Thursday, October 15, 2015

They say, "It ain't over...

...'til it's over," but it's over. Everyone (including me) seems to agree: Hillary will be the Democratic nominee for president. And Joe, it's been a slice, but it's time to pack it in.

Need some evidence? Here's the latest poll from the Huffington Post, updated after Tuesday's debate:

Hillary Clinton, 46.2 percent
Bernie Sanders, 24.1
Joe Biden, 19.2

If Biden's at only 19.2 percent before he announces, it's over for him.

Want more evidence? Here's the latest from PaddyPower (my buddy in London prefers Oddschecker, but I find that difficult to read):

Hillary, 1/3 odds
Bernie, 9/2
Joe, 5/1

Biden's absence Tuesday night reminded me of that weekend last November when all the college football teams were playing for their conference championships. The one team conspicuously absent, though, was Notre Dame, which isn't a member of a conference. And I remember thinking, If you're not on television this weekend, you're just not part of the conversation. And I think, together with Mrs. Clinton's solid debate performance, Biden just removed himself from contention. All that's left now is a formal announcement not to run. And that would be okay: Joe gets to retire on top.

Now, as for that other nomination, it sure seems up for grabs, doesn't it? If you look at the polls, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, two candidates who almost surely won't be the nominee of the Republican Party, are still in the lead:

Trump, 28.5 percent
Carson, 19.6
Marco Rubio, 9.4
Jeb Bush, 7.8
Ted Cruz, 6.9

My brother from Minnesota made a good observation recently: If Jesse Ventura can get elected governor, don't underestimate a celebrity candidate like Donald Trump. And, yet, I still have enough faith in this country that I don't think Trump or Carson will get the nomination. But we'll just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, the betting websites seem to show Jeb and Rubio in front, although PaddyPower still gives the edge to the guy with $114 million in the bank:

Jeb, 15/8 odds
Rubio, 5/2
Trump, 3/1

I find that really interesting because Jeb sure seems to be struggling. But, as my Scottish friend Jamie once asked me, "Have you ever met a poor bookie?" (I don't think I've ever met one at all, poor or otherwise.) If I had to bet I'd place my money on Rubio, but I'm a notoriously bad gambler.

Some of the smart people I read say it's going to come down to Rubio (the establishment choice) and Ted Cruz (the outsider's choice), and I could see that -- Cruz is quietly raising a ton of dough. But I could see a lot of things. If Bush and Rubio start slugging it out, does that leave an opening for another establishment candidate, like John Kasich? Or even . . . Chris Christie?

Bottom line: It's Hillary against somebody, and I'll go with the bookies and say Jeb, although I have trouble believing it. Oh, and Hillary wins.

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