Election Odds: What Jan. 6 Indictment Means For Trump Vs. Biden
Tuesday saw the announcement that Donald Trump has been indicted again, this time on charges related to his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. His third criminal indictment, Trump is facing four more federal charges, these related to the January 6 insurrection, and what Special Counsel Jack Smith described as “an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy”. Meanwhile, legal betting markets exist both in the United States and Canada for 2024 election odds.
General election betting markets are mostly unmoved since Tuesday night’s news. Biden is $0.44 (+127) to Trump’s $0.31 (+223) on PredictIt, and DraftKings Sportsbook in Ontario still has Republicans and Democrats each -110 to win the White House. The question is, are those odds still correct?
January 6 Indictment
Trump is being indicted on four counts relating to his attempts to steal the 2020 election, which he lost:
- Count 1: conspiracy to defraud the United States
- Count 2: conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding
- Count 3: obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding
- Count 4: conspiracy against rights
- Read the full indictment filed in the United States District Court in Washington D.C.
We know now that Trump told Mike Pence that his Vice President was “too honest”; therefore, Trump knew he lost and was attempting to subvert that. There is countless other sworn testimony that goes to the point that Trump understood and was advised by his own White House counsel and Justice Department that he lost the election. We also know from the call to the Georgia Secretary of State that Trump assumed Republicans would be more loyal to him than the election results.
He is now headed towards a trial, charged with plotting against the rights of the American people, obstructing the certification of the election on January 6 and an overall attempt to defraud democracy.
We don’t yet have a trial date, but Trump will now have three criminal trials with 78 charges in which he is the Defendant. It’s worth remembering even if he is convicted, Trump’s eligibility to serve as President won’t be affected.
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How Does The January 6 Indictment Affect The General Election?
We saw in the 2022 midterms that election deniers were some of the worst candidates Republicans ran, losing key Senate and Governor’s races for the party in states like Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. That said, those candidates were crazy about numerous things, not just election denial. So we don’t know exactly what the price for election denial with general election voters will be.
It’s also hard to know if Trump will pay a higher price for election denial than candidates who spout the big lie. The indictment makes clear the prosecution is charging Trump with genuinely trying to overthrow American democracy by overriding the will of voters, because he didn’t want to leave office.
The idea he won’t lose politically from this is hard to make with a straight face.
Yes, Joe Biden is probably a weaker candidate now than he was in 2020, as concerns about his age linger. But Trump is a substantially weakened candidate too. The last time Trump was on the ballot, the GOP hadn’t attempted to steal an election and Roe was still law of the land. How the GOP will be able to win back voters who backed Democratic Senate candidates in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada has no logical answer.
What we do have is an electoral map that is not likely to be much different than last time, where Democrats are ascendent with socially liberal ex-Republicans who look at Trump as an abomination. There is no reason to believe voters who support a woman’s right to choose and the continuation of American democracy will suddenly and forcefully forget why they crossed the rubicon to vote against Trump’s GOP.
Trump barely lost in 2020, and anybody who is willing to peddle the talk of landslide repudiations is living in a fantasyland. As someone who underestimated support for Trump in 2016, there’s no doubt GOP voters will still choose Trump in the Republican primary. But they’re not enough to win a general election and the electoral college.
Of the five states Biden flipped from Hillary Clinton, four had Senate races in 2022, and Democrats swept them all. This is despite turnout amongst Democratic supporting minority voters being weak. With Presidential level turnout across the battleground, there’s even more upside for Democrats in those four states.
The one of those five that didn’t have a Senate race was Michigan, where Democrats won the Governorship, a majority of the Congressional vote, and won majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.
Yes Biden is old, but the idea that Biden voters from 2020 and those who voted for Senatorial Democrats across the battleground in 2022 will either have poor turnout in 2024 or vote for Trump? That faces a substantial burden. Other than early polling – which has no correlation with future predictiveness – there’s no indication the country is seriously looking at a second Trump term.
Trump’s Super PAC is running out of money from paying all of the former President’s legal bills. The Biden campaign out-raised Trump by a factor of nearly 3:1, and Biden hasn’t had to spend yet.
When voters have voted this year, be it in the Wisconsin Supreme Court or in special elections across the country, they’re showing up more Democratic than 2020. And Trump will spend a large part of his 2024 in court defending against federal charges against his handling of classified documents and perhaps the most serious charges in the history of the United States – an attempt to illegally retain the highest office in the land.
After the January 6 indictment, 2024 election odds reflect a toss-up general election. Barring an unforeseen change in Biden’s health, it is not a toss-up. Bet Biden and/or Democrats to win the White House in 2024 at the current prices.