Sorry, Mr. Vice President, it’s Harris’s race to lose in 2020

If the race for the chance to take on Trump in 2020 were an actual stock market, with puts and calls available, I’d be buying Biden puts as aggressively as my budget allowed. I still think Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) is going to be the nominee, and I see coming the desperation when the former vice president continues his decades-old habits of stumbles, bumbles and fumbles and falls as fast as Beto O’Rourke has. It’s why I myself haven’t ranked him higher than No. 10 in weeks.

When that fall happens, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) loyalists will be fast out of the gate in Iowa and New Hampshire, and those wins will scare the wits out of Democratic elites, who will turn en masse to whoever wins South Carolina and the Golden State. That will be Harris. Everything but the hard realities of the rules regarding delegates is noise.

The debates may winnow the field but not quickly enough to allow a serious contender to the right of Harris to emerge as the alternative to her. There are plenty of suitors for that job, but former congressman John Delaney, Rep. Seth Moulton and Rep. Tim Ryan, former governor John Hickenlooper and Gov. Steve Bullock, and Sens. Michael Bennet and Amy Klobuchar just can’t get energy going because of, well, that guy: Mayor Pete. Buttigieg is gobbling up the “what if” column inches and superb profiles, and he will continue to do so because he’s more interesting than the other off-the-rack pols. Not interesting enough to be the nominee but endlessly fascinating to the cynical media elite.