Bloomberg's Billions: A blessing in disguise?

by Laura Kirshner // Published June 6, 2007
According to Scott Rasmussen,
"Rumors abound that Michael Bloomberg might spend a billion dollars running for the White House as an Independent, putting him on a competitive footing with the major party candidates. That might make it possible for Bloomberg to win several states and prevent anybody from winning a majority of the Electoral College votes."

If this happens, the decision goes to the House, where each state gets one vote. That means California"s 36.5 million people have as much pull in deciding the president as Wyoming"s half a million. Doubt this will ever happen? It did, in 1824.

No big deal, right? The Democrats control Congress so the Democratic candidate will win. It seems simple.

Think again. The Democrats control 26 states, which just barely makes up the majority necessary to select the presidential winner. If just one state votes otherwise, the floor opens to negotiations for this vote or that vote.

"In at least 12 state delegations currently controlled by Democrats, the loss of a single representative would either shift control to the Republicans or create a deadlock. If the Democrats lose just a single net seat in any one of those twelve states, they lose control of the ability to select the next President in the House."

Any of the top three candidates could potentially win the presidency, regardless of the outcome of the popular vote.

What makes this a blessing? If Bloomberg"s billion-dollar campaign ends up buying an electoral deadlock amidst a clear popular vote winner, then maybe more people will realize just how flawed, outdated, and un-democratic the electoral college is. It might be too late to overhaul the Electoral College for 2008, but this could potentially put electoral reform near the top of the to-do list so that by 2012, our votes will actually count.