Throughout the last few, relentlessly dramatic years, it has become increasingly clear that most of the British media is hopeless when it comes to covering US politics.
Back in March, I immediately urged caution when almost every outlet portrayed Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Mueller Report as fact – even the final word. That summary unravelled within days and once released, even a heavily redacted report confirmed it was indeed a political scam. Mueller’s subsequent testimony, however, barely made the news here.
UK news slow to report developments
Does this lack of reportage affect betting markets? I reckon so, if impeachment is anything to go by. Search ‘impeachment’ on the BBC website and the last entry is July 18th. Yet 121 Democrats in the House of Representatives – more than half their caucus – have now called publicly for an impeachment investigation. Last weekend, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler said formal proceedings were underway.
That statement – merely confirming an unofficial process that has long been underway in the form of multiple investigations – didn’t even move the Betfair market. The 5.2, equivalent to a 19% chance, is still available about the House passing one article of impeachment during Trump’s first term.
Democrats have numbers to pass a House vote
Perhaps the lack of market interest is down to the general belief that Trump will not be removed from office. That is NOT this bet.
Removing a president requires a two-thirds majority of the Senate, following a trial. This bet merely requires a majority of House members voting to instigate it. As they have the majority, this is within the power of the Democrats regardless of Republicans. Although they can at least count on Justin Amash’s vote.
There was a time when the GOP establishment hated Donald Trump. They then realized they could use a man like this—unprincipled, transactional, shameless—to push their agenda. McConnell and McCarthy are giddy about Trump. Conservatives in Congress are the ones privately horrified.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) August 1, 2019
This is a political choice, that has been available to the Democrats since taking the House last November. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been reluctant to fully back it because of the significant political risk. Instead, the leadership prefers to build up the evidence, pressure and potential charges via a plethora of congressional investigations.