The Phony Campaign

2019-05-26 Update

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Once again, no changes to our phony lineup this week. Although: Tulsi Gabbard has received some betting support at Betfair recently, making her the most likely to break our 2% "credible candidate" threshold. I imagine her new slogan ("Easier to pronounce than 'Buttigieg'") has won her some new adherents. Beto! appears to be the most likely to disappear.

Among the major candidates: Trump's win-probability improved a tad, creeping ever-closer to "even money" status. Biden faded a bit.

And phony-wise: Buttigieg remains in the lead, but by a much narrower margin over Trump this week.

Candidate WinProb Change
Pete Buttigieg 4.9% +0.9% 4,900,000 -3,850,000
Donald Trump 46.9% +1.2% 2,360,000 +580,000
Bernie Sanders 9.5% +0.2% 407,000 +17,000
Joe Biden 14.1% -1.8% 313,000 +43,000
Elizabeth Warren 3.7% -0.6% 279,000 +63,000
Kamala Harris 6.5% -0.2% 93,900 -3,300
Beto O'Rourke 2.4% -0.1% 72,800 -3,200
Andrew Yang 2.8% -0.8% 22,000 -600

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

  • The New York Times reported the phony news: Trump, Angered by ‘Phony’ Inquiries, Blows Up Meeting With Pelosi and Schumer.

    President Trump abruptly blew up a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday, declaring that he could not work with them until they stopped investigating him and lashing out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing him of a cover-up.

    He then marched out into the Rose Garden, where reporters had been gathered, and delivered a statement bristling with anger as he demanded that Democrats “get these phony investigations over with.” He said they could not legislate and investigate simultaneously. “We’re going to go down one track at a time,” he said.

    I would imagine it's tough to negotiate with people calling you a criminal. Never having been in that position myself. Just speculating.

  • Writing at the Daily Signal, David Harsanyi has some advice for 'liberals': Impeach Trump or Go Home, Liberals.

    For two-plus years, Democrats and their allies took advantage of a cooked-up conspiracy theory, and used the subsequent investigation as cover to disparage their opponents as traitors and spineless enablers—not only crowding out useful debate of the Trump presidency but fueling an emotionalist argument that confuses “attacks on democracy” with “not getting my way.” Now, they’ve merely transferred those hysterics to another manufactured drama.

    The same people who never met a constitutional amendment they didn’t want to weaken or destroy will now act as if a middling procedural showdown is the next Watergate.

    Fearless prediction: outside of a handful of loose cannons, Democrats will continue to do whatever the polls and focus groups tell them will maximize their election prospects.

    Ditto for Republicans.

  • What's driving Mayor Pete's continuing strong showing of phony hits? Well, one thing might be this Washington Examiner story: Pete Buttigieg outs himself as a fake moderate.

    Pete Buttigieg is articulate, intelligent, and, at least on the surface, looking to reach across the aisle.

    He has traveled the country during his campaign, saying things such as “freedom does not belong to one political party,” and “security is not a Left or Right issue." So it’s not exactly surprising that the media narrative surrounding Buttigieg’s insurgent presidential campaign has painted him as a moderate Democrat, a fresh but relatively safe alternative to the radicalism offered by candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

    It’s too bad this narrative is a sham. On Thursday, Buttigieg finally updated his campaign website with a policy platform, and his issues page reads like a socialist’s Christmas list, betraying his image as a supposed moderate.

    Yeah, they're pretty odious, and pretty much on par with the rest of the Democrat field.

    Particularly irritating: under his "Freedom" label, he advocates uniformly for giving the government more money and power to control, regulate, and shower "free" goodies on chosen constituencies. (E.g., teachers: "Freedom means empowering our children by investing in our nation's teachers.")

    Coming to a New Hampshire license plate near you: "Increase Teacher Pay or Die".

  • In our occasional "Of Course He Did" Department, Paul Mirengoff notices at Power Line: Joe Biden flips on the Hyde Amendment.

    The extent to which Biden is standing up to the Democratic left is also overstated. Recognizing the degree to which his party has moved left, Biden is repudiating positions he held for years, perhaps most notably on immigration and most pathetically on Anita Hill.

    Now, as John McCormack of NRO observes, Biden has switched his position on the Hyde Amendment. This piece of legislation prohibits federal funding of abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger.

    Paul dredges Biden quotes (one as recent as 2008) in which he proudly refers to his principled stand against federal funding of abortion. A principle easily jettisoned when inconvenient to his election prospects.

    The media has already given Biden a pass this time around on his past lies and plagiarism, so I imagine this will also go unnoticed outside the circle of rabid right-wingers.

  • At National Review, Kyle Smith calls for an autopsy. Because Phony Betomania Has Bitten the Dust.

    In mid-March Beto was clocking up to 12 percent in national polls. The last two polls have him at 4 percent and 4 percent. A Pennsylvania poll put him at 2 percent. Same in South Carolina. He’s winning only 22 percent in the Texas Democratic Primary, a point behind Joe Biden. Voters seeking someone normal are going with Uncle Joe; voters seeking youthful dynamism are turning to Pete Buttigieg. As Seth Mandel puts it, the more people look at Beto, the more they prefer Pete. It turns out that being cuter than Ted Cruz just isn’t worth as much on the national stage as we all thought. He might be the first person ever to run for the White House on a platform of asking the nation to help him figure out who he is,” I wrote in March. O’Rourke is a lightweight. He’s tissue paper. He’s a rice cake.

    Other Democrats have taken to openly mocking O’Rourke for his standing-on-things shtick. Today, the rudest news of all. No one cares about Beto enough, anymore, to seek out oppo research on him.Requests for oppo on him have completely died off, notes an operative. O’Rourke is reduced to apologizing for his privilege on The View. After that appearance, he tried to reenergize his campaign by live-streaming himself getting a haircut. This is not the move to make when voters are beginning to seek out substance. Even the glossy magazine profilers are losing interest. And they were his main constituency. If O’Rourke thought he was going to skateboard into the Oval Office, that appears unlikely.

    That's a telling sign of a campaign on its last legs: nobody's interested in digging up dirt on you.

  • George F. Will also has Beto observations, but also on Kirsten, Joe, Bill, and Pete. Let's just snip out one paragraph from How the Democratic field is winnowing itself.

    The first substantive sentence — this counts as substance nowadays — in New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s video announcing his candidacy is: “There’s plenty of money in this world, there’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands.” He is a socialist who means it: Redistribution and nothing but, because wealth creation is so 20th-century, now that there is “plenty” of money sloshing around. His solutions to our national problems include banning Manhattan: “The glass and steel skyscrapers that have contributed so much to global warming” have “no place in our city or on our Earth anymore.” A thought experiment: If O’Rourke, de Blasio and some other presidential candidates were Republican moles insinuated into the Democratic scramble in order to make that party look absurd and the current president look thoughtful, how would they behave differently?

    I don't know the answer to that question.