It was not so long ago, the following questions weighed heavy on the prognosticators’ minds: Will Kamala Harris catch Joe Biden in South Carolina? Even if she does, will it be enough to catch Beto in the Super Tuesday stakes? Or is she just dividing Kirsten Gillibrand’s vote for the moderate lane?
The earlier in the horse race, the more useless to speculate. See: Scott Walker boomlet, Tim Pawlenty boomlet. These are second-order boomlets, the notion that some “Sam’s Club Republican” should be catching fire. Then a candidate who never stepped into a Sam’s Club wins the nomination and Presidency.
The particular frustration with current political media is not just the horserace orientation, but that they ask the candidates about it. There has always been such an element but it appears ever more frequent now.
Such an emphasis has not only an opportunity cost (“Joe Biden, what would you do with all that foreign policy experience about Iranian aggression now?”) but little opportunity. Questions about where, say, Biden will finish in South Carolina posed to Joe Biden aren’t going to give you much information.
What are they hoping to achieve? Is it just a form of laziness?
Worse, Horserace orientation invites more horses.