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Presidential Predictions: Ron, Don, or Joe?

Where the 2024 race stands, nineteen months out.
April 13, 2023
The 2024 Candidate Meter | Not My Party with Tim Miller

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Tim Miller: For us political junkies, it’s never too early to make some presidential predictions. Who’s ready to do some political gambling?

Skipper (from Penguins of Madagascar): I’ll take that action.

Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. You might not like the sound of this, but according to the Not My Party Meter, there’s a 90 percent chance that one of these three men is the next president. Yep, unless something big changes, when it’s last call for drinks and the lights come up, we’re gonna be stuck staring at Ron, Don, or Joe all the way till 2028.

Panda (from We Bare Bears): Maybe we could try something new?

Bender (from Futurama): Oh wait, you’re serious. Let me laugh even harder.

Miller: So let’s get specific with our bets and boot up the Not My Party Meter. We’ll start with the favorite, Joe Biden at 45 percent odds. I know it’s hard to believe that old Dumbledore could possibly be president five and a half years from now at age 86—53 years after he first was elected to the Senate.

Joe Biden of the 1970s: I expect these fellas are going to eventually judge me on my merit, and not on my age.

Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel on Gilmore Girls): Life has come full circle.

Miller: That’s our reality. Here’s how old Joe explains why.

Joe Biden of the 2020s: Don’t compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.

Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser on Mad Men): Is that the only alternative?

Miller: And the realistic alternatives are all so weak and riddled with political problems that he looks okay by comparison. Biden’s main opponent is Father Time. If he was younger, he’d be an even stronger favorite, but alas, time comes for us all.

Abe Simpson (from The Simpsons): It’ll happen to you!

Miller: Moving now to the fool, Donald Trump, with a 25 percent chance. The meter calculates that Trump has a 75 percent chance of winning the primary, a clear favorite. But just a 33 percent chance of taking the general. On the one hand, 25 percent chance is pretty unlikely. Thank God. But looked at differently, that means we have a one in four chance of our democracy literally coming to an end.

Dev Shah (Aziz Ansari on Master of None): That’s terrifying.

Miller: Gotta say, no other election in my lifetime had that kind of threat looming. The big factor lowering Trump’s odds is the general election map.

“The President” (William Windom in Escape from the Planet of the Apes): Very unpopular, historically unpopular.

Miller: A Mitch McConnell consultant recently tweeted that Georgia has repeatedly rejected Trump in primaries, general elections, and runoffs both in 2020 and 2022. And it’s really hard to create a winning map for Republicans without Georgia. Trump would need Pennsylvania plus two of Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada. A hard-to-hit political inside straight.

Sterling Archer (from Archer): Thank God for small miracles, huh?

Miller: Moving to the dark horse, Ron DeSantis, with a 20 percent chance. This young stud had been the only contender poised to overtake Trump. But he’s faded into a sad, dark horse over the last month.

Sarah, Stewie’s foster mother (from Family Guy): Poor little guy.

Miller: That said, he still has a good elevator pitch for Republican voters. Promising them the ultra-MAGA policies and the history of winning without the Trump baggage. Plus, GOP voters loved his anti-mask, anti-vax response to COVID.

Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street): F*ck you, science!

Miller: So DeSantis is still alive. The big questions: One, can he stand toe to toe with Trump on a debate stage? And two, if he does beat Trump, will Cult 45’s core supporters show up for some imitation meat in the general election? I’m not so sure, and thus, he only has a one in five chance.

Derek Thompson (Dwayne Johnson in Tooth Fairy): It’s just not the same.

Miller: That takes us to the long shot. Kamala Harris at 5 percent. Kamala has been a far weaker political performer than I anticipated, but nonetheless, she is the sitting veep. As such, her farfetched path looks something like this: Joe Biden has a health event late enough in the campaign that she’s the only one who can realistically take over. Then she wins the general election despite her political brand issues because Trump is so insane that he sabotages either his own campaign or Meatball Ron’s.

Tulio and Miguel (from The Road to El Dorado): Both. Both is good.

Miller: Anyone else besides those four: just a 5 percent chance. Maybe a MAGA imitator can emerge and surprise Trump or DeSantis in the primary. But none of the old-line Republicans in the race now have a chance.

Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy on Schitt’s Creek): Wow, this is quite the spread.

Miller: Which then leaves us with only a crazy, unprecedented outsider situation. So some of you might be wondering: Given this less than stellar field, why aren’t I more bullish on a third party?

Stewie Griffin (from Family Guy): Yeah, what gives?

Miller: I’ll explain next week on another edition of “Not My Party.”

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.