UPDATE: after receiving the cease and desist letter, the Super-Pac bought significantly more air time. “The fact that Trump is going to such great lengths to keep the American people from hearing his own words adds to the urgency of communicating them far and wide.”

That was expected. The latest polls had Biden ahead in Florida by 39 points, Illinois by 30, Arizona by 18.

Results:

Excluding votes for other candidates:

  • Biden won Florida 73-27.
  • Biden won Illinois 62-38.
  • Biden won Arizona 59-41

Sanders’ campaign strategists pointed out that a guy is outside their window calling “bring out your dead” and they are thinking of throwing Bernie on the cart.

Never gonna happen

Based on years of history for both Trump and the Trump Organization since 1973, here’s what will happen:

  • He’ll delay and delay by any means available – appeals, frivolous countersuits, ignoring requests for depositions, ordering subordinates not to respond, whatever it takes – forcing opposing litigants to spend money they can’t possibly afford.
  • Meanwhile, Trump will argue the case in public by condemning prosecutors, judges, or any individual seeking justice for having been bilked by one of his scams.
  • If the opposing litigants are willing to go broke to pursue the case, and if Trump finally loses all appeals and has to turn over any documents he doesn’t want to, it will turn out that he and his organization have destroyed any relevant e-mails, and shredded any relevant documents while the case was being delayed by his legal maneuvers.
  • Litigants, prosecutors, federal marshals and judges will bluster about obstruction, but Trump will suffer no consequences. If he’s absolutely backed into a corner, he will claim the evidence was destroyed before the court order. If the court orders him to prove that with documents, he’ll start the whole cycle again, until everyone decides to move on. He’ll never suffer any significant consequences.

He is truly Teflon Don Trump.

Well, he has a point, but even within that obvious fact there are deceptions.

In the immortal and oft-misquoted words of Harry Truman, “The Buck Stops Somewhere Else.”

I don’t know why he would admit that he has no clue what his subordinates are doing, particularly because it’s not true:

Thanks to a good summary in The Atlantic, here is a quick recap of what the stable genius has done so far in response to Corona.

  • He claimed that it was contained in America when it was actually spreading.
  • He claimed that we had “shut it down” when we had not.
  • He claimed that testing was available when it wasn’t.
  • He claimed that the coronavirus will one day disappear “like a miracle.”
  • He claimed that a vaccine would be available in months; Fauci says it will not be available for a year or more.
  • He blamed the Obama administration for impeding coronavirus testing.
  • He stated that the coronavirus first hit the United States later than it actually did. (He said that it was three weeks prior to the point at which he spoke; the actual figure was twice that.)
  • He claimed that the number of cases in Italy was getting “much better” when it was getting much worse.
  • In one of the more stunning statements an American president has ever made, Trump admitted that his preference was to keep a cruise ship off the California coast rather than allowing it to dock, because he wanted to keep the number of reported cases of the coronavirus artificially low. “I like the numbers,” Trump said. “I would rather have the numbers stay where they are. But if they want to take them off, they’ll take them off. But if that happens, all of a sudden your 240 [cases] is obviously going to be a much higher number, and probably the 11 [deaths] will be a higher number too.”
  • He continues shaking hands and ignores the concept of “social distance.”
  • He refuses to set an example by getting tested.
  • In his Oval Office address that was meant to reassure the nation and the markets, he decided to ad-lib the teleprompter speech and misstated his administration’s own policies about incoming cargo, which had to be corrected. Investors heard that and, since they assumed a cessation of trade, stock futures plunged wildly while the president was still speaking.
  • He called for Americans to “unify together as one nation and one family,” despite having referred to Washington Governor Jay Inslee as a “snake” days before the speech and attacking Democrats the morning after it.

And that’s only a partial list of his antics since the crisis began. It does not include the critical government entities he eliminated before the disease was a thing.

CNN’s recap:

People thought Michigan might be close. It wasn’t.

Bernie did so poorly in Mississippi that he probably won’t reach the 15% threshhold to receive proportionate delegates. Mississippi only sends 36 delegates to the convention, but that loss may end up being more costly than his defeat in delegate-rich Michigan, because Bernie may lose the Mississippi delegate count by 30, whereas he’ll probably only lose by a 20-25 delegate margin in Michigan with the proportionate split of that state’s 125 delegates.

Biden won by a landslide in Missouri

Biden will win Idaho by about six points

Bernie will win North Dakota by about thirteen

Washington is neck-and-neck. Bernie has a chance to win, but winning by a fraction does him no good because the delegates get split proportionally.

WaPo summary

CNN summary

Biden won Virginia by a mile (99), but Sanders will make threshold.

Biden will win Alabama by a mile (52). Sanders will make the threshold.

Biden has won North Carolina (110). Sanders will make threshold.

Biden has won Tennessee (64). Sanders and Bloomberg will make threshold.

Biden has won Oklahoma (37). Sanders will make threshold. Bloomberg and Warren will come close, but miss.

Biden has won Arkansas (31). Sanders and Bloomberg will make threshold.

Biden has won Minnesota (75). Sanders will make the threshold, and Warren should barely make it as well.

Biden has won Maine (24). Maine is meaningless since it has few votes and three candidates will split them. (Warren will also make the threshold.)

Biden will win Texas (228), but may not gain much of an edge from the state because Bernie was close, and Bloomberg may make the threshold. (Bloomberg is sitting at 14.9 as I type this.)

Biden has won Massachusetts (91). Sanders and Warren will make the threshold.

Elizabeth Warren finished third in her home state, which is a major setback. It is not clear to me what her motivation may be for staying in, given no credible path to the nomination and the bookies setting 100-1 odds against her.

UPDATE: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is taking a day to assess whether she still has a path to the Democratic nomination after a disappointing Super Tuesday in which she failed to net a substantial delegate haul.”

===

Sanders has won Vermont by a mile (16), but Biden will make the threshold.

Sanders has won Colorado (67), but will not gain much because the other three will all make the threshold, so the delegates will be split.

Sanders has won Utah (29), but may not gain much because the other three may all make the threshold, so again the delegates could be split quite evenly. (That’s the way it looks now, but Utah’s reporting is extremely slow. All three of them are on the edge, and could drop below 15% after all the votes are counted.)

Sanders will win California (415), where he outspent Biden twenty to one, convincingly. Biden will make the threshold. Bloomberg will probably not make it. He is at 14.3% at the moment. That will be Bernie’s big plum for the evening, and the only place where he will really gain a big edge on Biden.

===

Bloomberg won American Samoa. Break out the champagne! (6). He will get at least 4 delegates. Tulsi Gabbard is the only other candidate that made the threshhold and will get at least 1 delegate.

===================

Note that candidates can obtain delegates by either winning 15 percent of the vote statewide OR hitting 15 percent in a single congressional district, so some candidates will get a smattering of delegates in states where they did not reach 15% statewide. (For example, Bloomberg will win some delegates in California and Texas.)

The exit polls show that Bernie absolutely dominates among young voters and Latinos, but has had no success building black support. He couldn’t even pull 20% of the black vote in California.

It appears that all the planets are aligned against Sanders. With Bloomberg gone, the people siphoning Biden votes are all out. The main person siphoning Bernie votes (Warren) is staying in for the moment.

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.

and

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.