The Phony Campaign

2019-02-03 Update

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This week we welcome newly-announced candidate Senator Cory "Spartacus" Booker to our phony standings. Our Betfair-based calculations show him with a 2.8% probability of being the next occupant of the White House.

The Betfair punters do not have an equally high faith in the odds of Howard "Starbucks" Schultz, who's "contemplating" running for president as an independent. Our calculations show him with a 0.8% shot, not near our 2% inclusion criterion. In comparison, Oprah Winfrey clocks in with a 0.9% probability. So sorry, Howard. Maybe next week. Or never. ("Does 'never' work for you?")

Biggest loser this week: Beto O'Rourke, whose 2020 fortunes are fading. Check out his probability drop below! When a CNN "analyst" says his road-trip adventure drips with white male privilege, that's a pretty clear signal that he's not passing some Identity Politics Purity Test, nickname notwithstanding.

On to our standings, which has Kamala Harris in a solid phony lead over Donald Trump for the third straight week. It's getting hard to pass this off as a Google glitch.

Candidate WinProb Change
Kamala Harris 15.2% +1.5% 17,700,000 +9,970,000
Donald Trump 29.6% +0.4% 2,480,000 -860,000
Nikki Haley 2.0% -0.6% 717,000 +19,000
Michael Bloomberg 2.5% -0.6% 625,000 +164,000
Beto O'Rourke 6.2% -3.2% 550,000 -252,000
Bernie Sanders 4.2% -0.6% 333,000 -9,000
Kirsten Gillibrand 2.6% unch 306,000 +28,000
Tulsi Gabbard 2.5% -0.8% 295,000 +29,000
Elizabeth Warren 3.8% -0.4% 213,000 +58,000
Joe Biden 8.0% -1.1% 186,000 +21,000
Sherrod Brown 3.3% +0.2% 176,000 -46,000
Mike Pence 2.9% +0.3% 145,000 +3,000
Amy Klobuchar 3.1% -1.7% 133,000 +14,000
Cory Booker 2.8% --- 90,700 ---

Standard disclaimer: Google result counts are bogus.

  • Scott Johnson of Power Line welcomes Senator Booker to the field: Spartacus jumps in.

    Senator Booker distinguished himself among the thuggish and theatrical Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a comic performance as “Spartacus.” Senator Booker should be better known for the fabrication of T-Bone, his imaginary friend.

    Unlike some of the other current and prospective candidates for president, he must know he’s a fraud. He cannot fake sincerity; he tries too hard. His entry into the Dems’ contest for the 2020 presidential nomination may be notable for the unintended entertainment value it offers by contrast with the candidacies of his Democratic competitors.

    Scott apparently thinks Cory is the especially phony candidate. Maybe. But from our observations, it's a tough competition on that score.

  • But if you're interested in Cory's past fantasies, Joe Seyton reminisces at Reason: Remember 'T-Bone,' Cory Booker's Imaginary Drug Dealer Friend?.

    But Booker's chances will no doubt be hurt by his penchant for grandstanding and embellishing the truth for rhetorical purposes. Take, for instance, his many references to "T-Bone," a drug dealer who Booker claimed to have been friends with. Various critics have questioned whether T-Bone is actually a real person, and Booker has never really provided a definitive response.

    Booker was talking about T-Bone at least as far back as 2000, when he gave an interview to Stanford Magazine. (Booker is a Stanford graduate.) "I still remember my first month on the street," Booker said, referring to the time in 1995 when he moved to a dangerous neighborhood in Newark. "I walked up to this charismatic black guy my age called T-Bone, who was one of the drug lords. I just said, 'Yo, man, wha's up?' And he leaped in front of me, looked me right in the eye and said, 'Who the blank do you think you are? If you ever so much as look at me again, I'm going to put a cap in your ass.'"

    Ah, I long for the days when pols could make up stories about their colorful and heroic past and not get caught.

  • At National Review, Jim Geraghty has a host of Spartacus stories: Cory Booker's 2020 Presidential Hopes Hinge on Bipartisanship. An Senate colleague is quoted anonymously:

    Once Booker entered the Senate, he got somewhat more predictable and partisan in his stances. A Republican senator once said to me, paraphrasing, that he actually liked working with Cory Booker on legislation because Booker wasn’t a partisan jerk. But in order to win the Democratic presidential nomination, Booker was going to have to act like a partisan jerk, and this Republican senator predicted that this wasn’t going to turn out well for him, because he believed that this would only make Booker come across as an inauthentic partisan jerk.

    Can't have that.

  • And about Kamala… Reason notes that Kamala Harris Hopes You'll Forget Her Record as a Drug Warrior and Draconian Prosecutor. You can watch the ReasonTV video right here (narrated by Katherine "Why Can't I Vote For Her For President" Mangu-Ward), or click through for the heavily-hyperlinked text version.

    As David Harsany pointed out a few days back: Kamala Harris Sounds A Lot Like An Authoritarian. As if anyone but a few libertarian souls care about that these days.