Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part, but I'm starting to believe that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is running for president as an independent. Whether it's the two-hour dinner with maverick Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (an ideal running mate), the national speaking engagements or the mayor's rumored $1,000,000,000 (that's a billion dollars) campaign budget, all the signs point to a Bloomberg candidacy.
But why would an avowedly objective journalist wish for Bloomberg to run for president? Because it would be great fun, of course.
First off, a three-way general election would be fascinating. Think of some of the matchups, which sound like creative names for ice cream flavors. Big Apple Brawl: Rudy, Bloomberg and Hillary. Bigot's Nightmare: Romney (a Mormon), Bloomberg (a Jew) and Obama (a black guy) or Hillary (a woman). You get the idea.
What might happen on Election Day is even more exciting to me: All three candidates win some electoral votes, causing none to win an outright majority.
The Founders, in all their inscrutable wisdom, decided that the U.S. House of Representatives, and only the House, should pick the president in this scenario. They also decided that, rather than have each representative count equally, each state's delegation would get one vote. Win 26 states and you win the presidency.
Right now, by my count, Democrats hold 26 state delegations and Republicans 24. However, it's the newly elected House that casts the vote for president, so it's impossible to know which party would have the edge in 2008.
Beyond that, it's not clear that all members of Congress would toe the party line in this vote. They might also take into account who carried their district, their state or the national popular vote. If all those competing considerations left the House hopelessly deadlocked, there'd be a ready-made compromise: President Bloomberg.
By the way, the Senate gets to pick the vice president and there each member gets one vote. That means the vice president doesn't have to be the running mate of the person the House picks for president. As I said, it's inscrutable wisdom at work.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.