Threadster: Death Race 2020

We would like to start this week’s Threadster with a bold statement:

We Have No Idea

Really. Almost no matter what question anyone asks, our answer is: we have no idea.

Which seems a perfectly adequate response during this interregnum between Tuesday’s Democratic debate and Saturday’s South Carolina primary. There is so much information and speculation, so many important variables and insignificant possibilities, so many former Republicans expressing so much disappointment…but we still have no idea.

The February 25 debate itself was unhelpful, a weird combination of WTF and FTW, with the acting president of the Fidel Castro Fan Club dominating both ends of that continuum. The Democratic nominee market puts Bernie at a Joe-Scarborough-perplexing 58-cents, but Biden is ticking-up after demonstrating he can still talk loud. The other Great Moderate Hopes have cratered and its pretty much down to Joe, who remains a surprising 77-cent favorite in South Carolina.

“Oh the sweet smell of BernieBros losing their minds,” comments ScottMFisherman, apparently laden with Biden YES shares and unable to see over the horizon to Super Tuesday.

The post-debate debate was lively on the Who Will Win in 2020? board, but it seems as if some threadsters, like the candidates and their spinners, approached the evening’s commentary with locked-and-loaded “spontaneous” sound bites designed to demonstrate cleverity without actually saying anything.

“Bloomberg YES Price dropping faster than his height when he steps down from the podium soapbox,” wrote Stephen Jackson, apparently unaware that Bloomberg’s stock stood on its tip-toes and went up a penny after the debate.

“Mayor Pete is such a slippery grifter that he seems like the son that The Billary Clintons never had!” interjects Skeptical By Nature.

“President Trump should send the DNC a formal letter thanking them for not running anyone against him in 2020,” quips Big Al, who we’re sure didn’t mean to name himself after a gay parody sportscaster from the 1960s.

Over on the Democratic nomination board, when the shouting died-down the biggest percentage increase went to non-candidate Hillary Clinton. We continue to be amused by right-wing belief that there is a plot to install Hillary as nominee. The speculation of people who have apparently never met an actual Democrat caused a bounce of a little more than 15% in Hill’s value (up a penny!) and she now leads Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar. Whatever else you say about those three, they are (for now) actually running, which would seem to give them some sort of advantage over Hillary, but doesn’t.

There are, technically, eight still-active Democratic campaigns. By close-of-business Super Tuesday, we expect all the candidates below the Hillary Line to drop out. The possible exception is Pete Buttigieg, who resigned as mayor of Indiana to campaign and really doesn’t have anything else to do. The three above the Hillary Line – Bernie, Joe, and Mike – are likely there for the duration.

Which means there’s a hot, hunch-betting market over at the Next Dem to Drop Out page. There, Tom Steyer has overtaken perennial favorite Tulsi Gabbard, with Amy Klobuchar coming up fast. (The market is apparently concluding that Gabbard likes being interviewed on daytime cable news and will stay in the race forever, even after the next President is inaugurated.) The next exit is tough to handicap because the knock-out blows have already been landed. The only variable that matters now is who will be first to cop to the obvious. That could be a matter of money, but it could also be a matter of who wants to preserve some semblance of dignity by ejecting while there are other pending drop-outs to distract the cable warblers.

“Are Klobuchar and Warren really gonna risk the ridicule of losing their home states to Bernie on Super Tuesday???” asks BernieBro4Life who, apparently, would benefit from this tutorial.

We have, naturally, no idea. We also haven’t a clue whether one or the other of the moderates is going to make a play for Never Bernie immortality by withdrawing from the race before votes are cast and throwing their support to Sleepy Joe. We’d be guessing (though we wouldn’t be surprised) if we said everyone is going to stay in the race hoping to pick-up enough stray delegates to become power-players if there’s a brokered convention. (Current YES price: 52-cents.)  

“Deadlocked after two ballots,” suggests Jeff S above a formal portrait of gruff-but-lovable Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, “the compromise choice emerges.”

Hey, it could happen. But will it? We have no idea.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

“What’s Twitter?” asks BigVerne, who bills himself, perhaps deceptively, as “America’s smartest pundit”.

PRISONER DILEMMA

There’s a thinly-traded set of markets predicting whether the President will use his pardon powers to get his OGs off the hook during his first term. Giuliani, Stone, Manafort, Flynn and even Jeffrey Epstein are the subjects of speculation. (Epstein perhaps not so much since his “suicide”.) Of the possibilities, Stone is by-far the favorite at 65-cents.

“A pardon here is guaranteed,” writes AG123 on the Stone page, “the only question is will Roger tattoo a picture of Trump to his chest when released?”

That is not, we believe, the only question. Another is whether there’s a tattoo artist in the world willing to ink Trump’s increasingly distended visage onto Stone’s 77-year-old manboobs. The most important question is when Trump acts. It is interesting that not one threadster believes the President will allow the American judicial system to go about its business unimpeded. Of course he’s going to meddle. The betting rests on the timing of his intervention.

The consensus on all the markets is that he will stall-around until after the election. In the Stone Clemency thread, someone named DoubleG (we suspect it’s a woman who has to custom order her brassieres) explains why Trump’s legally entangled friends need to be patient until the President is beyond the reaches of accountability.

“Pretty tough to rationalize pardoning Stone who was convicted by a jury and is 100% guilty of what he was accused of to people who are rational,” he says, apparently still believing that rationality holds some import in American politics.  

Which is great, really, except that the YES/NO resolution rests on the President’s use of the almost three months between election day and the end of his first term.

 “My bet is this all happens start of his next term,” says JJackson, assuming the President will be both re-elected and willing to let his buddies fester in the big house for three months in order to…well, we have no idea.

Who’s in?

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