The issue: Can Biden raise his electoral stock value in face of a Warren advance?
Predictit.org is reporting that the lowest price traders are being offered for purchasing a “yes” contract on Joe Biden‘s chances of winning the Democratic nomination is $.26. This means that if the elections were held today and a trader purchases a yes contract and wins, they have a maximum gain of $.74 on the contract since a winning payout is one dollar. With twenty-three other candidates in the hunt for the nomination, Mr. Biden’s chances and “yes” contract price should climb as more candidates drop out of the running.
One candidate who may not be on that drop out list is U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts. Ms. Warren has been climbing in the polls within the past couple months, with a Predictit “yes” contract now selling at $.20 at the time of this writing. She has passed Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, for second place in the political prediction markets. Mr. Sanders’ “yes” contract is currently selling at $.17.
Can Mr. Biden increase his electoral capital enough to ward off the challenges, particularly those offered by populists like Mrs. Warren and Mr. Sanders?
What Biden faces and what he has to do ….
Writing for Yahoo! News, Sahil Kapur and Emma Kinery cite data from a Economist/YouGov poll of South Carolina voters showing Joe Biden ahead of Elizabeth Warren by ten percentage points (26% to 16%), while Mr. Sanders comes in at 12%. Among black voters, Kapur and Kinery note that Mr. Biden is polling at 50% while Mr. Sanders comes in second at 10%. Mrs. Warren is back in a cloud of dust at 4%.
Nationally, Mr. Biden shouldn’t rest on his laurels. In the political market place, Mr. Biden still has to make the argument why the electorate should release their vote in exchange for his narrative. Political narrative becomes sound currency if backed up by solid policy or an argument for solid policy. Writing for The New Yorker, John Cassidy argues that Mr. Biden has to dispel the notion that the former vice-president is an out-of-touch centrist riding the nostalgia of first black American and a very popular president’s coattail. Mr. Biden also has to offer more detailed economic packages notes Mr. Cassidy, and explain how he would address underlying problems with American democracy.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren is driving up her electoral stock value with a personal narrative that seeks to connect with middle America while attempting to present complex policy prescriptions in a clear manner. Mrs. Warren, according to Mike Allen and Jim Vandelte, provides specific liberal ideas. They note that she has the ability to unite the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and should she lose the Democratic Party nomination to either Mr. Sanders or U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California, she would still be in play to be king or queen maker given her increased populist clout.
Mr. Biden has to protect the nostalgia element of his candidacy. So far, according to Politico’s Holly Otterbein, the rest of the Democratic field have been pretty much hands-off when it comes to the Obama-Biden years, fearing that any attack on policy or failure to enact policy during those years will bring the ballot booth wrath of Obama fans.
But, according to Ms. Otterbein, Mr. Biden’s many years in Washington also give his Democratic opponents a target rich environment at which to take aim. Taking Mr. Biden back to his past policy mistakes may put him in a least progressive or worse, mildly conservative light.
It is tough to predict so early in the race for the Democratic nomination whether attacks on Mr. Biden’s political performances prior to becoming vice-president will cause him to lose the nomination. At a minimum, he will have to take ownership of the negative optics of any less than progressive behavior prior to becoming Mr. Obama’s vice-president while providing a clarity of action plans equal to those being offered by Mrs. Warren.