The art of betting on politics, (or pretty much anything for that matter), is being able to cut through the froth. And there seems to be more froth around than usual this cycle.
Granted, some of that froth turned out to be serious – like a reality TV star with no political experience, ground game or longstanding conservative credentials winning the Republican nomination. Plus all that chatter about Donald Trump being blocked at a brokered convention – at the time, based on sound delegate maths – turned out to be froth.
Nevertheless, I am happy to dismiss the ongoing theory that Bernie Sanders can somehow win the Democrat nomination via a contested convention as precisely the sort of noise generated by partisans during an election.
As explained at the weekend, Hillary Clinton will all but sew up the nomination tomorrow and, in my view, the party will immediately begin to re-unite ahead of the general election. Even in the unlikely event that Clinton were indicted before the convention, the super-delegates would rather switch allegiance to the current VP, Joe Biden.
What this now means is that the two relatively short-term markets in play involve the parties’ respective VP picks. On the Republican side, I’m extremely confident of a profit from opposing John Kasich and Ben Carson, and may add more bets very soon. For the Democrats, I took my first position today, as announced on Twitter.
New #Election2016 bet: Backed Tom Perez to be Democrat VP candidate 5 units @ 10/1 – widely available. Will write more later this week.
— Political Gambler (@paulmotty) June 6, 2016
Here’s the explanation. In stark contrast to the Trump VP field, I don’t believe there are very many realistic candidates. Later this week, I’ll run through the claims of seven market leaders.
For now though, my focus is on Tom Perez. I believe the most pressing concern for Clinton is to pick someone who can enthuse the progressives who are angry towards her, or at least energised by the Sanders campaign. Failure to win them over – some polls suggest 20% of them could vote Trump in November – could prove disastrous.
Likewise, whether they voted for Sanders or not, a further problem lies among disaffected union members. Indeed, union members could prove to be the key battleground, as Trump fares much better among them than recent Republican candidates.
Though a Clinton supporter throughout, Perez fits both bills. The Labor Secretary has a strong, long-term pedigree associated with progressive causes such as civil rights and was endorsed earlier this year by none other than Elizabeth Warren – a leading VP candidate and very much future presidential nominee material. Her support counts for plenty with the Left.
Then there’s his recent work for the Obama administration. Perez is the cabinet member responsible for recent drives towards more paid leave and overtime rights. Most recently, he announced a settlement in principle between unions and Verizon, following a two week strike.
These significant issues directly affect low-paid workers and union members – and are touchstone issues with the Democrat base. Unlike many other progressives, he’s supported Clinton throughout. He would also be the first Hispanic on a presidential ticket. In short, he ticks every box for the VP role and could prove a nightmare for Trump. 10 to 1 – available widely with bookmakers – represents cracking value.