This piece is from a fortnight ago. Bernie Sanders best odds are now 10/1 for the presidency and 11/2 for the Democrat nomination. All the arguments against still apply!
A frequent political betting mistake is to refight the previous election. To assume the dynamics will be replicated. That the narrative which worked previously will remain effective or that the same voters will be motivated by the same issues.
It rarely turns out that way.
As I write, many a political punter could be making that mistake. Since Bernie Sanders declared his candidacy on Tuesday, his odds have been in freefall. The Independent Senator for Vermont is down to a best-priced 12/1 (Ladbrokes) to win the 2020 Presidential Election and 8/1 (10Bet) to be Democrat Nominee.
Here are four reasons why you should consider one of the other potential Democratic nominees instead:
It will be impossible for Sanders to replicate his 2016 campaign
To understand how different 2020 will require looking back at the remarkable 2016 story. At this stage, Sanders was priced at least ten times higher than currently. He was a fringe figure – not even a fully-fledged Democrat – promoting socialism in a country that never voted that way.
In an early signal of the new politics, Sanders raised his profile on social media – live-tweeting responses to the chaotic Republican debates for example. Establishment campaigns couldn’t compete because they hadn’t mastered the medium. Vast numbers of small donations poured in and a new progressive movement was born.
Events fell his way. Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal dogged her campaign and destroyed her ratings, amid constant speculation that she was facing indictment. Everything was set for the popular Joe Biden to enter but the VP opted out – effectively leaving Sanders in a dual with a deeply flawed presumptive nominee.
By the time the primaries begun, it felt like a grassroots revolution. I saw it in Iowa as thousands queued for miles in the snow ahead of his rally. He would lose a photo-finish there, before thrashing Clinton in New Hampshire. Many an upset would follow – 33/1 for Michigan was particularly memorable – before ultimately falling short.
That was the ‘peak Bernie’ moment. He’d run a heroic outsider campaign that promoted progressive causes to the centre of US political debate, attracted millions of small donors, engaged young voters and nearly beaten the formidable Clinton machine. Had Sanders just stepped back and enthusiastically endorsed her – he would probably be in pole position today.