Who Won $150000 Betting McCain Would Get the Nomination?

While the presidential election was still raging, a betting line was made public that predicted Joe Biden would win the presidency. But with less than 50 days to go, it seems the betting public may have had it wrong. After all, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, the establishment’s presumed favorite, by a wide margin in electoral college votes.

To be sure, early voting has not started yet, and Clinton is still the favored choice of most politicos and pundits. But if she cannot beat Trump in the polling, how can she possibly win the presidency? Many Clinton voters may have seen the writing on the wall and switched their allegiance to the populist Republican. So what did the betting public get right and why did it happen? Let’s take a look.

The Biden Bet

Biden, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, had been expected to cruise to victory in the election. But as the contest wore on and Trump continued to lead in the polls, the question became: Can Biden dethrone the president-elect?

After all, the 76-year-old has a storied political career. He served eight years as the vice-president under Barack Obama and has years of experience as a U.S. Senator and three-term president of the Senate. Moreover, Biden has a deep bench of experienced advisers who can help him navigate the White House. And finally, polls consistently showed Biden performing better against Trump than Clinton.

Despite his advantages, though, Biden’s campaign faced a dilemma. On the one hand, he wants to help the country and knows he does not have the votes to win the presidency. On the other hand, he does not want to let down his supporters, who put their faith in him.

After weeks of deliberation, Biden conceded the election to Trump, but not without a fight. Despite his lack of enthusiasm, Biden did not pull the plug on his campaign. Instead, he pledged to serve with dignity and honor, while working to find common ground with the new administration.

Was The Anti-Trump Backlash Behind The Trump Victory?

Many political observers credit Trump’s impressive victory to the “resistance” movement that opposed his election. Led by women and people of color, the resistance mobilized demonstrators in cities nationwide to protest and get out the vote for third-party candidates who they felt would be the best alternatives for defeating Trump. For example, the Green Party’s Jill Stein got over a million votes in states that were key to Trump’s victory. In total, Stein received approximately 45,000 more votes than the margin between Clinton and Trump in the presidential race.

Were Clinton’s Low Turnout And Early Voting To Blame?

On the Republican side, the same resistance that mobilized against Trump also undermined the Clinton campaign. While some, like Bernie Sanders, did not support Trump and openly opposed him, many grassroots Republicans and even some prominent figures on the right did not like what they saw in Trump’s behavior or policies. And so the resistance mobilized to oppose him.

With the country still smarting from the shock of Trump’s victory, many did not feel like voting would be worth it. After all, what could one possibly do to change the course of history? Some also felt that by voting for a third-party candidate, they would be encouraging more divisiveness and hurting the country, not helping it. And so they stayed home.

But why did it take so long for the Clinton campaign to fade away? The answer is simple. Voter turnout in the 2016 election was the lowest in over 70 years and while there were signs of improvement, notably in Pennsylvania and Florida, turnout was still a fraction of what it was in 2012. Moreover, the early voting that gave Sanders an edge in some states also hurt Clinton. Between the hours of October 9 and October 19—three days before election day—millions of Americans cast their ballots, including over a million in Florida alone. And in the end, it was these last-minute, often times hurried, ballots that put Trump over the top in crucial battleground states.

Why Did The Public Bet On Biden?

When asked about his upset victory, Trump pointed to the fact that he and Biden had a different style of campaigning as the reason why the public may have favored the former vice-president. Though Trump argued that they were similar in terms of their policy positions, the fact is that Biden’s campaign was a mess. The 76-year-old suffered from low approval ratings and a gaffe-prone campaign that was derailed by multiple scandals. And so, when offered a choice between the two, many voters, especially those in blue America, may have seen it as a chance to try something new.

Biden’s campaign did not help their case when they floated the idea of impeaching Trump after the election. Although many expected Biden to challenge Trump’s legitimacy as president, his campaign did not do enough to convince the public that he was the best candidate to do that. In fact, according to some, Biden’s campaign actually helped Trump win by boosting his profile and driving down that of Hillary Clinton. In the end, it seems that while the public may have gotten some things right, they may have also gotten some things wrong, including the nomination.