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Bernie Sanders reported to be struggling to hang on to his WH2016 backers as he ponders WH2020

December 28th, 2018

Next year 2019 one of the big US events that will dominate political betting will be the fight for the WH2020 Democratic party nomination. The early polling here is really not that useful because it is mostly about name recognition and one of the big names is Bernie Sanders, the socialist from Vermont.

He far exceeded expectations in the Democratic primary battle with Hillary Clinton and the question is whether the 77 year old will throw his hat into the ring. One of his initial problems according to the New York Times is hanging onto to all those who backed him last time. The paper notes:

“Mr. Sanders may have been the runner-up in the last Democratic primary, but instead of expanding his nucleus of support, in the fashion of most repeat candidates, the Vermont senator is struggling to retain even what he garnered two years ago, when he was far less of a political star than he is today.

“It’s not a given that I’m going to support Bernie just because I did before,” said Lucy Flores, a former Nevada assemblywoman. “There are going to be plenty of people to look at and to listen to. I’m currently open at this point, and I think the majority of people are.”

As Mr. Sanders considers a second bid for the White House, he and his advisers are grappling with the political reality that he would face a far different electoral landscape than in 2016. Rather than being the only progressive opponent to an establishment-backed front-runner, the Vermont Independent would join what may be the most crowded, fractured and uncertain Democratic primary in the last quarter-century..”

A big driver is that the party desperately wants to win back the White House and get rid of Trump. The question is whether Bernie is seen as the man to do that.

An early battle is already going on with Sander’s people doing their best to undermine Beto O’Rourke who is currently joint favourite in the nomination betting. This is from Jonathan Chait in New York Intelligencer:

“The rise of Beto O’Rourke poses an obvious threat. The Texas congressman has replicated aspects of Sanders’s appeal — his positivity and refusal to accept PAC money — while exceeding it in some ways. Sanders is charismatic in an unconventional way, the slovenly and cranky but somewhat lovable old uncle, while O’Rourke projects a classic handsome, toothy, Kennedy-esque charm that reliably makes Democrats swoon. Hard-core loyalists find the contrast irksome…”

My guess is that Sanders would struggle against O’Rourke and I don’t think the former will succeed but I might be wrong.

I have four or five WH2020 bets all at longish ones my best being 66/1 on Kamala Harris.

Mike Smithson