A Washington D.C. lobbyist on who he's betting big on in the coming elections
In the 1980s, Donald Trump ran casinos.
Nowadays, you can bet on him.
On gambling websites, you can lay real money on real political events, the same way you’d bet on the horses. Overall, $200 million was bet on the 2016 presidential election, from Portland to Pakistan.
"There were an awful lot of people who don't bet on anything else, but they came out of the woodwork" to vote for or against Donald Trump, says Paul Krishnamurty of PoliticalGambler.com, an informational site.
And Gabriel Rutherford is one of millions who’ve won bigly on what happens at the polls.
Rutherford is a financial guy, a fast-talking lobbyist living in Washington D.C. — as a Republican, he’s happy to ridicule the whole liberal dipwad rail-against-the-patriarchy but still-cash-daddy’s-checks vibe. He has a point, with the receipts to back it up.
In 2015, when Trump rode down an escalator and called Mexicans rapists and said he wanted to be president, Rutherford saw what the media didn’t. A winner. “Free cash,” he says. Trump was getting only a 5 percent chance to win the Republican nomination when Rutherford jumped in. That means, to nearly everyone, Trump was looking like a gimpy horse at the Kentucky Derby. But Trump appealed to Rutherford, and he laid down around $4,000 on the underdog. When Trump pulled off the upset and ran away from the field like Secretariat, Rutherford netted about enough to buy a Tesla Model X.
Here’s the craziest thing: greedy-ass bettors like Rutherford get it right, as studies find political betting sites are often more accurate than the polls.
This was true in 2016. After the “grab ‘em by the pussy” tape came out leading smart-guy outfits thought Trump was toast. HuffPo gave Trump a 2 percent chance to win, The New York Times 15 percent.
But bettors like Rutherford didn’t abandon Trump. And betting sites reflected that by giving Trump about a 33 percent chance to win. The gamblers were probably much closer to reality than the liberal media.
Rutherford doubled down on the pussy grabber. And when they crowned our new troubled orange ruler, Rutherford bathed in salty liberal tears ... and enough dough to buy a second Tesla.
“The only real source of credibility in politics is predictive power,” Rutherford says. All of which is what makes betting on politics so exciting. Conventional wisdom is toilet paper. Hot takes are lukewarm. The blather and bullshit of campaigns turn into the only thing that ultimately matters: cash.
Krishnamurty felt this full-on, face-planting in 2016. "I personally believe (Hillary) will win in a landslide," he told Reuters. When Hillary flopped, he lost $15,000. "It was the biggest mistake I ever made, easily," he tells us. "I didn't think he had a prayer."
Right around the corner are the 2018 midterms, when we vote on House and Senate races. And with all this passion for and against Trump, Krishnamurty expects punters to bet more than on any midterm in history. "They've got the bug now."
Like everything else, it feels like it’s all about Trump. If the Democrats win the House, they’re likely to impeach Trump. If they win 18 seats in the Senate, they’ll kick him out. Impeachment is a dream for liberals, a screaming injustice for Trumpians.
Sure, gambling on politics has critics. “We should be seriously engaged with the shiny work of perfecting democracy!” critics say. “Not treating politicians like greyhounds!” Plus, there are opportunities for corruption. A politician could bet big on herself and then throw the race, like a boxer taking a dive. In America, on a website called PredictIt, the government limits wagers to $850 on each bet.
But the pro betters are laying big bets on the midterms, largely using sites in Britain. Rutherford has $18,000 on the Republicans keeping the House and the Senate, with decent odds. “The college kids should be ready for a disappointing wave in November and to buckle up for another six years,” Rutherford says. “Just like I bet on him heavily in 2016, I fully expect Trump to win again.”
Krishnamurty, on the other hand, backs the Dems in 2018 and 2020. “I can sense that the Republicans are very fearful,” he says.
It’s all a wild ride that turns politics into a game — as if it wasn’t already. If you don't care about politics — don't care if the system collapses, the planet explodes, and the human species snuffed out — if you actually kind of want to see the whole thing burn, betting on politics might be the only way to get yourself to give a shit.