As every pub-bore politico knows, betting markets tend to be more reliable indicators of election outcomes than the pundits and even the polls.
That is why the latest odds on America’s 2024 presidential elections strike Mr S as worth noting. Donald J. Trump yesterday become favourite on Betfair to be the 2024 Presidential winner, with his ‘shortest odds ever’. According to the betting exchange, Trump has a 21 per cent chance of winning. President Joe Biden, who is plummeting in the polls, has fallen to 19 per cent.
Elsewhere, Vice President Kamala Harris has a 13 per cent chance of victory —which reflects the widespread theory that she will at some point take over from the doddery Commander-in-Chief.
Mike Pence, Trump’s former Veep, is on a feeble 4 per cent. Meanwhile, the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, increasingly the darling of the Republican right, has 13 per cent. But for all DeSantis’s popularity, he has a long way to go to catch Trump — who remains by far the biggest beast in the Republican jungle.
Trump has had a difficult year. Banned on Twitter, he lacks the ability to command the vast online attention he once had at his fingertips. The fall out from the November election, and the Trumpist riots on Capitol Hill on January 6 damaged his standing among non-partisans.
But he’s shown recently that he still has the ability to draw impressively large and adoring crowds. There is simply no denying that, absent some major alterations in the dynamics of the American right, Trump will win the Republican nomination in 2024 if he chooses to stand.
Will he then win the presidency? If the Biden administration’s slide continues, the answer will be yes, he can. Whether or not his voters will actually turn up to vote, given that he continues to insist that American democracy has been utterly rigged, is another question. But the betting markets lie less than other prognostications, and the pundit class should start taking the possibility of Trump’s re-election more seriously.
Remember how mad they went in 2016?