2024 primaries: Ramaswamy gone, Trump still dominant

Does anyone expect an outcome in which Trump does not sweep the whole thing? The only hope for the others is if Trump is somehow disqualified or dies. It’s similar to Biden in 2020, Romney in 2012, Obama/McCain in 2008, or Hillary in 2016 in which early on it was evident who was going to be nominated. But this was even more so. After leaving office, Trump was the implicit 2024 nominee, provided he sought a second term, which he did. Only for about a 6-month stretch in 2022 and early 2023 did DeSantis have some hope of overtaking Trump. For Trump, 2023 was about avoiding jail, not actually having to campaign.

DeSantis was tied or even ahead of Trump in prediction markets, which was no small feat:

Vivek Ramaswamy, who dropped out in last place in Iowa, is sorta like the right-wing version of Andrew Yang, who had more success on Twitter for his hot takes and being perceived as smart and competent, than success at the polls. You cannot ride in from the private sector, without the necessary connections or exposure, and expect to have much success. There is no stepping to the front of the line when it comes to national-level politics. Trump, true, is from the private sector, but has been a fixture of American culture for decades. He had tons of exposure from his TV shows, hotels, and other endeavors.

Politics has become more predictable because the pollical machine, in terms of the campaigning and the section of nominees, has become increasingly optimized, as I wrote earlier. Nominees are implicitly chosen well ahead of the primaries. Higher-stakes politics at a national level means more money and optimization in the process. A more divided nation also means closer elections, in which the marginal returns to campaign spending, such as to attract undecided voters, are higher.