I’m absurdly proud of having predicted Trump as President, more than two months before the Republican convention, and six months before the general election. I know of only two earlier public predictions, by a professional pollster two months before me and a cartoonist extraordinaire more than eight months before me. Ah, but pride goeth before a fall, so let me jump off that cliff now, by making my prediction eighteen months before Election Day: Elizabeth Warren will win in a landslide. (btw, if you’re going to comment now or later on why I’m wrong, do me a favor and include the link where you called the results of the 2016 election beforehand. Oh, you have no public record of that? Then shush, you.)
The Democratic nomination will come down to Sanders or Warren. But first, let me give the two-sentence dismissal of all the other nominees:
- Biden: He’s the last bastion of the Democratic establishment. But the machine is crumbling, and he has too much history to overcome.
- Buttigieg: He’s the flavor du jour, but lacks substance. Personality can win against substance, as we’ve seen time and time again, but his personality isn’t actually strong enough.
- Booker: America isn’t ready for its second black President. And if it were, Booker’s “love” campaign isn’t the right tenor this cycle.
- Harris: A black woman president is two bridges too far for most of this country. And she’s hindered by her record as a prosecutor.
- O’Rourke: Beto has already flamed out. If you’re running the Kennedy playbook, you need to actually be a Kennedy.
- Castro, Delaney, Gabbard, Gillibrand, Hickenlooper, Inslee, Klobuchar, Messam, Moulton, Ryan, Swalwell, Williamson, Yang: No. Too far behind, nothing distinctive enough for them to catch up.
Let me be clear: I don’t want any of the above to be true. I’m just saying I think it is true, and mere wishes otherwise aren’t going to win this horserace.
Sanders and Warren might seem similar. They’re both old, white, and progressive. But they have one starkly obvious difference – no, not that one is a man and the other is a woman – one is a socialist and the other is a capitalist.
Sanders is a democratic socialist, and proud of that label – and deserving of both the label and the pride. A lot of the country has come around to positions that he has been espousing for his entire professional life. Warren wouldn’t label herself this way, but she’s a democratic capitalist – she believes in market mechanisms to address many social problems, but believes the market must be firmly guided by the best interests of a democracy.
At the end of the day, as much recent fervor as there’s been for socialist policies, this country isn’t going to elect an avowed socialist as president, at least not yet. Warren’s policies and her effectiveness in getting them into the discussion will win both the media and the electorate to her side. She won’t be hindered like Hillary was by either her past or by forces she doesn’t control. The distortions of the prior Presidential election can be summarized as: sexism and Russia. Both will continue to have an effect, but that effect will be much smaller than the prior election, due to countervailing forces that have arisen in the meantime.
Once Warren wins the Democratic nomination, she’ll crush Trump in a landslide. I’ll go over the rationale for this … in about eleven months. By Super Tuesday, if this post has any legs, it’ll be worth writing the follow up. And if it’s wrong, well, pride is a sin anyway; I shall repent.