This article was first published for Betfair Australia’s “The Hub” on 11th October 2019
With just over a year until the 2020 election, Donald Trump is in turmoil. Since Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry, the President has been beset by even more scandal than usual.
His chance of re-election is falling, from 50% to 42% to be Next President but that market is merely one way to exploit the unfolding drama on the Betfair Exchange.
First, impeachment is a [1.4] chance. To land, this bet requires the House of Representatives passing one article of impeachment. Note Trump does not need to be removed from office – that would come later in the process.
Democrats currently hold a majority in the House so would surely muster the 218 votes to pass it. Having started the process, to not finish it would be extremely humiliating and empower Trump’s re-election bid. The only way I can see this bet losing would be for Trump to leave office before such a vote was taken.
Early removal from office via whatever means is still rated unlikely – a 20% chance at odds of [5.0]. To remove Trump via impeachment would require two-thirds of Senators convicting him after a trial in the Senate. Depending which party gets to set the rules – to be determined by a vote – that trial could be over quickly or drag on to damaging effect.
Will Trump Resign?
This is an important distinction. It remains very hard to see 23 Republican Senators convicting their president. Trump’s base remains loyal. However, a few more weeks of this terrible news cycle, which would be elevated in the case of a Senate trial, and vulnerable incumbents may start to panic. Most notably Senate leader Mitch McConnell is facing a serious challenge in Kentucky.
Pressure could, theoretically at least, be brought to bear. The case of the last president to leave office early – Richard Nixon – is pertinent. ‘Tricky Dicky’ never faced the Senate trial – he resigned, handing power to his Vice President Gerald Ford, and duly received a pardon.
Whether he listens or not, Trump must be receiving similar legal advice. As Robert Mueller made clear, he is not immune from prosecution after leaving office. Asides from the particular allegations that led to impeachment, dozens of criminal and congressional investigations are ongoing, for which Trump could yet be liable. The implications of the Russia investigation have not fully played out yet – Roger Stone’s trial in November will likely release information from redacted sections of the Mueller Report.