Sexual Assault Allegations Against Biden Lead to Big Odds Boost for, Not Trump, But Hillary Clinton

Joe Biden at a speaking event.
On Friday, Former Vice President Joe Biden flatly denied sexual assault allegations from form staffer Tara Reade. Photo by Gage Skidmore (Flickr).
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden has categorically denied sexual assault claims from former staffer Tara Reade
  • Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo’s odds to win the 2020 Presidential Election have shortened
  • Biden is a risky bet to win the Presidency as the Democratic Party will consider a change if he has any more issues

On Friday morning, former Vice President Joe Biden finally denied sexual allegations from Tara Reade. While many people assumed he’d categorically deny any involvement, the way he’s done it – and the fact that it’s even come up – has left him vulnerable.

As a result, the 2020 Presidential election odds  have shifted, but oddly enough, it isn’t incumbent President Donald Trump who has seen his odds benefit; it’s former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who aren’t even running for the Democratic nomination.

Is there any value betting on Biden’s opponents?

2020 US Presidential Election Odds Top Contenders

Candidate Current Odds (May 2) Odds on Apr. 24
Donald Trump -130 -129
Joe Biden +123 +114
Andrew Cuomo +2750 +3950
Hillary Clinton +3825 +5375
Mike Pence +5400 +6925

Biden Addresses Sexual Assault Allegations On Morning Joe

After weeks of skating by on the sexual assault allegations from former staffer Tara Reade, Biden finally addressed the claims head-on in an interview with Mike Brzezinski. For the most part, Biden did well, but he only said what he had to say: it never happened. Any half-denial, such as “I don’t recall” or “she remembered it wrong” would have hurt his case.

The one area of concern arose when Brzezinski pressed him on his Senate records, which are sealed at the University of Delaware. Reade claims that she filed a sexual harassment complain back in 1993 and that the Senate records would show that. Brzezinski asked him why those records are still sealed and if he’d allow a search of the name “Tara Reade”.

Looking at the records could allow a smoking gun – one way or another – and the fact that Biden isn’t open to that indicates that there is some concern. There is also some reporting (FOX News and National Review) that Biden’s camp sent operatives to search the records in mid-March, which – if true – indicates that there is some concern something might be there.

The problem with Biden’s “nothing ever happened” defense – instead of “my recollection is different than hers” – leaves him no wiggle room. If any more evidence comes out, he’s going to look like a liar. However, as long as there’s no more news on this front, he’ll be fine.

What Comes Next?

The truth of the matter is that this story in its current form is mostly dead unless we get some new life. Biden has had his chance to tell his side of the story and he’s issued an unequivocal denial. Reade will speak on at least one Sunday show and, while that could be damaging, unless there is new news, this story is pretty much over.

If there is more news, Biden’s nomination is going to be on shaky ground. That includes any more women stepping up to talk about various touching or sexual harassment that he’s already been accused of seven other times. Since last night, there have already been rumors circulating of a new incident.

If anything comes out about other women feeling uncomfortable, the Democratic Party could be forced to make a change. The bizarre part of this is that Biden was vetted as Vice President in 2008 by Barack Obama’s team, but clearly some things have fallen through the cracks – including the inappropriate touching.

How The Presidential Odds Have Changed

Biden’s odds have fallen a little bit – from +114 to +123 – but the biggest beneficiary hasn’t been Donald Trump. His odds went from -129 to -130 on average since April 24.

Hillary Clinton, however, has shifted from +5375 to +3825 and Cuomo has gone from +3950 to +2750. Clearly, there is some anxiety in the Democratic Party right now.

What’s The Best Bet?

The one sure thing I can tell you here is that I wouldn’t bet on Biden. That doesn’t mean I’d bet Trump but I’d definitely avoid Biden. Bettors can still find odds that he won’t be the party’s eventual nominee at around +1000, and I’d take a flier on the field. This just isn’t setting up well for him right now.

Biden is vulnerable because he has a history of touching women in uncomfortable ways on camera. That’s why these new claims are not that hard to believe for some – even if his touching is innocuous or not. Now the New York Times Editorial Board is calling for a full investigation into the Reade claims. At the same time, that’s just one of a handful of issues.

Biden has also been viewed as Pro China and his son has some shady (not illegal) dealings with the country. With what’s happened with the coronavirus pandemic, those optics won’t look good. Beyond any of that, Trump and his team haven’t really turned their attention to Biden. Once they do, it could be tough.

And then there are constant gaffes on the campaign trail with verbal stumbles and so on. Those are relatively minor and Trump misspeaks a lot too, but these are just added on top of the pile. With the progressive wing calling for a change in nominee and some women in the party uncomfortable, I no longer would be surprised if it happened.

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