Paddy Power Lowers Odds on Trump Impeachment after Helsinki
British and Irish bookmakers continue to take bets on whether U.S. President Donald Trump will be impeached. At Paddy Power, the odds of Trump being impeached have shot up to 2-to-1 in the aftermath of the Helsinki summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Bookmakers offer a variety of proposition bets, including a variety of political prop bets. Land-based and online sportsbooks around the globe have them, but no bookmakers provide more prop bets than those located in the British Isles. Since 2016, at least, it seems that Donald Trump prop bets are the order of the day.
At the summit on Monday, Trump and Putin met for two hours behind closed doors. Afterward, the two had a press conference, in which Donald Trump seemed to side with Putin’s version of events over that of his own intelligence agencies.
The next day, he retracted the statement and appeared to side with his intelligence chiefs, but later seemed to reverse his position again. The “performance”, as Donald Trump later called it, led to much hand wringing by the US and European media.
Paddy Power Lowers Trump Impeachment Odds
The whole turn of events led Paddy Power to lower the odds on Trump prop bets at their sportsbook. The bookmaker might be taking advantage of British sports bettors who dislike the American president, though.
Paddy Power seemed to admit that possibility on Wednesday. Lee Price, a spokesman for Paddy Power, told the Washington Post, “What this whole Moscow gruel has taught us is that the Donald is still the biggest ticket in town — and people love to bet on his downfall.”
Impeachment Odds Down from 4:1 to 2:1
Prior to the Helsinki press conference, the odds that Donald Trump would be impeached were 4-to-1 at the Irish bookmaker. Lee Price said the 2:1 odds are the lowest for a US president in memory.
Lee Price added, “Given the complexity of the impeachment process, that’s an unprecedented price in terms of how short it is. No president in modern history has had such short odds.”
Trump Resignation Odds Also Down
The bookmaker’s odds on whether Donald Trump would resign from office came down since Monday, while the odds that he would not finish his first term as president also came down. The resignation possibility is similar to what happened in the downfall of Richard Nixon, who resigned days after a committee in the US Congress passed articles of impeachment on Nixon.
A bet on Trump failing to complete his first term includes impeachment and resignation, but also includes President Trump’s health. Given his lack of exercise (outside of golf) and his diet of McDonald’s hamburgers, that particular proposition bet might be more realistic. Of course, Donald Trump claims he never drank, smoked, or did drugs, so his health might be better than one would think.
UK Bettors Love Trump Prop Bets
Whatever the case, the Paddy Power prop bets on Donald Trump shows that the US president has the world in his grip — or at least he’s in the thoughts of British bettors a lot. Lee Price said, “Since Trump’s inauguration, we’ve had more bets on his impeachment than we’ve had on any Brexit market, any U.K. election market, or any of the other 100 or so specials we have on-site about the president.”
More to the point, the British bettors love to hate Donald Trump. Placing a bet that Trump will resign, be impeached, or worse might be a form of wishful thinking. Given the difficulties of impeachment, the odds remain low.
Impeachment Odds: Analysis
For instance, in the runup to the 2018 midterm elections, few in the Democrat Party, rivals to Trump’s Republicans, dare mention the “i-word”. Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters of California and Rep. Al Green of Texas have advocated impeaching Donald Trump. So has the Democrat’s nominee the U.S. Senate from Texas, Beto O’Rourke, though Beto said he would not run on the issue in his campaign to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz.
Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund owner and political activist from New York, launched a public campaign to impeach Donald Trump. Those are the rare voices who publicly back impeachment, though many rank-and-file liberal and progressive voters have discussed the subject. The group has a name as a whole — The Resistance — though The Resistance has many disparate causes it champions.
The leadership of the Democrat Party, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, decline to discuss impeachment. In a midterm election year which will be determined by voter turnout, Schumer, Pelosi, and other Democrat leaders believe they could energize the Republican base and give GOP candidates a cause to defend if they discuss impeachment against President Trump. While the vast majority of Democrats and a solid majority of Independents have a negative opinion of Trump, a recent poll showed 90% of Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing.
Could Democrats Really Impeach Trump?
Most polling shows the Democrats have a solid chance to retake the House of Representatives in the midterms, which would make Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House. It is the House which would bring impeachment charges against Trump, so the odds of impeachment could increase significantly in November 2018. No one can knows whether the Democrats would try impeachment in 2019, if they gain control of the house. Much might depend on the findings of the Mueller Report, if Special Counsel Robert Mueller indeed ever releases such a report on the Russia probe.
Like the French once said about revenge (revanche) in the aftermath of Franco-Prussian War, the subject of impeachment (for the Democrats) in the fall of 2018 might be a case of “think of it always, speak of it never.”
The problem with such a move is the numbers in the U.S. Senate. Impeachment is a trial in the Senate, but to find Donald Trump guilty and remove him takes a two-thirds vote in the upper house. In even the best case scenario, Democrats might have 51 of 100 seats in the Senate in 2019 — and probably not that many. They would have to convince 16 or more Republicans to convict Donald Trump and vote to remove him from office. If not, then he would be immunized by a failed impeachment, much like Bill Clinton was in 1998.
As the old saying goes in the nation’s capital, “There are two kinds of politicians in Washington: those who can count and those who lose.” Knowing they would face certain defeat in the Senate, it is unlikely Speaker Pelosi would bring impeachment charges.
Only if something astounding and irrefutable came out in the Russia probe would impeachment be a reality. If the Democrats wipe out the Republicans in a blue wave in 2018, then Republicans might panic and believe Trump was likely bring them doom in 2020 and beyond. Or if President Trump’s tariff war turns into a trade war and it brings on recession, then Trump voters and Republican lawmakers (the party of free trade) might turn against their president. If so, the impeachment math could make sense — but the world would face far bigger concerns.