- Donald Trump had a big week!
- Despite all the news, his 2020 odds have not changed
- Is he still a good pick for 2020?
Donald Trump has had a big week.
Former personal attorney/RNC Finance Chair Michael Cohen underwent sentencing, and his strategy (?) appeared to be laying all his crimes at the feet of his former boss.
Trump is thus implicated in still more criminal activity than before. How has this affected his 2020 odds?
2020 US Presidential Election Odds
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See the full history of the odds at the 2020 Presidential Election Odds Tracker.
Should Donald Trump’s Odds Have Gotten Longer?
I’m going to say no, because we didn’t actually learn anything new this week. The two major stories were:
- Michael Cohen’s sentencing
- The search for a new White House chief of staff
Neither of them teach us anything new, or are likely to change anyone’s mind.
Michael Cohen’s Sentencing Wasn’t Really “News”
Michael Cohen was sentenced for crimes people either don’t care about or understood pretty clearly about a year ago.
There’s nothing new here: the Stormy Daniels payment has been the subject of a best-selling book.
Michael Cohen was charged months ago. Every part of the Trump organization, from the campaign to the inauguration to man himself, was widely understood to be slightly criminal and significantly shady from the beginning.
The people who voted for Trump see this as an asset, and widely applauded his approach to taxes, and not paying them:
Hillary Clinton: We’ve only seen a couple years of Trump’s tax returns “when he was trying to get a casino license and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.”
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) April 17, 2018
That some people are bound by the law and others are protected by it is a cornerstone of the movement that propelled Trump to the presidency.
For them to abandon Trump because the dummy he paid to do shady stuff for him is now in prison and hoping to pin it all on his former employer would be bizarre.
The Chief of Staff Search Was Funny, But Not Important
For political insider/media types, watching Donald Trump’s search to find a new White House Chief of Staff was funny and illustrative of the administration’s general state of chaos.
For Donald Trump’s supporters, the whole display reinforced how careful Trump was in making personnel decisions, and how quick the media were to ridicule anyone he named.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) December 14, 2018
The thing everyone has in common is that hiring Mulvaney confirmed what they already believed.
Most people didn’t know who he was until today, and most people will continue not knowing who he is after today. But boy, did today prove them right.
Maria Butina’s Guilty Plea
Right to Bear Arms founder Maria Butina plead guilty to conspiracy to act illegally as an unregistered foreign agent on Thursday. She was arrested in July.
Her arrest is uncomfortable for a lot of people in DC. Butina had a cozy relationship with the National Rifle Association through her group Right to Bear Arms. The FBI also indicated that she had successfully sought ties with the Republican Party, and had photos with prominent Republicans like Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum.
Of interest to Trump is that there is a connection between Butina and the Trump campaign, albeit not exactly a strong one. Butina asked Trump from the crowd at FreedomFest 2015 about ending US sanctions against Russia, and hosted a birthday party attended by Trump campaign staffers just after the 2016 election.
It’s not anything that will light anyone’s pants on fire, but there are certain people for whom any Trump/Russia connection is manna from heaven. Almost everyone will stay set in their ways with Butina’s guilty plea.
2020 US Presidential Election Betting Advice
Not a lot is going to change anyone’s mind, much less the minor palace intrigue of a hiring and the (admittedly pretty funny) sentencing of a hapless former employee.
What will make a difference is turnout, which will effected by economic conditions, news in the weeks immediately prior to the election, the degree to which voter-suppression efforts are successful, and weather.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.