Friday, June 01, 2018

Is it too soon to gamble on 2020?

It is, but Ted and I are going to do so anyway.  (Scroll down to the comments.)

Terms of the wager are at the end of this post, and Ted will have to agree to them, so before we get there, let's set the stage here 29 months prior to the national decision, and perhaps two years or less before our bet is settled.

Ted's already in the tank for Joe "No Back Seat Progressive" Biden, on the basis of the poll Matthew Rozsa at Salon mentions in this spin piece for Bernie Sanders.  Ted blogged that poll; it shows Biden leading in early preferences for 2020 but I grew wearisome of looking for it to link here.  Rozsa -- an unreliable opiner IMO since he believes all of Jill Stein's votes belonged to Hillary Clinton in 2016 -- buried the Biden lede.

When asked on the C-SPAN program "Washington Journal" on Tuesday about whether voters would have another chance to cast their ballots for Sanders, (former Sanders presidential campaign manager Jeff) Weaver deflected the question but definitely didn't say no.

"Voters in Vermont certainly will, coming up in November," Weaver said. (Sanders is up for re-election to the Senate this year and is likely to face little or no serious opposition.) "Nationally, you know, he is considering another run for the presidency. When the time comes, I think we’ll have an answer to that, but right now, he’s still considering it."

The former campaign manager later told USA Today that what motivates him "is the desire to have a new president in the White House -- and a heavy consideration is, who is the best person to beat Trump in 2020.'"

He added, "Bernie is the person best positioned to defeat Trump in 2020. That's my personal view. He brings a lot of new voters into the process. He is also incredibly strong with independent voters."

Weaver's sense about Sanders' chances is certainly backed up by recent surveys on the 2020 election. A CNN poll from March found that 76 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents were very likely or somewhat likely to support Sanders if he ran in 2020, putting him close to the lead among Democratic prospects. He was surpassed only by former Vice President Joe Biden (84 percent) and followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (68 percent), Sen. Kamala Harris of California (53 percent), Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey (50 percent) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (47 percent).

Joe is just a tad younger than Bernie; either would be by far the oldest man ever elected president.  For perspective, Sanders would be 79 in 2020; Biden would turn 78 shortly after the election.  The current longevity record is held by Trump, who was 70 in 2016 (that's what a bad diet and no exercise looks like), and Ronald Reagan completed his second term in office at age 77.

Before we get to gender and race concerns -- will America elect another old white guy two years from now? -- let's note that Elizabeth Warren has emphatically rejected a bid for the White House in 2020.  Ted doesn't believe her, though.  I think Republicans would gleefully traduce her with the Pocahontas smear, something she is working to overcome.  But lies this malicious die hard; just ask Wendy Davis.  My HO is that Warren could be somebody's running mate in 2020, but likely not Sanders' or Biden's.  Too much white, too much New England.

As the wave of successes experienced by female Democrats in the 2018 midterm election cycle demonstrates, this is an extraordinary period for women in politics. In the wake of Hillary Clinton's agonizing defeat, many Democratic voters will be eager for a female candidate, which could make both Harris and Gillibrand major contenders. Both have worked to shed their more moderate images and have moved toward the party's progressive wing on a whole range of issues.

Harris checks all the identity politics boxes, but the progressive wing won't tolerate her law enforcement background nor her pandering to Clinton's funders.  Gillibrand could be the woman's choice, as her voice has been loudest w/r/t to the #MeToo caucus.  Both Al Franken and more recently Bill Clinton have felt her wrath.

This is your friendly reminder that the Clintons are toxic to Democrats' electoral fortunes in 2020.  If no one convinces them to take their retirement from politics, then a nominee connected to them is DOA.  You don't agree?  It's already happening in the midterms.  With nothing for the GOP to run on, all they have are the tried and true attacks.  The same holds for an Obama alumnus like Biden, Eric Holder, or Julian Castro.  The Obama presidency will be relitigated to a significant degree anyway by Trump's re-election campaign.  I see no point in giving them extra ammunition.  YMMV.

Since I've tipped longshots Holder and Castro ...

Finally, it is hardly unknown for a dark horse candidate to emerge in the final months before the primaries kick off, who winds up taking the field by surprise. There hasn't been a total shocker in American politics since perhaps Jimmy Carter's unexpected run for the Democratic nomination in 1976, but it's fair to say that relatively few voters had heard of Barack Obama in 2005 -- and for that matter, most Democratic Party insiders initially viewed Sanders' 2016 campaign as a harmless act of resistance. Indeed, the fact that the 2020 field appears so unsettled suggests that the situation is ripe for precisely such an unknown quantity.

That said, Sanders has one factor working for him that none of his prospective alternatives can claim. He has managed to marshal a loyal army of progressive activists who stand for principles of social and economic justice that had seemingly been abandoned by the Democratic Party since the Bill Clinton years. Many of Sanders' followers will support no one else -- unless and until he tells them too. That alone will make Sanders a formidable opponent for any and all Democrats who are considering taking him on.

Biden has serious, serious baggage with women and people of color.  Sanders has already been vetted in both regards (doubtful his old essay nor his association with Killer Mike and many others was good enough for the StillHerz, but that's a digression).  Democrats still soaking their hemorrhoids over Sanders and his 2016 run would be making a tremendous mistake in selecting the affable yet goofy and somewhat creepy (the author and source are right-wing freaky, but the article, links, and quotes speak for themselves) former vice president just to spite progressives.  Bernie also has the favor of millennials, aka the future of the Democratic Party ... if there is to be one.  A younger, female, person of color -- I'd be compelled to give front-runner status to Kamala Harris, misgivings referenced above to the side -- as his running mate should be enough to quiet the ageists in the chattering class, as well those horrified by the notion of a democratic socialist nominee.

Thus we get to the crux of my offer to Ted: Bernie Sanders, by the premises outlined above, has to be, needs to be, must be, and I contend will be the Democratic nominee for President in 2020.  I think he's the only Democrat that can defeat Trump, and the evidence lies in places like West Virginia and the candidacy of Richard Ojeda, who supported Bernie in the primary but Trump in the general.  You may know a local blogger who did the same thing.  They were not outliers.

All else by the Dems is folly.  I think -- despite the fact they have let me down time and again with respect to their support for progressive candidates, most recently a couple of weeks ago -- that even Texas Democrats will come around to this conclusion.  Frankly, that's a much steeper trust incline for me than losing a handful of samolians to Ted on "not-Bernie".

(If you're capable of blaming everybody but yourself -- like nasty, ignorant Moni at Transgriot -- for Hillary Clinton losing those three Midwestern, union-heavy states, then you probably can't believe that Bernie Sanders would have won them.  Which would make you, like her, irredeemable.  This post is not for your, plural, consumption.)

I've given Ted the most favorable terms; Sanders will be the nominee.  He says, as you can read in the comments at the top, "NEVER".  That's pretty absolute; I would imagine he has reasons for feeling so certain about it.  But that certainty, combined with so many of the uncontrollable and unforeseeable variables at play this far out -- sort of like a bet on who wins the Super Bowl, except in this case the season after next -- means Ted will have to give me 20-1 odds on the $50 bucks I will send him by his method of choice; PayPal or Western Union or whatever, as soon as he tells me.

That would be a grand from you if I'm right and you're wrong, Ted.  Even the Houston Texans are 18-1 to win the Supe next January.  Those are terrific odds (and you can believe I'm already in on that).  Your Cowboys are 20-1, and those are probably lousy chances.

Naturally, if Sanders decides not to bid for the presidency next year, the deal is off.  A couple of other conditions you would need to accept ...

-- No cheating.  If the DNC -- to use one example -- is only so much as accused of the kind of dirty tricks they pulled in 2016 on the Sanders campaign, our wager is voided and Ted is to return my money immediately.

-- I consent to (what I consider to be) unfair groundrules, such as superdelegates not voting the will of their states, as part of the judgement left to the referees and umpires, so to speak.  Rules is rules; cheating is cheating.  We can hash out other scenarios that might nullify our bet as they arise if either of us chooses, at any time.

After Ted agrees ... does anybody else want to get in on this action?


Gadfly said...

Hellz yes I want in on that bet and just told Ted so, along with telling him, as you did, that Bernie's a real Dem.

On the age issue, totally with you, and wrote about that shortly after the 2016 dust settled. Either Bernie or Biden would be older in 2020 than the Schmuck Talk Express was in 2008. As old as Reagan was when his second term ended.

On superdelegates, the Snooze's Leubsdorf just had a column defending them the other day. Funny how, even with Trump, nobody in the GOP is calling for superdels.

Gadfly said...

Additional re Ted — as another secularist, that he stuck by Hillz even with the DNC wanting to smear Sanders in the south as an atheist, which he ain't ... is, what, a "tell"? A tell that he's locked into DNC talking points, period.

Ted McLaughlin said...

So, I'm supposed to bet $1000 to win $50? No way.

PDiddie said...

So ... not that confident about "Never", eh? LOL

I thought you'd see this as an easy 50 clams, Ted. Care to counter or are we done with this charade of yours?

Ted McLaughlin said...

You were the one so sure your candidate would win. I don't have a candidate yet. I just think there's too many Democrats angry with Bernie for him to win. How about keeping it simple. If Bernie wins, I pay you $40. If he loses, you pay me $40. If he doesn't run, the bet is off. Remember, I'm a retired guy living on a small fixed income.

PDiddie said...

You were the one so sure your candidate would win.

'Am', not 'were'.

I don't have a candidate yet.

I could believe that if you didn't pimp Creepy Uncle Joe every other day.

I just think there's too many Democrats angry with Bernie for him to win.

This is the first thing you've written that I agree with. But perhaps you should be reading Kuff, or the little old lady at the Beauty Shop more often. She says that's fake news. And she and her husband are TDP officials (or used to be; certainly better connected than you or I).

I think Democrats -- like you, for example -- are indeed carrying an unreasonable and unhealthy amount of bitterness toward the most popular politician in the country. So I think you've a point. You may even be correct. Which is why the odds should be in my favor.

How about keeping it simple. If Bernie wins, I pay you $40. If he loses, you pay me $40. If he doesn't run, the bet is off. Remember, I'm a retired guy living on a small fixed income.

Ted, I suppose you don't know this about me: I'm a player. But instead of bragging, let me just say that the only way you'll get even money is to pick a horse. My horse against the field rates no less than 7-1, which I can get right now across the pond.

I should get half that, 3-1, to make this H2H worth my money. But because, you know, you're a low-roller on a pension ...

Here's simple: You take Biden -- who's leading in the poll cited, whom (you have already blogged this) you think would defeat Sanders head-to-head in a polling matchup ... I'll take Bernie and we're on. Same restrictions apply. For the D nomination in 2020. And no money changes hands until that is determined. You good to go now?

Ted McLaughlin said...

You may be a high-roller, but I'm not. Let me know when you're ready to be reasonable.

Gadfly said...

P-man, you're saying Biden vs. Bernie, straight up odds, but the previous caveats, like excluding superdelegates? I'm down for that one, too.

And, Ted, while you're here, feel free to answer my second comment, about the DNC considering violating at least the spirit of the First Amendment, and the body of the Constitution's "no religious test for office."

PDiddie said...

Ted: If I want to donate money to a worthy cause, it would be Puerto Rico and not you. There is nothing unreasonable about a straight-up, head to head bet as I proposed.

You're just too chickenshit to take Biden, I guess.

Gadfly: I wasn't excluding superdelegates in the first offer to Ted.

Gadfly said...

Ahh, i thought you were originally excluding superdels on the first offer. If you weren't, and Ted still thinks that's unfair?