem that tide before it's too late.