Discover more from The Iowa Mercury
Biden, Trump runs open intriguing wagering opportunities on political markets
'Stock' in other candidates now at bargain-basement prices
Yes, the stakes are high in a presidential election — freedom and war and peace and the economy — the mortal coil — and, as Frank Sinatra would have said, all that other mother jazz.
But there are just plain stakes, table stakes if you will — gambling — and with an 80-year-old seeking re-election, the odds for the Democratic presidential nomination present some interesting speculative scenarios.
President Biden made his long-expected re-election announcement today — so the markets anticipated this.
The political-government market PredictIt.org has Biden at 78 cents per share — with shares topping out at 99 cents should he win — to capture the Democratic presidential nomination in 2024.
(Technically speaking … “PredictIt is intended and offered as an experimental research and educational facility of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, not as an investment market or a gambling facility,” according to its website’s terms and conditions. But users of the site can invest and withdraw more money than they “invest” should they prove correct.)
The PredictIt price has trended 3 cents up for Biden securing the Democratic nomination in recent hours.
I've followed the PredictIt market for years -- and it is uncannily, well, predictive.
Here's how it works:
Let's say you buy 1,000 shares of "Biden stock" on PredictIt ($780) and he goes on to win the nomination in 2024. You cash out at $990 — a $210 profit.
The market is liquid and moving at all times so you could sell shares in the middle of the night in a few weeks, at say 82 cents.
But in the betting business this is called "chalk" — going with the favorite. Safe. But relatively little upside.
Where this gets intriguing and potentially profitable is with the other candidates for the Democratic and Republican nominations on the PredictIt market boards — and the general election.
Today, the markets have former President Trump and Biden as favorites. But Biden, again is 80, and Trump is 76 and facing an obstacle course of legal issues.
Are Trump and Biden the likely nominees? Yes, but based on age and myriad unknowns, there are angles to play against this match-up being the outcome.
For the general election, shares of Biden are at 48 cents — well ahead of former President Trump who is at 33 cents.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, is at 16 cents in the general election — and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, is at 6 cents.
Vice President Kamala Harris is at 5 percent to win the 2024 presidential election, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is at 2 cents a share to ascend to the Oval Office in the 2024 cycle.
Hillary Clinton is at 3 cents a share for the Democratic presidential nomination.
U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown — the first two with presidential campaign experience, and Brown with an Ohio and labor base — are at 1 cent per share for the nomination.
Harris is 7 cents per share for the Democratic nomination — which is below the 12 cents per share for Newsom.
Buttigieg is at 3 cents per share for the Democratic nomination.
On the Republican side DeSantis is at 25 cents per share; Nikki Haley, the former UN ambassador and governor of South Carolina is at 6 cents; and fellow South Carolina pol, Sen. Tim Scott, is at 7 cents — in the market for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.
Here are some betting opportunities:
— 10,000 shares of Harris at $700 for the Democratic nomination. If she wins the nomination (not the presidency, but just the nomination) it's a $9,200 profit. She is the vice president and it is not hard to imagine a late-election scenario in which she becomes the nominee based on a Biden health issue.
— 10,000 shares of Klobuchar or Brown or Sanders for the Democratic nomination at $100. It's a $9,800 payday if any of them would get to the nomination in Chicago based on the odds as they stand at this writing.
— 1,000 shares of DeSantis to win the GOP nomination at $250. He's positioned if Trump goes down (for any reason) for a payout of $990 — or a profit of $740.
— 1,000 shares of Biden at $480. If Biden holds onto the presidency it is a payout of $990 — a $540 profit.
— 1,000 shares of Trump to win the presidency at 33 cents — a $330 investment with a potential profit of $660 if he wins the White House in 2024.
Again, as the markets are constantly adapting and changing, there are opportunities to take advantage of candidate surges where one would invest and cash out well before the election — in hours or minutes during a news cycle that moves the market for and against candidates.
(Douglas Burns, a fourth-generation Iowa journalist, is a member of the Iowa Writers’ Collaborative.)
The Iowa Writers Collaborative
If you’re interested in commentary by some of Iowa’s best writers, please follow the Iowa Writers’ Collaborative members:
Laura Belin: Iowa Politics with Laura Belin, Windsor Heights
Doug Burns: The Iowa Mercury, Carroll
Dave Busiek: Dave Busiek on Media, Des Moines
Art Cullen: Art Cullen’s Notebook, Storm Lake
Suzanna de Baca Dispatches from the Heartland, Huxley
Debra Engle: A Whole New World, Madison County
Julie Gammack: Julie Gammack’s Iowa Potluck, Des Moines and Okoboji
Joe Geha: Fern and Joe, Ames
Jody Gifford: Benign Inspiration, West Des Moines
Nik Heftman, The Seven Times, Los Angeles and Iowa
Beth Hoffman: In the Dirt, Lovilla
Dana James: New Black Iowa, Des Moines
Pat Kinney: View from Cedar Valley, Waterloo
Fern Kupfer: Fern and Joe, Ames
Robert Leonard: Deep Midwest: Politics and Culture, Bussey
Tar Macias: Hola Iowa, Iowa
Kurt Meyer, Showing Up, St. Ansgar
Kyle Munson, Kyle Munson’s Main Street, Des Moines
Jane Nguyen, The Asian Iowan, West Des Moines
John Naughton: My Life, in Color, Des Moines
Chuck Offenburger: Iowa Boy Chuck Offenburger, Jefferson and Des Moines
Barry Piatt: Piatt on Politics: Behind the Curtains, Washington, D.C.
Macey Spensley, The Midwest Creative, Davenport and Des Moines
Mary Swander: Mary Swander’s Buggy Land, Kalona
Mary Swander: Mary Swander’s Emerging Voices, Kalona
Cheryl Tevis: Unfinished Business, Boone County
Ed Tibbetts: Along the Mississippi, Davenport
Teresa Zilk: Talking Good, Des Moines
The Iowa Writers Collaborative is also proud to partner with the Iowa Capital Dispatch.