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Guessing the Name in the Envelope – The Biden Brain at Work

Guessing the Name in the Envelope – The Biden Brain at Work

Guessing the Name in the Envelope - Biden VP Pick

Joe Biden Picks His VP Contender

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic Nominee, is just days away from announcing his running mate for the 2020 presidential election. A wide range of names has been put forward, all women after it was declared that the decision would not be based on merit alone. The list has shortened further to include mostly black women in recent weeks in a nod to the racial turbulence presently gripping the US. Betting markets have fluctuated as new names have been added and old names discarded. Those betting in this market are attempting to guess the name in the envelope. 

The envelope betting game differs from traditional contests. There is no live event that might swing in hundreds of possible directions. There is no form to analyse. There are no real precedents to consider. The punter is attempting to think like the decision-maker. This is made more difficult by the mind at work. Biden is a 77-year-old political veteran, who has been displaying an alarming mental decline in recent years. His perception of the world is difficult to estimate. How does anyone hope to unravel the complexities or otherwise of Biden’s thought process?   

The second factor is the polling that presently has Biden with a double-digit lead over his incumbent opponent. This may lead to hubris in the Biden mind. Circumstances are falling his way. Normal campaigning that involves hundreds of interviews, thousands of meet-and-greets in diners, ice-creameries, and factories may not occur due to the pandemic-related restrictions. The less Biden is exposed to the outside world the better his chances of winning. He may be inclined to throw caution to the wind and choose randomly because pollsters have him with a huge advantage. 

The third factor is trust. The VP is situated very close to the president’s back. Knifing is always a possibility. An aged Biden will rely more on his VP than other presidents. He desperately needs someone who can be trusted, as much as any politician can be. A shaky old man makes for a very soft target, for someone inclined to betray him. 

The fourth factor is likeability. Biden is a very chummy kinda guy. He and Barack Obama were like a couple of schoolboys at times, ribbing each other and pursuing all manner of hi-jinx. Biden was even known to brag about the size of Obama’s “stick”, a hilarious rhyming game that displayed the closeness of the pals. Biden may be inclined to base his decision on the level of tomfoolery possible with his VP rather than conventional criteria such as competence and merit. How can an outsider possibly guess how two strangers get along?

So what does the political pundit do with this envelope bet? Is it worth a dabble? The answer is no. Leaks have emerged, photos have been taken of Biden’s speaking notes, and it does not resemble a true contest. It appears a race between Kamala Harris and Susan Rice at this late hour. Harris is the more tested of the two but is less loyal and chummy. Rice has never run for elected office, but has a wealth of foreign policy experience and is probably more open to Biden’s jokes, gaffes, and general foolery. 

Betting in such markets is not advised. People make stupid decisions. The name might already be in the envelope. Someone might peek into the envelope and release its contents. Serious prospectors don’t wager on Academy Awards or VP selections.

This type of gambling is an amateur guessing game. 

G G Novack – Political Oddsmaker

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