New York Magazine has a truly horrific thought experiment about the 2012 presidential election and how Michael Bloomberg’s entry as a third party candidate could throw the election to the Republican nominee, presumably Sarah Palin.
The magazine supposes that were Palin to get the Republican nomination, Bloomberg would run as an independent. The problem I have with this supposition is that while it’s clearly likely that Bloomberg would not support the idea of Palin as the Republican alternative, there’s no real basis to suggest he is equally disgusted by the chances of Obama winning reelection. As the article notes, the administration has done a lot to keep Bloomberg in the fold, including lots of face time with the President, Vice President and Treasury Secretary. The administration clearly values his perspective. I find it hard to believe that he’d reward that with a course of action that is likely to throw the White House to Palin. A candidate doesn’t get into a race because he hates one outcome when getting into the race assures that outcome will come true. That is, while I do think gaming out the consequences of Bloomberg entering the 2012 race (throwing it to the GOP candidate) is interesting, it’s hard to believe that Bloomberg would enter the race out of a desire to stop Sarah Palin from being elected.
What’s really remarkable about the thought of Sarah Palin getting the Republican nomination is how important it makes the 2012 election. 2004 was the most important election of my lifetime, until 2008 was. And now, with the prospect of Palin as his opponent, 2012 might become the most important election. The stakes keep getting raised by the Republican Party through the militarism, demagoguery, and fundamentalism of their candidates. Nothing would close any perceived Democratic enthusiasm gap in 2012 fast than a Palin nomination.