At some point on Thursday night, February 6th, I was actually so exhausted from trading all week that for the first time in my life I simply did not want to trade anymore. It was that kind of a week. My brain is still an addled mess, as, it seems, the race for the Democratic nomination is as well. I’ll give my thoughts on NH specifically tomorrow, but for now here is what I can make of the bigger picture:
(Note of caution: literally every take I wrote in this post from November turned out to be wrong, so reader beware).
FEEL THE BERN
Say it with me folks! President. Bernie. Sanders.
Okay, I don’t really buy this map. I mean, he’s not sweeping the entire south, right? (And we’ll get to Bloomberg in a bit). But here we are.
The Bernie Domino Theory was that Bernie would win IA, NH, and NV, putting so much pressure on the others that he might even win SC or (at a minimum) sweep the big prizes on Super Tuesday. I never put much stock in it, but I missed the scenario where Bernie winning the first three also coincided with Joe Biden failing miserably, and that is seeming more and more like the world in which we live. If it’s a weak Joe, Bloomberg, Pete, and Klobuchar sticking around through Super Tuesday and mucking up the moderate lane, I don’t see how Bernie doesn’t cruise this thing (individual states will be another matter).
Joe Needs Nevada
At least he needs second place there. That said, I do wonder how much fun would be had in the markets if he goes 4th -> 4th -> 4th -> and then 1st in South Carolina. But if he doesn’t show any sign of strength by Super Tuesday, he will be gone shortly thereafter. Speaking of which,
Where will Joe’s support among black Americans migrate if he collapses?
Young black voters have shown plenty willingness to support Bernie or Liz, but the older, more moderate core of black voters have simply not abandoned Joe at all. The biggest question hanging over the race right now is whether or not this support starts to migrate elsewhere, and to whom if so. The betting markets right now seem to thing Mayor Stop-n-Frisk will get his fair chunk (and I don’t entirely disagree, he did win substantial black support in his mayoral runs, and these voters may argue to themselves that he’s the best shot at beating Trump). But I wouldn’t be surprised if a meaningful slice didn’t go to Bernie as well.
Liz running out of room
What would happen if Bernie and Pete tied for first in Iowa while Liz and Joe were a distant third and fourth? Here’s what I wrote in December:
If A/B is Bernie/Pete and C/D is Joe/Liz – wew. Liz is very close to done for and Joe is in trouble but not out of it – turbulent waters for him in Southern state markets. Bernie would see 40c in the overall market in this world.
And yeah. She’s just boxed in here. Bernie is too strong for her to eat into his supporters. Pete is too strong for the moderate educated whites to give her enough support in NH (she’s also losing some of that “wine track” support to Klobuchar now). She may come out of NH and IA with “respectable thirds” which don’t matter for much. Maybe she even organizes to another third in NV. But at some point the money is going to dry up and you have to ask whether it’s worth the embarrassment of losing your home state on Super Tuesday, or whether you simply drop and endorse Bernie to put him over the top.
For fun, here’s what I wrote about Liz way back in December of 2018:
Her path – Put out lots of policy proposals thinking they’ll matter and drop out on March 11.
Ok. I mean…. ok. That’s how I feel about this. Sure. Why not. Obviously, no one knows if you can actually just buy the nomination but he’s certainly giving it a go. In addition to spamming a bajiillion ads, he’s also been very strategically accumulating superdelegate endorsements from House members whose campaigns he boosted in 2018. His strategy is basically correct – he’s playing the game as he should given who he is and his resources.
But like, really? The Democrats just pick the billionaire? It’s hard for me to see him as doing anything other than winning like a handful of delegates on Super Tuesday, “suspending” his campaign so he doesn’t have to reveal his financials, then play kingmaker or hope to win a contested convention.
Is not dead, apparently:
He hasn’t and will not catch on with black voters. He’s fading nationally (about to be surpassed by Bloomberg). He retains some equity in IA, but not enough. To me it feels like the tide is turning against the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. That said, he and Joe have the run of Iowa with two weeks to go due to the impeachment trial. Maybe he pulls something out, but I’ve started to convince myself that the undecideds simply aren’t going to break his way. I think he drops after NH, and now that I’ve committed to that publicly, he’ll probably go on to win the nomination or something.
Welp, I guess he’s going to go on to win the nomination now! (Seriously though, what on earth is his path beyond hoping for a contested convention? Would be quite hilarious if he wins NH, I suppose).