California Democratic Convention, Feb27|2016
If there's one
advantage to being totally unknown, it's that you can make outrageous
political predictions until the cow's come home and when you're wrong,
nobody notices. And, believe me, I've made my share of outrageous
political predictions that were wrong, and, sure enough nobody noticed
either the predictions or the cows. But the present outrageous
prediction is going to be spot on, and whether the cows come home or
whether they just stand around out in the pasture barfing up their cud and
chewing it, everybody's going to notice and I'm going to get to say the
most coveted four words in the English language: I told you so.
Surely when this binary feat of political clairvoyance gets the attention
it deserves, I will be booked onto
CNN, the Hannity Show, the O'Reilly Show, Meet the Press, and Dancing with
the Stars -- all in the same week!
Here's the prediction: John Kasich will
be the Republican nominee and Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee.
How wild is this double-barrelled
prediction? According to the prediction markets, it is bat-spit
crazy. Today PredictIt
shares for Kasich being the Republican nominee are trading for $.09 --
that is 4 cents less than Paul Ryan, who is not even in the race.
This means that for a 9-cent investment, they will pay you a buck if
Kaisch wins the nomination. IOW, it's 9:1 odds against Kaisch.
As far as Biden being the Democratic
nominee, he is not even on the PredictIt board -- you couldn't bet on him
if you wanted to. In statistical terms, the odds of both of these
predictions coming true are infinitesimal to nil, which is the definition
of bat-spit crazy.
But anyone can throw out a wacko, off-the-wall,
contrarian prediction. I'm actually going to explain the reasoning behind
tight, this is the hard part. Jeane Dixon never did this with her
wacko, off-the-wall, contrarian predictions. Neither does Nate
The Republican side
This part is fairly easy. Ted Cruz and Kasich
are in a very good position to block Donald Trump from racking up 50% of the
delegates needed to avoid a contested, or brokered, convention.
Unless Trump can pull off a blitzkrieg attack, the monkey-business ends and the two monkeys
in this circus-- Trump and Cruz -- will be left holding nothing more than bananas. The only viable candidate,
will be nominated because the party will have to choose the only candidate
with a chance of beating the Democrats.
Even though, for reasons discussed below, Hillary will
be long gone before the conventions begin, at present we have to look
at how all three Republicans left in the race hold up against her in order
to gauge how those three Republicans stack up against each other.
And the way they stack up according to Real
Clear Politics poll averages as of today (Mar31|16) is that Kasich
is the only one of the three who could defeat Hillary Clinton. Trump would lose by 11
points; Cruz by 3 points; Kasich would win by 7 points. And
that's pretty much the way it's been for the entire race, which is why
Kasich has hung on so doggedly.
As for beating Bernie Sanders, Real
Clear says none of these three Republicans can beat him, but Kasich comes
within only 2 points while Cruz and Trump are short by 10 and 17 points,
respectively. Again, this is not to say I think Sanders will be the
Democratic pick, I'm merely looking for a way to divine what the
Republican leaders will be thinking if there is a contested convention,
and what they will be thinking is that Kasich is in the best position to
win the White House relative to the other two.
Even though he has the best poll numbers
for taking on the Democrats, it still sounds crazy that Kasich would be
the nominee when as of today he has won a total of one primary out of 28
-- his home state of Ohio.
Here's the way Lisa Rose at CNN
Kasich is banking on the idea that the
delegates will embrace him as the most appealing candidate, even though
the Republicans in the voting booths thus far don't seem to be as
enthusiastic. Kasich's premise hinges on the delegates choosing him as a
unity candidate. Then, everyone hugs it out in Cleveland and the
Republicans take back the White House in 2017.
The Democratic side
In early February I
explained why it doesn't matter whether Hil gets busted or not,
she is, essentially, cooked meat, or at least her campaign is. I
won't go into those details here. But today that argument is 10x stronger than it was 6 weeks ago, what with 1)
Hil's IT guy Bryan
Pagliano having been given immunity, which almost certainly means he
is already talking to the grand jury, and 2) with the FBI
having notified Clinton's aides that they are next up for some
freaking hard questions. The FBI doesn't leak information that they
have put somewhere between 50
and 147 agents [ WaPo,
whose story changes by the minute] to work on an investigation against one
of the top-dog politicians in the country without an indictment coming out
of that investigation.
As I said in that previous post, the indictment
doesn't have to be against Clinton personally to sink her campaign. If
anyone on her team is indicted, it will not just stink up the bathroom, it
will not just stink up the house, it's going to
stink up the entire block and everybody will be moving as far away as
possible. I cannot see a single good outcome here for Hil's humble aspirations
of following her husband into the Oral Office. Even if Loretta Lynch were to
shut down the FBI investigation or evem if Barak Obama were to pardon Hil,
the stench would be so bad the Republicans would win virtually by default
regardless of who the Democratic candidate is. Unfortunately for Hil,
her stupidity and/or duplicity in shifting all of her government
electronic correspondence to her basement server has sealed her
fate. Everybody remembers Bill's lying and philandering; everybody
remembers Hil's Whitewater; everybody is sick and tired of the Clintons
and their perpetual dramas spawned by mendacity layered on self-promotion.
The democrats know all of this better than
I do. They are in nightmare mode at the moment. If Hil waits
until an indictment comes down to get out of the race, it may be too late
for the Democrats to get far enough away from the stink regardless of who
their nominee is, and yet Hil is not going to bail out until just before
the plane hits the ground and bursts into flames.
And that brings us to Bernie Sanders and
Sanders has to be kicking himself black and blue for his famous "I am
damn sick and tired of hearing about the Emails" comment.
Instead of implicitly supporting Hil's stupid, and quite possibly
felonious, mishandling of government documents, Sanders should be pounding Hil over her head with the Emails issue.
He should have grabbed the moral high ground, not just to get voters to
see Clinton for what she is, but also to put as much distance as possible between him and the
Clinton fiasco. Sanders is in the same position and playing the same
role as Al Gore during the 2000 election: two middling politicians
too intimidated or too cowardly to take a strong public moral stand
against the Clintons. It is too late now. Having supported Hil
in the Em scandal, Sanders has painted a huge target on his own back.
Imagine Sanders running for president because Hil got indicted -- the
Republican mantra would be "Why did you not speak out against her
And now you can see why Biden is looking
good. Awfully good. By stepping out of the race in October, he
has been hovering above the mud. He does not have to express an opinion on
Hil or sully himself with her troubles. He is able to campaign
without actually campaigning. If he didn't know from inside information
that there was trouble coming from the FBI for Hil, then at least he was
sharp enough to see that the chances were pretty good.
And if you think he stopped campaigning,
look at that photo at the top of this piece. It is a screen grab
from Biden's address to the California Democratic Convention in late
February -- 4 months after he "dropped out" of the
campaign. "Go Joe" and "Biden" signs filled the
convention hall. No "Hillary" signs. No
And if you take 60 minutes to listen to his
speech, what you will hear is the classic stump-speech. He was not
there to promote Democratic candidates for Congress, or Democratic
candidates for the White House. He barely even mentioned any of them
and none of their races. He was there to promote Joe Biden -- where
else would all of the Go Joe campaign signs have come from? Here are
some examples from his speech to illustrate my point. The
time-points refer to this
10:19 -- I remember well the mess we inherited when the president and I
took our hands off the Bible on that cold January day . . .
11:30 -- President and I went to work and saved America . . .
17:20 -- When Nancy, and Barak, and I were saving the country,
"we" cut the deficit by 2/3.
20:00 -- The goal that Barak and I so boldly stated when we ran in
'08 . . .
23:00 -- What Barak and I in our last two budgets are pushing . .
28:20 -- I was recently keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum with
over 2400 CEOs.
31:20 -- I was able to get Republicans to raise tax top 2%.
30:00 -- I've been talking about the middle class for my whole career.
33:18 -- President and I have proposed eliminating expenditures with no
34:00 -- President and I have been proposing free community college.
38:39 -- takes credit for attempts to increase child-care tax credit
44:00 -- I've traveled more than 1 million miles as vice president meeting
foreign leaders . . .
45:38 -- In 1974 I proposed a constitutional amendment to publicly fund
elections . . .
48:00 -- The usual sob story about his wife getting killed and how heroic he was to
go on and take the senate seat.
This is not a man no longer in the race
stumping for his party; it's a man stumping for himself and very much in
the race. In addition to the predominant use of the first-person
pronoun, you can tell what his real message is by the way he cashes in on
his personal tragedies to build up a reserve of empathy, not for his
party, but for himself. He brings up his dead son, he brings up his
dead wife and daughter to leverage their deaths into support for
I don't know of any other politician who
does that. You figure that there are 535 voting members of congress,
a president, and a vice-president, and among all of those politicians
there is a sub-set who have lost spouses, children, siblings in tragic
circumstances. You never hear about these tragedies, because to most
people it would be unthinkable to try and turn personal tragedy into
votes. But Biden is OK with using tragedy as a political tactic
because he is a politician right to the core.
And that is what makes him the Democratic
presidential candidate of choice in 2016 -- he is a politician and a
Democrat right to the core. Watch that February speech. It is
a masterpiece. The man is far and away the most polished and
effective speaker of anyone who is now or has ever been in this
race. He makes Trump look like a rhetorical nincompoop without once
mentioning him. He makes Sanders look like the bilious rumpled old man he
is without actually saying it. When Biden enters this race, if he
were to chose Elizabeth Warren as his running mate, they would crush any
team the Republicans could ever dream of. Even without Warren's
demotic support, the man would be, at this point, a breath of fresh air to
a public who has been over-dosed with strident wackos and their
snakebite-remedies. But he would have to get past the ideologue,
In 1968 Vice-President Hubert Humphrey did
not compete in any primaries, either. His tactic was to accumulate
delegates in caucus states that could be controlled by party leaders. When
Robert Kennedy, the Democratic leader, was taken out of the race by a
bullet, the party bosses, including Lyndon Johnson, were able to take
control of the delegates and insure that their man Humphrey beat the
remaining antiwar ideologues George McGovern and Eugene McCarthy, even
though going into the convention McCarthy had the most delegates and was
clearly the grass-roots favorite.
Now, 48 years later, I believe we will see
the 1968 scenario play out again: the sudden loss of the leading
Democratic candidate late in the race, at which time the vice-president
emerges from the wings and spoils the hopes of the second place candidate
and his faithful grass-roots supporters.
And so this idea that Biden is not out of
the race by a long shot is confirmed by the tone and tenor of his stump
speech in California late in February. And the idea that an
indictment is coming down against Hillary and/or her associates is not
just a wild guess, given the FBI's investment of resources and the way
they have handed out immunity to one of Hil's operatives who would have a
lot to talk about. If the idea of Biden ending up as the Democratic
nominee is daft, at least it's not as daft as the professional pundits'
reasons for why Biden left the race in October.
Oct21|15 wrote an article titled Why Biden was smart to drop out -- in
one single, solitary devastating, awesomely simple graph. That
super-graph -- or, rather, super-delegate graph -- reproduced below, shows
the endorsements Clinton, Biden, Sanders and O'Malley had received from "Democratic Governors, Senators, and
Members of Congress" as of October.
It's immediately obvious from the title of
the graph Sides is not entirely in touch with the American political
scene, for Senators are members of Congress. But never mind
the slight gaffe, the point Sides was so boldly making was that, based on
his metric, Hillary was so far ahead in the then nascent race that no one
could catch her. Biden was smart to call it quits. Remember
this was back in October, an eternity ago.
Today Sides' fawning shtick for Hillary
sounds a bit daft . . . at least as daft as my position that Biden is
still in this race. For if Sides' logic had been applied to Sanders,
who had even fewer endorsements than Biden, then Sanders didn't have a
chance either and should have left the race along with Biden, giving Hil
an early wrap on the Democratic nomination. But more to the point,
Hil's impressive early lead with the Democratic power-players won't mean
squat if Comey announces so much as a misdemeanor indictment against
anyone even vaguely close to the Clinton political influence peddling
It'll be Kasich v. Biden, irrespective of
whether or not the cows come home.
For an explanation of prediction markets
and how they differ from polls, here's Natalie Jackson's HuffPo
When Biden dropped out last October, Brett
Parker of The
Stanford Political Journal made comparisons between the Democrats
in 1968 and 2016.