Who’s winning the GOP race? (Rubio)

Jennifer Victor with a really nice Mischiefs of Faction post looking at the different metrics with which to approach this question.  She suggests (And I strongly agree) that prediction markets are probably the best predictor at this point.  And what do we see there?

Market Trading Price GOP primary candidates (10/29/2015)

That looks about right to me.  It’s funny, though, Rubio has everything you need to win the nomination except strong popular support, good fundraising, and endorsements (as her other charts show).  But if you follow the logic (and the political science) of nominations, he just seems to be the most obvious choice and I think that is what these markets reflect.  I’d also suggest a few of these guys are way over-valued (yes, Huckabee at anything over 0.001% is over-valued).  Given how things have gone recently, it’s sure a good time to short Jeb.  I was trying to come up with a sports analogy for Rubio for my father-in-law and I struggled, but ended up with a team that’s stockpiled a bunch of high draft picks.  Not all that good, but Rubio seems to have all the qualities that make him the strongest contender, except for current polling, money, endorsements, etc., but it is quite easy to imagine a scenario where he makes rapid progress in all of these.

The war on drugs depends upon who is using the drugs

Really good article in NYT today:

When the nation’s long-running war against drugs was defined by the crack epidemic and based in poor, predominantly black urban areas, the public response was defined by zero tolerance and stiff prison sentences. But today’s heroin crisis is different. While heroin use has climbed among all demographic groups, it has skyrocketed among whites; nearly 90 percent of those who tried heroin for the first time in the last decade were white.

And the growing army of families of those lost to heroin — many of them in the suburbs and small towns — are now using their influence, anger and grief to cushion the country’s approach to drugs, from altering the language around addiction to prodding government to treat it not as a crime, but as a disease.

On the one hand, this is infuriating.  On the other, if it helps to change our country’s self-defeating approach to drug policy more broadly, I’ll take it.  Hopefully, it will.

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