By Bryan Caplan
My long-time friend Ben Haller posted this prediction on Facebook:
Elizabeth Warren on Bill Maher – man, she is really good. I hereby predict that she will be President in 2020… That’s assuming she runs – but I think she will.
I find this extremely unlikely, for the following reasons:
1. As a matter of base rates, there are many Democratic candidates. And unlike the last three elections, there’s no obvious front-runner. (Yes, Hillary was the obvious front-runner in 2008, even though she lost). In any case, incumbents usually get re-elected.
2. Personally, Warren looks to me like Hillary Clinton without the Clinton machine.
3. Electionbettingodds currently only gives Warren a 7.9% chance to win. (Though to be fair it also gives Trump unusually low odds of staying in office).
I therefore offered Ben 2:1 odds against Warren being elected, and he’s accepted. The bet gets called off if Warren doesn’t run. Ben speaks:
A betting opportunity brought you out of the woodwork, eh? :-> Well, I am a fan of your position on betting. My only hesitation is that in the past she has chosen not to run because (she claims) she feels she is more effective where she is. I have no particular reason to think she has changed her mind on that – as I wrote above, “that’s assuming she runs”. I would be happy to take your bet, conditional on her running at all. If she doesn’t run, we keep our money. If she does run, there is a lot of time between now and then, and anything could happen, but I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is at 2:1. I think she has the potential to be an enormously strong candidate, nobody else anywhere near as charismatic seems to be in the field, and if anybody ever showed the clear potential to be a one-term President it would seem to be Trump (although I do worry that he will manage to make himself a “wartime President” by then and get all the rah-rah “patriots” to rally around him :-<).
(And of course “in 2020” is taken in the non-literal sense, that she will win the election in 2020 and take office in 2021 :->. Obviously she will not be President in 2020. :->)
The stakes are my $100 against Ben’s $50.