What are the new rules about modern presidential elections? It’s that the old rules no longer apply.
In 2016, Donald Trump smashed old political conventions by not just grabbing his party’s nomination as a total scandal-plagued outsider, but by winning the whole damn election.
In 2020, Joe Biden wasn’t competitive in Iowa and New Hampshire. Or Nevada. He had no momentum. He literally looked like your confused old grandpa lost in a Walmart.
Then he won South Carolina. Everything started to snowball in his favor. He had “Joementum.” Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race and endorsed him. He gained more steam. Then on (Super) Tuesday, he trounced Bernie Sanders. He went from bordering on comical afterthought to clear front-runner and likely nominee in a matter of weeks.
Biden has seen his 2020 presidential election odds jump from around +2000 mere weeks ago to +175 today.
This has never happened before in modern politics.
The five reasons why this happened
Given how unpredictable elections have been in the past four years, the easiest response is to just say 🤷♂️.
But there’s more to it than that:
- Turns out Biden was right about his support with African-Americans and minorities. As the primaries have shifted to more diverse states, Biden’s picked up steam. They never abandoned him. That’s a good sign for his future elect-ability.
- As Sanders did well, moderates in the Democratic party rallied around Biden. Party leaders view “Bernie Bros” like some Republicans view Trump die-hards.
- Success breeds success. Winning South Carolina proved Biden’s viability. Especially as it pertained to point #2 above.
- Biden got Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar to not just drop out–but endorse him. MAJOR coup on the eve of Super Tuesday. Don’t be shocked if one of the two ends up on the ticket or both with high-placed cabinet positions.
- Because of all the above, the approximately 50% of Democrats who recently made up their mind on who to vote for all picked Biden.
With a solid minority base to go with suburban moderates and an older Boomer demographic, Biden has a legit coalition heading into the next wave of primaries.
On Wednesday, Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the 2020 campaign.
His campaign will go down as a historic waste of money. The $500M Bloomberg spent on the campaign won him America Samoa. That’s it.
Bloomberg is officially Giuliani 2.0.
In 2008, Giuliani was considered a possible Republican front-runner. He raised a lot of party money. Rudy focused his campaign strategy on Florida. He paid no attention to Iowa and New Hampshire, threw in shaky debate performances, and flamed out.
While Bloomberg spent his own money, everything else is the same. He dodged Iowa and New Hampshire. He put all of his eggs in the Super Tuesday basket. Bloomberg looked awful in debates. Like Giuliani, Bloomberg mostly came across as an angry old white man.
Now, his watch has ended.
Bloomberg’s supporters are more Biden than Bernie. Expect them to rally around Biden.
Speaking of Iowa and New Hampshire, they mean nothing anymore…
Joe Biden finished fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire. In modern elections, no candidate has ever performed so poorly in those two states and gone on to win his/her party’s nomination.
Biden will certainly rewrite that story.
There’s been a lot of talk in recent years regarding changing the primary calendar. From a population and demographic perspective, Iowa and New Hampshire aren’t really representative of the rest of the country. Given how Biden’s campaign has totally transformed since South Carolina, expect that chatter to grow louder.
Are there any value bets left?
If you’re looking at the odds, this is really down to Donald Trump (-162) or Joe Biden now.
As I wrote earlier this week, even if the delegate split leads to a contested Democratic convention — Biden will win the nomination.
Elizabeth Warren couldn’t even win her own home state (she finished third!). She’ll be out. Bernie is pretty much done. Your candidates are Trump and Biden.
Aside from the Mike Pence Hail Mary +15000 handcuff wager, your betting options are now down to Donald Trump or Joe Biden.