Archive for the 'Donald Trump' Category

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The Trump buzzword bingo market

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

What will Trump say in his press conference today?

Because of my consistent record in these buzzword bingo markets I view these markets as my contribution to the Christmas bonus fund for Shadsy even before we consider that someone as volatile and rambling as Donald Trump is the focus of this market.

If I was forced to choose I’d back Fake News and Witch Hunt, two subjects dear to Trump’s heart. One of his tweets yesterday upon his arrival in the UK was about Fake News, so it is something that is on his mind. There are more options in this market if you click on the Ladbrokes tweet, the tweet by Ladbrokes only show the top options.

But if you can spot any value let me know in the comments of this thread.

TSE



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Paging all Brexiteers who hate American Presidents interfering in UK politics

Friday, May 31st, 2019

I’m not sure being Donald Trump’s preferred choice as Prime Minister will ultimately help Boris Johnson.

TSE



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What can we expect from the planned Brexit inquiry

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

A look at what’s happened before

In January 2004 the Hutton report into Dr David Kelly’s death was awaited with anticipation. The hearings had put the actions of politicians, civil servants, journalists, senior BBC management under a forensic scrutiny they would not normally expect.

The Iraq war – the inquiry’s bloody context – had turned into a desperate civil war. No WMD had been found. The sad story of a respected scientist apparently bullied to his death as part of a greater political game between press and politicians seemed to epitomise what happens when powerful people act without a care for the individuals affected by their actions. We did not know the names of dead Iraqis but we could relate to a bearded, bespectacled, middle-aged civil servant and his grieving family, caught up in affairs over which they had little control.

When the Tories were given advance access before the Parliamentary debate, there were hopes that Michael Howard would be able forensically to wound – perhaps fatally – Blair, who had so tied his fortunes to this war and a snobbishly derided US President.

It did not turn out like that. Howard was given precious little to work with. It was the BBC which was severely criticised and lost its Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Governors. The politicians escaped, perhaps not scot-free, but freer than the public hearings had led everyone to expect (to the surprise of observers who had heard the evidence). And they went on the attack: immediately and brutally. It seemed as if Blair had got away with it.

It was not until July 2016 when the Chilcott report was finally published that a far more damning conclusion was given on the whole Iraq adventure, surprisingly so as Chilcott and his assessors had not particularly distinguished themselves as attack dogs during the hearings. By then, of course, the public and Blair’s party had largely made their minds up about the whole sorry affair.

It was seen – at best – as a misguided venture; at worst – as a war crime deliberately embarked upon on the basis of intentionally fabricated evidence. Even if Chilcott had absolved Blair of all sins, it is unlikely that his detractors would have changed their minds.

And now we have the Mueller report. Or only a summary for now. But the two reports – particularly in the reactions to them – have much in common, nonetheless.

  • A lot of hopes pinned on them: The inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death was seen as the route by which Blair’s mendacity over WMD would be exposed. Similarly, Mueller has been seen as a way to attack Trump, legally, and on the basis of evidence, collected by an unimpeachable source. As senior staff close to him were caught in Mueller’s net, surely – the thinking went – Trump cannot be far behind. Alas, too many people believed what they wanted to be true. Blair must have lied. Trump must have colluded with the Russians. The disappointment when these were not the conclusions was palpable. Never let your hopes run ahead of the evidence. Or, perhaps, never express your hopes so publicly until you’re sure they’re backed by evidence, might be the moral to be learned.
  • “Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.” (reputedly said by Mario Puzo, The Godfather’s author). Wise words. So infuriated by Trump’s victory have the Democrats been that they have assumed that he must therefore be evil or criminal or guilty or maybe all three, that his victory cannot have been legitimate. Much easier to assume that his victory was stolen than engage in analysis of why people might have voted for him, despite his obvious flaws. In much the same way, those who think of Blair as a war criminal absolve themselves of the need to ask whether the decision to go to war in Iraq might have been more finely judged at the time than it now appears, fail to ask themselves what one should do in circumstances where there is a rogue state potentially able and willing to use WMD, fail to consider that even not acting is a decision with consequences, some of them just as sanguinary, as intervention in a faraway state about which we know little. Intervention was bad then; so non-intervention is good now, or so the analysis (this is to be kind) goes. Hate is never a good basis for coolly assessing one’s opponent, let alone their arguments.
  • What is reprehensible is not necessarily criminal. A difficult concept to grasp at a time when the distinction between that which may be morally or politically wrong or unwise and what is criminal or a breach of the law is not always understood. Or hand-waved away as a mere technicality. It isn’t. There is much which politicians and others do which should not have been done. That does not make them criminal. If being wrong made one a criminal there would scarcely be an innocent man or woman alive. Too often the law is used to attack a political opponent because there are no political arguments or they are too weak or unpopular. But politicians need to be defeated politically. The law has its place, especially if the law is broken. But it is not a substitute for politics.
  • Attack is the best form of defence. Ask Alistair Campbell. Ask Trump who, in typical fashion, is now claiming that the report exonerates him completely when it pointedly does no such thing. Expect the next arguments to be about (i) publication of the whole report and Attorney-General William Barr’s good faith (or lack of) if he does not publish it; and (ii) what exactly Mueller meant – and why – when he said “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
  • Playing into your opponent’s hands: If the inquiry’s target claims that the inquiry is a witch hunt, best not to respond by acting in a way which reinforces this. This is hard to do, especially when a report’s conclusions are being misrepresented. But it can all too easily look as if you are being a sore loser, as if you are unwilling to accept the findings of a report because it did not say what you hoped. That is the quickest way to ensuring that no-one listens to what you do have to say.

The most important lesson is perhaps this. It is not the immediate reaction which will determine the long-term judgment. Blair won the immediate battle and went on to win another election. But the Iraq war will always be essential to an understanding of his government and himself. That assessment – that it was an error – has played a key part in the change in the Labour Party today (Corbyn owes his leadership at least in part to it) and to British governments’ approach to foreign intervention.

Similarly, Trump may have avoided immediate jeopardy, though full publication may still be a worry and there are other investigations around. He will likely not be impeached. He may well be re-elected. But the long-term view of how Trump deals with foreign regimes, how he approaches his legal obligations, how he uses or abuses power is not likely to be favourable to him. This may continue to affect him long after he has left the White House, though he may not care. It will certainly affect how future Presidents and politicians act. He would be wise not to declare victory over the witch hunt quite so soon. 

Cyclefree




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The hearing with Trump’s ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, doesn’t bode well for the President

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

In the US the big political news has been the appearance before a Congressional committee of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer who is set to go to prison in May after being convicted last year. The Republicans on the committee have been seeking to discredit him but his comments could have a big impact on WH2020.

A good flavour of the hearing is from this exchange between Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Michael Cohen during today’s House Oversight Committee:

GOSAR: You’re a pathological liar. You don’t know truth from falsehood.

COHEN: Sir, I’m sorry, are you referring to me or the President?

There’s little doubt that this damages the incumbent but that at the same time his base will remain totally loyal whatever emerges. Only problem is that Trump needs more than his base to get re-elected.

So far this hasn’t impacted on the betting and Trump is 74% favourite to win the GOP nomination.

Mike Smithson




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Trump’s approval now ratings far worse far worse than at the midterms when the Dems gained 41 house seats

Monday, February 4th, 2019


RealClearPolitics

The big political polling numbers that get most attention in US politics are the President’s approval ratings and these are seen to be good predictors of electoral outcome. Thus the 10% approval deficit that Trump had ahead of the November midterms was enough for pundits to predict that the Republicans would lose the House by some margin. That is what happened.

Since then we’ve had the government shutdown when 800k federal employees went without pay for nearly 5 weeks, the threat of the President taking emergency powers to build his wall, and the the attempt to find an agreement before February 15th when the current government funding resolution expires.

The Real Clear Politics polling average, seen in the chart above, shows how damaged the Trump now is in these predictive ratings. He’s now nearly 4 and a half points worse off then he was in November and that doesn’t look good.

Things, of course, can get better and we learnt from 2016 how effective Trump is mobilising his base ahead of an election. There are signs though that his base is narrowing with some polls finding that he’s struggling with working-class white males who have been his biggest supporters.

His re-nomination is far from assured with several leading figures contemplating a run.

On Betfair it’s now just a 30% chance that Trump will be re elected in November next year.

Mike Smithson




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Trump seems to be alienating an awful lot of voters

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

Trump is energising his opponents in record breaking numbers

538 write

With the 2020 election cycle revving into full gear, pollsters are asking voters whether they plan to vote for President Trump. In a Washington Post/ABC News survey, respondents were asked if they would definitely vote for the president, consider voting for him or definitely not vote for him — and 56 percent said they would definitely not vote for him. Morning Consult posed a slightly different form of this question, asking voters if they’d definitely or probably vote for Trump, or if they’d definitely or probably vote for someone else. Eight percent said they would probably vote for someone else, but 47 percent said they would definitely vote for someone else. In total, that’s 55 percent of respondents who seemed unlikely to vote for Trump.

All told, this isn’t that different from the number of Americans who were planning not to back then-President Barack Obama in the early stages of his re-election bid: 51 percent said they “definitely” or “probably” would not vote for the incumbent, according to one poll conducted at a similar point in the 2012 cycle. But there is a key difference: The share of voters who said they would “definitely” oppose Trump is much higher than it ever was for Obama. In fact, the average share of voters who said they would “definitely” oppose Trump is roughly 10 points higher than it was for Obama more than 600 days out from the election, which is where we are now.

We can see from the chart that Obama’s definitely would not vote for figure increased closer as we approached the 2012 election which is probably a result of the primary process as lots of opponents retrashed Obama and his policies on a regular basis for several months. With the Iowa caucus exactly one year away it isn’t hard to see Trump’s definitely would not vote figure increasing as the Democratic Party contenders criticise Trump.

A couple of caveats, this polling coincides with the record breaking shutdown it might explain why so many are opposed to Trump, if there are no further shutdowns then Trump’s figures might improve. Also Trump had some pretty dire polling numbers in the run up to the 2016 Presidential election but that didn’t stop him being elected.

I’m hoping to track this series on a regular basis. My hunch is if these figures don’t improve for Trump then his chances of winning re-election in 2020 are sub-optimal, Mueller permitting of course.

TSE



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Sherrod Brown, victor in Ohio last November, looks increasingly like a good bet for WH2020

Sunday, January 27th, 2019

I’ve had quite a few long shot bets on the next White House Race but the one I am becoming increasingly confident about is Sherrod Brown Who last November held his Ohio senate seat by a margin of 6%. What makes this striking is that at WH2016 Trump took the state with a margin of 8 points. If anyone can win the rust belt back for the Democrats then it’s Brown.

So far he’s not formally put his hat into the ring but he is making the usual tour of the first primary state and doing TV spots like the one last night on CNN shown above.

What I believe will be the dominant factor in the Democratic primaries, due to start almost exactly a year from now in Iowa, will be perceived electability. The party desperately wants somebody who can beat the current incumbent and few of the field that have so far declared have credentials on that score anything like as good as Brown’s.

For many years, Ohio was absolutely central to the Democrats in presidential campaigns but that changed with Trump. Brown is presenting himself as the answer and he maybe right.

His wife, Pulitzer-winning columnist, Connie Schultz, looks as though she could play a key part in a campaign.

I don’t attach much value to polls at this stage. The late-70s oldies, Sanders and Biden, rate highly at the moment because of name recognition.

Betfair currently have Brown at 35/1 to win WH2016 which I regard as value.

Can I add that me suggesting that a bet is good value is NOT me making a prediction. I am just looking at the odds available and assessing whether what's being offered is better than my assessment of the chances.

Mike Smithson




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Nancy Pelosi 1 Donald Trump 0

Friday, January 25th, 2019

Donald Trump has just announced that the Government shutdown is over. This means that the 800k government workers who have not been paid since before Christmas will now be paid.

He’s agreed a 3 week period and is clearly hoping that he can get agreement on the funding of his wall.

This comes on the day that the shutdown was starting to impact seriously on US civil flights with New York’s Le Guardia airport amongst others being affected.

The shutdown has led to huge drops in Trump’s personal ratings.

The winner is the new Speaker of the House of Representatives – Nancy Pelosi who has been totally resolute in blocking Trump’s demand for funding for the Wall.

Mike Smithson