By Peter Murphy ~ by PA Pundits – International
The 2020 U.S. presidential race may end up with three major party candidates, two of whom will be promoting radical climate change policies against the incumbent president who has resisted such.
If Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont becomes the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, which appears most likely, Michael Bloomberg, the former three-term mayor of New York City, may end up running as a third party candidate. He has the personal fortune to pull it off and has shown his willingness to spend unprecedented amounts.
Imagine a three-person contest among Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, Independent Democrat (and former Republican) Michael Bloomberg, and Republican Presidential incumbent (and former Democrat) Donald Trump slugging it out this autumn. That would pit two climate alarmist candidates and proponents of a Green New Deal against an unabashed supporter of fossil fuel production who withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate accords.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is the clear front-runner for the Democratic Party’s nomination. His victory last Saturday in Nevada was sweeping, as he won more than twice the votes of the second place finisher, and did well among different demographic groups and non-white voters.
Sen. Sanders’ success thus far demonstrates the truism of presidential primaries: winning begets more winning. The next contest this Saturday in South Carolina bodes well for the Vermont Socialist.
The big voting day comes on March 3rd, “Super Tuesday,” when 14 states hold elections and more than one-third of the delegates for the Democratic nomination are at stake. Sanders is well positioned to win most, and would then be unstoppable for the Party’s nomination for President.
As CFACT has reported, Bernie Sanders is all in on climate change, believing man-made activity is warming the planet such that the Earth itself faces an “existential threat.” Lots of politicians check the box on climate change. Not Bernie. He’s a true believer and it is central to his socialist ideology that government must effectively take economic control, directly and indirectly, over the means of production, including rapidly phasing out fossil fuels.
Michael Bloomberg, the eighth wealthiest man on the planet, is staking his nomination prospects on Super Tuesday where he has carpet-bombed the airwaves with commercials. In just four months, he has spent more than $400 million. But, his disastrous debate performance last week revealed vulnerability. By contrast, Bernie has made a real connection with many voters. Super Tuesday will clarify matters since the nomination race at this point comes down to the two of them.
Mr. Bloomberg also is an avid proponent of climate change policies, as CFACT has reported. He has donated heavily to climate causes. The key difference with Sanders is Bloomberg is more congenial with the capitalist system through which he made his fortune. While not as ostentatious as Sanders, Bloomberg nonetheless is determined to impose dubious and costly climate policies on the country.
Third party presidential contests in American history are not uncommon. The last one occurred 24 years ago when billionaire Ross Perot ran against President Bill Clinton and his Republican challenger, Bob Dole. Four years prior, in 1992, Perot ran the first time and won 19 percent of the vote against President George H.W. Bush, which contributed to Clinton’s victory with only 43 percent.
In 1968, former Alabama Governor George Wallace ran third party against Democrat Hubert Humphrey, the Vice President, and Republican Richard Nixon, who narrowly won with 43 percent. In 1948, President Harry Truman won the election in a four-person contest.
Perhaps the most famous third party candidacy was former President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. After he lost the Republican Party’s nomination to incumbent President William Howard Taft, Roosevelt continued and ended up coming in second behind the winner, Democrat Woodrow Wilson, while Taft came in third.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, after his early state victories, has the momentum and resources to win the Democratic Party nomination. Many prominent Democrats are openly alarmed at the prospect, not because they disagree sharply with his climate or other policies, but for his genuine adherence to socialism. Bloomberg may remain their fallback.
Michael Bloomberg is uniquely positioned to run third party for president. He opposes President Trump and also is alarmed at a Sanders nomination. He has played with both political parties in the past and may reposition himself to claim the independent political center.
It’s early, and anything can happen in politics. Still, watch for a three-candidate contest this fall for the presidency.
Peter Murphy is a CFACT analyst, and he has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the New York Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post and the Wall Street Journal.