Archive for the 'Donald Trump' Category


Trump’s New American Revolution

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

He can’t govern in slogans but they’ll take him a long way

Inaugurations set the tone for a presidency and Trump undoubtedly set his yesterday: life will be different – for DC, for Europe, for China and for the world. In an extraordinarily pugnacious address, which might have been lifted direct from his campaign rallies, Trump served notice that the Old Order is dead as far as he is concerned. There will be no more Beltway politics, benefitting lobbyists and politicians at the expense of the public; no more Pax Americana, underwriting the global order.

Whether he can deliver on that is another matter. That he and the Washington elite kept the common folk waiting for over half an hour at the inaugural parade while they lunched was hardly a good pointer. His speech proclaimed that “we will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining, but never doing anything about it. The time for empty talk is over.” Yet the speech was just platitudes and slogans, and a litany of complaints about the state of the country without any detail on how to address them. By his own measure, he fell short.

Trump has however kept surprising pundits and commentators with his capacity to succeed by (or despite) doing the unexpected and unorthodox. We’re in that place again. He is relying on the people that he berated in his inaugural to pass his legislation and budgets – and relying on the lobbyists and donors who might feel differently not providing an equal counterweight.

One might expect that someone who really has little support in DC, who has no political experience and who doesn’t respect diplomatic niceties (whether domestic or foreign) to fail in delivering anything that congress doesn’t want. I wouldn’t be so sure.

Trump has three main cards he can play. The first is the simple fact of his election. It might be a weak mandate but it’s a mandate all the same. The establishment lost and for the time being, that means his opponents can’t be entirely sure that they’re on solid ground going against him. Secondly, he has initiative. He has set out his new direction for America and beyond and while others can respond, he’ll be setting the terms of debate.

But thirdly and most importantly, his America First platform will be difficult to argue against without sounding unpatriotic, and patriotism, while the last refuge of a scoundrel, is also the first claim of a politician – and in particular, an American politician. No matter that ‘America First’ as a slogan hardly has an unsullied past; no matter that the practical objections of limiting trade or building walls are evident to those prepared to think. Trump cannot fail politically now unless congress blocks him and congress has already made and won the case as to why America First is wrong – and that will be extremely hard.

Of course, Trump could fail elsewhere. His businesses give ample scope for conflicts of interest and his style of management is not one that is well suited to the office he now holds. He is without many friends internationally and those he has are in it solely for what they can get (which is not without irony).

That foreign policy marks the biggest shift in priorities. The US is heading back towards isolationism, though Trump’s comments about fighting extremist Islam run counter to the general drift. All the same, the TPP is out, NAFTA may be out, co-operation on climate change is out – and NATO might well be out too. If radical Islam is the US’s number one perceived threat then the Kremlin is an ally rather than an opponent, while the European states are fighting the wrong war with someone else’s – his – soldiers. But Europe is rapidly becoming a backwater to the US’s strategic considerations. If radical Islam is the number one threat then China is number two. Again, Russia is a potential ally and Europe is of little consequence.

That shift in foreign priorities is unlikely to be unpopular in principle. In practice, ‘bringing jobs home’ is likely to be rather harder to achieve and putting up trade barriers will probably be counterproductive. But when emotions are running high, short-term politics trumps longer-term economics in decision-making.

However, as populists throughout the ages have discovered, the price of neglecting longer-term economic considerations will have to be paid eventually. And turning away from the industries of the 21st century in favour of those of the 19th and 20th is neglecting them. Regulations might bring cost but they also stimulate innovation.

For that reason, I expect Trump to lose in 2020. By then, the America First campaign is likely to have run out of steam and he’ll find it harder to hide. It’s rare for a party to hold the White House for a single term (Carter was the only example in the 20th century), but Trump is exceptional. He only just won this year against a very weak Democrat opponent and has set himself huge targets. I think he’ll get a longer run than many expect but will ultimately fail and against a stronger Democrat – there must be a moderate, sensible, successful governor thinking of having a go, surely? – will lose.

But until then, it’s going to be a hell of a ride.

David Herdson


After a dramatic and historic day the world has changed and we have yet to fully appreciate what the Trump presidency means

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Following such an extraordinary day it is very hard to fully assimilate what we have seen and heard in Washington. Certainly the new President has given strong indications about his direction of travel and that is going to have huge implications in many different parts of the world including the UK and Europe.

This was an inauguration speech like no other which very much reflects the  individual personality of the new President.

At the same time it was quite moving seeing one administration and President being replaced by another one as a result solely of what has happened at the ballot box and and as a believer in democracy I find that a very good thing to observe.

One sure thing is that the new President speech today should have taken nobody by surprise. This was exactly the rhetoric and things that he has used consistently during the 18 month long election campaign that finished in November.

Mike Smithson


And now the fourth Presidential Inauguration since PB was founded in 2004

Friday, January 20th, 2017

A new US President is a reminder how long PB has been around. The site was founded in March 2004 when George W was the incumbent and beat John Kerry in that extraordinarily tight election.

Four years later it was Barack Obama who had been tipped on the site when he was 50/1. Obama was re-elected in 2012 and now, of course, Donald Trump is taking over.

What the future holds is hard to predict but I’ve not been tempted by any of the Trump betting markets. Maybe we’ll get a clear idea in the weeks ahead.

Mike Smithson


Want to bet on footage of that golden shower appearing on a porn site? Yes WEE Can

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Paddy Power have some Donald Trump specials up, to be honest most of these appear to be taking the piss, as it were, and serve to act as an excellent way to contribute to Paddy Power’s bonus fund.

For example take the bet on the golden shower footage to appear on porn website ‘RedTube’, not being an expert (sexpert?) on niche websites like this, I believe there are many many many more websites of this nature on the internet, that the footage could end up on, that alone makes it an unattractive bet even before you consider the subject material.

The only bet if I was forced to choose would be the 7/4 on Trump NOT to complete his first term in office, because Ladbrokes are offering 11/10 on Trump to leave office via impeachment or resignation before end of 1st term (which doesn’t cover all the possibilities as the Paddy Power bet, such as Section IV of the XXV Amendment being enacted.)

Speaking of Ladbrokes, they also have a few Trump specials

The one I’m backing is the 1/25 on Trump to be inaugurated on the 20th of January. Yes I’m aware a 1/25 tip is likely to be the shortest priced tip in the thirteen years of PB but with interest rates of 0.25 per cent, a 4 per cent return in five days seems very good.

Despite the best efforts of an alumnus of the finest university in the world, Trump will be inaugurated, the only circumstances that prevent him being inaugurated will make it unlikely you’ll be paid out on the other side of the bet, circumstances like nuclear war, a pandemic, the rapture, or the zombie apocalypse, those type of things.



Trump goes on the offensive against the media – a sign of the next four years?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

At least it’s going to be interesting

With just nine days to go till his inauguration Donald Trump has held a major press conference dealing with how his business interests will operate while he’s in the White House, the Mexican wall and who’ll pay for it, and, of course. the revelations in the past 24 hours about his alleged relationship with Russia and what is said to have gone on in that hotel room.

The clip above shows how he was in a fiery aggressive mode and he was particularly scathing about the US’s security services which will soon have him as a new overall boss.

It is very hard to say where this is going to go. The Trump worry is if something more substantive comes out about the things he has emphatically denied.

No doubt the coverage be all over our TV screens for the next day or so.

Mike Smithson


And now BuzzWord bingo on Trump’s Inaugural speech

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Can you guess the words/phrases he might use?

Well done to Shadsy, head of political odds at Ladbrokes, for getting this together – buzzword bingo on what’s almost certainly going to be the most watched and scrutinised political speech of 2017 – the Trump address at his inauguration on January 20th.

These require a huge amount of work by the bookie and and awful lot of risk. Trump has made very few set-piece speeches though his very extensive Twitter feed provides no end of clues.

He uses the word “corrupt” a lot and that seems value at 2/1 and I like hackers at 4/1 and BREXIT at 5/1. The 10/1 on “fake news” might be worth a punt.

Best of luck.

Mike Smithson


The consequences of what has already happened and the consequences of what is yet to come

Sunday, January 8th, 2017


Britain is Brexiting, Trump is triumphant in the USA, France is flirting with the Front National and in countries as diverse as Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands, the far right is doing more than alright.  Yes, yes, but what does it mean?

Much energy has been expended analysing why populism and the alt right are doing so well right now.  Rather less has been spent on considering the practical implications not just for individual countries but for the world as a whole.

The single most obvious consequence, from which many other consequences will flow, is that there will be less co-operation between Western governments in both the short and medium term.  Britain by definition is seeking to co-operate less with other EU countries by Brexiting.  The prospects for harmonious working relationships with other EU countries during the transition and for a while thereafter look bleak.  Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s agenda looks to set a radical discontinuity from that the USA has previously followed, with all the indications that he is going to take an aggressive “America first” approach that will set the USA at odds with its historical allies on many subjects.  Other hard right politicians and populists trade on putting their own country first at the expense of other countries that are perceived to be free-loading in some way, so if they are electorally successful they will be looking to reduce co-operation too.

So we are entering a period in the short and medium term where Western countries will no longer aspire to co-operate with each other to anything like the same degree as previously.  This reduced co-operation will lead to more competition between different Western states, some continuing to operate as a bloc and some now acting individually.  This will inevitably reduce the collective effectiveness of all of the Western countries.  So Western governments will weaken relative to other countries, over and above the weakening that is taking place as the rest of the world closes the gap economically on the West.

This is not a new trend.  With the EU having been internally divided for some time, the formalisation of one aspect of those internal divisions through Britain leaving the EU is merely a continuation of this decline.

This weakening will be felt most strongly among the more weakly performing Western countries under the most stress.  Both France and Britain have pretensions to global importance that are not backed up by their economic performance.  Their pretensions are likely to become steadily less sustainable.

So, other governments are by default going to become more influential.  We have had lots of commentary about how Russia is projecting its power, but it is merely the most visible (and probably not the greatest) beneficiary of this trend.  China will benefit most as the non-Western country with the largest economy and the greatest global reach.  India also will see enhanced standing.  Other countries will more effectively be able to play off Western powers that compete against each other.  Soft power just got a lot softer. 

All the time, Europe will seem less and less relevant as power shifts south and east.  This may be the moment that confirms when Europe falls off the pace of the very top tier of world civilisation.  If so, it may well prove to be the most important inflexion point of the century.

Just as Western governments will weaken relative to other countries, they will weaken relative to non-government actors. Large corporations will be more influential with individual governments, since those governments will co-operate less on developing a common front.  Tax avoidance and arbitrage is likely to rise as governments compete more overtly with each other to secure the tax revenues of large multi-nationals.  Similarly, the very wealthiest individuals who are mobile will be able to secure still more favourable treatment from states looking for taxes.  All other things being equal, collective tax takes of Western countries are likely to decline.

This in turn will make it still harder for European governments in particular to sustain their high tax high spend model of government.   This is unlikely to benefit the poorest in society, who rely on public spending.  Government is likely to prove an exercise in reducing public expectations of what government can afford.

Other non-government actors are also likely to benefit.  With declining inter-governmental co-operation, international criminals of all stripes are likely to find life easier.  Terrorists’ plans will be harder to track.  New criminal practices will be more difficult to spot.

All of these consequences arise before we get to consider the impact of increased informal trade barriers.  But that’s for another day.  I wouldn’t want to be accused of being too negative all in one go.

Alastair Meeks


At some stage some of the “will Trump survive” bets will be value

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

But I’m not tempted at the moment

In the days leading up to Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20th we are going to see a lot of speculation on whether he’s going to survive. Certainly his links with Putin and the suggestions that the Russians might have tried to influence the election are causing much debate within his party.

Yet it is hard to assess whether this will lead to anything and I for one don’t like locking up cash in bets that could take years to come to fruition.

So for the moment I’m giving this a miss but will be watching things closely.

Mike Smithson