An Avalance of Scandal Could Bury Trump

This article first appeared at on 22nd June 2020

The 2016 election produced unprecedented drama. Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party. Clinton’s e-mail scandal. Both parties hacked by the Russian state. 24/7 chaos on social media – whether the fallout from Trump’s tweets, or fake news about his opponent’s imminent death. Buckle up – 2020 will be even crazier.

Gambles on alternative candidates are commonplace

If one lesson was to be surprised by nothing in politics anymore, another regards how betting markets are moved by even the wildest speculation. Right up until polling day, people were backing alternative Democrats to replace Clinton on the ticket. Ditto moves against Trump both prior to his confirmation as GOP candidate and following the ‘Pussygate’ scandal.

We’ve already seen big gambles on Democrat alternatives to Joe Biden. Earlier reported moves for Andrew Cuomo and Hillary Clinton have correctly dissipated but it will be no surprise to see further outsider gambles on the Democrat side but right now, Republicans offer a better opportunity.

Trump and his party trail polls by catastrophic margins

Trump is in very serious trouble. Although still given a 40% chance on Betfair (a declining estimate), that is much higher than conventional prediction models, which rate his re-election at below 25%. Both approval ratings and head-to-head polls against Biden are abysmal. Both he and down-ballot Republicans are staring at catastrophic defeat. 

It is near impossible to keep up with the US news cycle. George Floyd protests. Covid spreading across America, with increasingly terrible infection numbers. Trump holding an indoor rally amidst fast rising numbers in Tulsa – scene of the worst ever massacre of African Americans – coinciding with Juneteenth celebrations marking the end of slavery. 

All those subjects are hurting him. Then there is the ever growing band of former White House colleagues and senior Republicans lining up to condemn him. General Mattis, Mitt Romney, George W Bush, Colin Powell and now former National Security Advisor John Bolton declares him ‘unfit for office. 

Bolton book piles on the pressure

The White House failed in their bid to block Bolton’s book and the revelations are both damning and humiliating. Kow-towing to President Xi over Chinese concentration camps, whilst begging for help to get re-elected, for example. Bolton confirms the charges relating to Ukraine that led to Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives, and provides further information.

Just as we were digesting the first releases, a new scandal involving long-term legal stress blew up. Geoffrey Berman, the Manhattan prosecutor overseeing numerous cases regarding Trump and various associates, was effectively sacked by the Attorney General. 

Bill Barr, however, somewhat botched the execution, meaning the process of installing his preferred replacement, rather than Berman’s assistant Audrey Strauss, will not be quick. Investigations and perhaps imminent charges, will carry on as normal.

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