In twelve days, Joe Biden will be inaugurated into office, bringing to an end one of the most volatile and bizarrely hilarious chapters in American history.

The Trump era means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But if one thing’s for certain, almost nobody was undecided or apathetic when it came to their feelings about Donald Trump’s presidency.

Perhaps his greatest asset was the ability to be hyper-polarizing at all times. He always knew what to do or say to ensure half the crowd reviled him with a burning passion while the other half adored their President with an intensity bordering on worship at times.

So, it’s only right that Donald Trump’s final two months in office have been an unpredictable, controversial mess.

The incumbent was still fighting to overturn the election called for Joe Biden back in November and formalized by the electoral college in December, right up until Congress certified the electors on Wednesday.

It was that last stand against the certification process that guaranteed Trump’s final two weeks in the White House would be as eventful as his earliest days as a candidate.

  • In 2015-16, he was steamrolling the field of Republican primary challengers with an arsenal of pointed insults, nicknames, and anti-establishment rhetoric against which traditional, “polite” candidates had no tools for defending themselves.
  • However, the unfiltered communication style and refusal to accept defeat that paved Trump’s way to the White House four years ago have become quite the liability on the way out.

After two months of fighting the election results and exhausting every legal option available to a candidate who feels wronged, things came to a head on Wednesday afternoon. With a joint session of Congress convening to certify the state electors and make Biden’s nomination official, Trump was down to his final two options: 

  • Convince Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electors from disputed states, or
  • persuade Republican allies in Congress to object to them, hoping to slow down the certification process long enough to launch an election integrity committee and audit the ballot totals.

Leading up to the big day, Trump promoted a series of “stop the steal” protests across the nation, the largest of which would be outside the Capitol. The initial idea was to show such an enormous turnout that Republicans in Congress would feel the pressure to support their Trump-friendly peers’ objections, lest they be primaried by a MAGA candidate when they were up for reelection.

As you’ve undoubtedly heard by now, that’s not how it played out.

The Trump supporters got the intimidation part right, but took it about twenty steps too far, resulting in deadly riots and a siege of the Capitol building that required Congress to evacuate. The President was blamed for inciting the violence and even accused of insurrection, attempting a coup, and treason.

Which brings us to the four betting markets covered on this page…

Wednesday’s events had the opposite of their intended effect. Instead of challenging the election results or demonstrating Donald Trump’s enduring political might, they cast his entire future into doubt.

Bovada’s oddsmakers set betting lines on four possible outcomes the President may face between now and January 20.

Political handicappers have the opportunity to wager on whether Trump will

  • complete his first term,
  • get impeached,
  • resign from office, and/or
  • grant himself a pardon.


Update:

On Friday, President Trump tweeted an announcement that may give us an idea of how he’s thinking about these final days in office.

Will Donald Trump Be Impeached Before the End of His Term?

Will Donald Trump Be Impeached?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes-190
  • No+145

Earlier today, I posted an article focused on the effects of Wednesday’s unfortunate explosion of violence on the US political landscape, especially on the early 2024 Republican primary forecasts. In that piece, I covered a betting line from MyBookie about whether new articles of impeachment would be filed against Donald Trump before January 20.

The above wager from Bovada asks the same question, only with slightly different odds.

Bovada’s oddsmakers are a tad more confident that Trump will be impeached (-190 vs. –160 at MyBookie).

They should be confident because all signs point to Democratic leaders in Congress rushing to file articles of impeachment by early next week. Impeaching a sitting president is typically a long-drawn-out process requiring months to complete; Democrats have to get it done in roughly a week if they hope to hold a trial and vote to remove Trump from office a few days early.

I predict that the Democrats will file two articles of impeachment but won’t have enough time to conduct House hearings, vote to impeach, then send the articles to the Senate for a trial and a final vote. And even if the impeachment trial does progress quickly enough to have a Senate vote before January 20, there’s no certainty that the Dems can find 67 votes to convict and remove the President.

As I wrote in my previous article:

“Instead, they’ll wait for the Biden administration to come to power, then hold a vote to disqualify Trump from holding public office.

“Unlike impeachment, which requires a 2/3 majority to pass, they only need a simple majority for disqualification. After January 20, VP Kamala Harris is the tie-breaking vote securing Democratic control of the upper chamber, which means Trump 2024 will be disqualified before it’s launched.”

I suspect making Donald Trump the first US president to be impeached twice is more important to Democrats than successfully removing him from office a few days early.

Which is excellent news for bettors taking “Yes” at –190!

Will Donald Trump Be Impeached?

Remember:

There’s no surer thing in political betting than the Democratic Party leadership expending lots of time and resources on primarily performative gestures without much real-world impact!

Will Donald Trump Complete His First Term as President?

Will Trump Complete His First Term?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes-350
  • No+245

This betting line simply asks whether Trump will remain in office for twelve more days. As we just discussed, the likelihood of Congress impeaching and removing the President on such an expedited timeline is slim to none.

If the President is going to exit the White House early, it will either be because Mike Pence and Trump’s Cabinet secretaries invoked the 25th Amendment, or he chooses to resign.

Behind the scenes, Democratic leaders have been encouraging their Republican counterparts to consider the former. However, when Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi attempted to call the Vice President about the suggestion, he left them on hold for 25 minutes before staffers returned to tell the House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader that Pence refused to answer.

If he’s not removed by his Cabinet using the 25th Amendment and there’s not enough time to conclude an impeachment trial, the only real reason Donald Trump might not finish his first term is that he resigns.

However, we’re discussing that betting market in the next section; we don’t want to waste any good points here.

Even though, at –350, the odds aren’t ideal, betting “Yes” on Donald Trump completing his first term is the smart move. The President may have been left extremely vulnerable on Wednesday, but the wheels of justice turn slowly; very little can be done in only 12 days.

Will Trump Complete His First Term?

Will Donald Trump Resign During His First Term?

Will Donald Trump Resign?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes+330
  • No-500

Donald Trump isn’t the resigning type.

This is the same guy who refused to concede for over two months and only committed to leaving office after Joe Biden’s electors were certified and the President had exhausted every option.

Even then, I got the impression that he only admitted defeat because of the violence at the Capitol.

He couldn’t continue trying to overturn the election after the media and political officials blamed the riots on Trump’s repeated claims of being robbed of the election.

Officials on both sides argued that five people would still be alive if the President had just conceded. That’s how bad it had to get for Donald Trump to admit he lost the election.

Would he ever give his enemies the satisfaction of seeing him tuck tail and leave early?

That’s hard for me to imagine.

Nevertheless, the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board called for him to resign. “If Mr. Trump wants to avoid a second impeachment, his best path would be to take personal responsibility and resign,” the board wrote.

Is there a chance Donald Trump, realizing that he can’t get anything done during this lame-duck period anyway – especially after the backlash from Wednesday – will take their advice and vacate the White House before Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats impeach him for the second time?

That way, he can get back to Mar-a-Lago before they leave a permanent scar on his legacy as the only President in US history to be impeached twice.

On the other hand, our next betting line could be a clue as to why he’d want to stay in power until the very end of his term.

Between Wednesday’s disaster and four years of Democrats threatening to send him and his family to prison once he was out of office, Trump won’t want to leave office without protections from prosecution secured.

If he leaves too early, he’s exposed.

I think President Trump will need the next 12 days to get a feel for what kind of charges will be brought against him stemming from Wednesday and grant pardons to himself and his family that keeps everyone safe from prosecution after January 20.

However, the betting odds are far enough apart to consider slightly less probable scenarios.

Am I confident enough in Trump finishing his term to stake $500 to win $100? Not at all!

What if party leaders and establishment officials negotiate a deal with Trump? “Resign from office and agree not to run again in 2024, and we won’t impeach or prosecute you.”

That’s not beyond the realm of possibility. And at +330 I’d rather take a chance on Donald Trump resigning a few days early than take –500 odds for an outcome in which I’m only slightly more confident.

Will Donald Trump Resign During His First Term?

Will Donald Trump Pardon Himself in His First Term as President?

Will Donald Trump Pardon Himself?

  • Matchup Odds
  • YesEVEN
  • No-130

Of all the prop bets examined in this article, this one offers the most value.

On Thursday, the New York Times reported that President Trump has been discussing pardoning himself and his children before leaving office.

Here’s an excerpt:

“In several conversations since Election Day, Mr. Trump has told advisers that he is considering giving himself a pardon and, in other instances, asked whether he should and what the effect would be on him legally and politically, according to the two people. It was not clear whether he had broached the topic since he incited his supporters on Wednesday to march on the Capitol, where some stormed the building in a mob attack.

“Mr. Trump has shown signs that his level of interest in pardoning himself goes beyond idle musings. He has long maintained he has the power to pardon himself, and his polling of aides’ views is typically a sign that he is preparing to follow through on his aims. He has also become increasingly convinced that his perceived enemies will use the levers of law enforcement to target him after he leaves office.”

However, there’s one thing we must consider: No president has ever pardoned himself before.

It’s not entirely clear if self-clemency is legal. The NY Times says, “legal scholars are divided about whether the courts would recognize it.”

  • It has been suggested that Trump could face charges over a phone conversation. He’s quoted as trying to convince a Georgia official to help him find the necessary votes to overturn the state.
  • The Justice Department has also said it won’t rule out pursuing charges for the President’s role in inciting Wednesday’s riots.

Those two threats are enough for Donald Trump to test the limits of presidential self-pardon power. If nothing else, he’s shown a willingness to push the envelope and challenge political and legal norms.

Sources within the White House claim that Trump was exploring the possibility of preemptively pardoning himself and his kids before Wednesday’s uproar. In that case, the mood in the country ever since will have definitely convinced him to give it a try.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” and all.

I’m taking “Yes” on Donald Trump pardoning himself at EVEN money.

The Democrats have fiercely pursued him since Election Night 2016; he knows they’ll still want to prosecute and limit his political influence once he’s out of office. Whether it holds up in court or not, Trump must give self-clemency and hope that it’s legal.

Will Donald Trump Pardon Himself?