Tuesday November 7th, 2000 what a day to be in Betfair’s London HQ. There was bubbly galore because a few thousand miles and a handful of time-zones away the USA was in turmoil.
Al Gore was about to be announced as a moral victor of the US Presidential Election. He polled 540,000 more votes than his rival, after all. However, with ten percent of African American voters in Florida having their ballot forms voided by an antiquated state voting system – overseen by Florida Governor Jeb Bush (George Bush’ younger brother) and Katherine Harris (Florida Secretary of State and Bush’s State Campaign Manager) – the US Supreme Court were called in to make the decision to stop a recount and therefore gifting Presidential victory the George W. Bush.
The longer this took the harder the staff at the fledgling Betfair exchange partied as this US Presidential was subject of the first €10-million traded Betfair market. This ‘history maker’ ultimately saw both candidates trade as low as 1.10.
Indeed, subsequent US election markets have created enormous action on Betfair. The 2016 election is a little short of 20 months away (November 8th, 2016) yet €89,000 has already been traded on the exchange where Hillary Clinton is currently trading in the neighbourhood of 2.1.
It’s a short enough price considering she has yet to declare her intention to run for the job, albeit it is something of an inevitability. She is a best-priced 4/11 to take Obama’s mantle as leader of the Democratic Party and be their candidate for the next election.
On the other side of house, the fight for the right to be Republican Party candidate in the 2016 presidential race is an intriguing affair.
Jeb Bush, from the same Bush dynasty and George W’s baby brother, is 5/2 to be the Republican candidate in that Presidential race. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul (son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul) have hovered around the 6/1 mark for some time now. But there has been a recent rush of support for Scott Walker who is now as short as 4/1.
This is not the same Scott Walker that made up part of the 60’s pop sensations ‘The Walker Brothers’ but the 47-years-old Governor of Wisconsin.
With George W. Bush going to be remembered for leaving office, in 2008, with the worst approval ratings since Harry Truman, due to his mismanagement of two wars, the botched federal relief effort for New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and mismanagement of the US economy bringing the country to the brink of collapse… Walker looks a far safer play than Jeb Bush who will surely be tarred by his big brother’s brush/legacy.
Anyway, the US public remain brainwashed by the media and the Republican Party know how to utilise it. It was to blame for the affable actor Ronald Regan rising to power and it will have a very big say in the opinion polls if Donald Trump comes good on his threats to run for candidacy.
For the 2,000, 2008 and 2012 elections the renowned businessman and reality TV star toyed with the idea of making a run. This year he’s been more raucous on the prospect than ever.
“I’m the one person who can make this country great again, that’s all I know,” he told reporters after a speech on Saturday in Iowa, whose primary caucuses kick off the formal presidential election next January, “Nobody else can.”
“If I run for president, and if I win, I would totally succeed in creating jobs, defeating ISIS, and stopping the Islamic terrorists, reducing the budget deficit, securing our southern border, stopping nuclear weapons in Iran and elsewhere,” he added.
That sounds like fighting talk and if he does indeed take the leap and make a run at Republican candidacy he is never a 100/1 shot to prevail.
Maybe he is, Time Magazine recently said: “Just how far [Sarah] Palin and [Donald] Trump choose go this time down the campaign trail is not possible to predict, though their odds of winning the Republican nomination can be safely handicapped as far more aspirational than practical. Perhaps they might go all the way to a debate stage, if only to prove the scepticism of political reporters wrong. After all, they both have so little to lose, and so much to gain.”
On that theory Trump is, at the very least, a bet to lay proposition.
A word of caution, if you are tempted to back another star of the TV screen to win the candidacy of the Republican Party ignore the 50/1 on offer about Arnold Schwarzenegger and read the small print on the US Constitution which states: “No person except for a natural born citizen shall be eligible for the office of President!”