The Phony Campaign

2019-05-05 Update

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Hey, Happy Cinco de Mayo! An authentically phony holiday, very appropriate!

And, not that it matters, but it's been a source of campus friction at the University Near Here in the past. This year, as near as I can tell, there's been no outrage, no hectoring lectures about sombrero-wearing, no demands to only frequent authentic Hispanic-owned restaurants. At least for now.

Anyway, as for our regularly scheduled programming: it's slightly interesting that the Betfair punters have boosted Uncle Joe's odds over Bernie's. And, in phony hits, Mayor Pete is still well ahead of Donald Trump, but his lead is narrowing.

Amazingly, Elizabeth Warren continues to avoid sub-2% oblivion. I imagine Gabbard, Swalwell, Booker, Gillibrand, etc. calling her: "Join us, Liz! Join us in obscurity!".

Candidate WinProb Change
Pete Buttigieg 5.1% -1.4% 4,500,000 -3,000,000
Donald Trump 42.6% -1.1% 1,740,000 +50,000
Bernie Sanders 11.2% -1.5% 307,000 -24,000
Joe Biden 13.4% +2.3% 302,000 +69,000
Elizabeth Warren 3.3% +0.5% 196,000 +15,000
Kamala Harris 7.7% +1.2% 102,000 +21,500
Beto O'Rourke 3.3% +0.2% 79,600 +19,700
Andrew Yang 3.8% +0.5% 20,800 +3,200

"WinProb" calculation described here. Google result counts are bogus.

  • Ann Althouse has some interesting things to say about likability, commenting on an NYT article from Claire Bond Potter.

    Potter fails to make a serious attempt to understand what people who like Donald Trump like about him. She tosses out the Trump hater's aversive summary, "rambling and bullying." Potter purports to be interested in "reinvent[ing]" what likability is, but she never takes the trouble to consider the ways in which Donald Trump has reinvented likability. She does breeze through the historical example of Theodore Roosevelt, though she only looks at him second hand, letting us know how Dale Carnegie saw him — "naturally friendly."


    Now, Trump haters, think about Trump and why the people who like him like him, and think hard. Don't shield yourself from the truth by reflexively interposing Trump-hating ideas like "rambling and bullying." Trump stands up in front of crowds for an hour and more at a time and speaks directly, without a script. You get to see how his mind works. He's a real person. It's weird but it's natural— natural in some way that's available to a 70ish billionaire TV-and-real-estate man from New York City.

    Now, I don't find Trump likeable, but Ann is right that we should take seriously the people who do.

  • As is fitting for the new-front-runner-not-named-Trump, at NR Jim Geraghty profiles: Biden the Liar.

    A few days ago, Biden declared on The View, “We were asked, what are you proudest of from your administration? You know what I said — he said the same thing as I did. No one single whisper of scandal. That’s because of Barack Obama.”

    Perhaps Biden believes there was no whisper of scandal because there was so much shouting about veterans dying while waiting for care at the Department of Veterans Affairs; the “Fast and Furious” gunwalking operation at the ATF; the dysfunctional launch of; the Syrian “red line”; Benghazi; the hacking of Office of Personnel Management records; the IRS targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups; other government agencies harassing and targeting the president’s critics; drunkenness and reckless behavior at the U.S. Secret Service . . .

    Of course, the MSM "fact checkers" don't examine Biden with the same level of scrutiny as they do Trump. That would inconvenience the narrative.

  • I know you're out there wondering: how do we get Bernie. I know I am. Fortunately, Robert Tracinski of the Bulwark is here to tell us: This Is How You Get Bernie.

    I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter recently about Democrats being uncomfortable with Bernie Sanders now that he is emerging as the front-runner early in the campaign. In the New York Times, Thomas Edsall quotes one center-left economist declaring that Sanders’ “economists don’t understand basic economics. They are not just dangerous, they are clueless.” Others worry that Sanders proposes solutions “from the heart and not the head” and that his platform is “chock full of fuzzy math and wishful thinking.” They are worried that he is too radical and too crazy, that he might not be electable, and worse, that they themselves might not want him to be elected.

    Robert thinks the non-Berniecrats may be doomed to repeat the history of the #NeverTrump movement. Yeah, well, maybe.

  • As NR's Jim Geraghty (again, sorry) points out Life Is Rough for Lesser-Known 2020 Democratic Candidates. Specifically,…

    Gillbrand is now in the “Throw everything against the wall and see what sticks” stage, unveiling a cockamamie plan “to give every voter up to $600 in what she calls ‘Democracy Dollars’ that they can donate to federal candidates for office.” Yes, she wants to take your tax dollars, give you $600 back, and then allow you to donate that money to political candidates like her.

    Her plan is spectacularly contradictory: “The money could go only to elections in the donor’s state, although they could be used for House candidates outside the voter’s district.” Apparently it’s somehow unethical to donate to candidates in another state, but not in another congressional district.

    Gillibrand based her plan on a program enacted in Seattle in 2017, which gave four $25 Democracy Vouchers to every Seattle resident for use in two at-large city council races and the contest for city attorney. Advocates for the program celebrated the fact that more than 18,000 Seattle residents used the vouchers. Less celebrated was the fact that this number represented less than four percent of eligible residents; more than 96 percent of Seattle residents ignored the program.

    "Let me get this straight, Kirsten: you want to make it easier for candidates to call me at dinnertime with push-polls, and to carpet-bomb my TV with intelligence-insulting ads? I'm sold, were do I sign up?"

  • You'll note that Beto! is currently given a 3.3% shot at being President. Back on March 24 he was at 10.0%! Wha' hoppen? According to Margaret Carlson in the Daily Beast, it's pretty simple: Beto O’Rourke Blew It.

    According to my unscientific poll asking every woman I see, Beto reminds them of the worst boyfriend they ever had: self-involved, convinced of his own charm, chronically late if he shows up at all, worth a meal or two but definitely not marriage material. When he should be home with the kids or taking out the trash, he’s jamming with his garage band or skateboarding at Whataburger. He’s “in and out of a funk” which requires long and meaningful runs to clear his head. Every thought he has is transcendent, worthy of being narrated, videotaped, and blogged. He is always out finding himself. At age 46, the man asking to run the country is currently lost.

    Of course, nobody in the MSM mentioned this sort of thing when he was running against Ted Cruz last year. Even though it was all apparent at the time. Do you really need to ask why?