Did Mike Bloomberg Shed a Tear Tonight?

You can bet Mike Bloomberg’s TV was on tonight, and I doubt he liked what he saw. Bloomberg—and the rest of the third-party potentials—can’t be happy that Barack Obama turned out so many independent voters in Iowa.

Obviously, the independents only turned out in Iowa. New Hampshire has a much prouder tradition of independents, and the real test for Obama is getting a convincing majority to caucus vote* for him rather than McCain. But Iowa could be the first sign in a nationwide trend of Obama-independents. If that’s the case, third-party candidates are screwed (besides a possible Ron Paul bid).

Third parties do well when independents are disillusioned with polarized politics and want a middle ground. It seems independents think Obama occupies that territory, and Huckabee spoke like he wanted to in his victory speech.

Also of note, with Bloomberg, Clinton, and Giuliani all weakened, the 2008 presidential race no longer runs through New York.

UPDATE Jan. 7: A reader politely informed us that New Hampshire residents don’t caucus; they vote.