I will admit that my mangina has been growing massively this past week. This is mostly due to the fact that ever since Joe Biden became President, I have been on an absolute heater and now I am more interested in protecting my pile of gold than adding to it. I am basically a giant momma Grizzly Bear who is more focused on protecting her cubs than ripping the face off of whatever prey is wandering through the political gambling forest.
But recently one of the boys, Jaime, sent me a tip that is literally the definition of gold. He DM’ed me:
I read this and could only react one way:
Because Jaime is 100% smoking right.
As I have said repeatedly on SSG podcasts, I think that PredictIt’s markets habitually over estimate how much support any cabinet nominee will get.
I’ve been hesitant to bet on this though, because it’s really hard to decide whether a hypothetical nominee will get 68 vs. 72 votes in the Senate.
The rare exception is a cabinet official who, like Miguel Cardona, will be used as a partisan punching bag for issues bigger than himself. In Cardona’s case, it’s blatantly obvious that the GOP will use his nomination as a stand-in for two of Democrats’ most unpopular priorities.
To that end, here is why Cardona’s confirmation is going to be one of the most partisan of this term; and why the markets are over-estimating his appeal in the Senate more than 50 Cent over-estimated his music’s appeal to consumers after Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
Miguel Cardona is a fierce advocate for letting boys compete in women’s sports due to his beliefs in transgender stuff. That won’t fly with Republicans.
In his committee hearing, Rand Paul piped Cardona over the head about this for a solid 5 minutes. He accused Cardona of wanting to destroy women’s sports forever and being the world’s largest anti-feminist due to the fact that he thinks it is important for “six-foot-two” boys to compete against “five-foot-four” women.
Mitt Romney, the opposite of a partisan firebrand, echoed Rand Paul’s view. And freshman Senator Roger Marshall also expressed his dismay. It’s worth noting that Marshall is an OB-GYN and Paul is an ophthalmologist. These are not idiots, and they are 3 very different types of conservatives.
Secondly, since Cardona will head the Department of Education, he is going to be getting absolutely abused for Biden’s refusal to open schools.
You do not need to be a genius to see that Republicans smell blood on this issue and are never going to live down the fact that, so far, President Biden is siding with teacher’s unions over students by keeping public schools closed. This is despite mounting scientific evidence that any danger posed by returning to school is dwarfed by the harm of educating students in isolation.
Sen. Tim Scott gave Cardona a sneak preview of what the Senate GOP is going to water board him with on the Senate floor.
Namely — to summarize — for executing Biden’s COVID policy that is friendly to “the elites of Washington” who can afford to send their kids to private schools that are open, while lower-income families deal with continued school closures and diminished education attainment.
Scott has since issued a lengthy statement detailing why Miguel Cardona is basically just a ball of yarn for the Teacher’s Unions to paw around with.
This is important because Tim Scott has slowly elevated himself to a spokesman for GOP Leadership, and is probably right in the middle of the GOP Conference’s opinion on most issues. Therefore, Scott’s shot across the bow did not come from Trump’s MAGA fringe — it came from somewhere near Mitch McConnell’s flagship.
Finally, to get a feel for the bounds of this confirmation, let’s recall how many votes other cabinet officials have received.
- At the low end, Alejandro Mayorkas (DHS) got 56, in large part because he was a stand-in for Republican opposition to open borders.
- At the high end: Janet Yellen (84), Denis McDonough (87) and Pete Buttigieg (86), who were as non-controversial as they come and are running departments that aren’t usually politicized.
- In the middle of the spectrum: Lloyd Austin’s waiver (DoD) with 69 and Tony Blinken (State) with 78. Austin’s waiver was a Constitutional issue, and Blinken was a proxy for Biden’s intentions to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and Iran Nuclear Deal. These are partisan issues within Washington, but not massive wedge issues to the public.
So in my opinion, Austin’s tally of 69 is the likely max for Cardona. Like Defense, Education is a popular priority to regular Joes, so being a total partisan hack about it never sells. But neither does letting men competing against women in high school sports, or keeping public schools closed while private schools are safely open.
These are big issues that fire-up voters along bipartisan lines — but that really matter to Republicans. So my instincts tell me that the final tally for this nomination will be near Mayorkas’s 56.
Long story short, I am betting that Miguel Cardona becomes a magnet for partisan attacks and is confirmed with 70 or fewer votes. This is a no brainer.