US Election 2024: Harris good value as early favourite

US Election 2024: Harris good value as early favourite

This article first appeared at betting.betfair.com on 29th January

The latest renewal of the marathon now firmly established as the biggest market in betting, record-breaking for two cycles running, is underway. Already, £37,000 has been matched on the race to be Next President, in 2024. Goodness knows what drama will materialise over the next 45 months.

Trump rated third-best for 2024

The top-three early contenders are names on whom fortunes have already been won or lost. Donald Trump is into third favourite already at [12.5] behind the current President and Vice President.

It is unique to see an incumbent first term president immediately eclipsed but market sentiment implies Kamala Harris is likelier to be the Democrat Nominee than Joe Biden. She’s trading at [3.1] and [4.8] respectively for the nomination and presidency, compared to [3.8] and [6.6] for Biden.

For my money, both are pretty generous quotes.

My speculative opinion is that, indeed, Harris will be the nominee. The President will be 81 heading into that election and pretty likely inclined to retire. Had Trump not been the opponent, I doubt Biden would have run. He regularly implied, especially following the Charlottesville riots, that Trump’s enabling of white supremacy had drawn him in for one last fight. His predecessor’s abysmal approval ratings must have been a factor, too.

Biden could feasibly run again in his 80s

That is not a particularly confident prediction, though, as 81 isn’t especially old in US politics. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is eight months older than Biden. Speaker Nancy Pelosi two years. Nobody expects either to retire any day soon.

Contrary to pre-election smears about dementia (since predictably exposed as Kremlin propaganda), Biden is in good shape. He cycles vigorously and is seen jogging on occasion. Unless some unforeseen scare happens in the meantime, any retirement date won’t be announced for at least two years.

Who knows where Biden’s ratings will be, or his intentions, so far into the future? Who doesn’t enjoy being president? He starts with excellent approvals and has hit the ground running with executive orders. If a second term looks a slam dunk in 2023, would he really step aside?

I’m quite sure Harris and her team are professional enough to stay completely on message. They know the media will be looking at any hints of dispute or rivalry. Opponents will portray her as ruthlessly ambitious. Just keep doing what she’s doing now, avoid any scandals, and the next Democrat nomination is hers to lose, whether that be 2024 or 2028.

Left primary threat is overstated

Inevitably there will be speculation of a primary challenge – of confrontation with ‘The Left’. I regard this over-hyped. An attempt to employ the tired ‘both sides’ narrative in response to Republican divisions.

Yes, there will be disputes over policy and direction among Democrats. Do I think they would risk a split while their opponents are becoming fascist, excusing armed, deadly insurrection and domestic terrorism, promoting Congresswomen who have publicly called for executing Democrats? No.

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