Against Certainty

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I have lots of friends who are very committed to either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, and their zeal has me feeling optimistic about the future of the Democratic party. Whoever wins the nomination is going to have an army of near-fanatics at their service, and I'm excited about the possible VPs each might select. I'm also looking forward to the next meaningful primary cycle four or eight years from now, when I suspect we'll have even better candidates to choose from — Hello, Elizabeth Warren! — while the GOP choices could get worse, if that's even possible.

One thing that worries me, however, involves an argument made by both sides that the other candidate can't win the general election. It's not so much that line of attack that bothers me — it's a legitimate concern that should be taken into account for any candidate — as the ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that these friends seem to have about their judgements this early in the process, especially when it's combined with a similar certainty that their favored candidate would win.

So I'd like to propose a bet:

IF you are more than 80% certain that the candidate you don't favor would lose the general election…

AND IF that other candidate wins the Democratic nomination…

I'll bet $100 against your $400 that the Democratic candidate will in fact win the general election.

(Why do you have to bet more than I do? Because you'e SO SURE you're right! In fact, if you're surer than 80% — say, you're actually 90% sure the other candidate can't win, then you're getting a great deal. You're giving me odds as if you had an 80% chance of winning when you actually have a 90% chance of winning. You ought to be putting up $900 to win my $100, but you only have to put up $400. And in either case, that $100 is a SURE THING, right?)

This offer is only good as long as both Sanders and Clinton are in the race. The offer expires as soon as one of them gains the nomination. I also reserve the right to terminate the offer at any time for any other reason. So if you're really so sure that the candidate you oppose can't possibly win the general, now's the time to place your bet!