Tag Archives: Joe Biden

I don’t think Barack Obama has a lot of time left before he endorses a candidate

Biden’s in trouble in New Hampshire …

If the polling holds out, former U.S. vice-president Joe Biden will not win the New Hampshire primary.  According to Real Clear Politics, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, is polling at 26.4% while former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg is polling at 22.2%.  Mr Biden has 12.2% of likely New Hampshire primary voters considering pulling the lever for him.

Over at the political betting markets, PredictIt has a “yes” vote selling at $.73 for Mr Sanders while a “yes” vote for Mr Buttigieg is going for $.28.  Mr Biden may not even be worth using as a hedge as his “yes” vote is priced at two cents.

I suspect the New Hampshire projections are no surprise to Mr Biden.  Hell.  He reads the same data we do and reportedly he does not have that much of a ground game in the Granite State.  But even if he does lose this Tuesday, he can likely make up ground after Nevada and South Carolina.  Mr Biden appears in command in Nevada where he leads in the polls at 21%, with Bernie Sanders trailing at 17.5%.  In South Carolina, Mr Biden polls at 31% with his nearest competitor, Tom Steyer, polling at 18%.

Both states allocate delegates proportionally.  Right now the delegate count coming out of Iowa stands at 13 for Mr Buttigieg; 12 for Mr Sanders; 8 for Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; six for Mr Biden; and one for Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

The Bloomberg Factor ….

While I expect Messrs Buttigieg and Sanders to pick up delegates between now and through the end of Super Tuesday, the Mike Bloomberg factor is still out there to contend with.  The former mayor of New York is focusing on the target rich environment that 3 March will provide. Also, Mrs Warren will still be a contender after Super Tuesday’s completion with an expected big win in her home state of Massachusetts.  Because Mr Biden is starting from behind, he has lessened his ability to be the one voice around which the Democrats galvanize going into the fall.

Obama rises …. Obama falls?

Super Tuesday is in less than four weeks. Fifteen states and jurisdictions with no one candidate dominating the primaries will be in play. I believe this will be the time to start galvanizing the party around one candidate.  To do this, I expect Barack Obama to issue an endorsement by 24 March in order to help center the Democratic Party around one voice going into the convention.

If Mr Obama places his bet on the eventual winner this fall, his political capital will increase and he will secure his position as an elder statesman in the party.

But if Mr Obama places his bet on the wrong candidate, his political capital evaporates. A few blacks will still be fond of him, but he will lose his leadership status in the party.

At least he has a Netflix deal.

Conclusion: Time is running out …

Time is running out? Are you serious, you may ask. Yes, it is.  In my opinion, Democrats wasted time on the low value impeachment initiative.  That initiative ended up being censure on steroids and censure is an act that sinks to the level of a footnote very quickly.  The meaninglessness of the act has also contributed to further annoyance with the Democratic Party, a party increasingly seen as a do nothing party; one that should be walked away from.

The “walk away” wing is not necessarily conservative although its more vocal leaders are of a conservative bent.  The other faction in the “walk away” wing tends to pursue independence; to live off-grid; to be more “libertarian.”

Strategy wise, whether traditional conservative or libertarian, the “walk away” wing of the black electorate will keep away from Mr Obama.  His centrist approach to politics adds to the annoyance a growing number of blacks experience with him and with Democrats overall.  Mr Obama’s desire to preserve his political capital, to preserve his legacy will see him endorse a moderate candidate.  I expect that candidate to be Joe Biden.

I also expect more blacks to stay home this election, in part because of the endorsement I expect Mr Biden to receive from the former president and in part because the Democrats have not demonstrated the boldness necessary for making real investments into the black community.  To galvanize the party around a more moderate voice will outweigh any desire on Mr Obama’s part to appease the walk away wing.

An endorsement will have to come by end of next month for the sake of efficient management of a campaign against Donald Trump, but the group Democrats hope to galvanize will be smaller and weaker than those groups of Democrats from past elections.

 

Will Ocasio-Cortez resonate enough as a surrogate for Bernie Sanders in Iowa?

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, joined U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, on the campaign trail this weekend in Iowa as candidates for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination try to persuade potential Iowa caucus voters to select them during the February 3 caucuses.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez exuded her usual youthful exuberance today during a rally in Ames, Iowa as she introduced Mr Sanders, who by now is now stranger to the state during this, his second run for president.  One of his ardent supporters, Mr Sanders is relying on Ms Ocasio-Cortez and other surrogates to help him campaign in Iowa as he and 99 other senators sit through the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Mr Sanders is doing well in the political prediction markets.  On the PredictIt exchange, the chance of a “yes” event is selling at $.40, roughly translating into a probability of .4 that Mr Sanders will win the Iowa caucus.  A “yes” contract on his closest rival, former vice-president Joe Biden, is selling at $.35.

Higher probability of a win doesn’t necessarily translate into a sure thing. Just flash back to Hillary Clinton’s expected coronation in 2016.  Conventional polling is putting Mr Biden ahead of Mr Sanders.  Real Clear Politics has Mr Biden polling at 21% of potential Iowa caucus participants voting for the former vice-president while 20.6% of Iowans are expected to give Mr Sanders the nod.

The Hill, citing a USA Today/Suffolk University survey, has Mr Biden polling at 25% while Mr Sanders is polling at 19%.

According to analysis by Reuters, what may be working in Mr Biden’s favor is his perceived electability, with the concern regarding who is more likely to beat Mr Trump looming on Iowans’ minds. Mr Biden also appears to be making the case on his foreign affairs experience given the criticism President Trump has received after a U.S. attack in Iraq on a high ranking Iranian military officer.

And with U.S. Senator Amy Klubachar, Democrat of Minnesota, and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, joining Mr Sanders in Washington for the Senate impeachment trial, Mr. Biden has the Hawkeye state practically all to himself, given him opportunity to get his message out.

Question is, can Ms Ocasio-Cortez provide effective surrogacy on behalf of Mr Sanders?

 

Is Joe Biden taking Georgia for granted?

Biden leading in the Peach State …

PredictIt has Joe Biden, candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, leading the rest of the Democratic field with a positive event selling at a price of $.75.  This roughly translates into a .75 probability, on a scale of zero to one, of victory in the Georgia primaries. According to PredictIt market data, Mr. Biden’s closest challenger is U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders whose chance of victory is priced at about $.14.

Democrats hope to turn the Peach State at least purple in 2020 given the demographic changes that Georgia is seeing, particularly in its Atlanta suburbs. The incumbent, Donald Trump, who beat Hillary Clinton by five percentage points in 2016, holds a lead over the top Democratic contenders, according to reporting by The Hill. Citing data from the Mason-Dixon poll, The Hill reports that Mr. Trump has support from 51% of Georgia’s likely voters versus 44% of likely voters that give Mr. Biden the nod.

…but is Georgia really on Biden’s mind?

What should be of concern to Georgia’s Democratic voters is what appears to be a lack of infrastructure on the ground.  My review of Mr. Biden’s website saw no events planned before Georgia’s primary which is scheduled for 24 March.  Mr. Biden has apparently for strategic reasons skipped any events in Atlanta celebrating the birthday of civil rights leader the late Dr. Martin Luther King, choosing instead to attend events this weekend in Charleston, South Carolina.  Given that the South Carolina primaries occur at the end of February and given that blacks make up approximately 60% of the Palmetto State’s Democratic Party voting base, Mr. Biden may put more sealant on an expected primary victory.

The midnight train to Georgia ….

If Mr. Biden is true to his word given back in June 2019, Democrats may not see the former vice-president in Georgia until August or September should he win the party’s nomination.  According to a report in Bloomberg, Mr. Biden believes he can carry a number of southern states, including Georgia, and promised to campaign in Georgia during the general election.

Given Mr. Trump’s 2016 victory and an apparent maintenance of the buffer Mr. Trump built during that election, Mr. Biden will have to lay tracks immediately after the South Carolina primaries.  Not only does he have a seven percentage point gap to close, but will need reinforced infrastructure to mitigate against any derailment that may be spawned from Mr. Trump’s removal trial in the Senate.  Individual donors and political action committees should be prepared to pitch in the emergency cash.

 

Sanders, Biden lead in Iowa. Is Buttigieg a buy?

Biden, Sanders nipping at the heels …

The latest Real Clear Politics poll has former U.S. vice-president Joe Biden garnering 20.7% of the nod among likely voters in the Iowa caucus.  U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is nipping at Mr. Biden’s heels with 20.3% of likely caucus participants supporting the independent senator from Vermont.

While Mr. Sanders continues to draw on the support he had during the 2016 campaign for the Democratic nomination, Mr. Biden has been able to maintain his front-runner status based on a more centrist approach to policy and political capital built up among black voters given his eight years as vice-president in the Barack Obama administration.

Buttigieg rising …

Meanwhile, Real Clear Politics polling data sees former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg still in the hunt polling at 18.7%. A relative unknown two years ago, Mr. Buttigieg has been able to leverage, according to Axios, $2.3 million in television advertisements, 100 staff on the ground, and 20 field offices in Iowa to put him in striking distance of a win in Iowa.

Mr. Buttigieg’s third place status behind Messrs Biden and Sanders exposes his unknown factor.  He has done well nationally given that he was not known outside of South Bend until recently.  Whether he can raise his media profile in the next three weeks enough to get him over the top remains to be seen.  Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders receive much more mentions from media, thus taking up needed oxygen for Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign to fuel itself on.

In addition to media, the philosophical space that Mr. Buttigieg seems more inclined to occupy has been taken up by Mr. Biden.  Mr. Biden moved to the middle immediately on his decision to run, his centrist approach being of no surprise to many observers.  Mr. Sanders, on the other hand, has stuck with his progressive policy rhetoric, positions that have endeared him to voters occupying the far left including a significant number of young and college-aged voters.

Mr. Buttigieg, while recognized as a moderate, cannot dominate the middle among Iowa voters and will seem less than genuine should he move left.

What may also be weighing on Mr. Buttigieg’s ability to leap ahead of Messrs Biden and Sanders is the view of black Americans toward his candidacy.  Although blacks are waning demographically, they still comprise a significant voting block within the Democratic Party.  Mr. Buttigieg has very little support among black voters and expression of this lack of support will manifest itself on 29 February when voters go to the South Carolina primary.  The specter of this onslaught may be looming over the polls in Iowa as Iowans who are more concerned about selecting the candidate best situated to beat Donald Trump decide to make a perceived securer choice in either Mr. Biden or Mr. Sanders.

The prediction markets …

The political prediction markets are giving Mr. Sanders the highest probability of winning one day after the last debate prior to the Iowa caucus.  PredictIt is pricing an affirmative on a Sanders’ victory at $.46 while pricing an affirmative on a Biden victory at $.32. Mr. Buttigieg’s chances at victory as determined in the prediction markets looks more in line with his poll numbers where PredictIt is pricing his chances of winning at $.17.

Is Buttigieg a buy?

Locking in Mr. Buttigieg at $.17 with the hope of a 500% return on the chances of a Buttigieg win would require two things.  First, Mr. Buttigieg will have to increase his media exposure by continuing to message via broadcast media, social media, and newspapers.  Second, he would need monumental gaffes on the part of both Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders.  While Mr. Biden is known historically for misspeaking, Mr. Sanders has been very disciplined in his messaging.  This week’s allegations that Mr. Sanders shared with Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2018 his doubts about a woman beating Mr. Trump in 2020 seems not to have had much of an impact on his campaign.

What could cause some disruption in the Biden campaign is any testimony offered during the Senate’s removal trial of Mr. Trump where such testimony describes any impropriety on the part of Mr. Biden in his son’s service on an energy company’s board in Ukraine.  Even so, we believe that such testimony would only serve to secure Mr. Sanders’ lead.

Conclusion

We don’t see Mr. Buttigieg winning Iowa.  Iowans want to increase the chances of selecting a candidate that can go toe to toe with the President.  While the payoff would be substantial, the chances of a Biden or Sanders fall in Iowa are not high enough.