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John Nance Gardner (D-TX), FDR's first Vice President, said "The Vice Presidency isn't worth a pile of warm spit," Rumor is, the last word was misquoted. As a former New Yorker who learned politics from the Democrats (who has become a Conservative Republican since then), Mayor Bloomberg switching to an Independent is worth exactly that same pile.
Let me explain:
In 2002, Mayor Giuliani's term was up, no successor was in the background at that time. Crime was down significantly, the homeless accosting people on the streets were almost gone, business' re-discovered midtown Manhattan. The Democratic field was crowded, so Bloomberg (a Liberal Democrat himself), re-labeled himself a Republican (in an mostly empty field) and readied himself for the New York City Mayoral Primary. Does anyone remember when the NYC mayoral primary date was? Until 8:46AM, 9/11/01 was primary day in New York City.
If you followed the earlier link, I actually had a stake in the 2001 Primary. If my friend's father's boss had won the Primary and the General, he would have been appointed Deputy mayor (Spin City, anyone?). One of the lessons I learned from the former Tammany people was: Always support your friends, when you move higher, so do they. I wasn't a Democrat since 1992, but I've always supported my friends.
How does this play for 2008? Suppose there is a Trifecta of New York candidates on the November ballot?
To start with, if Tammany hadn't gone away in 1961, Robert F. Kennedy would never have become a Senator, neither would have Hillary Clinton (D-NY). New York City politics is defined by your block, your neighborhood, your borough, your team (Yankees or Mets, Giants or Jets). Upstate is a different animal. If Senator Clinton cannot win New York City in the General, she can kiss New York State goodbye.
Mayor Giuliani (R-NY) is home-grown and can tell you which pretzel stand in New York is the best. He won the city twice and stands for his beliefs against Democrats and Republicans. New Yorkers like fighters. In a Trifecta, he could take NYC away from Bloomberg and Clinton.
Mayor Bloomberg (I-NY), as discussed earlier, was not much of a Republican. His leaving didn't make anyone else of prominence leave. Bloomberg is like Schwarzenegger in the fact that he is only looking out for himself. the New York State Republicans could not even field a candidate against a "Carpet bagger" why should he support them? However, his issues fall under "Nanny State" governance, not Republican issues. Would he win NYC in a Trifecta? No third party candidate had ever won the Oval Office, there is no precedent for it to change in 2008.
My prediction for the Trifecta: Giuliani wins the City, Hillary wins upstate and Bloomberg wins Massachusetts.