Picture this: It’s after midnight on election night and the familiar red-blue divide that defined the last two presidential elections has reared its head again. Barack Obama has held all of John Kerry’s 2004 states and John McCain has held all of George W. Bush’s – with two exceptions: Iowa and Colorado. One state – Virginia – has yet to go final, and with both candidates just short of the magic 270 electoral vote mark (Obama 268, McCain 257) the Old Dominion is set to pick the next president. Finally, somewhere around two A.M. the networks simultaneously strike up their we-are-about-project-a-state music and call it for…Michael Bloomberg. And with that the election is thrown to the House of Representatives for the first time since 1824.
O.K., so that’s not going to happen. But we can at least conjure such a bizarre scenario this afternoon thanks to the members of the Independent Green Party of Virginia, who for some reason have gone and gathered enough signatures to field Bloomberg, the arch-capitalist corporate titan, as their presidential candidate (and Ron Paul, a laissez faire devotee who disdains any and all environmental and consumer regulation, as their V.P. standard-bearer). As we learn from the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein (via TPM):
The “Indy Greens,” as they are known, still have a few more hoops to jump through before Bloomberg’s name will officially be put into the presidential queue. Some of them, according to state officials, are relatively minor matters, including getting the party’s electoral representatives to provide contact and home address information. Others are very much major, like seeing to it that Bloomberg doesn’t object and ask for his name to be removed.
The Indy Greens’ chairman told Stein that his part members had collected 700,000 petition signatures since January. It takes 10,000 signatures – with a minimum of 400 from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts) to qualify for the ballot), and apparently the 700,000 count includes those gathered for various other Green candidates in the state. Most interestingly, the chairman, Carey Campbell, acknowledged that Bloomberg may ask off the ballot, but said that: “We made a promise and we wanted to keep it and we have.” Whom this promise refers to is unclear.
Almost certainly, Bloomberg will ask off the ballot. There’s really nothing to gain for him by allowing his name to stay, and if the race ever were to be so close in Virginia that his votes determined the outcome (not entirely out of the question, given how consistently close Virginia’s polls have been), he’d gain an unwanted reputation as the Ralph Nader of 2008.
Still, it may be worth wondering: Are there any registered Greens in Virginia with the last name Sheekey?