The Phony Campaign

2019-12-29 Update

Welcome to the last phony campaign update for 2019. Here's hoping that 2020 will bring a major decrease in phoniness. Also an end to the trade war, drug war, vaping war, war war, robocalls, wrong numbers, state-sponsored gambling, restrictive zoning, deficit spending, and…

Well, I could go on.

In our phony results, President Trump once again claimed the top spot, as 1.2 million phony hits for Mayor Pete disappeared in the space of a week. (They were probably never there in the first place.) The Betfair punters smiled a bit more on Bernie, improving the probability of his winning all the marbles by a full percentage point. And Senator Liz continues her fade,

Candidate WinProb Change
Donald Trump 49.8% unch 1,830,000 -140,000
Pete Buttigieg 4.3% -0.1% 1,310,000 -1,240,000
Hillary Clinton 2.4% -0.2% 837,000 +83,000
Bernie Sanders 9.9% +1.0% 501,000 +28,000
Joe Biden 14.5% +0.4% 435,000 -80,000
Elizabeth Warren 5.9% -0.4% 237,000 +11,000
Michael Bloomberg 4.6% +0.2% 92,900 +16,500
Andrew Yang 2.1% +0.1% 49,800 +6,600

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williamson argues Trump Isn’t a Nazi. He’s a Failure.

    The case against Trump in 2016 was that he is unfit for the office. The case against Trump in 2020 is — or should be — that he is not very good at his job.

    In 2016, Trump promised Americans sustained 3-percent economic growth, but the economy has not met that standard. He promised a shrinking trade deficit, but the trade deficit has grown. He promised to build a wall along the southern border and to make Mexico pay for it, which he has not done. Which is to say, on the core issues of economic growth, trade, and immigration, President Trump is a failure by his own criteria.

    And Kevin adds the funny part (for sufficiently small values of "funny"): the Democrats are near-literally promising to be worse: continuing the trade war, almost certainly torpedoing the mediocre recovery by jacking up taxes, and greenlighting illegal immigrants.

  • Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey wonders Is Warren a class-warrior convert -- or world-class hypocrite?. Noting a Washington Post story that came upon the midnight clear:

    Elizabeth Warren hoped to reboot her flailing campaign with an attack on Pete Buttigieg’s fundraising, but it might end up kicking her to the curb instead. After heaping scorn on Mayor Pete’s “wine cave full of crystals” big-ticket fundraising event, it turned out that Warren had a few wine-cellar events of her own. Today, the Washington Post reminds readers that Warren used to excel at the same kind of wealthy fundraiser events she excoriates now … right up until this year, in fact[…]

    After digging out numerous warning signs, Ed provides the bottom line:

    It’s not just that Warren’s a hypocrite — it’s that she’s a phony. Her stock is falling because voters have gotten wise to her act. If Warren doesn’t rethink her entire approach to politics in this cycle, she might soon be joining Harris on the sidelines.

    Except that I'm not sure what she could change at this point that wouldn't seem like shameless posturing. "Oh, you don't like the I've-got-a-plan-for-that thing any more? Well, how about this? How do you like me now?"

  • And the Daily Caller notes Soviet-style revisionism from Wheezy Joe this holiday season: Biden Christmas Message Coming From ‘Entire Family, Even The Dogs’ Excludes Embattled Hunter. Specifically:

    I can't believe they didn't think about the optics here. But it was a no-win Kobayashi Maru scenario, and Joe is no Captain Kirk.

  • Mayor Pete did his bit for phoniness, as described by Paul Mirengoff at Power Line: Fake labels.

    The Washington Post reports that some Democrats are mad as hell at Pete Buttigieg for abandoning some of his previous positions — e.g., Medicare for all and decriminalizing illegal border crossings. I think Buttigieg can live with their wrath, given that his move out of the hard left lane has corresponded with a surge in the polls, both nationally and especially in Iowa.

    However, the Post’s article, by Chelsea Janes, illustrates what a slippery character Buttigieg is. The small city mayor used a leftist persona to make an attention grabbing entrance to the campaign, but started tacking towards conventional liberalism when he realized that’s where most of his votes (other than gay votes) are likely to be found.

    Paul goes on to note the WaPo's shift in position-labelling: positions that once—maybe just a few months ago—would have been (at best) "progressive", "radical", or even "socialist" are now deemed "liberal". Whereas previously-"liberal" stances are now "moderate".

    We don't have to worry about candidates' conservative/libertarian positions getting mislabeled. Those positions are not on the table in 2020.

  • And an amusing note from the Washington Times: Michael Bloomberg contractor used prisoners to make campaign calls.

    Democratic presidential contender Michael Bloomberg cut ties with a contractor that used prisoners to make calls for his presidential campaign, he said in a statement Tuesday.

    The former New York mayor said that his campaign was unaware of the arrangement until a reporter sought comment. Earlier Tuesday, online news site The Intercept reported that Bloomberg’s campaign contracted a New Jersey-based call center company that, in at least one instance, used Oklahoma inmates to make calls on behalf of the billionaire’s campaign.

    The next spam call you get with an actual human being on the other end? Ask them what they're in the slammer for.