Calls for a Third Party Challenge Increase as Paul and Bloomberg are Encouraged to Go Independent

There appears growing interest in a third-party candidacy by many voters disillusioned by the two parties monopoly. Ron Paul and Michael Bloomberg appear the leading contenders for such a run. Notably, under the 12th Amendment such a candidate could be the next president through a plausible series of events.

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, now an independent, has long been eyeing a run for the White House. This week there are reports that he is expressing renewed interest. Notably, Former Senator David L. Boren of Oklahoma, who organized an event on bipartisanship with former Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat of Georgia, suggested that if the prospective major party nominees failed within two months to formally embrace bipartisanship and address the fundamental challenges facing the nation, “I would be among those who would urge Mr. Bloomberg to very seriously consider running for president as an independent.”

According to press accounts, the mayor’s advisers have been quietly canvassing potential campaign consultants about their availability in the coming months. For one such report, click here

The filing deadline for the petitions in states like Texas is May 12. Bloomberg’s personal wealth would help in such an attempt.Ron Paul is another highly credible third-party possibility.

Paul is on fire on the Internet and has shown remarkable and growing popularity with independent voters. Highly principled and passionate, he strikes a contrast to the robotic candidates of the two main parties. He has been very successful in raising money — now approaching $20 million.

Such a candidate could conceivable pull off a run for the White House due to the operation of the 12th amendment. They would need to take only one state — or even in a state like Nebraska, a single electoral vote — to go to Congress in an contested election.The 12th Amendment states:

” … the person having the greatest number of [electoral college] votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, 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.”

This has long been something of a parlor game for constitutional law professors. Under this system, ties are broken by the House of Representatives.The first election subject to the 12th Amendment was in 1804. The amendment proved determinative in 1824 when Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, William H. Crawford, and Henry Clay were contenders and had received significant but insufficient votes. Jackson had the most votes. Yet, despite his plurality, Jackson lost to Adams who had received the endorsement of Clay — the Speaker of the House.

Under this system, each state congressional delegation casts one vote. Thus, rather than 435 votes, there would be 50 votes in the House. The advantage rests with the Democrats since in the 110th Congress they have a majority of legislators in twenty-six states while the Republicans have twenty-one states. The remaining tree states – Arizona, Kansas and Mississippi – are equally split.Note New York has 31 electoral votes and New Jersey has 15 votes — a significant chunk in denying a majority of 270 electoral votes.Under this scenario, in a tie, the Democrats or Republicans would have cut their losses and cut a deal with the third party candidate — rather than bring their opponents into power.

A President Paul or President Bloomberg may be precisely what citizens want: a break with the monopoly of power that has produced such cynicism and cronyism in Washington. From a constitutional standpoint, it would be something to behold.

7 thoughts on “Calls for a Third Party Challenge Increase as Paul and Bloomberg are Encouraged to Go Independent”

  1. If a spoiler results in a Giuliani Presidency, I am moving to Canada to start a Kudzu Brewery.

    Otherwise, I’ll stay here and continue to pursue MY Law degree at GW. too!

  2. Commoner, it is great news about your acceptance. You will be happy to know that posting on my blog constitutes a fully accredited course toward graduation.

  3. I’m not the good professor, but congratulations, Commoner!

    I remember well how good it felt, lo, these many decades ago when I got the same letter. 🙂

  4. I think that I will vote for President Hillary! By the way Professor, I have just been accepted to GW law!

  5. The constitutional underpinnings are there. The public sentiment is there and has been for years, (i.e. Ross Perot). And, like Mr. Perot, neither of the two gentlemen mentioned are the ideal candidate for the situation at hand. However, I would be supportive of just about ANYTHING that might be a catalyst for the quantum shift needed to ameliorate our current predicament!

  6. I still don’t see how an independent president could govern effectively since both major parties would have a vested interest in seeing such a person fail! Without a huge mandate from the voters (unlikely given the above scenario), Republicans and Democrats alike would do everything possible to “feather their nests” for the next election cycle. Given the Republican’s propensity to obstruct everything under the sun (if proposed by anyone but Republicans, and sometimes, even then!), I can’t imagine them lying down for Bloomberg, Paul, Nader, or anyone else. Why a plurality of Americans would support a man who has no grassroots support (outside of NY and Washington, D.C.) is a “pipe dream” at best. At worst, we wind up with four more years of Republican, authoritarian, autocratic, Plutocratic, corporatist rule. Heaven help us if that were to happen!

  7. A Bloomberg Presidency would be a return to the days of the eastern republicans: a more conservative Scranton or Rockefeller: not a bad thing, but still not quite what the country needs.

    Third party presidents, to rule, would require substantial help from Congress and thus would need third party Congressional delegations. Had TR been elected as a Bull-Mooser, he still could have counted on the progressive-liberal coalition that cut across party lines in the Congress of his day.

    Who would help Paul? Predictably he would get help from either party depending on his initiatives: if he brought the occupation to an end: the Democrats; if he decided to scrap the income tax; the Republicans.

    The only problem, I conjecture, is that ultimately Paul would make us miss Bush if you can imagine something that dire.

    That being said, I would love, just love, for both to declare! That would vitiate the GOP vote by 3 or 4 percentage points.

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