- The United States has declared a national state of emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus
- With the outbreak, the stock market has dropped significantly and a once-strong economy is now going to be tested
- The news has helped Joe Biden’s odds of becoming President and seriously hurt Donald Trump’s re-election futures
For three and a half years, it has appeared like President Donald Trump was immune to myriad issues that would have sunk another president. However, something is finally dragging him down: COVID-19.
With the spread of the pandemic, at least one sportsbooks now has former Vice President Joe Biden as the favorite to win the 2020 election. Is he a good bet?
2020 Presidential Election Odds
Odds taken Mar. 13.
On average, Trump remains a small -109 favorite in the 2020 election odds, with Biden right behind at +100.
Coronavirus Spread Threatens Economy, Trump Re-election
The absolute bottom line for President Trump is that his re-election chances are tied to the economy. Incumbents rarely lose when the economy is strong, but the spread of the coronavirus has tanked the stock market and that’s what is sinking his odds.
Although the stock market had an incredible rally to finish up the week – the biggest rally since 2008 – the challenge is that we probably haven’t seen the worst of coronavirus yet. Beyond that, most economic numbers are reported at the end of the quarter, so we should expect some bad numbers in the summer.
How bad will things get? If people are really spooked to travel, sporting events remain on pause, and people avoid restaurants due to quarantines, this will throw the economy into a recession.
However, if we’re looking at a one or two-month issue, the economy will dip but probably recover before voting takes place on Tuesday, November 3rd.
Economy Was Really Strong Before COVID-19
It’s worth mentioning that the United States economy was in fantastic shape before any of this happened. What’s tanked is the stock market, not the economy. However, they are interlinked. If oil companies, cruise ships, and airlines start firing people, and restaurants close (and fire workers) because they aren’t generating enough revenue to stay open, the economy is in deep trouble.
If this is a short-term situation in which most people can work from home and cruise-ship companies and airlines get bailed out, the economy likely won’t be hurt all that much.
Biden Is Still A Shaky Candidate
It’s been noticed by both the right and left side of the political spectrum that Biden has been out of the spotlight of late. That’s because every time he makes an appearance or speaks, he tends to put his foot in his mouth. The fewer the debates, rallies and interviews, the better for him, but he won’t be able to avoid it all.
Last week, he got into it with a union worker at an auto plan in Michigan. This week, he said in an interview he’d veto Medicare-For-All – something many democrats want. He’s also recently mixed up his wife and sister at a rally and accidentally misstated that “150 million” Americans were killed by gun violence.
While it’s true that the entire democratic establishment has gotten behind Biden, he’s blown many good opportunities as a candidate before. He could get thrashed on a debate stage with Trump and he’s likely to make many more missteps along the campaign trail. Can he weather those to still become president?
What’s The Best Bet?
Both sides have some issues here. My advice is to wait before betting on the 2020 election. If coronavirus isn’t receding by mid-May, Trump is in trouble. If cases continue to mount and this becomes an issue into the summer, he’s likely finished.
However, I wouldn’t be rushing to bet Biden here either. Sure, his odds have improved from +924 to +164 to +123 to +100 (as he’s looked more likely of winning the Democratic nomination) but he will face some headwinds. He’s not in the clear by any stretch.
Remember that Biden was the clear-cut frontrunner heading into the primary season but he made so many gaffes that he fell behind Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and even Amy Klobuchar at one point. Nothing has changed in that regard and nobody really criticized him all that much because he faded.
He’s going to get hit really hard by Trump and he’ll have to face tons of questions about Hunter Biden. If the coronavirus tanks the economy, none of Trump’s attacks will matter but if the economy is on the road to recovery, Biden will have a tough time winning the 2020 election.
For now, I’d wait to bet this. If the virus is receding by July and the economy is doing fine, Trump would still be the better bet for this prop.
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