My official prediction for the 2024 Republican primaries
Ron DeSantis has launched his campaign, which means that it's time for everyone to make some blind guesses about what will happen.
Ron DeSantis has launched his 2024 campaign, which is as good a marker as any that the Republican primary season has officially begun. The last time we had a competitive GOP primary, you may recall that I — as part of the Matt Bruenig Election Team — was one of few pundits to predict a Trump win from the beginning. So who’s going to win this time?
I have no idea! And neither does anyone else! This seems to be lost to history, but the actual lesson of 2016 wasn’t that a few of us have psychic powers — it’s that elections are extremely unpredictable. Trump won, but he won by very close margins, and for absolutely bizarre reasons like “Hillary Clinton decided not to campaign in Wisconsin.”You can do a county-by-county analysis and weigh the polls and count the delegates as cleverly as you like, and there is still just no way to know whether the wrong butterfly will flap its wings over the next nine months.
So instead of playing that game again, I’m going to make three different predictions:
Someone is going to get the primary outcome right — not because they had any psychic foresight about it, but just because everyone guessing every possible outcome means that someone logically has to get it. However, it will not be Nate Silver.
For the next nine months, Republicans are going to make a big show of what freethinking principled voters they are. They will ruthlessly attack their primary opponents, position themselves as an insurgency against the establishment, contrast themselves with the Democratic hivemind that coronates Joe Biden, and even warn that they will not, as a matter of principle, vote for the winner. Despite all of this bluster, however, the only significant defections will be to the Democratic Party. In the end, they will fall in line.
OK, fine: Trump is going to win. But if he loses, I’ll just say I flipped a coin, because this prediction business really is extremely stupid.
Carl Beijer is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
This point often gets confused in 2016 relitigations, but the case for Sanders was not that Hillary Clinton was guaranteed to lose. It was that she was a risk, the only candidate who could possibly lose, while Sanders was polling well ahead of her in head-to-heads with Trump. Democrats decided to take that gamble, and the rest is history.