There is no two ways about it – the scale of Donald Trump’s third consecutive, overwhelming victory, in the Nevada Caucus, sent an ominous signal to his rivals for the GOP nomination.
The window is closing on any attempt to stop him, and the logistics of uniting behind an alternative look impossible. With that in mind, as outlined on Twitter earlier, I’ve laid back my open Marco Rubio position, banking ten units profit while leaving an extra profit available if he wins the presidency.
New bet update: Laid Marco Rubio 35u @ 8 for Next President; his position now 10 units profit if losing, plus an extra 35 units if he wins.
— Political Gambler (@paulmotty) February 24, 2016
Whatever the rest of the party, let alone country, think of Trump, his supporters adore him and are loyally turning out in record numbers. They are going to earn him a big delegate lead in the short-term and he could plausibly sweep the board next week on Super Tuesday.
The market has already factored this in, driving Trump’s nominee odds down to their lowest yet at 1.43, or 70%. Taking that profit out of Rubio may not be possible for too much longer, so best to take it now.
Trump could still, theoretically, be stopped. Rubio could beat him later in the winner-takes-all states. However, I think he needs a 2-man race to achieve that, and I just don’t believe that will materialise any time soon. Without that development, the market will get stronger for Trump and weaker for Rubio.
Why, for example, should Ted Cruz quit? He’s likelier to be ahead of Rubio after Super Tuesday and, in any case, clearly has no love for either of his main rivals. My instinct is that Cruz is in this for the long haul, to earn as many delegates and as much leverage as possible. He is young, and will want to establish himself as the ‘pure Conservative’ leader ahead of future elections.
Nor is it obvious why John Kasich should quit, when he has some plausible targets in Michigan and Ohio looming. He could win a state before Rubio.
Ultimately, Rubio had a good target in Nevada yet failed to unite the anti-Trump vote and finished a lot closer to crisis-ridden Cruz than the runaway winner.
It strikes me that Rubio, like the rest of the established politicians, have made a fundamental mistake. They underestimated Trump, focusing instead on launching brutal attacks on each other with a view to emerging as the anti-Trump.
The result has been to enable Trump to avoid scrutiny and, by sucking up all the media oxygen, put himself in an unassailable position.
There are many more markets left to play over the next eight months, so the best plan is to build up the bank ahead of them.