From Smirking Chimp
As one of the few pundits who correctly called the 2016 election for Donald Trump, it would be wise to rest on my laurels rather than risk another prediction, one that might turn out wrong.
But how would that be fun? Let the 2020 political prognostications begin!
The arithmetic of the 2016 Republican presidential primaries is repeating itself on the Democratic side in 2020: a big field of candidates, one of whom commands a plurality by virtue of name recognition -- which implies higher "electability" -- while his 20-or-so opponents divvy up the rest of the single-digit electoral scraps.
The Trump 2016 dynamic will probably play out the same way when Democratic delegates are counted at the 2020 convention. But the outcome in November 2020 is likely to be the opposite: Trump gets reelected.
Here's how I see it playing out.
In 2016 there were 17 "major" (corporate media-approved) GOP presidential candidates. Famous and flamboyant, Donald Trump consistently polled around 30% throughout the primaries. That left his 16 relatively obscure rivals to fight over the remaining 70%. Considering that 70% divided by 16 comes to 4.4%, his runner-ups Ben Carson (14%), Ted Cruz (9%) and Marco Rubio (9%) outperformed the field. Yet Trump's lead was too big. They couldn't catch him.
Twenty-four Democrats are running in 2020. Here again, we have one really famous guy -- it's hard to get more famous than former vice president of the United States -- plus the rest. In this contest, the odds of an upset are even longer. Joe Biden polls at around 38%, significantly better than Trump did. The remaining pie slice is smaller than Carson, Cruz, Rubio, etc., and gets chopped up into even more pieces.
Next comes Bernie Sanders -- the early front-runner, now number two -- at about 18%, with Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg each getting about 8%. (62% divided by 23 equals 2.7%.) Although Sanders is suffering from his failure to follow my advice to move left, it's also easy to see why progressives suspect another DNC conspiracy to screw him.
"Having many candidates is a standard Democratic Party tactic to draw down support for any insurgent candidate," writes Rodolfo Cortes Barragan, a candidate for Congress from south L.A. "When it was just Bernie vs. Hillary, all the anti-Hillary Democratic voters had to go somewhere, and they all went to Bernie. But now Bernie's votes will be split with progressive icons like Warren and Gabbard, as well as with progressive-sounding corporate politicians like Buttigieg, Harris, and Biden."
Here I will insert my standard disclaimer that the elections are an eternity away, that things can and will change, you never know what will happen, blah blah blah.
But as things stand at this writing, Biden will probably take the nomination unless he dies or there's a new scandal.
After the summer 2020 conventions, the 2016 scenario diverges from 2020.
I tend to discount "blue no matter who" and "anyone but Trump" chatter from centrist Democrats who argue that this president is such a threat to everything good and decent about the world that everyone must set their personal preferences aside in order to vote the bastard out. Besides, many of the people who urge unity have no credibility. They voted for Hillary but if Bernie had been the nominee they would not have turned out for him. Progressives weren't born yesterday. Tired of 40 years of marginalization, they turned a deaf ear to the Clintonites' self-serving unity pleas, boycotted the general election and denied Hillary her "inevitable" win.
And here's the thing: they don't feel bad about it.
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