The zombie-like third party hype just won't die!
Democratic consultant Bob Shrum is suggesting Mike Bloomberg has a chance of winning based on this dubious proposition:
The second key question: Can Bloomberg win? Mike, a businessman, is not the type to launch a Quixotic quest. Well, believe it or not, there is a long-shot path to Pennsylvania Avenue - if he really goes for the win rather than contenting himself with playing spoiler. He could target states like Missouri, where his gun control position would doom him in a two-way race. In a three-way contest, it could pick up all the state's electoral votes with, say, 36% of the vote.
I'm skeptical that Bloomberg could win any states given the strength of party loyalty and the strength of the partisan organizations that are already in place. And as Michael Crowley pointed out, "Shrum doesn't say how many states like this he thinks Bloomberg can successfully target." Missouri is a long way from 270 electoral votes.
Writing in the Washington Post, Dan Balz suggests that the failure of the immigration bill could inspire a third-party candidate:
The collective failure of the two parties already appears to have stimulated interest in a third-party candidate for president in 2008 whose main promise would be to make Washington work. It is far too early to assess the viability of such a candidate, but it is easy to imagine the immigration impasse finding its way into a television commercial if someone such as New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg decides to run.
But as Matthew Yglesias points out, this claim makes no sense either:
But. But. But. What would the commercial say? Would it accuse congress of failing by failing to clamp down harder on immigration or would it accuse congress of failing by failing to deliver relief to suffering undocumented aliens? This is the crux of the matter. There isn't a unitary "immigration problem" that Washington is failing to solve. Rather, various people see various different problems and there's not a consensus as to which problem is sufficiently problematic as to warrant action.
Finally, Andrew Sullivan is hyping the silly Powell-Obama fantasy ticket and the likelihood of a third-party challenge if the major parties nominate Clinton and Giuliani:
The ticket may be a long-shot, but the connection between the two has already been established. One element of the coming campaign - and a function of its accelerated national schedule - is that two candidates will have it wrapped up pretty early next year. We will then have an opportunity to watch the candidates staff up over several months, give us a glimpse of their rival cabinets and teams. Jon Rauch explores this in the new Atlantic. A relationship between Obama and Powell would be a perfect blend of old-school Republican realism and diplomacy with a fresh, and internationally powerful new face in the presidency. My sense is that this country desperately wants to unite behind a rational, sane, realist in foreign affairs, who can appeal beyond either party's base. If we end up in a polarizing Clinton-Giuliani race, then I predict a serious third party candidate...
Who is it going to be? What states are they going to win? What money are they going to use to get on the ballot? This is the same silly speculation that happens every four years. The press is either naive about politics, treating the public like rubes, or both.
(For more, see my previous posts on third party hype.)