Handicapping the 2020 Race

OK, I’m supposed to be getting some work done, but I have this irrepressible urge to write a blog post. Let’s see if I can get it done in one sitting without wasting time on silly research and stuff.

We’ve got a Presidential Election coming up. Before you know,  we’ll be getting all hot and heavy about it. I thought I’d jump the gun and handicap the Democratic field before anybody even formally announces their candidacy. Just because. For each possible candidate, I’ll jot down some quick notes, give them a Professor Garth grade, and note their odds of winning the nomination from Garthie the Greek.
I suppose I have to say this: any of these candidates are preferable to anybody the Republicans will conceivably barf up.

Cory Booker
In many ways, the New Jersey Senator is the heir to Obama. The demographics are obvious. Obama and Booker are friends. And the two are similar politically in that they sound more progressive than they really are. Booker talks the talk, but does he walk the walk? That vote against re-importing prescription drugs is a mighty big albatross for him to drag around; progressives are not going to forget it. He might get some traction as a preferred corporatist candidate, but I don’t think he’ll win the nomination.
Professor Garth grade: C. Odds of winning the nomination: 20:1

Joe Biden
The former VP keeps making noises about running, no doubt he’d get lots of big money support. But… seriously? Give me a break. Biden is 327 kinds of old. Old ideas, old approach, old money, old militarism, etc. If the Democrats manage to lose this election, it’ll be because they nominated an old corporatist blandocrat fuddy-duddy like Biden. If there’s one thing the Democratic Party is good at, it’s losing elections by nominating “moderates” that hardly anybody really likes.
Professor Garth grade: D-. Odds of winning the nomination: 10:1

Bernie Sanders
Speaking of old, chronology is Bernie’s only real shortcoming. He’s the most popular politician in America. He’s got the campaign apparatus, he’s got the base of support, he’s on the right side (well, the CORRECT side) of the issues, but he is old. I’m not sure when simple age becomes a major drawback. But as long as his health is good, he’s a force to be reckoned with.
Professor Garth grade: A-. Odds of winning the nomination: 5:1

Tulsi Gabbard
The Hawaii Congresswoman rose to prominence as an advocate for Bernie in the primaries in 2016. As a member of the House who is just barely old enough to be legally elected President, I’m not sure if she has the gravitas and the resumé to pull it off… this time. But she’d make a mighty fine VP and heir apparent.
Professor Garth grade: A-. Odds of winning the nomination: 30:1

Kamala Harris
The California Senator has positioned herself very well for this race. She’s been on the national political scene just long enough to be familiar, but not not so long that anybody is tired of her, and not so long that she’s accumulated a lot of enemies. She is progressive enough that many of the otherwise disaffected lefties will vote, vote for her, and vote with some enthusiasm. Yet she’s not so radical that she’ll totally alienate the moneyed interests which pull the puppet strings on the Democratic Party leadership. If she can successfully walk the just-left-enough tightrope, she’ll be formidable.
Professor Garth grade: B. Odds of winning the nomination: 2:1

Kirstin Gillibrand
The New York Senator is an all-but-formally-announced candidate. I confess: I don’t really know much about Gillibrand. The main thing I do know about her is that she was initially a sponsor of a flagrantly unconstitutional bill to forbid boycotts of Israel. She has withdrawn as a sponsor, and support of Israel might seem like a non-critical issue, but the First Amendment is important. It really calls her decision-making skills into question that she’d even consider supporting such a bill.
Professor Garth grade: Incomplete. Odds of winning the nomination: 20:1

No doubt, I’ve left somebody obvious out. No doubt, other candidates will emerge as the election draws closer. But, from a simple horse racing perspective, Harris looks to me like the most likely nominee.

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