We want to give you a full view of the 2020 campaign. There are polls, of course, but there are also betting odds. The reasoning is that if people put their money where their mouth is, they’ll probably do their homework, and won’t take unnecessary chances. The easiest site to follow is PredictIt, so we will focus on them. As a disclaimer, we must admit that the site called the election for Hillary in 2016, but then, so did everyone else. No one foresaw the Comey “October surprise,” and it should be remembered that Hillary did win by three million popular votes.
Anyway, bettors are saying some interesting things about 2020. It’s no surprise that the money is on Donald Trump in the Republican race. He’s currently given a 90% chance of winning the GOP nod. That’s despite the challenge by Bill Weld, who is given only a 1% chance. Even Mike Pence is given a better chance (4%) of being the GOP presidential nominee in 2020.
However, the site is giving a generic Democrat a 55% chance of beating Trump.
Here’s an interesting shot: Seven percent of PredictIt bettors say Trump will switch parties before the election.
A full 72% of bettors think Trump will lose the popular vote again in 2020. That would be historic. In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes won the electoral college by one vote, although Samuel J. Tilden won 50.9% of the popular vote. Hayes didn’t run in 1880. In 1888, Benjamin Harrison won the electoral college but lost the popular vote to incumbent president Grover Cleveland. In 1892, Cleveland won both electoral and popular vote. And finally, in 2000, George Bush won the electoral college while losing the popular vote, but in 2004, Bush came back to win the popular vote by 50.7%. If Trump were to win the electoral college twice while losing the popular vote, he would make history.
They say this is “the year of the woman,” but bettors only give women a 47% chance to become the Dem nominee. And only a 30% chance of that woman becoming president in November. Of course, there’s only a 2% chance that the GOP nominee will be a woman. Meanwhile, two-thirds of bettors think Dems will pick a female veep candidate. However, only one-third of bettors think we will elect a female veep in November.
Likewise, with talk of “passing the torch,” bettors never-the-less say there’s a 53% chance that the Dem nominee will be 70 or older. That means Bernie, Biden, or Warren.
As noted above, in addition to losing the popular vote, Trump had to “run the table” to win the electoral vote. Can he do that again? Bettors say no.
PredictIt has Democrats winning key Midwestern states, handily.
Dems are predicted to win—
• Michigan with 76% likelihood
• Pennsylvania with 65% likelihood
• Wisconsin with 63% likelihood
• Minnesota with 80% likelihood
–as well as
• New Hampshire, with 72% likelihood even though Trump’s campaign thinks the state is within reach.
The news isn’t all bad for Trump. He’s predicted to win
• Florida with 55% likelihood
• Ohio with 67% likelihood
However, if Trump loses Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, his path to victory is narrow, indeed.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have used PredictIt but would not benefit if you chose to participate. That being said, this is my bet: I think Kamala Harris will be the Democratic nominee. I say that because Dems will need someone who is willing to fight hard against Trump. Hillary thought she had the election sewn up, so she took no risks at all. And when Trump stalked behind her during the debate, she was just uncomfortable. She didn’t react at all. It’s hard to believe that Harris would let him get away with that.
If you’ve seen any of the congressional sessions, including the Kavanaugh hearings, you have seen that Harris does not suffer fools gladly. And she’s willing and able to ask the tough, incisive questions. The only real negative Harris has is that she is from California, which would tend to confirm the impression that the Democrats are a coastal party.
That’s why I think she will pick “Mayor Pete” as her running mate. Buttigieg is from Indiana, Pence’s state. It’s unlikely that Indiana would be in play (from some odd seismic shift, the state was pushed out of the Solid South, into the Midwest). However, it would require at least Pence to give attention to a state that the GOP has taken for granted for decades.
More importantly, Buttigieg is a solid Midwesterner, in attitude and style, and would be admired by folks in the critical states of Wisconsin and Michigan. Trump only won in 2016 because he got every possible break. That is not likely to happen again. Buttigieg is probably too young and too inexperienced to take the top spot, but his “Kennedyesque” charisma would make him a real plus for the ticket.
People with a short memory think that a second term is assured, since Obama, Bush, and Clinton were all given a second term, although none of them did so handily. More importantly, remember that GHW Bush was defeated. So was Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Before them, Nixon, Johnson, and Kennedy did not complete two terms. In more than a half-century, we’ve had only Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama who have served two terms—a total of FOUR. But we had SIX recent presidents who did not serve two terms. Don’t take it for granted.
We will continue to monitor PredictIt. Odds change daily, so things may look very different next year, next month, even next week. We’ll keep an eye on them.