Here in the U. S. Eastern time zone, we are now nine hours and twenty-nine minutes into the new year. It occurred to me to wonder on how many other January firsts I have wished my readers a happy new year, and a quick search revealed four: 2009, 2011, 2015, and 2018. My well wishes last year contained the following passage:
“If Trump can be restrained from launching a nuclear war, I believe the prospects for the new year are good. Mueller will indict some more members of the transition and administration, the Democrats will win the House and even, God willing, the Senate, Trump will be impeached and put on trial by the Senate, another dozen or more politicians will be outed as sexual predators, and The Philosopher's Stone, along about April Fool's Day, will pass the three million mark in total views.”
That is six predictions, three of which have come true and a fourth that could still be confirmed. Not a bad record of armchair prognostications. This morning, during an extremely foggy and uncharacteristically warm walk, I gave some thought to how the race for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination might play out in this new year. [I shall get to more important matters a little later.] A dramatic move by the DNC not much commented upon as yet will upend our settled expectations about that race. A word of explanation.
For as long as I can remember, we politics junkies have obsessed about the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, despite their numerical irrelevance to the outcome of the nomination race, for reasons too well known to require rehearsal. This year, the state primary schedule has been completely revised. On March 3rd, exactly one month after the Iowa caucuses, nine states will hold primaries, including California and Texas! What is more, voters in California, a state with a large mail-in ballot share, will start sending in their ballots at just about the time when those Iowa caucuses are occurring.
California and Texas are huge states. They have big pots of delegates and take huge sums of money to be competitive. Early name recognition will play a big role on March 3rd. So you can forget about twenty candidates shaking hands with voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. By the time March 3rd is over, the field will be winnowed down to a handful of candidates.
Cui bono? Pretty clearly, Kamala Harris in California and Beto O’Rourke in Texas. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders because of pre-existing name recognition and a proven ability to raise money. Joe Biden? I just can’t see it. The Anita Hill disaster will come back to haunt him big time. Most of the rest are either running for Veep or wasting their time.
If I had to predict the ticket now, a year and more before the first votes are cast, I would say some combination of the following folks in the top or second spots: Warren, Harris, O’Rourke, and Sanders.
By this time next year, we will know a great deal more.