How Joe Biden Can Win the Nomination
Author: Greg Valliere
November 5, 2019
AS IOWA HEATS UP, amid scenarios that frontrunner Elizabeth Warren or insurgent Pete Buttigieg could shake up the field, something interesting has happened: Joe Biden hasn’t made any significant gaffes. He has run a solid if bland campaign, focusing on blocking and tackling. Does he need to win Iowa? Not really; his target will be the delegate-rich primaries next spring.
IT’S DAWNING ON DEMOCRATS, especially in this city, that their infatuation with Warren, Buttigieg and the rest has overlooked the bottom line: none of the Biden challengers has a good chance of winning the general election, while the former vice president does.
SO HERE’S OUR SCENARIO FOR A BIDEN NOMINATION: First, he needs to survive the upcoming Nov. 20 and Dec. 19 debates without major slip-ups. Biden has never been a great debater, so a grade of B will be adequate; he was clearly rusty in the first debate and has gradually developed a decent stump speech and solid talking points.
BIDEN WILL HAVE AN ADVANTAGE in the two upcoming debates, as many of the candidates target Warren’s Medicare for All proposal, with its tortured explanation of how she would pay for it. Biden may not have to do the heavy lifting in the criticism of Warren; Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar will lead the assault.
BIDEN NEEDS TO FINISH IN THE TOP THREE in the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, which is do-able, assuming he improves his fundraising and hammers away on his two main attributes: his ability to beat Trump and his close association with Barack Obama, who’s enormously popular in the party. Get used to Biden beginning many sentences by saying “Barack and I.”
TOP THREE FINISHES ARE PROBABLE FOR BIDEN in New Hampshire on Feb. 11 and Nevada on Feb. 22, although Sanders or Warren could win in those two states — but again, by then voters may conclude that neither of them has a plausible chance of beating Trump. And after New Hampshire, the field almost certainly will narrow; gone by then will be Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, etc.
THEN BIDEN COULD SCORE A MAJOR VICTORY, riding his strong African-American support to a clear win in South Carolina on Feb. 29. That would give him momentum, and more contributions, heading into the March 3 “Super Tuesday” primaries.
CALIFORNIA VOTES ON MARCH 3, a huge wild card. We could envision Warren winning there, with a strong showing by Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders or Andrew Yang. But even if Biden finishes third in the Golden State, he should do well in some other races that day, including North Carolina and Texas. Then Biden should have a good night on March 10, potentially winning Ohio and Michigan, thanks to strong labor support.
WARREN MAY STAY IN THE RACE until the July 13-16 convention in Milwaukee, or she might concede after the June 2 primary in New Jersey. And she may crusade against the influence of the Democrats’ “super delegates.” Despite recent reforms, there will be 758 super delegates out of a total of about 4,500. Two big issues for Warren: can she explain her health plan, and when will Sanders withdraw and, in all likelihood, endorse her?
WE HAVE ONLY MODERATE CONFIDENCE IN THIS SCENARIO of a Biden nomination, because as his 77th birthday approaches later this month, he seems to be a step slower. But again, he’s running a gaffe-free campaign (thus far) in Iowa and, to be blunt, he’s the likely nominee by default. Could Warren take him out? At the end of this summer, we thought she could; now we think Biden is still the candidate to beat.
The views expressed in this blog are provided as a general source of information based on information available as of the date of publication and should not be considered as personal investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy and/or sell securities. Speculation or stated believes about future events, such as market or economic conditions, company or security performance, or other projections represent the beliefs of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of AGF, its subsidiaries or any of its affiliated companies, funds or investment strategies. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in these commentaries at the time of publication; however, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Market conditions may change and AGF accepts no responsibility for individual investment decisions arising from the use of or reliance on the information contained herein. Any financial projections are based on the opinions of the author and should not be considered as a forecast. The forward looking statements and opinions may be affected by changing economic circumstances and are subject to a number of uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward looking statements. The information contained in this commentary is designed to provide you with general information related to the political and economic environment in the United States. It is not intended to be comprehensive investment advice applicable to the circumstances of the individual.
AGF Investments is a group of wholly owned subsidiaries of AGF Management Limited, a Canadian reporting issuer. The subsidiaries included in AGF Investments are AGF Investments Inc. (AGFI), AGF Investments America Inc. (AGFA), AGF Investments LLC (AGFUS) and AGF International Advisors Company Limited (AGFIA). AGFA and AGFUS are registered advisors in the U.S. AGFI is a registered as a portfolio manager across Canadian securities commissions. AGFIA is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. The subsidiaries that form AGF Investments manage a variety of mandates comprised of equity, fixed income and balanced assets.
About AGF Management Limited
Founded in 1957, AGF Management Limited (AGF) is an independent and globally diverse asset management firm. AGF brings a disciplined approach to delivering excellence in investment management through its fundamental, quantitative, alternative and high-net-worth businesses focused on providing an exceptional client experience. AGF’s suite of investment solutions extends globally to a wide range of clients, from financial advisors and individual investors to institutional investors including pension plans, corporate plans, sovereign wealth funds and endowments and foundations.
For further information, please visit AGF.com.
©2021 AGF Management Limited. All rights reserved.