The Phony Campaign

2019-01-27 Update

[Amazon Link]

For the past few weeks, in order to find "credible" candidates (i.e., not Caroline Kennedy), we looked at the combinined Democrat and Republican "nomination probability" tables found at Predictwise; in order to qualify for phony analysis, they had to crack 3% probability there.

This week, we're switching over to the Next President horserace table at British betting site Betfair. Computing probabilities from the "decimal odds" shown at Betfair depends on slightly arbitrary decisions. For our level of betting expertise (i.e., none at all), we're going (more or less) with the method described at, a fun site run by Maxim Lott and John Stossel: 100 times the average of the reciprocals of the "Back all" and "Lay all" Betfair odds… and then dinking things a bit if there's too big a spread between the Back and Lay odds, evidence of a too-thin market for that candidate.

[Clarification added 2019-03-24: if the difference between "Back All" and "Lay All" prices is over 10%, we just use 100 times the reciprocal of the "Back All" price. If that produces a probability over 50%, we use 100 times the reciprocal of the "Lay All" price.]

And finally: our arbitrary inclusion criterion is that this calculated probability has to be 2% or higher. [And (2019-03-24): the "Lay All" price has to be less than 900; otherwise, it's a signal that the market is too thin.]

So what does this give us? Compared to last week, we drop Mitt Romney, John Kasich, and Cory Booker; we add in Tulsi Gabbard and Michael Bloomberg. And then proceed as usual, looking for Google hits for their name combined with "phony".

And this week, Senator Kamala continues to hold onto her impressive lead over President Bonespurs. Could her phony lead be for real… er, whatever that means? We'll see.

And with respect to our Amazon Product du Jour: the surefire strategy for Winning at Betfair is: avoid gambling. I provide this tip to both dummies and non-dummies, but especially dummies, for $0.00.

Candidate WinProb Phony
Kamala Harris 13.7% 7,730,000 +1,980,000
Donald Trump 29.2% 3,340,000 +1,120,000
Beto O'Rourke 9.5% 802,000 -288,000
Nikki Haley 2.6% 698,000 -95,000
Michael Bloomberg 3.1% 461,000 ---
Bernie Sanders 4.8% 342,000 +139,000
Kirsten Gillibrand 2.6% 278,000 -37,000
Tulsi Gabbard 3.3% 266,000 ---
Sherrod Brown 3.1% 222,000 -189,000
Joe Biden 9.1% 165,000 -16,000
Elizabeth Warren 4.2% 155,000 -9,000
Mike Pence 2.6% 142,000 +11,000
Amy Klobuchar 4.8% 119,000 +23,500

Standard disclaimer: Google result counts are bogus.

(Since this is a new probability calculation, we don't show the change from last week. That column should return next week.)

  • At his blog, Daniel Greenfield attempts to answer a question you might think everyone's answered to their own satisfaction by now: Why No One Likes Elizabeth Warren.

    Elizabeth Warren is Hillary Clinton reborn, and they’re both unlikable, because they’re both inauthentic scolds who suffer from hall monitor syndrome. They spent their entire lives breaking every rule they could find while awkwardly fantasizing about running every tiny detail of everyone else’s lives.

    Warren and Clinton are both unlikable because you can’t picture either one having any fun. When they boast about carrying hot sauce in their purses or drink beers on livestream, you roll your eyes.

    An inability to have fun is a forgivable sin. Joyless people power professions from TSA night shifts to laundromat sock inspectors. But combine that with an obsessive need to monitor, regulate and eradicate other people’s fun, and you have the miserable essence of the progressive movement.

    A scold.

    Scolds come in both sexes. America’s greatest scold is the eight-richest man in America who spends half his time trying to force people to drink smaller sodas. That’s why nobody liked Michael Bloomberg when he was trying to ban salt and jaywalking in New York City. It’s why not even Elizabeth Warren voters will vote for him even if he drops his threatened $100 million to come in 32nd in the 2020 Dem primaries.

    Scolds are awkward and arrogant. They’ve spent a lifetime navigating the system, but never learned to fake plausible human emotions. They stay up nights afraid that somebody, somewhere is having fun. The only game they know is bureaucracy, and they play it to get the nicest office chairs and ruin the most people’s lives. In Colonial America, scolds burned witches. In modern times, they wipe out lives.

    That's a long excerpt, but the whole thing is perceptive and (as usual) I encourage you to RTWT.

  • I assume that Michael Bloomberg has been given relatively decent odds of winning because he could run as an independent, and finance his campaign by thoroughly checking his sofa for loose change. And there's a good chance both major parties could repeat 2016 and nominate candidates that are easy to despise.

    I'm not a fan, roughly for the same reason that Reason had him in first place in its 2013 article 45 Enemies of Freedom. He hasn't changed his spots.

    But for a more current take, we have Kevin D. Williamson at National Review, who finds it more likely, and desirable, that EoF#1 Bloomberg run as a D: Michael Bloomberg 2020: Why Not?.

    It is difficult not to think of Bloomberg as the responsible adult in the likely 2020 field. Sure, he’s a neurotic nanny who obsesses about salt and soda; Kamala Harris is a two-bit totalitarian who abused her legal powers as attorney general of California in a naked bid to intimidate her political enemies — until the Supreme Court made her knock it off. Elizabeth Warren is a scheming opportunist who spent years doing a pretty good Lou Dobbs impersonation until she scented an opening in the Occupy Wall Street lane. Bernie Sanders has gone from bonkers and fresh to bonkers and stale. Julián Castro didn’t even have the guts to challenge Ted Cruz, who almost lost his Senate race to Tracy Flick in drag. Tulsi Gabbard is going to spend the entire race trying to explain away the fact that she used to be to the right of Dick Cheney on gay rights, and Kirsten Gillibrand will spend it explaining away the fact that she used to be to the right of Marco Rubio on immigration and a few other issues. Richard Ojeda, a.k.a. “Who?”, is running for vice president at most. Cory Booker is a fundamentally unserious man.

    What do I know? It could happen, although if Democrats were in the mood to nominate the "responsible adult", they would… I dunno, exhume Adlai Stevenson?

  • Also at NR, Jim Geraghty provides us with Twenty Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Amy Klobuchar. Lest you think she's aloof to corporate interests:

    Nine: In her 2006 campaign for Senate, she ripped her opponent, Representative Mark Kennedy, for voting for earmarks, listing “the bridges to nowhere, the rain forest in Iowa, the waterless urinals in Michigan” and pledging to cut them. In an analysis of congressional earmarks, found that Klobuchar sponsored or co-sponsored 103 earmarks totaling $200 million in fiscal year 2008, 88 earmarks totaling $133 million in fiscal year 2009, and 88 earmarks totaling $117 million in fiscal year 2010. This put her in the top third in the U.S. Senate in the first year and in middle of the pack the following years.

    The earmarks included $89 million for light-rail projects over the three-year period, $1.6 million in defense appropriations bill for a “Tire to Track Transformer System for Light Vehicles” from Mattracks Inc. of Karlstad, Minn., and several multimillion-dollar earmarks for plasma sterilizer from Minneapolis-based Phygen Inc.

    If you're gonna buy plasma sterlizer, make sure it's Minnesota plasma sterilizer.

  • And this Tweet from Thaddeus Russell notes the Sudden Conversion of Joe Biden…

    Give him a break, he probably didn't write that book. And, even if he did, at his age (76) I've heard it's really easy to forget what you did five minutes ago, let alone last year.

Last Modified 2019-10-16 10:07 AM EDT