Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ross's Revenge: The Bloombergining

So question for the assembled: who would be hurt more by a Michael Bloomberg third party Perot run, the GOP or the Dems?

Michael R. Bloomberg has instructed advisers to draw up plans for an independent campaign in this year’s presidential race. His advisers said he is galled by Donald J. Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side.

Mr. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, has in the past contemplated running for the White House on a third-party ticket, but always concluded he could not win. A confluence of unlikely events in the 2016 election, however, has given new impetus to his presidential aspirations.

Mr. Bloomberg, 73, has already taken concrete steps toward a possible campaign, and has indicated to friends and allies that he would be willing to spend at least $1 billion of his fortune on it, according to people briefed on his deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss his plans. He has set a deadline for making a final decision in early March, the latest point at which advisers believe Mr. Bloomberg could enter the race and still qualify to appear as an independent candidate on the ballot in all 50 states.

He has retained a consultant to help him explore getting his name on those ballots, and his aides have done a detailed study of past third-party bids. Mr. Bloomberg commissioned a poll in December to see how he might fare against Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, and he intends to conduct another round of polling after the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9 to gauge whether there is indeed an opening for him, according to two people familiar with his intentions.

Mr. Bloomberg’s aides have sketched out one version of a campaign plan that would have the former mayor, a low-key and cerebral personality, deliver a series of detailed policy speeches, backed by an intense television advertising campaign that would introduce him to voters around the country as a technocratic problem-solver and self-made businessman who understands the economy and who built a bipartisan administration in New York.

On the surface, I would think that Bloomberg would run as a gun-control, abortion-friendly moderate Republican, but I really can't decide if that would draw off more Stepford Wives Republicans sick of Trump/Cruz, or Lefty Dudebro Dems who hate Hillary and are eyeing Trump because of his billionaire status.

The Bloomberg numbers could change wildly if Cruz or Sanders are candidates rather than Clinton or Trump, too.  I dunno.

I know the last time this happened back in '92, Democrats won pretty handily, but that was against incumbent Poppy Bush, and both parties lost millions of votes to Ross Perot, Clinton just lost fewer.

Poppy's numbers were about where Obama's are now, upper 40's/low 50's too.  I don't know, I'd need more data.  My gut tells me Bloomberg would split the "time for a change from the Democrats" vote and Hillary would win, but I dunno if that would happen.

What say you guys?

The Academy Learns A Lesson

With the massive #OscarsSoWhite backlash against the Academy Awards for a second straight year without a single person of color nominated for a major acting or directing category, and high-profile actors like Jada Pinkett Smith, her husband Will Smith, and Mark Ruffalo calling the Academy out, the organization is moving quickly to repair its less than golden image.

The organization that hands out Hollywood’s highest honors, reacting to criticism of its all-white slate of Oscar acting nominees this year, is taking steps to improve the diversity of its membership, including curtailing the voting rights of inactive participants.

The goal is to double the number of women and minorities who are members by 2020, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said Friday in an e-mailed statement. The organization plans to add three new governors to its board immediately.

The absence of a minority nominee for a second-straight year, especially after critically acclaimed performances by Will Smith in “Concussion” and Idris Elba in “Beasts of No Nation,” has sparked renewed calls for change and revived the Twitter hashtag #Oscarssowhite. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is black, promised there would be changes after the nominations were announced on Jan. 14.

“One good step in a long, complicated journey for people of color + women artists,” Ava DuVernay, who directed “Selma,” said on Twitter after the announcement. “Shame is a helluva motivator.”

Starting this year, each new member’s voting status will last 10 years, and will be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade, the academy said. Lifetime voting rights will be bestowed on individuals after three 10-year terms, or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award. 

April Reign, who has done an amazing job for a second year with #OscarsSoWhite, has gotten a lot of press over this and has really been an excellent voice for people of color concerning the movement.  She's pretty pleased with the results:

I’m very encouraged. I think that the changes that will be made will make a significant difference. I appreciate the fact that the vote was unanimous, which indicates to me that the academy is serious about making the organization more inclusive and more diverse. I’ve spoken about my concern that some of the older academy members still have a vote even though they aren’t active in the film industry and that appears to be addressed.

The fact that they will be proactively looking for more diverse members is [also] exciting.

And the lesson:

Never say it’s just Twitter or that social media can’t change things, because I think we’re seeing it. My words and the words of so many seem to have resonated with the academy. There were thousands of people using the hashtag. I think this is a really good start toward systemic change with respect to the academy.

It's one the Academy is learning the hard way this weekend.
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