A “Bloomberg Republican” is a Democrat who runs as a Republican because it gives him an easier path to the general election. I coined the term based on Michael Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat who ran for Mayor of New York City as a Republican in 2001. Incumbent Mayor Rudy Giuliani was leaving due to term limits and the Republican primary offered an easier path to the general election, and ultimate victory, than entering a crowded Democrat primary field that ultimately failed to produce a winner requiring a primary runoff election. Bloomberg eventually left the Republican party, which he was never a part of philosophically, over policy differences–not surprising for a previously lifelong Democrat–and ran for reelection as an independent.
There are a lot of theories about the motives and intentions of Presidential hopeful (or noisemaker), real estate mogul, and reality TV star Donald Trump. Trump, formerly a registered Democrat, is indicating that he will run as a Republican. Theories range from relatively innocuous (a publicity stunt to promote The Apprentice) to straight-forward (frustration with Obama and Democrats) to conspiratorial (an orchestrated effort by pro-Obama forces to discredit and/or sabotage the Republican nomination process). He has stated that he will make an announcement in the Finale of The Apprentice (maybe he’ll look into the camera and say “Mr. Obama, you’re fired!”). On the other hand, there are reasons to believe he’s serious about running; he’s certainly got the ego for it. I don’t pretend to know the answer, but I’d like to toss out another theory that I find far more plausible than conspiracy theories–Donald Trump is another Bloomberg Republican. In other words, he wants to challenge Mr. Obama because he’s dissatisfied with administration, but doesn’t want to launch a primary challenge against an incumbent.
Primary challenges to sitting Presidents are virtually guaranteed to fail. Lyndon Johnson withdrew from the 1968 primaries after the first primaries made it apparent that he would not win, but I believe this may be the sole exception. Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush successfully overcame primary challenges by Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, and Pat Buchanan, respectively, only to lose the general election. I don’t think anyone ever took Buchanan seriously, but Reagan, the governor of California, and Kennedy, U.S. Senator and political icon in a de facto “royal” family, were serious challengers. Even Reagan couldn’t defeat Ford despite the fact that Ford was a weak President who was appointed Vice President after his predecessor was forced to resign and who only became President because Nixon resigned rather than be impeached and removed from office over Watergate. This shows that a primary challenge would almost certainly fail and hand the Oval Office to the Republicans. Looking at history, Mr. Trump could very well have concluded that the easiest way, perhaps the only way, for him to take the White House in 2012 is as a Republican.
I’m not saying this is the case. I’m not even sure whether I believe it’s the most likely explanation. I just think it’s an interesting possibility. It’s consistent with Trump’s history as a registered Democrat and a frequent contributor to Democrat candidates. It doesn’t require any wacko conspiracy theory. It’s based on a reasonable and logical assessment of the problems that would be faced by a Democrat challenger to the President. Who knows, it might even be right.