- Kamala Harris is a –135 betting favorite to be named Joe Biden’s Vice-Presidential running mate.
- Recently, a highly persistent pro-Harris editor has been scrubbing the Senator’s Wikipedia page, erasing inconvenient aspects of her record, such as her “tough on crime” career as a prosecutor and decision not to bring charges against Steve Mnuchin for financial fraud.
- Two YouGov surveys show that Biden supporters want Kamala Harris as the Democratic ticket’s Vice President, while undecided voters prefer Elizabeth Warren.
|Democratic VP Nominee||Betting Odds|
|Keisha Lance Bottoms||+1600|
- Odds from BetOnline as of 7/3
If you want to win some cash betting on Joe Biden’s running mate, you better get your Kamala Harris picks in now!
This week, The Intercept reported that a “highly dedicated Wikipedia user has been scrubbing controversial aspects of Harris’s “tough-on-crime” record from her Wikipedia page,”
This is a huge “tell” that the campaign will be announcing Harris as the Democratic ticket’s VP in the next few days.
Wikipedia Updates Signal Nominations
The Washington Post was the first outlet to report on the phenomenon back in 2008, after someone noticed that Sarah Palin’s page had been updated hundreds of times over the span of five days, with 68 edits submitted in a single day.
Just hours before McCain declared his veep choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, her Wiki page saw a flurry of activity, with editors adding details about her approval rating and husband’s employment. Perhaps more tellingly, some of the same users editing her page were almost simultaneously updating McCain’s Wiki entry, adding information dealing with accuracy, sources, and footnotes to each.
The Post article goes further to detail how Joe Biden’s Wikipedia entry underwent a similar cleansing.
“We noticed the same pattern when we looked at changes in Wiki pages for [Democratic Vice Presidential candidate] Sen. Joseph Biden and [Virginia] Governor Tim Kaine and some of the other potential Democratic candidates,” Gudaitis said. “We saw a lot of accuracy and footnote changes on Biden’s, while on Kaine’s page there were a few but not too many. Also, a couple of the same editors were working on both the Obama and Biden Wiki pages.”
On August 22nd, the day before the Obama campaign officially named Biden as the veep pick, Biden’s Wiki page garnered roughly 40 changes. Over the five days prior, users would make at least 111 other changes to his entry.
The Atlantic tracked the Wikipedia edits in 2016 to accurately predict the Hillary Clinton campaign’s selection of Sen. Time Kaine. The author reviewed each of the top prospects: Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, Tom Vilsack, and the eventual nominee.
The former candidates each saw a handful of changes logged over the course of a week – Vilsack led the group with roughly 30 edits to his page.
Then there was Virginia Senator Tim Kaine:
The Wikipedia page of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, on the other hand, has seen 62 edits on Friday alone. There have been almost 90 edits over the past week. Many of them originate from a user called Neutrality, a longtime Wikipedia editor who has made more than 110,000 edits to the encyclopedia.
Do you see the pattern?
(I sure hope so, it’s a pretty easy one to see…)
Kamala Harris’s Updates
Last month a Reddit user wrote a script that captured all of the updates to the pages of the leading Democratic VP hopefuls over a three-week period.
Here were the results:
- Kamala Harris – 408
- Stacey Abrams – 66
- Elizabeth Warren – 22
- Amy Klobuchar – 4
As you can see, Harris’s page required the most attention by far and for a good reason. The California Senator’s resume is not flattering, especially in the current cultural climate. Her record as the District Attorney of San Francisco, and later, the Attorney General of California is riddled with problematic details.
Harris has made an effort to distance herself from her aggressive “tough on crime” past, particularly as policing and criminal justice reform are hot-button issues in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. During the Democratic primaries, the Senator attempted to pass herself off as a “progressive” prosecutor, a label that is incongruent with her history.
The enthusiastic Wikipedia editor rewriting Kamala Harris’s bio has whitewashed the following stories:
- The Senator’s claim that “it is not progressive to be soft on crime.”
- Her decision not to prosecute Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, for crimes committed by his OneWest Bank related to mortgage fraud, despite strong evidence of “widespread misconduct.”
- Harris protected out-of-control prosecutors working for the Orange County District Attorney’s office “alleged to have illegally employed jailhouse informants and concealed evidence.”
- An ethics committee found Harris guilty of campaign spending violations during her bid to become a San Francisco district attorney.
- A 2017 trip to Israel and the West Bank, which included a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Other volunteer Wikipedia editors have attempted to challenge the avalanche of dishonest updates but have been unsuccessful. The user responsible for the pro-Harris cover-up is clearly doing so with the tacit approval of site administrators.
Economist / YouGov Surveys
Assuming that Biden follows through with picking Kamala Harris, the selection paints a clear picture of the direction they’ll be taking the campaign. Two recent Economist/YouGov surveys asked respondents a series of questions concerning who the Democratic nominee should choose as his running mate.
The polls asked registered voters to rate each prospective VP’s favorability/unfavourability as well as their enthusiasm for Joe Biden as a candidate.
Here are the most significant results:
Voters who have already decided to support Joe Biden enthusiastically want Kamala Harris, while undecided and low enthusiasm respondents would rather see Elizabeth Warren on the ticket. Since the campaign appears to be moving forward with Sen. Harris, they must not be too concerned with losing who are likely progressive Democrats unhappy with the party’s centrist ticket.
This decision is probably related to Biden’s substantial lead in the polls. The Democrats are confident they can win with a coalition of centrist Democrats and moderate Republicans from major metropolitan areas and suburbs. It’s a formula that’s worked for Joe Biden so far.