Trump is favored to win re-election. The betting line on him now ranges from -137 to -162

Best payoffs: You can get 5-1 on Biden, 6-1 on Bernie, 41-1 on Bloomberg, 129-1 on Warren. Many bookies consider it more likely that Hillary will be the next president than Warren. You can get 66-1 odds against Warren winning the nomination, while the longest odds against Hilary are only 40-1.

You can still bet Hickenlooper for president at 979-1! (Righteous bucks!)

She dropped out, and there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, especially in the black community, from that one guy.

(She pulled a solid 0% among black voters in South Carolina.)

It’ll be interesting to see how the Steyer/Buttigieg/Klobuchar withdrawals affect the race. There are no minor candidates of substance remaining – except perhaps Tulsi, who’s barely a blip on the radar. It’s down to the four cranky old white people, as expected, competing to challenge the other cranky old white guy.

Elizabeth Warren is the only woman in that group, but is also now the only living candidate.

And she ain’t that young herself.

(She’s an old coot, but she’s seven years younger than her nearest Democratic rival, and three years younger than the president.)

I don’t know exactly what USA today thinks this high vote count in SC means, but it’s pretty easy to explain, and the cause is obviously not what they are assuming.

South Carolina has open primaries. In 2016, there was a passionately contested Republican primary in South Carolina. Six different candidates pulled at least 7% of the vote, and emotions ran especially hot between Trump, Cruz and Rubio. Passionate conservatives were voting there, ignoring the Democratic race. About 700,000 people voted in that Republican Primary, roughly twice as many as in the parallel Democratic race. This year there was no Republican primary at all, so more voters crossed over.

Based on the exit polls (2016, 2020), this year’s breakdown was 70-25-5 (Dem-Ind-Rep), while 2016’s breakdown was 82-16-2. The results of that math:

South Carolina Democratic Primary 2020 2016 change
Total votes 538,233 370,904
Democrats 376,763 304,141 +24%
Republicans + Independents 161,470 66,763 +142%

You can see where the bulk of the increase came from.

I don’t think South Carolina is useful as a barometer of the nation’s Democratic passion, and not just for the reasons stated above. I think many states will actually see big turn-outs because of Bernie fever, but there’s no Bernie fever in South Carolina. In fact, Bernie got a much lower percentage of the SC primary vote this year than in he did in 2016 (20% this year, 26% four years ago), and even his raw vote count was not much higher (105,000 in 2020 versus 96,000 in 2016), despite all the increased voters from both sides of the aisle.

South Carolina is Biden country, and you don’t choose Biden out of passion, but out of default. He’s the Chicken Parm of candidates. You choose him because he’s safe and you don’t like anything else on the menu.

Sleepy Joe seems to have engineered a landslide win.


Tom Steyer has had enough. He put the most money and time into SC of any candidate, but couldn’t do better than 11 or 12%.


Based on the exit polls, it appears that the results will be (approximately) Biden 50, Bernie 20, with Biden winning every county.

South Carolina has open primaries, so those gross results include non-Democratic voters. Among Democratic voters only, Biden did even better, winning by nearly 40 points, about 57-18.

Operation Chaos was a failure. Biden even won a plurality among non-Democratic voters because the would-be Bringers of Chaos split their votes between Bernie, Buttigieg and Klobuchar.

Except for those scattered votes from non-Democrats, Klobuchar’s campaign was a total bust. She pulled only 1% of the Democrats who voted, and a perfect 0% of the black vote!

Just six days ago, RCP was showing that Biden’s lead over Bernie had narrowed to two points, 23-21, with Steyer also in contention at 16.

That has changed dramatically this week. The current RCP average is showing Biden with a dramatic 36-24 edge, while Steyer and Buttigieg are in a dead heat for third. Some say Biden’s margin over Bernie is as much as 16 to 21 points.

What happened? Biden got some key endorsements, while some voters who flirted with Steyer are moving back to their reliable fallback guy, Biden.

By the way, it appears that Warren may finish as low as sixth.

Despite these polls, I would not count Bernie out. Here’s why:

The pollsters only survey Democratic voters, and the polls may well be right about Biden’s edge there, but there’s more to consider. Because Trump’s nomination is a foregone conclusion, the Republican primaries are meaningless this year, so some conservatives have been encouraging their supporters across the country to register Dem or Ind this year so that they can vote for Bernie in the Democratic primaries – because they believe that Bernie would get crushed in the general. Conservatives don’t even need to make that much effort in South Carolina, which doesn’t register voters by political parties and holds open primaries, so Trump supporters can just show up and vote for Bernie.

The conservative pro-Bernie effort is called Operation Chaos, and mirrors the Russian efforts to support Bernie in the primaries.

At this moment it is not possible to predict the impact of this movement on the South Carolina results. It may be utterly insignificant, or it may produce a tidal wave of Bernie support.

This is a case where the government needs to get everyone on the same page, which has yet to happen. Also, it needs to be a scientific page, not a political one. If Trump doesn’t get his act together, this will be his Katrina x1000.

Well, Rachel Maddow and others, you do get a very, very dark consolation prize. There are people who actually believe what Trump says. If they continue to do so, their herd will grow much thinner, as their infection rate will far exceed the norm.

Unfortunately, they come into contact with the rest of us, so the disease will also spread faster among those who do not rely on the accuracy of Trump’s pronouncements.

And about $150,000 more to the RNC!

Pogue’s son and his daughter-in-law have donated over $200,000 to Trump’s campaign since August, (per) Federal Election Commission filings. Ben and Ashleigh Pogue donated $135,000 to the Trump Victory PAC in August, and Ben Pogue made an in-kind air-travel donation of about $75,000 in September.”

The couple also donated over $147,000 to the Republican National Committee.

They have no history of ever having made previous political donations in excess of $11,000.

The justification for Pogue’s pardon? “He paid 90% of his taxes. It’s not like he didn’t pay taxes. He didn’t pay (the rest) because he thought he was paying too much.”

Oh, he thought he was paying too much? Then I guess it’s OK!

As in Iowa, Pete and Bernie finished neck-and-neck. This time it was Bernie with the slight edge. They will each get nine delegates of New Hampshire’s 24.

The big surprise of the evening was Amy Klobuchar. The momentum showed by the polls was totally real. A week ago she was polling at 6% in NH and she finished around 20%, thus making a good run at a win and claiming the Granite State’s six remaining delegates.

Warren and Biden finished in single figures and earned no delegates at all. Biden’s fifth-place finish has erased the frontrunner facade and has left him gasping for breath, hopeful of moving south for better health, like any other crotchety old geezer.

The Boston Globe takes polls every day, then creates a two-day rolling average.

Mayor Pete had some serious momentum going, but fell after the debate. Klobuchar emerged as the winner of that debate, with a surprisingly large surge of her own, as she vaulted from nowhere into third place.

Bernie, meanwhile, re-emerged as the clear favorite.

Things don’t look great for Warren and Biden. No candidate on the New Hampshire ballot has ever won the nomination after finishing lower than second in that primary. Barring a sudden shift in the wind, Biden and Warren seem to be headed for 4th and 5th place.

Here’s the trend:

Sanders Buttigieg Biden Warren Klobuchar
Feb 8-9 27 19 12 12 14
Feb 7-8 24 22 10 13 9
Feb 6-7 24 25 11 14 6
Feb 5-6 24 23 11 13 6
Feb 4-5 25 19 12 12 6
Feb 3-4 24 15 15 10 6
Feb 2-3 24 11 18 13 6

They give Bernie a 49% chance of winning a simple majority of the delegates, and establish a 24% chance that no candidate will come to the convention with enough delegates. Biden is considered to have a 19% chance. If you’re scoring at home, that only leaves 8% for all other candidates added together. (Basically 4% each for Warren and Buttigieg, and zero for the others.)

Bernie is also the betting favorite at this point, with Bloomberg now closest.

The Bookmakers now consider Trump a favorite in the 2020 general election, and his odds have been improving steadily in the past two months, starting the day the House voted to impeach. His betting line rose to +140 during the investigation phase, but dropped to -125 after the impeachment vote. The line now stands at -150. The overseas bookmakers show even shorter odds (typically about -162), and they are still shortening. They could shorten far more if and when Bernie’s nomination gets more certain.

(I don’t think there have been any “Trump vs Sanders” polls since the Iowa debacle and the Senate acquittal.)

Overall, despite some stops and starts, Trump’s likelihood of re-election has been increasing for a year now, as the Democrats have produced no clear, powerhouse contender.

Well, in order to answer that question, we have to pose another: what factor should determine the first state. For the sake of this link, the assumption will be “It should be the state which best reflects America.”

You may supply other criteria, of course, but let’s go with this one for now in order to evaluate which state best meets that particular criterion, since the media chatter for two weeks or more has centered around the fact that Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of America.

So. If you were a marketing company testing a new product for a possible national roll-out, which state would be the test market most suitable to best estimate your product’s success in the full USA?

The answer supplied by this firm in 2016 was Illinois. It contains the correct proportion of midwestern farms, urban concentrations, rich suburbs and small towns. It contains approximately the correct proportion of whites, blacks, Latinos, and Asians, all in the approximately representative proportion of religions. It contains the proper proportion of elite universities, graduates from functional colleges, people with some college, high school grads and high school drop-outs. It contains the right mix of liberals, moderates and conservatives. It contains the right mix of income levels. Given all of those factors, campaigning in Illinois does not allow for pandering to small town and rural White America, as the candidates do in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the mix in Illinois also precludes pandering to any other groups. Any position taken there must either appeal across-the-board to one’s party base, or must be a calculated risk, just as in the whole of America.

The film which did this study compared dozens of factors in each state to national averages, then distilled all of those specifics down to five general categories. Illinois finishes among the top six best matches in all five categories, and is the absolute best match in demographic and income factors.

In contrast: New Hampshire is one of the states least representative of America (nearby Vermont is the least typical state), and Iowa is somewhere in the middle.

Iowa results are getting there – 97% in as I type.

To me the only star to emerge from the Iowa mess was a little-known polling firm called dbr. Unlike the established pollsters, dbr totally kicked ass in predicting the final results. In the table below, the first column of numbers represents the % of polled voters who were certain about their choice of the listed candidate. Those “certain” percentages do not add to 100 because 33% were either undecided, uncertain (lean), or preferred another candidate. The next column takes that 33% and reapportions it to the Big Six in the same ratio as their “certain” supporters. The final columns represent the final (well, almost final) results of the caucuses.

reapportioned to 100
SDEs popular vote
Buttigieg 17 25.4 26.2 25.0
Sanders 16 23.9 26.1 26.5
Warren 13 19.4 18.2 20.3
Biden 12 17.9 15.8 13.7
Klobuchar 8 11.9 12.2 12.2
Yang 1 1.5 1.0 1.0
undecided/other 33

As far as I can see, no other polling organization even came close to getting those proportions right. On the popular vote, they got Buttigieg, Warren and Klobuchar on the money. Biden did slightly worse than they expected, Bernie slightly better.

On to New Hampshire, where Bernie is now a prohibitive favorite.

Well, I guess we’ve always known that, but more specifically, the results of the caucuses are fucked up.

While we wait, here are the results of the entrance polling.


Some observations

The age of voters:

Bernie’s popularity is inversely proportionate to age, and the difference is one of the most dramatic I have ever seen in demographic studies.

He is preferred by:

age 17-28: 48%
age 30-44: 33%
age 45-64: 11%
old geezers: 4%

Biden and Klobuchar’s support is exactly opposite to Bernie’s. The older the voters, the more they like those two.

Buttigieg and Warren show consistent support among all ages.


Bernie’s support resembles Trump’s in one way – he is overwhelmingly more popular with the less educated. He pulls 16% with college graduates, 30% with the non-degreed.


  • The people who care most about foreign policy prefer Biden by a landslide, and basically ignore Bernie and Warren.
  • Those whose major concern is “who can beat Trump” surprisingly (to me) prefer Mayor Pete! Biden is a close second.

The Sanders surge seems to have upset the applecart

The two most recent polls (1, 2) indicate that Bernie is the most likely winner, possibly by a substantial margin

The average of those two:
Crazy Bernie 28
Sleepy Joe 18
Pocahontas 17.5
Alfred E Neuman 15

Well, I think the most likely winner of that competition is actually Donald Trump.

Which raises an important question: Do any foreign powers have any good dirt on Bernie? “Russia, if you’re listening …”

Let me digress in tone for a second to present a serious point. Trump may change his mind about Russian interference if Bernie gets the nomination. I think there’s a good chance the Russkies may prefer Bernie, on the assumption that he will hurt the American economy. Man, will the Donald be singin’ a different tune if that happens.

Alexander has a truly novel reason why no witnesses are necessary – we already know Trump is guilty AF! (But that is not grounds for removal.)

The logic goes like this:

* There’s no doubt that Trump did what he is accused of
* Therefore, we need no more witnesses or evidence. It’s proven.
* But what he did does not merit removal.

Honest to God, I’m not kidding. That really is his argument. See the Tweet below. Overwhelmed by a mountain of uncontradicted facts, and still intending to vote against removal, some GOP senators have obviously decided to salve their consciences with the “Yeah, he did it, but it’s not impeachable!” argument.

That’s actually a pretty clever position. Weaselly, but brilliant, because it allows them to vote “nay” on removal and “nay” on witnesses while avoiding the accusation of a cover-up. In essence: “When we voted to exclude witnesses, that was no cover-up. We already knew what he did, so what did we need additional proof for? But even given our knowledge that he did everything he is accused of, we can’t agree that it reaches the bar for removal from office.”

The reason that position is so brilliant is that it is defensible. What Trump actually did is not a matter of opinion. It’s a fact. He did it. There’s overwhelming proof. But whether that is sufficient grounds for removal IS a matter of opinion because the Constitution leaves plenty of wiggle room. People can argue that Trump has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” or they can argue that he has not, and scholars could debate this ad infinitum with erudite references to the Federalist Papers and citations from precedents, but no matter how long they argue, neither side can say “The definition of a removable offense is completely clear.”

He’s on the rise, and now leading, in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Both states are now lining up as follows: (1) Crazy Bernie, (2) Sleepy Joe, (3) Alfred E Neuman, (4) Pocahontas, (5) Amy “Too Boring For a Nickname” Klobuchar

Nationally, Biden is still the frontrunner, but Bernie is gaining and has opened up a massive lead over Warren. Mayor Pete has dropped to fifth, behind Bloomberg; Klobuchar is way down in seventh, behind Yang. (Yang is trending upward.)

Damn, I miss Loopy!

“I’m thrilled to be on center stage again!”

“Oh … never mind.”


Main revelation in Bolton’s book excerpt: Trump guilty AF

Wow! Now Susan Collins may not only wring her hands, but may also have to mop her forehead before voting to acquit. That’s huge!

Top rebuttals:

1. Fox News: This means somebody did something very bad and should pay for it – the person who leaked the book excerpt.

2. Dershowitz: There’s no such thing as an impeachable offense. It was a typo in the Constitution.

3. Other people present during Trump’s crimes: “Do not recall” what happened.

4. GOP lickspittles: Bolton should withdraw the truth until after the election.

5. Trump: I’m innocent, I tells ya. Hey, what is the deal with those new toilets? Hey, what about that Adam Schiff? His neck is so wafer-thin it killed Mr. Creosote. What a great crowd. I’ll be here all year. Be sure to tip your waiter.

6. The Onion: “Bolton Pledges To Donate All Proceeds From Book Towards Killing Iranians”

America’s top diplomat tries out a new form of diplomacy.

This reminds me of when the polite, predictable mainstream comedy of the 50s and early 60s first acquired an edge, then gradually morphed into insult comedy. Now it’s time for polite, predictable mainstream diplomacy to follow that path to insult diplomacy.

Actually, Pompeo seems to be floating a novel new defense of Trump: nobody cares if he fucks Ukraine over, which is basically accurate within Trump’s low-info base.

Continue reading “America’s Secretary of State: “Do you think Americans care about fucking Ukraine?””

Lev and/or Igor taped Trump going ballistic over the ambassador to Ukraine and ordering his minions to “take her out.”

“Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”

By the way, this excerpt is a one-one-one exchange between Trump and Parnas, the guy Trump says he doesn’t know and never had a conversation with.

Tapes are Trump’s greatest enemy. Every time independent evidence has emerged, we have seen that whenever there is a dispute between Trump and somebody else about a private conversation, Trump’s version is always a lie, but so far only Omarosa knew Trump well enough to be able to document it. (She had been working with him for years and knew exactly what to expect, so she taped everything.) I’m hoping that Lev and Igor have more!

Well, obviously. Trump could not perform in front of an audience of randomly-selected people, and the commission would not allow him to choose the audience. But why not compromise and simply hold the debates without a live audience?

As for moderators, surely they can find somebody in America who is considered a neutral newsperson, neither pro nor anti Trump. Chris Wallace seems fine to me. This chart seems to indicate that the Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor are either unbiased or only slightly biased, and that AP and Reuters are both dead center and completely reliable.

The emails are heavily redacted, and the details of what was being discussed within them are almost entirely blacked out. OMB said the heavy redactions are necessary because disclosing the details would inhibit “the frank and candid exchange of views that is necessary for effective government decision making.”

(Otherwise known as “criminal conspiracy.”)

Needless to say, Dersh has now determined that this logic only applied to Democrats in the office.

By the way, the attorney general also wrote that presidents who misuse their authority are subject to impeachment.