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Time to Bet Big on Trump

Let me start by saying that I am not a gambler. I’ve never had an account on DraftKings, FanDuel, or any other betting site in the ever-increasing panoply of online sportsbooks. 

When I do gamble, it’s usually a cash game of Texas hold ’em on a Friday night with friends or a fantasy sports league. Very rarely, I’ll have a friend throw some money down on my behalf for a big game that does not include my favorite team but I’ll be watching nonetheless. And, admittedly, it does add a bit of excitement to even the boring games.

I’m up this year. Way up. Between fantasy leagues, friendly poker games, and an occasional parlay, I’ve won a few grand. (Not to brag or anything, but, you know.) But by no means should you, dear reader, take what follows as financial advice.

Never have I ever gambled on politics, but the way betting markets have moved since Donald Trump’s conviction Thursday makes me think I ought to start. I’m betting big on a Trump victory come November 5. I’m not the only one.

Just after 5 p.m. on Thursday, the Manhattan jury delivered its verdict: Trump was guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. Within the hour, the Trump campaign’s donation link had crashed. 

Major donors announced massive gifts to Trump’s effort to take back the White House. Robert Bigelow, one of Trump’s top donors, pledged another $5 million to Trump’s campaign on top of the $9 million he’s already given. “I’m sending President Trump another $5 million as I promised him,” Bigelow told Reuters, adding that the cases against the former president are a “disgrace.”

Don Tapia, Trump’s former ambassador to Jamaica, had previously pledged to fundraise $250,000 for Trump from family and friends, but increased that goal to $1 million after Trump’s conviction. Tapia told Reuters, “We’re going to go all-in for him,” and sent a picture of an American flag flying upside down outside his Arizona home. 

Shaun Maguire, a Silicon Valley tech investor, announced on X that he had donated $300,000 to Trump’s campaign. “I believe our justice system is being weaponized against him,” Maguire, a Clinton voter in 2016, added.

In the 24 hours after his conviction, the Trump campaign claimed it had raised nearly $53 million. 

A spike was to be expected: Everytime something breaks against Trump in one of the myriad of lawsuits against him, the former president gets a fundraising boost. But this was unlike anything seen before. When Trump’s mug shot from the Fulton County case was released, for example, the Trump campaign brought in $4 million—an impressive sum, but small potatoes compared to what transpired last week.

Bigelow, Tapia, and Maguire are betting on Trump with money that can actually help him win and without looking to make a quick buck. They are better than I am. I went to the betting markets.

Trump remains the favorite after his conviction, but his odds went from -165 to -130 on BetOnline.ag. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s odds for a second term went from +140 to +110. Bettors could also get Trump at -125 on My Bookie and -115 on Bovada on June 1. Now is the time to buy.

It’s all a big gamble anyways. The American republic, or what’s left of it, thus finds itself in uncharted territory. Never has a former president been convicted of a crime, much less in a state courthouse where prosecutors have bestowed upon themselves the authority to prosecute federal crimes. Never has a political party used the strong arm of the state in this way to go after the leader of the opposition. Never has a major party chosen someone convicted of a felony as their presidential nominee. Never has the United States had to consider whether or not the president can pardon himself. Never has a major political candidate ran for president from prison (and, God willing, will never have to).

If my bet doesn’t pay off, then losing a small chunk of change will be the least of my worries.



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