The Phony Campaign

2018-12-16 Update

[phony baloney]

Last week, Hillary Clinton had dropped below our inclusion criterion (3% or better nomination probability according to Predictwise), and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, for some reason, (barely) met it. This week, the inverse happened: Hillary's back, Tom's gone. So: still 16 candidates, with a more partisan split: 10 donkeys, 6 elephants.

President Trump shed about 10% from his Google hits compared to last week, but he's still in a solid first place. Interestingly, his nomination probability dropped significantly, while Nikki Haley's increased.

(True fact: as I type, adding up the probabilities for all GOP candidates listed at Predictwise only gets you to 91%. I don't know whether this means you could make money arbitraging at a betting site, or if there's just a bug in converting betting odds into probabilities.)

Anyway, on to the phony results:

Candidate NomProb Change
Donald Trump 61% -6% 2,900,000 -310,000
Nikki Haley 9% +4% 1,370,000 +30,000
Hillary Clinton 3% --- 895,000 ---
Beto O'Rourke 19% +1% 840,000 +116,000
Kamala Harris 18% unch 572,000 -11,000
Sherrod Brown 3% -1% 474,000 +184,000
Bernie Sanders 8% +1% 283,000 +44,000
Mitt Romney 3% unch 226,000 +5,000
Paul Ryan 3% unch 203,000 +16,000
Joe Biden 10% +1% 202,000 -9,000
Mike Pence 8% unch 199,000 +34,000
Kirsten Gillibrand 3% -1% 186,000 -12,000
Elizabeth Warren 5% unch 169,000 -32,000
Amy Klobuchar 4% unch 91,500 +3,600
Cory Booker 5% +1% 61,400 -1,500
John Kasich 4% unch 58,700 -2,200

Standard disclaimer: Google result counts are bogus.

  • As a reminder of why President Trump consistently leads our phony poll, the New York Times reminisces: As the Trumps Dodged Taxes, Their Tenants Paid a Price. Specifically, decades back, renters in "unassuming red-brick buildings scattered across Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island" saw their rents go up! Why?

    As it turned out, a hidden scam lurked behind the mysterious increases. In October, a New York Times investigation into the origins of Mr. Trump’s wealth revealed, among its findings, that the future president and his siblings set up a phony business to pad the cost of nearly everything their father, the legendary builder Fred C. Trump, purchased for his buildings. The Trump children split that extra money.

    Ah, well, I can hardly get too exercised about an effort to evade onerous death taxes, especially one that escaped the eagle eyes of the IRS at the time. It's too bad that renters paid the price, but maybe they should be mad at a tax regime that penalizes people that have the poor judgment to die.

  • Since Hillary's back in our listing for now… At the Washington Times Monica Crowley churns out a column based on Hillary's offhand comment to an interviewer: 'Well, I'd like to be president'.

    There it is, in all of its elitism: She still wants to be president, of course. She just doesn’t want to have to go through the marathon pantomime again to get there. No more phony performances. No more kissing babies. No more greeting the factory swing shift in the middle of the night. No more pretending to enjoy corn dogs at the state fair. No more pretending to like normal Americans. No more selling her marriage as anything but a transactional relationship. She’s done with all that.

    And who can blame her? The woman has been faking it for nearly 50 years.

    Eh, it's not as if we'll be seeing a suddenly-authentic version of Hillary Clinton—version 5.0, would it be? I don't believe there's anything real at her core anymore; it would have long since shriveled and died.

  • Jim Treacher stands up and takes notice when Elizabeth Warren Finally Says Something True.

    There comes a time in every successful politician's life when he -- or she! -- needs to completely backpedal on a long-held assertion without ever admitting that he -- or she! -- was wrong. Either through willful dishonesty, reflexive self-delusion, or some combination of the two, the trick is to say the exact opposite of what you said before, without ever acknowledging the contradiction. It's really tricky, and political history is littered with poor chumps who couldn't get away with it. Some people are just better liars than others, whether by natural talent or decades of practice.

    Jim notes (quoting the Washington Examiner, which is quoting the WaPo, which is quoting Warren):

    “I’m not a person of color. And I haven’t lived your life or experienced anything like the subtle prejudice, or more overt harm, that you may have experienced just because of the color of your skin,” Warren said at Morgan State, a historically black college in Baltimore, Md, according to the Washington Post.

    Well, there you have it. Elizabeth Warren's truth, as of late 2018. We'll see if that holds through 2019. Or even the rest of 2018.

  • But Kevin D. Williamson demurs with Senator Warren's backtrack:

    As I have written before, this is not quite accurate. She is a person of color: Pantone 11-0602 TPX.

    I've helpfully added a link to the relevant Pantone page, but I bet you don't need it.

  • So, anyway, there's a lot of punditry to the effect that Warren's campaign—which, technically, doesn't even exist yet—isn't catching fire. At Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi says wait a minute: Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 Presidential Run Endangered by Media Coverage.

    (His subhed is kind of classic: "Sit back and watch how 2020 narratives “shift” after questions are “raised” by the very people writing stories about “raising questions”")

    The headline in the New York Times reads: “Sanders and Warren Meet and Agree: They Both Are Probably Running.”

    At first, the story about Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont reads like standard election news. Dig deeper, though, and you find signs of negative media campaigns already beginning in earnest. Over the past few weeks, multiple outlets have published negative pieces about Warren in particular, deploying coverage gimmicks used to disparage candidates early in presidential campaigns before.

    The gist of the new Times piece is that the Warren and Sanders, if they do run, “will not enjoy an easy path to the nomination.” Both are described as having political vulnerabilities that will force them to face questions or “concerns.” (This is code for, “they’ll get beat up by the media.”)

    OK, so Rolling Stone is probably not the best publication to whine about media dishonesty. Still, Taibbi isn't wrong to observe that MSM-pushed narratives can be self-perpetuating. And, in a word, phony.

  • As reported by Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, Senator K. Gillibrand: Say, there are a lot of white men running for President, aren't there?. From her CNN interview (as reported by the Hill):

    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said during a televised interview on Friday night that she was worried about a lack of diversity among top potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

    Gillibrand was asked by CNN’s Van Jones about a poll from the network released this week that found that the top three candidates for the Democratic nomination were white men.

    The poll showed former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) as the top three potential 2020 Democratic candidates.

    "In a party as diverse as ours, does it worry you to see the top three being white guys?" Jones asked Gillibrand, herself a potential presidential candidate, in front of the live audience.

    "Yes," Gillibrand responded.

    The CNN poll disagrees with Predictwise, which has Kamala Harris (a non-white non-guy) battling it out with Beto for the most-probably-nominated candidate.

    Which is probably equally meaningless at this point in the campaign; when I look four years back, the oddsmakers thought the favorite to win the 2016 GOP nomination was… Jeb Bush.