Democrats November 2019

Elizabeth Warren slipping, forecasting the Democratic primaries – November 2019

Elizabeth Warren came under sustained attack from her Democratic rivals during the October 2019 presidential debate in Westerville, Ohio. For the most part, little movement in political fortunes has occurred since these debates and since our last forecast. RFS1 forecasts the Democratic contenders, giving a few interesting details.

Most of the political dialogue for the 2020 U.S. presidential election is now about the Trump non-impeachment impeachment. There is not much room for any other real discussion on issues and debate amongst the Democratic hopefuls. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s response to pressure from the far-left base of her party has issued a warning to the Democrats running for president: far-left proposals like Medicare for All and wealth taxes won’t help them defeat Trump in 2020. There have been a few events that have occurred to clarify and narrow the field:

  • Beto O’Rourke withdrew from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination – surprised?
  • Elizabeth Warren is slipping a bit in the polls. Partly due to the phenomenon that the front runner always gets attacked, but Warren did come out with what many people felt was an unworkable healthcare plan that was mocked by many on the left.
  • Even after Bernie Sanders’ heart attack, he does seem to have come out fighting and is not to be taken for granted.
  • Pete Buttigieg is surging a bit (especially in the all-important state of Iowa) and proudly said, “race is between me and Warren” – as new poll puts him fourth.
  • Booker, Harris, Castro, and Klobuchar will eventually bow out, though they may stay on the ballot as a placeholder for VP.
  • Yang will stay in regardless, as the principles candidate.
  • Tulis Gabbard will not make it into the final Democratic debates and will also bow out. However, she has recently decided to not run in 2020 for her sure Congressional seat, saying she will devote full time running for president. Rumors have swirled that she maybe play for a third-party independent run. Gabbard says that she has no intentions for a third-party independent run, at least for now … ;-). More on this later.
  • The clock has pretty much run out on a dark horse candidate entering the race, however more on this later.
  • Why is Tom Steyer on the debate stage? Funny what billionaires spend their money on.
  • What about poor Joe Biden, after all, he still leads in many polls. Failing in raising donner money, age issues, gaffe-prone, and worries about being implicated with scandals, nobody seems to think he has a chance. Nevertheless, Joe stays in it until the end, scooping up significant delegates for the Democratic convention – after all, he will need friends in the next potential Democratic administration to protect him from all the allegations.

Looking at the polls here is what we see as of Sunday, November 3:

2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl Biden 27, Warren 23, Sanders 19, Buttigieg 6, Harris 4, Yang 3, Klobuchar 5, Gabbard 2, Booker 2, O’Rourke 1, Steyer 0, Bennet 1, Castro 1

Despite the polls, the betting site Predictit, still has Elisabeth Warren soundly in the lead. Oddly enough, there are a few betters that are thinking Hillary Clinton would somehow weasel in on the action – this does not look like it will happen. As said before, the filing deadlines to get on the primary ballots are fast approaching and will make it almost technically impossible at this point.

One aspect of the primary season is that the schedule is more condensed. This will make it easier for candidates to stay in the race before having to bow out. The current polling indicates that the dispersion of potential delegates could be spread over three major candidates (Biden, Warren, and Sanders), with a fair amount of dispersion over additional candidates. In addition, the superdelegates are more restricted than they have in prior election year cycles. This raises the specter of a brokered convention – perhaps a 20% chance risk. This could force the candidates to make deals that could hamper the eventual winner in terms of policy and future staffing of administration officials. The likelihood of an outsider compromise candidate is nil.

Then there is the specter of an independent third party run. This could take two forms: 1) to derail one of the political parties or 2) try to grab the center of the political spectrum, stealing votes from both Democrats and Republicans. Here is a full list of all candidates. A third-party candidate would need to be self-funding or well known in the political arena (with strong doner backing). The candidate would also most likely come from the center to center-left part of the political spectrum.

Some potential serious third party candidates that have been floated could be John Kasich, Michael Bloomberg, Bob Iger, Mark Cuban, but there could be others from a dark horse candidate list. Most of these candidates may seem a bit unexciting, but perhaps they could spruce up their ticket with a VP choice like Tulsi Gabbard. RFS1 puts the risk of this happening at best 5% as well. Perhaps more on this later, if it becomes relevant.

RFS1’ current view remains that Elizabeth Warren may eventually win the nomination, perhaps using a male running mate like Julian Castro (to pick up the male and Hispanic vote, and as a bridge to the DNC insiders). She may choose Bernie Sanders as a compromise running mate if a brokered convention arises. In any case, all these Democratic choices will fare poorly against Trump.

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Written by Tom Williams

Born down on the farm in America's Midwest, my early life was spent climbing the ladder via a long career in information technology. Starting as a technician, and after earning a degree going to night school, I eventually found a place working at ATT Bell Laboratories as a software engineer.

Later moving into management and then a long stint in a major management consulting firm working with major banking, telecommunications, and retail companies. Working in various states in America, I also spent considerable time living and working in several European countries - currently expat in France. As a side career, I was heavily involved in real estate development and an avid futures trader. This experience can give one a unique view of the world.

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