Welcome to the Biden administration! Does “muh unity” mean we get to scold Democrats for passing a bill using reconciliation? Did the administration set too low of a goal for vaccinations in its first 100 days? How about how long that organizing resolution took, eh? Yeah. Where is the drama? Journalists and politicos can barely even pretend to be interested in the inevitable slog towards party-line passage of the covid stimulus because the storylines are so well-trodden there’s no juice left in it. Thank god for Marjorie Taylor Greene and her Jewish space lasers, at least.
The political betting community has been quietly dreading the potential boringness of the Biden presidency – without politics being so crazy, engagement should fall off and so should the deposits of new accounts coming in to bet on whatever wild stuff Trump was up to next. I’d more or less written off this year as one in which I’d be happy to earn a third what I did last year on PredictIt and maybe try doing some grown-up work or something (lol, as if). Then it turns out January was one of the most interesting months in politics of the entire Trump presidency (to put it mildly) and engagement has remained fairly substantial. But that doesn’t mean the doldrums aren’t coming.
For now, the most interesting game in political betting remains the “who will be in the cabinet by March 1?” hustle. It’s the kind of market set I love that makes really boring stuff actually kind of an interesting puzzle to solve. When will the committee hearings be? Who will need cloture? Will they run the executive calendar in the mornings of the impeachment trial? Any chance they will cancel the recess? Which are the priority nominations on the executive calendar once we get to the last week of February? (By the way, I don’t really have the answers to these questions, the gentlemen at StarSpangledGamblers have been covering this story much more in depth throughout. It remains more or less an educated guessing game at this stage unless you happen to know people that know things. If you forced me to guess I’d say McTurtle cucks morning session during the impeachment calendar, they don’t cancel the recess, and Vilsack and maybe Granholm make it at some point thereafter and beyond that all I do is smile and shrug while waiting for news to break. As is always the case with me and my approach to betting: why predict the future when you can just react to the present?)
There’s also the sideshow of the Trump impeachment trial next week, which no one seems to really care about although there are some interesting markets on it, particularly if we get any surprise convictions or acquittals (all the subpoena/testify nonsense will resolve NO). Again I have no insight here, other than that the political betting gods owe us at least one market flip somewhere or the other. If you’re a believer in the new era of Predictable Boringness, then probably the “fast trial” brackets in the vote timing market (next Friday/Saturday) are somewhat enticing. I have no idea what the full two-week trial bettors are doing (feels like a complete meme to me) though I suppose where there is a “what if” there is a way.
The void beyond
And what happens after February? This is where I think we start to really settle into the boring and predictable rhythms of the Biden presidency. I guess we’ll be betting on random votes here and there? On the few special elections we have along the way? The NY mayor’s race? Figure out whatever is going on with the California recall thing? I’m sure there will be something, there always is… it just feels to me like a dry spell is coming. Volume will start to fall off, the new money will evaporate, and those of us political betting addicts will be left to wander in the desert praying for fun markets until the midterm monsoon arrives. I’m already sitting here looking at Polymarket’s crypto offerings asking if I really want to figure out when Kim Kardashian serves Kanye with official divorce papers. Should I start a Substack or something? Is that what people do these days?
I think perhaps the answer and the point of this blog is that I figure I’ll slowly be transitioning to more “off-season” work and I’ll hopefully be able to share some of that here. Revisiting election data and modeling, market behavior, trading strategies, and so on. So: thanks for reading this somewhat pointless blog! And more to come later that might be actually useful 🙂