Handicapping the Democratic Presidential Challengers

The landscape has changed for presidential campaigns – everyone wants to be president now! Donald Trump has shown that:

  • You don’t have to work that hard
  • You don’t really have to know much, although pretending you do is A-OK
  • You don’t have to prepare for meetings or speeches
  • You can continue to enrich yourself, allowing your family and your companies to leverage your office
  • You can say anything
  • You can threaten anybody

And, really, you don’t have to be very smart or, you know, read books or anything like that.

Thus luminaries such as Oscar de la Hoya and Dwayne Johnson have declared their intent to seek the presidency.[1] Even a relatively sober captain of industry such as Jamie Dimon has decided he’s smarter than Trump and thus could beat him in an election[2]

An easy decision apparently, although Dimon has since claimed he was not actually running, but that he could.

And there’s a whole raft of contenders waiting in the wings – The Houseplant is here to help you make sense of them. If this was a monetized and/or commercial website we’d do it in Listicle format – you’d have to page through every single one of these guys and gals, accompanied by a huge stock photo, a tiny blurb, and endless ads and popups. At the Houseplant it’s all content, no filler ,no ads and no apologies either.

The list of luminaries below comes from an internet betting site and the odds listed come from that site. In other words you can make actual bets and get those odds. I am not picking them randomly, despite appearances to the contrary. I have not supplied the full list, however.

Let’s get started start with our 2 poster kid sports figures:

Oscar de la Hoya

Biggest Pro: Shoo-in for most of the Latino vote (we think)

Biggest Con: Not a shoo-in for most of the non-Latino vote

Salient Characteristic: Can beat up anyone on this list with the possible exception of Dwayne Johnson

Bonus Fun Fact: Earned a Grammy nomination in 2001

Odds: No line currently offered

Dwayne Johnson

Biggest Pro: Very affable and photogenic

Biggest Con: Film and television may interfere with campaigning and/or motivation

Salient Characteristic: Can beat up anyone on this list with the possible exception of Oscar de la Hoya

Bonus Fun Fact: Played in the Canadian Football League

Odds: No longer on the board

Chelsea Clinton

Biggest Pro: She’s a Clinton (and not Hillary)

Biggest Con: She’s a Clinton

Salient Characteristic: Politics is a ‘definite maybe’ for now

Bonus Fun Fact: Has written three children’s books

Odds: 100 / 1

George Clooney

Biggest Pro: See Dwayne Johnson

Biggest Con: Lifestyle would be degraded considerably by presidency, has young children

Salient Characteristic: Likes Italy much more than DC

Bonus Fun Fact: Had a pet pig that saved his life by waking him before an earthquake

Odds: 50 / 1

Howard Schultz

Biggest Pro: Wealthy enough to not be beholden to special interests

Biggest Con: We saw what that got us with Trump

Salient Characteristic: Upgrade in White House coffee quality

Bonus Fun Fact: The original Starbucks outlets were first named Il Giornale

Odds: 30 / 1

Michelle Obama

Biggest Pro: She’s an Obama, and how good does that look right now?

Biggest Con: A daytime talk show would be a much more attractive gig

Salient Characteristic: Can beat up anyone on this list with the exception of Oscar de la Hoya and Dwayne Johnson

Bonus Fun Fact: Tallest 1st lady in history (5’11”, tied with Eleanor Roosevelt)

Odds: 25 / 1

Cory Booker

Biggest Pro: Will attract large African-American voter turnout, considered pragmatic Obama-style successor

Biggest Con: Didn’t really do all that well in New Jersey. But who does? (even ‘future GOP nominee’ Christie ultimately crashed and burned)

Salient Characteristic: Not married (usually fatal for national candidates)

Bonus Fun Fact: Recent girlfriend is an Instagram poet (really) 19 years his junior

Odds: 15 / 1

Oprah Winfrey

Biggest Pro: Everyone loves her

Biggest Con: She’d like to keep it that way, despite contempt for Trump

Salient Characteristic: Moving from Santa Barbara to DC is a major downgrade

Bonus Fun Fact: Has done voices for several cartoon characters

Odds: 14.5 / 1

Joe Biden

Biggest Pro: An actual professional politician with a track record and clear positions on major issues

Biggest Con: See biggest Pro

Salient Characteristic: Will be 78 in 2020

Bonus Fun Fact: Elected to the senate at age 29 (sworn in at 30, the minimum age requirement)

Odds: 6.5 / 1

Jerry Brown

Biggest Pro: Has successfully governed largest state in the USA

Biggest Con: That state is resented by many swing state voters

Salient Characteristic: Even older than Biden

Bonus Fun Fact: His rogue presidential run in 1980 was a pivotal early factor in dooming Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign

Odds: 37.5 / 1

Eric Garcetti

Biggest Pro: Well-spoken and successful mayor of a mega-city whose metro area has a higher population than 46 other states

Biggest Con: See Jerry Brown

Salient Characteristic: No one has ever gone directly from being mayor to president although several have tried

Bonus Fun Fact: Is a very good jazz pianist

Odds: 23.5 / 1

Tim Kaine

Biggest Pro: Anodyne enough for independent voters

Biggest Con: Too anodyne for other voters?

Salient Characteristic: The very picture of centrist Democrat competence i.e. pure Virginia

Bonus Fun Fact: Was quoted thusly: “I am boring. But boring is the fastest growing demographic in this country.”

Odds: 37.5 / 1

Al Franken

Biggest Pro: Successfully remade himself as a serious and thoughtful politician

Biggest Con: The gropey thing seems to play better in the GOP

Salient Characteristic: Was forced out for 2 groping incidents despite being one of the top women’s advocates in the senate

Bonus Fun Fact: Widely rumored to be planning a return to politics

Odds: 47.5 / 1

Tulsi Gabbard

Biggest Pro: Fresh face with pro-military (but anti foreign interventionist) and centrist views

Biggest Con: Seems to be a cult member, the Hindu affiliation may be an albatross

Salient Characteristic:  Very cozy with rabid anti-Muslim Indian leader Modi, to the point of being an apologist for continuing attacks on Muslims in India

Bonus Fun Fact: South Carolina GOP senator Trey Gowdy has publicly referred to her as ‘cute’

Odds: 26.5 / 1

Mark Zuckerberg

Biggest Pro: Will introduce t-shirts as standard attire for White House staff meetings

Biggest Con: Thankfully does not seem to want the job at all

Salient Characteristic: Possibly the shadiest and most opaque “tech titan”

Bonus Fun Fact: Probably the most gifted developer (back when they were developers) among the tech titans

Odds: 30 / 1

Michael Avenatti

Biggest Pro: Hates Trump

Biggest Con: Acts like Trump

Salient Characteristic: Loves to bait Trump, governing ability probably also equivalent to Trumps (roughly zero)

Bonus Fun Fact: Ran Tully’s Coffee into the ground, including multiple allegations of fraud, tax evasion, etc. (see: Biggest con above. Double entendre intended)

Odds: 22.5 / 1

Hillary Clinton

Biggest Pro: Please

Biggest Con: Make

Salient Characteristic: it

Bonus Fun Fact: Stop

Odds: 32.5 / 1

Kamala Harris

Biggest Pro: Asian / Black ethnicity will bring those groups out to vote

Biggest Con: But will it bring the Hispanics?

Salient Characteristic: Current frontrunner on the betting line but still a fairly large underdog against the field

Bonus Fun Fact: Obama called her “the best looking attorney general in the country.”

Odds: 3.5 / 1

Elizabeth Warren

Biggest Pro: Will go the distance to take down Trump

Biggest Con: Probably better at that in the senate

Salient Characteristic: Is now open about ‘considering’ a 2020 presidential run

Bonus Fun Fact: Her presence in the field will keep Trump’s dull-witted racism front and center

Odds: 5.25 / 1

Bernie Sanders

Biggest Pro: Sincere, passionate, speaks for disenfranchised Americans

Biggest Con: Seems to feel Denmark (population: 5,700,000) is a role model for future US domestic policy

Salient Characteristic: Probably would have beaten Clinton without DNC intervention in 2016

Bonus Fun Fact: Probably would have beaten Trump without DNC intervention in 2016

Odds: 6.75 / 1

Gavin Newsom

Biggest Pro: Photogenic future governor of largest state, fairly effective mayor of a city that punches well above its demographic weight

Biggest Con: See Jerry Brown and Eric Garcetti, admitted adulterer (the adultery things plays better in the GOP these days, as we well know)

Salient Characteristic: Something of a Democratic Paul Ryan born with a silver spoon, well-connected (and even better funded), has not faced much political adversity

Bonus Fun Fact: Newsom’s grandfather was a strategist for Pat Brown and godfather of Jerry Brown’s sister Kathleen. Newsom’s father was appointed to the appellate court by Jerry Brown. Did we say connected?

Odds: 9.5 / 1

Your Humble Narrator

Biggest Pro: Super-Smart

Biggest Con: Too Smart

Salient Characteristic: Kind of a Smart-ass

Bonus Fun Fact: Thinks he’s smarter than Trump. Like everyone else does

Odds: ∞

  1. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oscar-de-la-hoya-says-he-wants-to-run-for-president/ https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/07/the-rock-dwayne-johnson-skyscraper-president-2020Duane Johnson still wants to run, just not in 2020 apparently
  2. https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/12/politics/jamie-dimon-donald-trump/index.html


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