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In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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Bettors have Chosen the Next U.S. President and it is Kamala Harris

A half-Indian/half-African woman of colour is the strongest contender to be the next president of the United States according to bettors.

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) placed first in PredictIt’s betting pool for the Democratic presidential nomination on 1 December 2017, US News and World Report noted. Harris was still number two in the betting for the Democratic nomination on 24 December 2017, behind U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

PredictiIt’s bettors chose Harris over such well-known Democrats as former Vice President Joseph Biden, Massachusetts Senator Liz Warren, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. That makes her the strongest candidate in the Democratic nomination race; because Sanders is 76-years old, so he might not be capable of running in 2020.

PredictIt’s track record on picking election winners is questionable. Its bettors favoured Republican Roy Moore to win the December 12, U.S. Senate Election in Alabama. Democrat Doug Jones won, but bets for the winner paid more; 98¢ (£0.73) for Jones to 2¢ (£0.01) for Moore. Harris bets were worth more than Sanders, at 84¢ (£0.63) to 80¢ (£0.60) for Bernie on 26 December 2017.

Indian Woman on Inside Track to U.S. Presidency

Harris has the inside track because she is a loyal Democratic Party member; who has won competitive offices for state-wide office in California, America’s most populous state.

In contrast, Sanders is an outsider; a self-proclaimed socialist and “independent,” who angered many Democrats by embarrassing their standard-bearer Hillary Clinton with a strong primary challenge in 2016. Another advantage that Harris has is Sanders represents one of America’s smallest states; Vermont.

To become U.S. President, a candidate must win a series of state-wide party contests called primaries, and receive the nomination of one of the two major parties; Democratic or Republican. Competition for the 2020 Democratic nomination is likely to be fierce; because of low approval ratings for the president and probable Republican nominee Donald J. Trump (R-New York).

Around 56.9% of Americans disapproved of Trump’s performance on 24 December according to FiveThirtyEight’s average of polls. Only 37.4% of Americans approved of Trump on 24 December.

Harris would be the first Female and first Indian U.S. President

Harris would be the first woman; and the first person of Indian descent, to be president of the United States.

Her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris was an Indian of Tamil descent from Chennai, while her father Donald Harris was of Jamaican background. She would also be the second U.S. President of African descent after Barrack Obama.[1]

Harris is often compared to Obama because she is a first-term Senator of African descent. Unlike Obama, Harris had a successful career as an attorney before entering politics. She served as a prosecutor, District Attorney, and an assistant county attorney in San Francisco. Harris also served as Attorney General of the State of California from 2010 to 2016. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016.

Harris has not publicly announced a presidential candidacy but she has made a number of steps towards it. The most visible of these moves was Harris’s announcement of support for Sanders’ popular single-payer; or national health insurance program, on 30 August.  Harris also made the demand for Trump to resign on 14 December 2017, which was a thinly disguised appeal to female voters and the Democratic base.

A Woman is Likely to be the Next U.S. President

There is a strong possibility that the next president of the United States will be a woman. Three of the top five contenders for the Democratic nomination in the PredictIt pool are women.

The third runner-up in the race is U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). Another woman, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) placed fourth in the PredictIt betting. The fifth runner-up was Joe Biden (D-Delaware) who served as Obama’s vice president. Harris is the only person of colour in the top five.

Placing sixth in the PredictIt pool was another person of colour; U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), who is of African descent. One other woman; U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), appeared among the top 10.

Predict It Top 10 Contenders for the 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination on 26 December 2017

  1. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)
  2. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-California)
  3. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)
  4. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York)
  5. Joseph Biden (D-Delaware)
  6. U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey)
  7. Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-New York)
  8. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)
  9. Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg (?-California)
  10. U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia)

A Strange Cast of Candidates

The most telling revelation from PredictIt’s pool is the candidates that did not make the grade with bettors. Several of the individuals that The Washington Post named as probable Democratic candidates on 8 September 2017; were absent from the PredictIt top ten.

Big names dismissed by PredicIt bettors; included wrestler turned movie star Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, former talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, Shark Tank star Mark Cuban, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon); who is widely seen as Sanders’ heir apparent, former first lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), and California Governor Jerry Brown (D). Also absent from the list was the 2016 Democratic candidate; Hillary R. Clinton, although her vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine made the list.

Strangely enough, only one state governor; Andrew Cuomo (D-New York), was given a chance at the Democratic nomination by PredictIt. Governors are usually considered favourites in presidential races. Several presidents including Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Grover Cleveland, and Franklin D. Roosevelt served as governor before reaching the presidency.

The lack of governors might signal a major change in American politics; voters might want a Washington insider, rather than a local leader in the White House. Tellingly, seven of the candidates taken seriously by PredictIt bettors are sitting U.S. Senators, and one Biden is an ex-Senator.

So Much for Outsiders in Politics

Another telling sign is that PredictIt bettors gave only one non-politician; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a serious chance at the Democratic presidential nomination. Zuckerberg has been touring the country and discussing political issues in recent months but he has not announced any plans for office.

Unlike The Post, bettors and odds-makers do not take such celebrity candidates as Johnson, Winfrey, Cuban, and Disney (NYSE: DIS) CEO Bob Iger seriously. One reason for this is that the antics of Donald J. Trump have soured voters on outsider candidacies.

The U.S. presidential election is already attracting attention around the globe. The British betting website William Hill is already taking odds on the prospect of a woman being elected president in 2020.

[1] There has been speculation that several presidents; including Republican Warren G. Harding, were of African Ancestry. In 2015, a DNA test disproved claims of Harding’s African descent, The New York Times reported.