I wrote this in August of 2019, six months before the Iowa caucuses.
Nope, I didn’t get it all right.
I missed Mike Bloomberg and the Black Lives Matter movement and thought Biden would pick Elizabeth Warren as his VP. And Covid 19, tho by that time the race was over.
But I did predict Biden would finish no better than 3d or 4th in IA and NH, but would win SC and then do well on March 3. I thought the Dems might be headed for a contested convention, tho predicted Biden would win on the second ballot because of the Super Delegates, most of whom supported him.
It’s a good reminder of all of the twists and turns of our lengthy presidential campaigns, even though Biden lead this one in the polls almost from the outset.
Anyway, here’s my August post:
Ladies and gentlemen…I believe it is time to prognosticate. The Iowa caucuses are less than 6 months away, and it is less than 7 until March 3, the monster knockout Super Tuesday vote.
I’m looking for the primary winner, VP, how it unfolds, and a prediction for the general. We want multiple chances for glory or embarrassment.
In fairness, I’ll go first:
Joe Biden will win the Democratic nomination, choose Elizabeth Warren as his VP, and defeat Donald Trump in a landslide.
Um, how? Basically, the race will narrow to Biden, Warren and Bernie, Biden will have a plurality but not a majority at the Dem convention, but on the second ballot, when the 700+ super delegates can first vote, they will put him over the top.The key is March 3. The following states vote: California, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Vermont. That is a HUGE cache of delegates, more than ever before. Only those candidates receiving at least 15% of the vote in a congressional district get delegates, so essentially, after March 3, everybody except the top 3-4 are out cuz they will be so far behind in delegates there is no way to catch up.
The top 3-4? My take is that Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada will be a wash. Biden will place no better than third in Iowa and New Hampshire, but will win South Carolina. Nobody will care about Nevada (tho Warren will win). Bernie and Warren will split New Hampshire.
So what about Harris or Buttigieg or Booker? If they are going to have any chance on March 3, they have to make a dramatic breakthrough in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina and that is very hard. Harris might finish second in Iowa (to Warren) and third in New Hampshire (to Warren and Bernie) and if she won South Carolina, she might get enough press to boost her on Mar. 3. But today’s Post and Courier South Carolina poll shows her in 4th place, behind Biden, Warren and Sanders. Hard to make that up while also spending lots of time Iowa and New Hampshire. And then there is her problem in California, her home state. She has three polls from six weeks ago showing her narrowly winning. But one from three weeks ago shows her trailing Biden/Warren/Sanders. If she doesn’t win IA/NH/SC or NV and places 2d or 3d in her home state, where does she win?
Buttigieg and Booker have worse problems. It is hard to see either winning IA/NH/SC or NV and even if they do, and get decent publicity, that seems unlikely to put them ahead of Biden/Warren/Sanders on Mar. 3.
Why Biden? March 3. He will do well in Texas (most polls have him beating Beto) and Alabama and NC and VA and it is just too expensive for the other candidates to campaign in all of those places. We’ve had two debates, and he has gotten almost no positive stories, yet he is still leading, so the claim that his support is just from name recognition is a myth. Yeah, he’ll have gaffs, but his policy positions, IMHO, are more in line with a plurality of Dem voters and the more liberal folks (Bernie and Warren) will split the vote.
The key here is Bernie. If he really wanted a progressive to win, he’d drop out and Warren would defeat Biden head to head. But I think the real story will be that stubborn Bernie refuses to fold, splits the liberal vote, and Biden gets a plurality.
As for that tied convention… The 700+ super delegates are mainly elected officials — senators, reps, governors, and state party officials, and I’m pretty certain that they largely favor Biden, altho poling as to how he does vs. Trump as compared to Warren might change some minds.
Oh yeah, why pick Warren for VP? Because he’ll need to rally progressive activists more than black and Hispanic voters. He’ll count on the Obamas to help out with them. MAYBE, he promises to only serve one term, setting up Warren as his successor. Not sure how that would play out.
The general? I think the number of Dems who didn’t vote last time because, why bother, Hillary had it won, is larger than Trump’s fired-up base. Expect record turnout, but the intensity of the anti-Trump vote tops the pro-Trump folks. He loses FL, PA, MI, WI, NC, and maybe even TX or GA.