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Presidential Race Update

by Editor in Chief, Neal Dikeman

Here is our weekly update on 2020 US Presidential Race

Democratic Party

The big news this week was the Democratic Nevada debate - All v Bloomberg.

Favorite exchange - Bloomberg v Sanders - "The Best Known Socialist In The Country Is A Millionaire Who Owns Three Houses".

Favorite Line - Klobuchar to Buttigieg - "are you trying to say I'm dumb?"

Worst Bloomberg moment - there were a lot as he got pounded on all sides, but we don't think it matters.

Most notable takeaway from the debate - 5 Democrats ganging up on Michael Bloomberg like velociraptors. Why bother to gang up on a guy who can't win the nomination? Oh wait - I guess they all think he can ...

Why not pound on front runners Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden? see above.

Most notable missing from the debate - Tulsi Gabbard and Joe Biden. One of those was actually on the stage. The other would have been more fun to watch.

Favorite missing quote: Notice Warren and Klobuchar are no longer talking about the women on stage having a better win/loss than the men. That doesn't work as well with Bloomberg in the mix. In fact Bloomberg's 3 NYC mayoral wins would rank as the 3 largest electoral wins of any remaining candidate in any party except Trump.

Candidate Current Population of Area in Largest Race Won

Bloomberg NYC 8,623,000

Warren Massachusetts 6,902,000

Klobuchar Minnesota 5,611,110

Biden Delaware 967,171

Sanders Vermont 626,299

Buttigieg South Bend, IN 102,245

Our takeaway - we don't see any candidate likely to get a majority of delegates on super Tuesday, and don't see Sanders, or frankly any candidate who secures more than a handful of delegates from here on out dropping out. We are calling 2020 a likely contested convention.

While most media believe Bloomberg lost and Warren won, we have a different take.

The attacks on Bloomberg and not Sanders are telling - Sanders is viewed by his peers as too low a ceiling to win in a contested convention by his peers. We think this matters - unless Sanders can start consistently increasing his polling and winning 40-50% of the vote and delegates - and we've never seen evidence he can do that.

The rough and tumble just highlighted that Bloomberg is the candidate to beat, not Warren or Buttigieg or Biden - who frankly would already be running away with it already if they were really the candidate to beat. And while he took lots of blows, Bloomberg was not knocked out of the race - and that's what the others actually needed to accomplish last night. Bloodying the new guy with $1 billion dollar budget and 1,000 staffers doesn't get you the nomination.

We find this comment by the Bloomberg campaign more compelling than most media sources:

“It took Mike just 3 months to build a stronger campaign than the rest of the field had built in more than a year. It took him just 45 minutes in his first debate in 10 years to get his legs on the stage."

Bloomberg has more spend, and bigger organization than all the rest combined. And he personally built one of the largest media platforms in the world. More importantly he knows how to build an organization and use resources to make an impact. He has shot up from nothing to tie Biden for second in the mid teens nationally. If he doesn't completely collapse in the next polls, he's going to a player to the end. Frankly Bloomberg's entry probably is the wildcard that ensure this is a contested convention and entices the others to stay in long enough to deny a Sanders plurality the open field he would need. And a contested convention is probably not good for Sanders - nor Warren.

Republican Party

Trump is still in office and trolling everyone else. Still no Republican debate. Last week Joe Walsh dropped out, but Governor Bill Weld is still running and continuing to attract media attention, but hasn't yet polled high enough in the first two contests to seriously damage Trump. The big test is Super Tuesday.

Trump's big news for the week was his joy at fellow New Yorker Bloomberg getting pummeled. We think that's an error. What Trump should have wanted was a Bloomberg to get ignored, and clear path for Sanders to the nomination. Nothing will drive the wobbly Republican center to the polls like a Sanders nomination, where like my own Cruz/O'Rourke race, every new voter Sanders turns out probably turns out almost as many Trump voters to blunt the edge.

Libertarian Party

We are tracking 29 active candidates. One new one added this week, and one of the long running controversial candidates Ben Leder (TX), dropped out and endorsed Mark Whitney,

With Governors Bill Weld and Gary Johnson out this year, and possible party darkhorse crossover favorite independent Justin Amash still on the sidelines. the big news is we think there are as many as 10 viable candidates that could win the nomination this year, notably including former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, author Jacob Hornberger backed by a vocal fan base, businessman Mark Whitney, a large slate of long time party activists and stalwarts including Jo Jorgensen, Sam Robb, John Monds, Adam Kokesh, and Dan Behrman, and as well as Libertarian New Hampshire State Rep Max Abramson, tech entrepreneur and former candidate John McAfee, and performance artist Vermin Supreme with another vocal fan base. There are at least four to six others (Gray, Fass, Ardeleanu, Armstrong, Vohra et al) actively working the state convention circuit and expected to command delegates at convention. 28 candidates are expected to attend the national convention vying for 5 debate slots.

A few observations:

This one is way too early to call.

The currently ongoing LP state conventions usually select delegates to the national convention, but do NOT select them tied to candidates like the R and D primaries. So Libertarian candidates are usually decided late. The party does not have a winnowing process until convention.

No quality polling exists, but we track straw polls, fundraising, debates, social media activity, delegate counts, and campaign activity, and are working on a multi-variate predictive model to assess viability.

This is a bigger, deeper field than the Libertarians usually see, and additional candidates continue to join. We are tracking 6 possible late entrants who could impact the field. The current viable candidates have the party delegates largely divided even over the type of candidate it wants this year - with range from guys like McAfee and Supreme who argue they can bring media attention that no one else has, a party transplant like Governor Chafee with a cross party electoral and executive track record driving an anti-war message, and about 10 others with a wide range of professional backgrounds and internal party experience vying to out Libertarian each other on Liberty credentials - capably representing both the historic minarchist and anarchist wings of the party.

It's a pretty white and pretty male, field. But average age is well over a decade younger than any other party. Only 4 women.

Who wins, matters, as depending on the outcome of the Democratic primary, there is a strong spoiler potential in 2020.

Green Party

7 candidates announced and active. Still looks like a two way race between Howie Hawkins and Dario Hunter at this point in our view. But very limited visibility into the race yet, as the party has far less organizational infrastructure than the Libertarians.

Our current favorite house bet on the most likely tickets on your November ballot - Bloomberg/Klobuchar (D) v Trump/Haley (R) v Howie Hawkins / TBD (G) and L too wide open to speculate for another few weeks.

Yes, you read that right. Bloomberg/Klobuchar (D) v Trump/Haley (R). That's our first call, and we're sticking to it until we change it.


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