Monday February 10, 2020 16:33

On the Eve of New Hampshire

It’s a weird race.

The dominant contenders for the Democratic nomination are three white guys: an angry old communist, a young gay socialist and a NeverTrump big city billionaire. Two are Jews, but not seriously enough to put Ilhan or Rashida off. Will one be our Disraeli?

The fierce old fella who handled Ukraine for Obama is beset by lying, dogface, pony soldiers as he staggers toward South Carolina. The nice, ex-boyfriend-funded lady is hanging by her fingernails while the frantic, many-planned woman has spiraled into a tie with delusional Hillary.

No one saw it coming last summer, but the next President will, for sure, be a man. And either white or orange. Unless it’s Oprah.

PredictIt helps me focus my opinions and the table below shows the relevant prices from that betting market – the amount to bet to win a dollar if the candidate is nominated -- as of Monday, February 10.

Bernie Sanders

45¢

Mike Bloomberg

23¢

Pete Buttigieg

16¢

Joe Biden

13¢

Amy Klobuchar

Liz Warren

Hillary Clinton

Months ago, the price for Hillary reached 9¢ and, thinking she must’ve hired Romanian bot farmers to drive the price up to an absurd level, I shorted her, betting that she would NOT be nominated. Money in the bank.

I shorted Biden during the Christmas break and doubled my bet just now. The campaign has worn Joe out and winning SC, if he does, will be a dead-cat bounce rather than a springboard to success. The absence of Obama’s endorsement had seemed significant, but he waited until June 2016 to endorse Hillary and I shouldn’t interpret silence as rejection. That aside, I've seen senescence and someone close to Joe should pull him out for his own sake. I don't care how many push-ups he can do.

Bloomberg scares me. I shorted him when a “yes” to win the nomination got up to 8¢ because I couldn’t believe Democrats would nominate a billionaire who had supported both W and stop-and-frisk, no matter what he says about it now. I'd thought he had no better chance at the Democratic nomination than JEB! But, holy smokes, Bloomberg's price has nearly tripled since then and maybe his hatred of Trump will mask all other sins. In any case I found myself unable to navigate the madness and covered the bet at a loss this morning. Politics is chaotic and, for all I know, Obama will endorse Klobuchar, she’ll name a black running mate, Mike will throw a billion dollars into her campaign and they'll win going away.

At the macro level, last year I bet that Trump would be nominated (at 72¢), would finish his first term (at 84¢) and would win the general election (at 41¢). I did worry about assassination but realized that Trump had courted the military and law enforcement assiduously enough that he probably wouldn’t be shot. Absent assassination or heart attack, the first two propositions always seemed like safe bets. Winning the general election was a long shot, but Trump was building a record and consolidating support among Republicans, which would give him advantages over ’16 when he was a risky unknown. The imponderable factor was the quality of the opponent he would face in '20. Hillary had massive vulnerabilities that the Democratic nominee in ’20 probably would not have, and a stronger Trump versus a stronger Democrat would make for an interesting contest. But Trump to win in '20 is now at 53 cents on PredictIt. Should I hold or cash out? I'm thinking "hold."

Congress is the other lever of power, of course, and here are the latest prices for the relevant propositions:

Democrats to control the House

71¢

Republicans to control the Senate

67¢

Republicans to control both chambers

34¢

So, bettors on PredictIt expect Republicans to keep the Senate. Control of the Senate is important because the Senate is a blocking institution on a par with Dickens' Office of Circumlocution. If a Democrat wins the White House and McConnell remains the Majority Leader, one wonders whether any new Justices would be confirmed before 2024. If Ginsburg departs (75 cents wins a dollar if she’s next to go) we might have lots and lots of 4-to-4 decisions with Roberts joining Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor. Depending on the exact composition of a Republican Senate and the size of the majority, the swing votes – Collins, Romney and Mikulski – would be in the catbird seat with respect to legislation generally, not just the confirmation of judges.

But what are the odds that the results from New Hampshire will reduce all of this analysis to smoking rubble? Stay tuned….

Read 128 times Last modified on Monday March 09, 2020 20:31

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