Archive for the 'Donald Trump' Category

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Dismantling Obamacare could be what undermines Trump and the GOP in the midterms

Friday, October 12th, 2018

The effort to erode what’s become an entitlement is a massive political gamble

In poll after poll in the US the biggest issue to voters is not Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, the economy or immigration but the efforts by the Republicans to water down the limited public health provision that’s available in the US.

Last year, it will be recalled, Trump’s plan to abolish Obamacare completely was undermined by the late Senator John McCain who rebelled against his party in the Senate to block the move.

Since that vote the Trump administration has taken every opportunity to use executive powers to curb what Obamacare provides and although it has yet to become a media campaign issue the Democrats in race after race are seeking to exploit this to the full.

The worry about health care costs is huge for many Americans particularly those with someone in their family with pre existing conditions which the private insurers are reluctant to provide cover for.

There’s an excellent overview of the political potency of US health care by Robert Pearl in Forbes. He notes:

“.. healthcare consumes 18% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and that national healthcare spending now exceeds $3.4 trillion annually.. Americans aren’t getting what they pay for. The United States has the lowest life expectancy and highest childhood mortality rate among the 11 wealthiest nations..

When the NHS was being established in the UK 70 years ago the Conservatives were against. When Churchill was returned to power in 1951 his government was smart enough to leave it in place – a lesson perhaps for the President.

In the betting the Democratic Party remains odds on favourite to win back the House of Representatives with the Republicans favourite to retain control of the Senate.

Mike Smithson




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New Midterms survey finds the Democrats making progress in 69 key marginals

Monday, October 8th, 2018

In what we in the UK would describe as a poll of marginals the Washington Post is reporting a survey in 69 key Congressional districts which overall voted 56% Republican to 41% Democratic last time,

This latest survey by the Schar School at George Mason University has the Democrats on 50% to the Republicans on 46%. In UK terms that represents quite some swing.

The paper notes that they went for this approach because “we know less about the opinions of this decisive slice of the electorate, which is demographically and politically distinct from the country as a whole.”

This sounds similar to the ComRes polling of groups of marginals at GE2015 which proved to be just about the most predictive polling of the campaign.

In the betting the Democrats are a 63% chance to take the House with the Republicans on 37%. This has remained fairly stable although the Senate betting has seen a GOP majority harden up to a 69% chance.

Voting is four weeks tomorrow.

Mike Smithson




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The Kavanaugh Conclusion: Trump voters own the GOP; he will be nominated in 2020

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

Republican Senators fear Trump and his voters more than anything

Brett Kavanaugh will almost certainly be confirmed today as the newest member of the US Supreme Court. His behaviour in front of the Senate Committee – aggressive, threatening, overly emotional, highly partisan, evasive – would have been surprising for a nominee to an Executive branch position; as a candidate for the country’s highest court, where you might think that cool minds, sober judgement and lofty impartiality would be called for, it was extraordinary. You can see why Trump likes him though.

What’s less clear is why 51 senators would like him. Granted, he’s not a nobody: he’s served over a decade as a US Appeals Court judge as well as in Bush’s White House. Many Republicans may also like not just Kavanaugh’s rulings and judicial positions but also his assertiveness. Certainly, those with less interest in a well-balanced republic will. Whatever the reasoning, the Republican base is strongly behind the judge, as detailed in this poll. Close to every Republican voter who expressed a preference would rather vote for a candidate that backed Kavanaugh than one who opposed him.

Even so, irrespective of the veracity of the sexual assault allegations, there were more than enough good reasons to reject the nomination. It’s not as if a second nomination from Trump would likely be someone of markedly different judicial and political views and while the elections are in a month’s time, the new Congress won’t meet until January; there would have been time enough yet to require an alternative nominee. But they (barring Sen Murkowski of Alaska) voted down the line to move to an approvals vote today: a vote highly likely to produce a carbon-copy result.

    To me, that’s the behaviour of a group in fear. Even though the Republicans are only defending 9 of their 51 seats this time (and only six senators are personally defending them: three are retiring), there must be a calculation that it simply isn’t worth opposing him: the backlash from Republican voters will remain long enough to be a factor in future primaries.

Arguably, the same applies to Democrats in reverse; certainly the pressure from voters does – Democrats are as heavily opposed as Republicans are supportive of the judge, though in a quirk of politics, it could be the Republican voters of W Virginia acting on Joe Manchin (who is up for re-election), that provides Kavanaugh with his confirmation majority.

The consequences of the vote on the Supreme Court and the country will be lasting, as will the effect on American politics. As I mentioned in June, Trump’s Big Deal was with evangelical Christians, who supported him in huge numbers despite his lack of interest in matters religious (ironically, Kavanaugh isn’t one of them either – he’s Catholic – but that’s not the point). That support was bought with the promise, implicit or explicit, that he would champion their cause. With two young, conservative Supreme Court justices nominated and approved, he will have now delivered on that.

It would be wrong to characterise those voters as Trump supporters. In reality, the dynamic is the other way round: he is their president. And, now, their candidate. In 2016, 81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump. 71% of them currently view his presidency favourably. Presumably, that’s not an endorsement of, for example, the stories of his alleged relationship with Stormy Daniels. It’s support for his policies, actions and nominations.

We can take three things from that. Firstly, if Republican senators are going to vote almost down the line to back a highly questionable nominee to an exceptionally sensitive post, we can forget all talk of impeachment. Trump could probably tweet America’s nuclear codes to Putin and still GOP senators would line up behind him. Perhaps, if the Democrats take the House – no certainty there – then there might be an impeachment trial next year but if so, the Senate will dismiss it.

Secondly, Trump will not face a meaningful primary challenge next year. There ought to be scope for a candidate to run under a banner of something like “a better way is possible” and perhaps someone will but either way, it will come to nothing. The people for whom Trump is a cipher have no need to look elsewhere, and they’re more than enough.

And finally, that provides a big space for a Democrat win in 2020. We should be careful not to once again underestimate Trump, as many did in both the primaries and general election in 2016. However, equally, we shouldn’t go too far the other way. His overall ratings remain historically poor, if off the floor, and he only just beat a flawed and wooden candidate in 2016. Trump is currently 6/4 against. I think that’s too short (as are Pence’s odds of 20/1), and as such the value with Democrats lies more in the Next President market rather than the one for the nomination.

It is rare for a president to lose after just one term and even more so for a party to lose the White House after just four years but then Trump’s never followed a conventional script. In that too, he shares something with Brett Kavanaugh.

David Herdson



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The Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: Trump ups the ante by mocking the woman who says she was sexually assaulted

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

In the betting PaddyPower make it 3/10 that Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed as Justice of the Supreme Court in 2018 and 21/10 that he won’t.

The wider political dimension is how this is going to influence voters in the midterm elections next month when the Democratic party has a realistic chance of taking the House and an outside one of taking the Senate as well.

Until a few hours ago Trump had been fairly guarded in how he referred to the woman who has made the accusations of sexual assault 35 years ago against the man who next week could be on the Supreme Court. Her statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee and Kavanaugh’ response last Thursday have been totally dominating US politics during this critical election period.

Given Trump’s personal history this is a territory where you would have thought he would have been extremely careful.

The nomination process was paused for a week last Friday to allow the FBI time to examine the allegations.

My reading is that if Kavanaugh is not confirmed that will fire up Republicans in the elections while it will be the Democrats who’ll be fired up if it goes the other way.

Mike Smithson




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It’s the WH2016 voter segments that said they were backing Hillary but abstained that the GOP should worry about

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

We all recall how in much of key state polling at WH2016 that Clinton was overstated thus giving us a very false impression of what was going to happen.

Much of this was not down to switching but to ostensible Clinton backers not bothering to turnout. Their problem was the candidate.

One of the insights I got from this excellent analysis of November’s US Midterm elections by NBC’s, Chris Matthews, is what this group of voters will do in the Midterms exactly six weeks on from today.

He’s suggesting that after watching Trump for nearly two years there will be no abstentions in November. The occupant of the White will be the turnout driver.

This sounds very plausible to me in the key races.

Mike Smithson




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Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, faces a second accuser

Monday, September 24th, 2018

By far the biggest political battle in US politics at the moment is the effort by the Republicans to ensure that Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy, Brett Kavanaugh, gets approved.

Because of the power of the court and the fact that members are appointed for life this has the potential of having an impact in the US that could last decades. The Democrats are doing everything to try to stall the process while the White House is pushing to get this through as quickly as possible.

Things have been made more complicated by accusations against Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct nearly forty years ago. The person involved is due to appear later in the week and now another woman has come forward.

From what I can see the only betting market on whether Kavanaugh gets approved is from PaddyPower which has it at 5/6 with way.

The Republicans have 51 of the 100 seats in the Senate so the approval requires all to back him. It is being suggested that one or two GOP Senators might not go with the White House.

Mike Smithson




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Ashcroft US poll finds 53% saying there are grounds to believe that Trump committed crimes that would warrant impeachment

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Nearly a half believe Trump campaign colluded with Russia & he was aware

A 6k sample poll of US voters has just been published by Lord Ashcroft and sets the scene for the important midterm elections that take place in the first week in November.

Currently the Democratic party is enjoying reasonable leads in generic Congressional polls and the betting is on the party re-taking control of the House.

But a much tighter battle is taking place for control of the Senate where about a third of the seats are up for election this year. Currently the Republicans have 51 of the 100 seats and the betting is that they will continue to have a majority.

What’s very likely to dominate US politics if the Democrats do as well in the House of Representatives as projected will be the ongoing rumbles and investigation into whether the Trump colluded with the Russians in his victory in November 2016.

The view is that if the Democrats do end up holding the House then impeachment proceedings could start and the Ashcroft polling seeks to test opinion on what American voters believe happened in that election.

As can be seen voters’ views are very much determined by whether or not they are Trump supporters.

Mike Smithson




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Who will be Time person of the year 2018?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

I’ve been looking at William Hill’s market on who will be the Time person of the year and my tip is out of that lot is Robert Mueller at 25/1.

With several convictions, guilty pleas, and assorted plea deals the so called witch hunt is rather effective and hunting down witches. All of this explains Trump’s recent behaviour where he has publicly criticised Jeff Sessions and privately been annoyed at FBI Director James Wray makes me think we’re headed for another Saturday Night Massacre.

If Trump ultimately fires Mueller it will become a cause célèbre which I think would see Mueller win this award. I expect Trump will reach a tipping point if the Democrats win the House comfortably and do better in the Senate than expected.

That guarantees impeachment hearings for Trump and his family. Those impeachment hearings are something Trump won’t react well to.

I have asked William Hill to add the Anonymous Op Ed author to this market, depending on the price and if any more articles are forthcoming they may well be worth backing with a lot of cash.

A note for punters, I’ve been betting on this market for years, I don’t think I’ve ever tipped a successful winner.

TSE