The Corner

Elections

You’re Just a Pundit, Not a Soothsayer

Now that Kamala Harris has suspended her campaign, lots of folks who predicted she would win the Democratic party’s nomination are being mocked on Twitter. This happens all the time. The only people worse than pundits at making predictions are economists and sports writers.

I’ve never really understood why pundits feel the need to be prognosticators. It’s not part of the job description. Most of the time, it just undermines your credibility. Pundits make arguments, tell stories, turn phrases, and offer context, but they aren’t seers. The longer I cover politics, and I’m at 20 years now, the more I realize I don’t really have any clue what the American electorate is going to do anyway. Not only am I unable to comprehend why voters elect the politicians they do, but I can’t fathom why people support those politicians so zealously. Voters, I’m told, want candidates who show authenticity and leaders who will empathize with them. I don’t care at all about either of those attributes.

Anyway, the only time I can remember publicly predicting a winner was the 2016 presidential race, and I was wrong. I looked at the same polls as everyone else did and assumed Trump would be trounced. If pollsters can’t get a presidential election right, what chance do you have in the primaries?

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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