Forecast with the Pundits: Charles Krauthammer and the Inevitability of Hilary Clinton’s Nomination

Posted on Posted in Pundit Challenge


Charles Krauthammer, a seasoned observer of Beltway politics, made this forecast in the September 3, 2015, issue of the Washington Post: “Unless she’s indicted, Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination.”

That’s a clear, concise, and a testable proposition … although Mr Krauthammer then gives himself some wiggle room, as pundits often do: “There is one long-shot possibility that might upend Clinton: Biden pledges to serve one term only and chooses Elizabeth Warren as his running mate – now.”

With a little help, Mr  Krauhammer’s scenario can be converted into a format that we can all forecast. Let’s start by breaking his statement into the constituent pieces and then come back to Ms Clinton’s inevitability.

There are two key phrases here, each of which needs specificity and a deadline. First: Will Ms Clinton be indicted? Mr Krauthammer offers a partial list of  issues that could lead to charges, so any indictment will suffice. And the Democratic Convention in July 2016 provides the deadline. Moving on: Will Joseph Biden run for the nomination, pledge to serve one term, and choose Elizabeth Warren as his running mate? That’s specific … but Mr Krauthammer’s use of “now” needs some help to set a deadline. Is that today? This week? This month? What do you think?

Once we define what “now” means, we will be able to test Mr Krauthammer’s original proposition with these two questions:

Will Hilary Clinton be indicted by July 2016?
Will Joe Biden announce he is running for office for a single term with Elizabeth Warren as his running mate by [insert date here].

Mr Krauthammer’s forecast will prove to be correct if – and only if – the answer is “yes” to at least one of those questions and Ms Clinton then loses the nomination. If she is indicted but wins the nomination, the forecast is incorrect. Likewise, if Mr Biden makes a run for the White House and ticks all those boxes but Ms Clinton still wins the nomination, the forecast is incorrect. And if neither of those things happen but she loses, then the forecast is also incorrect.

We could also combine everything into a single question like this:

Will Hilary Clinton win the Democratic nomination if:

(a) She is indicted by July 2016
(b) Joe Biden announces he is running for office for a single term with Elizabeth Warren as his running mate by [insert date here]
(c) Neither of the above occur

Those are just two ways of testing Mr Krauthammer’s forecast and there are certainly others. Please submit your suggestions HERE or in the comments section. After our panel reviews the options, we can all assign our own numerical probabilities and forecast with Mr Krauthammer.

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