What Does Donald Trump Indictment Mean For 2024 Odds To Be President?

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Written By Evan Scrimshaw | Last Updated
odds to be president

With the indictment of former US President Donald Trump on a series of federal charges relating to his handling of classified documents and potential violations of national security laws, there are questions about his nascent Presidential bid for 2024. Those that enjoy wagering on 2024 odds to be President may also be curious if he’s still allowed to run if found guilty.

With the Ron DeSantis campaign so far having been met with the political equivalent of a golf clap and more and more Republicans coming into the race to split the anti-Trump vote, Trump has been cruising to the GOP nomination. Will this indictment shift the polls, and what does this mean for Donald Trump odds?

Would A Conviction Legally Bar Donald Trump From Becoming President?

No.

Trump meets the Constitutional requirements to hold the office of President – he is a natural-born American citizen, he is older than 35 years old, he has not served two full terms, nor has he been found in violation of the 14th Amendment’s anti-treason clause. Given that, the only other mechanism to disbar someone from running is Congressional impeachment and conviction. He was impeached twice in the House but never convicted in the Senate by his fellow Republicans in the majority, as 10 more GOP votes to convict were required in February 2021.

Because of the byzantine nature of the American Constitution and the devolved nature of American election law, there is no federal law regulating who can be a Presidential candidate beyond the Constitutional ones. In either the Framers’ ingenuity or their idiocy, they decided that the people should decide whether a convicted felon should be President, not the law.

Ironically, it’s possible Trump wouldn’t even be able to vote for himself if found guilty. Trump was registered to vote in Florida in 2020. Felons who have served their sentences – including parole and probation – and paid all fines and fees in Florida can vote, but we do not know if Trump’s sentence would be served and paid in full by Election Day 2024.

Is Trump Still The Overwhelming Favorite To Win The GOP Nomination?

Yes.

It’s ludicrous, in my opinion, that Trump was at $0.49 Friday on the PredictIt political betting exchange, and only -215 on DraftKings Sportsbook in Ontario. That PredictIt price has shifted to $0.53 over the weekend, the equivalent of -113 sportsbook odds.

Trump has an overwhelming lead in all the polls, and the raft of candidates makes this inevitable.

If this were a head-to-head fight Ron DeSantis would possibly have a chance, but it’s not one. Mike Pence and Nikki Haley and famous bridge inspector Chris Christie are all going to take votes of people who don’t like Donald Trump. More to the point, though, they’re going to make DeSantis move to the left of the GOP to get those anti-Trump votes back, which will bleed his right flank.

DeSantis is stuck, because he’s positioned himself as Trump-ish, and that’s not playing for him with either loyalists or haters. He’s too Trumpy and too socially conservative for well off social liberals who got Mitt Romney the 2012 nomination, and he’s not Trumpy enough for those in the former President’s cult of personality.

DeSantis can’t win this primary unless those dyed-in-the-wool Trump supporters start to believe the idea that Trump isn’t that, and while there’s no polling evidence of this yet, if you had spent the last eight years betting against Trump’s supporters bailing on him every time cable news liberals thought they might, you’d be right every time.

More bluntly, if “grab em by the pussy”, saying John McCain isn’t a war hero, dismissing sexual assault allegations by saying they weren’t hot enough, claiming COVID would be gone by Easter 2020, and the January 6 insurrection wasn’t enough, the idea his supporters will leave him now seems fanciful.

2024 Odds To Be President

CandidatePredict It OddsEquivalent
Joe Biden$0.46+117
Donald Trump$0.29+245
Ron DeSantis$0.27+270

Does This Hurt Trump General Election Odds To Be President?

Hugely.

This should not be taken as Democrats will win by some huge margin in 2024 if Trump’s the nominee. Biden only won Wisconsin, the tipping-point state, by 0.63%. Arizona and Georgia were even closer than that. It wouldn’t take much for the GOP to win, in theory. The problem is, that was pre-January 6, and before the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs to return abortion to the states.

Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – the five most important states for 2024 – were all states where Democrats did better in 2022 than in 2020, despite the national shift towards the GOP. Mark Kelly, John Fetterman and Raphael Warnock won against Trump-aligned election deniers. Democrats flipped the Arizona Governor’s Mansion. Democrats also re-elected Tony Evers in Wisconsin and held the Pennsylvania Governor’s Mansion.

This spring, Democrats then flipped the Wisconsin Supreme Court by 11%, a sign that the inevitable rise of red Wisconsin is at least up for debate now.

Can Trump win? Yes, Joe Biden has an approval marred in the low 40s, despite the economy’s growing, but it’s pretty clear that inflation is more politically harmful than unemployment. Yet the GOP had a worse economy in November 2022 and couldn’t take advantage without the active toxicity of Trump on the ballot. Why are we supposed to believe he’s going to be the GOP’s savior in 2024?

More to the point, why is an educated, well off, pro-choice voter in suburban Philly or suburban Phoenix or suburban Atlanta or Grand Rapids who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, Gary Johnson in 2016, Joe Biden in 2020 and Democratic candidates in 2022 suddenly going to say “you know what? Trump’s not that bad, actually.” They’re not, and that’s the ballgame.

The only reason not to bet Biden at +150 in DK Ontario’s odds to be President or $0.46 on PredictIt (equivalent to +117) is the fact he’s old, and in theory, health issues on old people can creep up. But this is a ludicrous price. There are no serious challengers to the sitting President in the Democratic Primary.

Meanwhile, Trump is nearing the point where it’s hard to take him seriously as someone who can credibly be said to be as likely as Biden to win. Biden starts a general election as a heavy favorite, solely because of all the self-inflicted wounds Trump is now having to navigate.

Trump’s indictment this week is just another example of why the GOP is in such a state. It will not move his loyalists from their position, but it immeasurably weakens Trump in the eyes of the majority of citizens that will make up the electorate on Election Day 2024.

Trump’s still likely to be the GOP nominee, but Biden’s odds to be President just got a huge boost.

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