Political Bets You Should Place Now for 2019

Political Bets You Should Place Now for 2019

2018 was a fascinating year for political betting on both sides of the Atlantic.

The chaos we saw is far from resolved - the Mueller investigation has its eyes locked firmly on an increasingly destructive President Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May is at a crucial point in Brexit negotiations.

With both leaders at important moments in their premiership and presidency, peripheral markets outside of the more 'mainstream' election and leadership markets are important to look at for maximizing betting value in 2019.

USA Political Betting Picks for 2019

Kamala Harris to become the Democratic Nominee for the 2020 Presidential Election (+500)

According to a TIME poll conducted in September 2018, 56% of American women think it's unlikely that a woman will become President in 2020 but the majority of Democratic women (53%) expect that one will.

There are plenty of accomplished women in the Democratic party who may run for president - Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar to name a few. But, perhaps there are none better placed than Kamala Harris, Californian Senator.

Even though the Democratic nomination will not be decided until June/July of 2020 now is the time to capitalize at the bookies. Harris is yet to formally announce that she'll run, but did confirm that she'll "take a serious look at" an election bid. In American politics, this type of rhetoric all but confirms it.

The main issue presented is that, outside of California, Harris is relatively unknown (in comparison to other potential candidates). Her direct questioning of Trump administration officials in September gained her some attention in national media and she would command a large African-American vote in early primaries.

Her popularity among women and minorities - key audiences for 2020 that Trump will struggle with - is a real benefit when she looks to get on the ticket.

It will be difficult for Harris, let alone any candidate, to contend with the name and message power of the Sanders-esque campaign that Beto O'Rourke will likely mount if he seeks the nomination.

The story of his inspirational Midterms campaign continues to resonate with the ever-growing Trump-disillusioned audience who may have once felt 'the Bern' in 2016. They need another big campaign to get behind and O'Rourke may provide it.

At this point in time Harris and her team need to focus on national profile building. As a politician she is positioned well with a clean record and being outspoken on foreign policy, criminal justice reform, the environment and civil rights.

If she executes a clean, smart primary election campaign that focuses on building name-awareness and provides a key, direct 'fight' message that delegates can get behind we see her becoming the Democratic nominee, perhaps marginally defeating O'Rourke in the process.

This bet represents real value.

Donald Trump's approval rating to drop below 20% during his first term (+200)

Trump's lowest approval rating was 33% during late October 2017 to early January 2018. His highest approval rating has not budged above 45% and he averages around the 39% mark.

Upon first consideration, you may think that this bet is easy, but for the rating to dip below 20% Trump will need to do something extremely bad - something so awful that it actually marginalizes his own die-hard supporters.

The consistent Twitter outbursts and increasingly erratic behavior in the public eye lend themselves well to this happening. On the flipside, it's safe to say that Trump cannot surprise anymore and is incapable of striking distrust, let alone any semblance of skepticism, into the hearts of his MAGA-hat-wearing fan base.

Here's just a small selection of some the things Trump did that didn't change his supporters' minds:

  • Split refuge-seeking children from their parents at the border
  • Paid a pornstar to keep quiet
  • Sided with Vladimir Putin over US intelligence on the Russian attack on the 2016 election
  • Called African countries 'sh*tholes'
  • Called (and continues to call) the media 'the enemy of the people'
  • Attacked the FBI
  • Failed to effectively sanction Saudi Arabia over Jamal Khasoggi's murder

Will anything ever make hardcore Trump fans change their mind? Amazingly, European bookmakers such as Paddy Power list a somewhat short 'yes' at 2/1. We like that bet and, unfortunately, judging by the above list alone, think the worst is yet to come.

Donald Trump to resign (+300)

Politico put it nicely when they said that Donald Trump's biggest win for 2020 would be to avoid prosecution. The walls of the Mueller investigation are closing in ever so tightly on the President which makes Paddy Power's 'Trump to resign' market look good value.

Trump is stubborn, but the prospect of actually being charged and potentially going to prison will prove too much. The image of the President being led away in handcuffs would be simply unacceptable for the Trump brand.

He'll strike a deal with Mueller, resign from office and recede from the public eye for a bit - but only if he's given the chance to do so - which, in as high profile an investigation as the Special Counsel is leading, is not a given.

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UK Political Betting Picks for 2019

200,000 or more UK citizens to apply for Irish passports in 2019 (-120)

By the end of 2018 over 183,000 British citizens had applied for Irish passports. With the Brexit circus looking like it's not going to end anytime soon, that figure may well increase in 2019

If Theresa May manages to push Brexit through in 2019 there would likely be an influx of Irish passport applications which is a decent basis on which to place this bet.

Emily Thornberry to be the next UK Labour Party leader (+600)

Emily Thornberry insisted in a September interview with the Evening Standard that her current motivation is not to become Labour leader but to carve out a path for her party to get into power. This is the archetypical response of a politician, but there is probably some truth to her comments. It makes no sense for her to publicly seek the leadership right now.

Still, seen by many as the 'heir' to the throne that is Labour leadership, she has excellent ability in front of the camera and has even stepped in for Jeremy Corbyn during PMQs. The bigger question here is not will but when would Thornberry be given a chance to take the leadership.

Corbyn is currently the favorite to become the next Prime Minister but many think he wouldn't last long. This makes early 2019 the perfect time to snag some value in this market - and +600 for the London MP to take up the role looks mightily enticing.

Sterling to reach parity with the Euro in 2019 (+300)

The Pound could become 1:1 equal with the Euro in 2019 if the UK exits the EU without a deal on March 29. The exchange rate has never fallen below 1.02 but, interestingly, top political bookmakers list 3/1 that 2019 will be the first year it will happen.

So why back this option now?

In recent weeks Sterling has traded as far down as 1.103 to the Euro. Political anxiety can have a detrimental effect on currency and considering that Brexit-fear is still ripe this bet looks great for early 2019.

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