What the Oddsmakers Think of 2020 Democrats, Post Debate #1

Elizabeth Warren – Caricature by DonkeyHotey, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

The Democrats held two nights of debates in late June and although there has been much discussion here and elsewhere about who won or lost, oddsmakers overseas have weighed in.  It should be noted that while the rest of the world was laughing about the candidacy of Trump in 2016, within weeks of his announcement, these oddsmakers apparently saw something everybody else failed to see.  While many were predicting others, the oddsmakers had Trump no lower than 10:1. So, this writer actually puts a little more credence in this system than polls by political pundits.

Presented here are the top 10 candidates after the first round of debates.  In parentheses are their pre-debate ranking and odds.  Although the top ten remain the same, the odds have shifted… dramatically in some instances:

#10. Amy Klobuchar (formerly 10th at 35:1) Now 48:1

The Minnesota senator did nothing to distinguish herself in the debates and did not stand out.  As a result, her odds took a serious hit, although it will take some serious advances from those not making the top 10 or some serious Klobuchar setback to see her drop out of the top 10, or her withdrawal from the race.

#9. Corey Booker (formerly 8th at 30:1) Now 33:1

He will best be remembered for the look on his face when O’Rourke started speaking Spanish.  All in all, he did not kill his chances, but neither did he improve his chances all that much.  Maintaining the Booker status quo may not cut it in this field.  Note: He was once in the top 5.

#8. Tulsi Gabbard (formerly 7th at 28:1) Now 30:1

She is the female equivalent of Booker, but a lot better looking.  The gist of her entire campaign is foreign policy and “evolving on issues” (like gay marriage).  One supposes the Hawaii congresswoman deserves some praise for remaining in the top 10 for now.  But, like Booker, she’s slipping.

#7. Robert O’Rourke (formerly 6th at 13:1) Now 29:1

O’Rourke entered the debate with a great opportunity to distinguish himself and move back into the top tier.  It seems like a life time ago they were talking about him in the same breath as Biden or Sanders.  However, he is going in the opposite direction and fast!  His chances of the nomination may very well have been killed on that debate stage.

#6. Andrew Yang (formerly 9th at 31:1) Now 21:1

Perhaps O’Rourke can take a cue from Yang and say very little in any language because this clown said nothing much and oddsmakers liked that.  It only proves the adage that the more a liberal talks, the more stupid they sound.  Perhaps, silence is the best strategy.

#5. Pete Buttigieg (formerly 4th at 7:1)  Now 7-1/2:1

Overall, he did not seriously hurt his chances.  To some within the gay community, however, he is apparently not sufficiently gay enough.  Plus, the latest great hope for the Democrats is coming under increasing scrutiny for his tenure as mayor or South Bend.  Still, the fact that a mayor from a midsize Midwestern city is in the top 5 should give the dude some hope.  Or, is the field really that bad?

#4. Bernie Sanders (formerly 2nd at 4:1) Now 7:1

He’s only slightly better than Buttigieg which has to scare the living socialist out of him.  It is kind of hard for an old white dude to attack the apparent front runner on racial issues, but that was the biggest takeaway from these debates.  With his thunder being stolen, Sanders drops among oddsmakers.

#3. Joe Biden (formerly 1st at 2:1)  Now 4-1/2:1

The gaffe king of politics lived up to his name on the campaign trail and he was pounced upon by his fellow travelers in the clown car and on the debate stage.  This is what happens when you are 77 years old with a very long record in politics.  One wonders who is funding the GPS Fusion dossier on Biden?

#2. Elizabeth Warren (formerly 5th at 11:1)  Now 4:1

Not that Warren is immune from gaffes, but the oddsmakers saw her performance in a positive light. This old hag from Boston or Oklahoma or wherever she calls home seems to have regained her mojo in the debate, despite her ridiculous policy proposals.  But, she appears to have some momentum now.  Let’s see what she does with it.

#1. Kamala Harris (formerly 3rd at 5:1)  Now 2:1

Harris and Biden exchanged places due to the former’s attack on Biden’s racial comments.  She’s been hanging in the top 5 four times now, and is not expected to go away.  If she can maintain this momentum going into the next debate at the end of July, it may squeeze out other candidates.  I remain convinced she will be on the ticket come 2020 mainly because she checks the correct demographic boxes.

Special note: On the other hand, should Kamala Harris secure the nomination, I do not expect her to tap anyone in this top ten as a running mate.  This is the party of demographic identities- something that should worry Biden (do they want a 77-year-old white dude representing them on the biggest stage?).  Instead, Harris needs another demographic box checked and although there must be a big jump from #11 to #10 on this list, Julian Castro is the person to watch going into the next debate.  Of course, she could always pick the gay dude…  Nah… he’s white.