For one thing, predicting results two years out is futile. For another, I hate the way so many pundits fill up columns by speculating on the horse race aspect: not “is this a good idea?” but “how will this play with voters?” I think it’s lazy because speculating about “is X the front runner?” requires much less actual facts than looking at the impact of X’s policies. Never mind that Looks Who’s The Favorite this far out is probably wrong: in 2015 one poll found the favored Republican was Mike Huckabee. Debating whether Sen. Kamala Harris comes off vulnerable enough and whether Beto connects with voters better doesn’t require much detailed analysis or hard facts.
But there’s still lots to speculate about regarding 2020 besides who will win or run. For example, Echidne wonders whether coverage of potential female candidates is harsher than for men, for example a Boston Globe editorial suggesting Warren should think about not running (she’s divisive! We need a unity candidate!) or speculation that taking a DNA test to prove her Native American ancestry has doomed her chances. The post at that last link seems to conclude that as soon as Trump tagged her as “Pocahontas” it was over, though Roy Edroso suggests this is something most voters won’t even care about.
By contrast, we have Republican political strategist Juleanna Glover arguing that a Biden/Romney third-party ticket is just what America needs, and just what could win. Never mind that neither one has done well in past presidential bids, and that they’ve got plenty of baggage (and that, as noted at the link, Glover’s platform would be only slightly to the left of the Republican Party but very far right of the Dems), apparently they’re still vital candidates. Compare that to complaints I’ve seen from mainstream publications that Hilary Clinton should just retire from public life after losing in 2016. Driftglass points out this is a recurring fantasy from conservatives whenever it looks like Democrats are going to move us seriously leftwards.
On the Republican side, Scott Lemieux argues that while the Mueller investigation taking down Michael Cohen is a win, it makes it vital to President Shit-Gibbon that he win re-election; he can’t be indicted while in office and by the time he’s out of power in 2024, the statute of limitations may shield him. So we can anticipate more lies and dirty tricks next time. Of course even that’s not a firm prediction: he could die by then, or step down and let President Pence pardon him and there are other options. But Republicans are still with him and they may back the next white straight male supremacist who follows in his wake.
We can count on some pundits explaining that whatever Democrats are doing they’re doing it wrong. And some Democrat liberals going all out to stop any possible candidate they think is liberal but not liberal enough. Of course Republicans do the same thing with candidates they think “Republican in name only” but they seem to have a better ability to unite behind the winner.
In other election matters:
Andrew Sullivan, a career political writer (and sexist) thinks people and pundits who are not him obsess over politics too much because we don’t have the calming influence of Christian faith. A Vox post at the link makes a solid counter-argument.
North Carolina pastor and Republican candidate Mark Harris allegedly hired someone to collect absentee ballots, throwing away votes for his opponents and filling out some signed blank ballot. The allegations look pretty damn convincing.
To end on an upbeat note: Republican news sources are spinning Donald Trump’s threat of a government shutdown as a win for the Donald. Pelosi, however, beautifully dismisses his wall fixation “It’s like a manhood thing for him … as if manhood could ever be associated with him. More please, Rep. Pelosi!