Political Prop Bets and Where My Money Is

I have not wagered on any of the prop bets listed in this article. The dollar figures I use are merely to express confidence. As such, the higher the dollar amount, the higher the confidence. 

I didn’t write about any of the Oprah For President speculation last week, mostly because it’s both (1) a really dumb idea and (2) never going to happen. It is hilarious, though, and probably more telling than some wish to realize, that many Clinton Democrats are (at least publicly) in full support of the idea.

Nonetheless, Bovada.lv currently has a prop bet, asking: Will Oprah Winfrey run for President?

Yes: +130 
No: -160

The reason Hillary Clinton lost in the general election was not because she was a woman, it was because she represented corporate America and Donald Trump ran as an anti-establishment. Of course, some knew Trump was lying all along. We knew he never had the workers in mind. But some who actually voted for Trump realized this months later, after he had already taken office and his priorities were to throw 20 million people off healthcare (which he failed to do), and pass the largest corporate tax break since the Ronald Reagan era.

Oprah Winfrey is, like Trump, a billionaire. She could (theoretically) campaign any way she wants to campaign. But does such a scenario actually exist where she stumps for single-payer healthcare? Could you imagine her giving a fire-and-brimstone speech about raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour? Free college? Is she going to be the one to talk about overturning Citizens United — where corporations funnel money through Super PAC’s to fund political campaigns?

Not a shot. Ever. Because her campaign itself would be paid for by those Super PAC’s. Any of the policy positions I mentioned would require taxes to go up, and an increase to her taxes would affect her bottom line. If she ran it wouldn’t be to change anything about the system, and it’s the system that people are so fed up with. Oprah might defeat Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, but there is no way she would survive the Democratic Primary to make it that far. Not when you have the Progressive half of the Party challenging with a policy-driven candidate. My feeling is, she wouldn’t run unless she was 100% sure she could win.

The bet: Laying $640 to win $400 on Oprah not running for President.

Prop bet #2: Donald Trump Exit Date

2018: +250
2019: +475
2020 or later: EVEN

I feel like this wouldn’t even be a proposition if the media wasn’t so focused 24/7 on Trump’s personality. We are still waiting on any hard evidence to come out of the Russia probe, and it’s unknown at this time when (or if) Robert Mueller will have something to present. The rest of the world is laughing at us, but not because Trump is President. It’s because the U.S. has influenced countless elections around the world for the last hundred years, and now they are crying foul because they think Russia influenced theirs? The irony is just fantastic.

Of course, this writer believes the Russia story was more or less made up from the very beginning, just a low-hanging distraction from the real story — that the Democratic Party is incapable of accepting any responsibility for why they lost the election. Until proof that something beyond normal corruption took place — and Trump gets impeached  — there is nothing to see here. It’s propaganda.

The bet: $200 to win $200 on Trump’s exit date being 2020 or later.

Prop bet #3: Who will win the 2020 Presidential Election?

Donald Trump: +300
Elizabeth Warren: +800
Bernie Sanders: +1000
Oprah Winfrey: +1000
Kamala Harris: +1100
Mike Pence: +1200
Kirsten Gillibrand: +1600
Joe Biden: +1800
Mark Zuckerburg: +2000
Michelle Obama: +2200
Cory Booker: +3000
The Rock: +3300
Hillary Clinton: +3300

It’s a funny cast of names. There are many more, but I feel there is something poetic about beginning with Trump as the favorite (3-to-1), and ending with Clinton as the longshot (at 33-to-1). I do submit that only a handful of the 13 candidates I listed are meaningful to this discussion. The only thing I’m particularly confident about is that neither Trump nor Clinton will win.

It should be noted that, behind Trump, none of the three favorites (Warren, Sanders, Winfrey) are traditional Democrats. It should also be said that Warren and Sanders will not run against one another. If Warren chooses to hit the campaign trail, Sanders will drop out, his supporters will flock to her, and she will immediately become the odds-on favorite to win in 2020.

At the moment, we don’t know what Warren wants to do. And until we do, it’s best to operate on the assumption that Bernie Sanders will throw his hat in the ring again. If I’m wrong, if Kamala Harris or Oprah or Cory Booker or Kirsten Gillibrand somehow win the Democratic Primary, then my side isn’t making the the type of progress I’m expecting.

The bet: $50 on Elizabeth Warren to win $400; $50 on Bernie Sanders to win $500.

Prop bet #4: U.S. Presidential Election 2020 — Winning Party

Democratic Party: -140
Republican Party: +110

When there is a minus (-) in front of the number, it means you have to bet more to win less. If there is an addition symbol in front of the number, it means you bet less to win more. To win $100 by betting on the Democrats, you would need to bet $140. To win $100 by betting on the Republicans, you would only need to bet $90.91. That’s the way the odds work.

Basically, the Democrats are the favorites, even though (as I already mentioned) none of Vegas’s top-3 choices are really Democrats, if that makes sense. The current Democrat brand is fashioned after Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but carrying the torch are Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Joe Biden. The brand is basically We will accept corporate money to finance our campaigns, meaning worker-friendly policies — like Medicare For All, free college and a higher minimum wage — will never be the priority.

That’s why Warren and Sanders — Progressives — are considered the favorites. Because America already voted against the neoliberal brand in 2016; that’s how Trump defeated Clinton. He ran against that establishment, even though the thought never crossed his mind that he would actually be anything different. He just said things that were popular to say, and he wanted to win.

That isn’t going to work in 2020. Americans are now awake. So while Donald Trump is the favorite at the moment, it really only has to do with the Democratic field being so large. Once the field narrows, the odds will shift ever further to the Democrats — especially if it’s Warren or Sanders.

The bet: Laying $700 to win $500 on the Democrats to win in 2020.