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Donald Trump Is Now the Odds-On Favorite to Be President in 2025

Be very afraid.
November 1, 2021
Donald Trump Is Now the Odds-On Favorite to Be President in 2025
(Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

So Donald Trump is now the odds-on favorite to be president of the United States in 2025.

I know that lede sentence was also the headline, but I wanted you to read it one more time just to let it really settle in the ol’ noggin before pressing forward.

The twice-impeached, disgraced loser who was schlonged in the 2020 election, tried to stay in power against the will of the people, and then came ten cowardly Republican senators away from being disqualified from ever running for office again, is now more likely than any other person in the world to take the next oath of office on the Capitol steps on January 20, 2025.

How is that for some weird shit?

Now I’m sure some will roll their eyes when this headline comes across the Twitter feed. Attribute this article to my raging Trump Derangement Syndrome or The Bulwark’s Cady Heron-level obsession with Mar-a-Lago’s in-house wedding toastmaster.

But this ain’t about my compulsions. It’s the actual, real-world reality being presented by those who have the most skin in the game.

Both the major off-shore gambling quants and the online trading markets have moved in Mr. Trump’s favor in the past couple weeks.

Over at Predict-It, on the question of who will win the 2024 election, Trump was the most expensive bet going for $0.28 while the incumbent is selling for $0.26. At Smarkets.com, the worm turned on October 12 with Trump moving past Biden as most likely to win in 2024 and he’s expanded his advantage in the past few weeks.

I’d understand if you had some doubts about whether the same stonkheads who sent the DWAC SPAC behind Trump’s nonexistent social media site to the moon can be trusted when it comes to handicapping elections, but the offshore bookmakers are singing from the same Wall Street Bets hymnbook.

Oddschecker has Trump at about a 3:1 chance of winning (+333) while Biden is at 4:1 (+400). PaddyPower, the famed Irish bookmaker that is now backed by FanDuel, gave Trump the third best odds in August, but now has him in pole position. BetOnline.ag is even more bullish on the former guy, putting his odds at +250, with Biden at +350.

So I’m not a big politics gambler and hadn’t realized this sea change had happened over the past few weeks until I went looking for it after this disturbing realization came to me mid-shower the other morning. (Aside: Dear God, grant me the ability to think about something besides the 2024 election during my morning scrubdown.)

During a thorough lather I did some quick arithmetic. I figured that the Democrats are about a 52/48 favorite over the Republicans in 2024 based on incumbency and the thirty-year streak of winning the popular vote all but once. But I’m not that good at doing math in my head so I rounded the odds to 55/45 in order to make things easier and give Uncle Joe a bit of a boost.

From there I figured that Biden is about 60 percent likely to run in 2024, given that he’ll be almost a decade older than Ronny Reagan was when he ran as the longest-in-the-tooth person to be nominated on a major party ticket in 1984.

So take a 55 percent chance of his party winning, add a 60 percent chance of running and that gives Biden a 33 percent chance of being re-elected.

Now let’s look at Trump. I think it’s more like an 80 percent chance that he runs. Here’s why: It’s hard to imagine him being alive and allowing someone else to get all the attention.

You are telling me Trump is gonna be sending out Truth Social regeets from the Al-Saw palace while occasionally showing up as a surrogate for the Hot New Thing? Our Donald J. Trump? Sorry, don’t buy it. Maybe the hamburgers could catch up to him—the actuarial tables are the actuarial tables. Or maybe I’m wrong. But if I’m right and Trump is alive, has two thumbs, and a smart phone, then ain’t nobody beating him in a Republican primary. Especially given that nobody would actually be competing against him. (More on this in a second.)

So take the 45 percent chance of his party winning and match it to the 80 percent chance that he’s the nominee and even with the lowball estimate for the GOP’s chances, Trump still has a 36 percent chance of doing the Grover Cleveland deal. Which is better odds than Biden.


So what’s the point of this exercise, besides a little post-Halloween fright?

It’s a wake-up call that people should start taking really fucking seriously the notion that a guy who incited a deadly mob on the Capitol in an attempt to overthrow our democracy is the frontrunner to become president again. Once that reality is accepted, there ought to be a lot of downstream considerations being made by different participants in our politics.

(1) The Democrats might want to focus more on competency and broadening their appeal, rather than participating in an internecine murder-suicide over how many trillions of dollars they spend. In addition they might also want to consider focusing on the problems that people tell pollsters they care about, rather than on the whims of D.C. interest groups.

(2) The media should probably start treating Donald Trump like the frontrunner he is, rather than a drunk uncle whose deranged ravings can be ignored unless it’s convenient or there’s a hole in the D-block.

But most importantly, (3) Republican politicians and commentators who claim they don’t want a wannabe authoritarian lunatic to become president again should probably do something to try and stop it.

And on this last point, I am deadly serious.

Nine months ago almost all the leading figures on the right stated that Donald Trump should be removed from office because he was so deranged and dangerous.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board called for Trump’s resignation saying that he “has refused to accept the basic bargain of democracy” and that January 6 “probably finished him as a serious political figure.” National Review ran, by my count, seven separate columns, including one from The Editors, calling for his impeachment. “There must be a consequence and it should come from the nation’s legislature,” they wrote.

Mitch McConnell railed against Trump, “after it was clear to any reasonable observer that Vice President Pence was in serious danger. Even as the mob carrying Trump banners was beating cops and breaching perimeters their president sent a further tweet attacking [Pence].” Kevin McCarthy said Trump “bears responsibility” for the riot at the capitol. Seven Republican senators voted to disqualify him from ever running for office again.

And yet just yesterday one of their ostensibly more sane colleagues Tim Scott, a potential presidential candidate in his own right (in a non-Trump world), preemptively endorsed Trump for 2024! Why, God, why?

The Atlantic ran a silly, made-for-Twitter column over the weekend about how Never Trumpers should support anti-vaxxer-in-chief Ron DeSantis now, because he’s better than the bad orangina. And I guess that’s true in the most narrow and literal sense. I mean, having a rabid raft of fire ants build a nest inside my ass is also preferable to President Trump Part Deux but I’m not sure a TDSer endorsing Butthole Fire Ants will have a major impact on the Republican primary electorate.

So rather than turning to us Never Trumpers to save the hot mess that is the GOP . . . maybe the DeSantis 2024 movement should start with all the people who supported Trump in 2016 and 2020 but then, when they thought the coast was clear, called for his impeachment a few weeks later?

Maybe those guys could show some balls and start a concerted effort to defeat Trump? But of course, the question answers itself.

Because if Republicans in good standing don’t do anything to change the current dynamic and instead continue their strategy of owning the libs while secretly praying that their god king gets a move-on to his eternal reward, well, then we’re going to be repeating the same nightmare that engulfed us for the past half-decade, all over again.

So here’s my message both to the cowards who know better and to the people of good will who put it on the line because they care about our constitutional Republic:

Right now, today, Donald Trump is the favorite to win the presidency again. If you don’t want that to happen, then start acting like it.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump, communications director for Jeb Bush 2016, and spokesman for the Republican National Committee.