Is Joe Biden California Dreaming?

By now basically everybody who can read knows that Pete Buttigeig has dropped out of the Democratic Primary. This guarantees that:

  • Mayor Pete will be joining an MSNBC/CBS/ABC News panel as a talking head.
  • Mayor Pete will be endorsing Joe Biden in exchange for a mack daddy cabinet post.
  • Joe Biden is back in California.
  • Keendawg is going to win an Oscar for this video:

Let’s discuss.


Honestly every bonehead with a Twitter account is talking about how Mayor Pete ditching this race means that Joe Biden can probably become “viable’ in California. Let me explain what that means.

One of the things that people love to dunk on the Democrats for is that they are wusses who give everyone a participation trophy, even if they stink. This is 100 percent true. Unlike the Republican Party, which has winner-take-all primaries, the Democratic Party gives any bum who can get 15 percent of a state’s votes a prorated share of it’s delegates. This is a huge deal in Tuesday’s California Primary because–

Joe Biden has been averaging 2 points below the needed 15 to get on the scoreboard there. And Mayor Pete is now leaving more than 4X the number of votes that Uncle Joe needs behind and will probably endorse him*. Combined this with Michael Bloomberg’s downswing and Uncle Joe’s post-South Carolina upswing and– this looks like a meaningful event.

*keep reading this might be a trap

Let’s get some perspective though. Last week everyone was losing their minds about who would get South Carolina’s 54 delegates. Ha! California has 415 delegates, which is about 1/5 of the ~1900 delegates it takes to win the nomination. The math here is funny but if you buy that Joe Biden was not going to be “viable” in California– and that he will now almost certainly be in the money with Pete gone — every delegate that Joe Biden gets in California basically counts as two. This is because:

(1) Biden is taking a delegate away from Bernie or Warren and putting it in his W column.

(2) Biden is no longer in danger of giving Bernie bonus delegates. “Bonus delegates” is a technical term I use for what happens when you don’t get 15 percent of the vote so your delegates are released to the winning candidates. So in this case, per RCP’s averages, Bernie and Warren would win about 60 percent of the state but collect on 100 percent of its delegates.

Needless to say, this is a huge reversal and puts Joe Biden in a good position to take 2nd or 3rd. That’s why this bet is suddenly hot AF:

WTF???? 84 cents to bet on Joe is seriously rich. Wine cave rich! I mean, I am interested, but that is crazy. Analysts think that as much as 40 percent of the vote in California is already in. Those are people who made their pick before Mayor Pete dropped-out and probably before Biden won South Carolina. If that’s true, then Joe Biden would basically have to convert half of Pete’s voters and/or get some rebound love from Michael Bloomber’s fleeing supporters.

I am not going to bet on this now. I’ll track it on election day. Here’s my plan.

I’m hoping that California will report its election results by Congressional District, which is how Sacramento lists them. That way I can watch to see if districts that would have favored Buttigieg (the bougie ones, the white rural ones) turn out good numbers for Biden, relatively speaking.

Check out this visual aid:

BTW, SSG HQ is in SoCal. This data looks right on.

I will be watching:

— CA-33: West LA & the South Bay. Mayor Pete probably raised 99 percent of his money in this district.

— CA-26, 29, and 30: The nice parts of the Valley, Ventura, La Canada and Flint Ridge.

— CA-14 and 15: The bougie suburbs of SF in Alameda and San Mateo Counties. Skews heavily white and Asian.

— CA-6: Sacramento and Yolo County suburbs. Whiter and more rural.

At this point I am in no way comfortable making a call about who finishes 2nd in CA. But I’ll be watching very closely. Follow me on Twitter to get updates on the day.


UPDATE: new polls have come in putting Biden in 2nd. If you want to bet on him staying there, go right ahead. I still haven’t pulled the trigger though.

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