Why I put £20 on Michael Bloomberg being on the Democratic ticket yestoday

March 3, 2008

Why even the new odds of 15 (14/1) represent value.


Having covered the Republican ticket, I am now going to turn my attention to the Democratic party. If Barack Obama gets the nomination he may have to at least consider choosing Hillary Clinton to prevent a full-scale civil war. However, although she would probably seriously consider it many people have said that she would gracefully refuse such an invitation. In any case the truth is that, although she would probably sit the contest out, hoping that McCain is able to beat Obama so she can run in 2012. In any case, this could result in a ticket where his inexperience was combined with her ability to polarise the country. My gut feel is that if Obama has any say in the matter he will have essentially three choices, Senator Jim Webb, Governor Katherine Sibelius of Kansas or Michael Bloomberg. All three have pluses and minuses. Webb would add military heroism to the ticket and could assume the role of Obama’s attack dog. Sibelius would placate Democratic women and add some executive experience to an Obama administration. Bloomberg would not only potentially add his billions to the Obama warchest but shore up his support amoung independants, especially in the North-East.

However, there are questions as to whether Webb’s paleconservatism deserves a place in a Democratic administration, especially given his colourful personal life and his relative inexperience. At the same time, Bloomberg’s stridency on Abortion makes Hillary Clinton look like Mike Huckabee, while his sensitivity towards woman’s issues makes Sir Alan Sugar look like the aformentioned Senator from New York. Indeed, although Bloomberg on the ticket would really set the cat among the Republican pigeons, his record as Mayor of New York has not been that spectacular and the Democrats may not want to give John McCain and Republicans the opportunity to launch the populist tub-thumping campaign that nearly saw James Corzine defeated in 2000. If Bloomberg is selected as Obama’s running mate you can expect the phrase, “kill it”, to become part of the political lexicon by November.

Just as Obama may be forced to consider Hillary if nominated, Hillary might have to choose Obama, to prevent a floor fight in Denver. Although this is probably the ticket that many people would have chosen last year, it still puts someone who is very inexperienced close to the Presidency. Obama might not accept the nomination, believing that he will be better placed to run for the White House from the Senate rather than as Vice-President to someone who was unpopular. If this is the case, Hillary has two options, she can try to choose someone like Mark Warner, Jim Webb, Harold Ford Jr or Sanford Bishop to appeal to the South, or she can appeal to the West by choosing either Bill Richardson or Ken Salazar. Bill Richardson has skeletons in his closet and lacks charsiam, Jim Webb has extremely dubious views on the American Civil War and Harold Ford Jr would be the youngest occupant of the Naval Observatory if elected. My advice would be that she should choose either Ken Salazar, Sanford Bishop or Mark Warner, who are all people who would attempt to appeal to the centre.

My gut view is that the true odds should be as follows (this assumes a 75% chance of an Obama Victory and a 25% chance of a Clinton victory).

1. Michael Bloomberg – 14.375% chance
2. Barack Obama – 12.5% chance
3. James Webb – 12.5% chance
4-5. Hillary Clinton – 11.25% chance
4-5. Katherine Sibelius – 11.25% chance
6. Mark Warner – 10% chance
7. Bill Richardson – 6.25% chance
8. Chuck Hagel – 3.75% chance

Chances of someone not named above – 15.625%


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