I was on my computer recently and reading what I thought was my 9th grade cousin’s book report. He was writing some really weird stuff that reminded me of a bad translation of one of Chairman Mao’s Chinese history lessons. For example:
“But then the quiet voices became a loud chorus as thousands of citizens now spoke out together, from cities small and large, all across our country. Finally, the chorus became an earthquake, and the people turned out by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very simple, but crucial demand.”
And then I saw the next sentence which read, “That America put its own citizens first,” and I realized that this had nothing to do with Chairman Mao at all. It was actually President Donald Trump’s 2017 State of the Union Address. Talk about cultural appropriation. Anyway, this whole mix-up was a massive lightbulb moment for me, because PredictIt has some prop bets open on Trump’s State of the Union speech that I am dying to exploit like a Chinese protectorate. So here’s what I’m thinking to bet and profit off of Donald Trump’s speech tonight during the State of the Union address:
Will Trump mention “fake news” in his speech?
I know that I am upfront about being a genius, but I owe a tip of the hat to a PredictIt trader who goes by Old850 for turning me on to this one:
First of all, let me be clear. I get extremely nervous about talking to strangers like Old850, which is why I usually wind up horrifying them when I work up the stones to introduce myself. That’s what shotgunning seven beers and being covered in your own drool does for breaking the ice. But if there is one thing we love at SSG, it’s when bros like 850 drop us a line and tell us what markets they’re watching. So hit us on our contact page and tell us what you’re playing.
Anyway, I listened to the February 1st edition of The Daily and sure enough, Old850 was right-on. New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger has lit-up President Trump in two face-to-face meetings in which he warned Trump “about your anti-press rhetoric. Fake news, enemy of the people…” He went on to tell Trump that, “We’ve seen, around the world, an unprecedented rise in attacks on journalists” and that “the effects of the broad-based attacks on journalist seem to be growing,” because of Trump.
But I am not any old gullible. I don’t think that The New York Times’s publisher getting in Trump’s face about how his “fake news” act is getting people killed is enough to keep this topic out of the State of the Union. That’s because politics is all about getting other people to sacrifice themselves so that you can hold on to power, like when JFK said, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” and when Reagan conveniently developed Alzheimers so that he could forget about Iran-Contra and let Oliver North do time for him. That said, I like Old850’s instincts, so I rolled-up my sleeves and got to work reading Trump’s other two joint addresses. Two things popped-out bigly:
— Donald Trump doesn’t say a lot of crazy stuff when he goes to the Hill. He generally avoids his trademark conspiracy theories, like “Fake News;” and has generally been praised by the press for being “presidential” in those moments.
— Donald Trump does add a lot of crazy adjectives to the “normal” stuff he talks about.
For example, in his 2017 and 2018 speeches to Congress, Trump told us about the “fantastic” F-35 fighter, people who have been “viciously gunned-down” by “illegal” immigrants; and he has trashed the “terrible” nuclear arms deal with Iran and the “job-killing” Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. You might be a little creeped-out that Trump describes federal policy the same way your drunk uncle describes the first time he got laid or how mad he was when he lost the ’77 state football championship, but Trump is definitely expressing legitimate opinions in his joint addresses. None of these adjective-soaked statements are promoting conspiracy theories like the idea that liberal publications are purely “fake news.”
So here is a rule I’m using to bet all of these markets: At the State of the Union, Trump says normal stuff in a weird way. He does not just make stuff up, or import conspiracy theories like “fake news.” And his own staff is basically confirming that. According to CBS News, one senior staffer has said that the speech will be, “similar,” to last year’s because it will be, “optimistic and unifying.” That sure doesn’t sound like a “fake news” panic attack to me.
So Old850, I took a little persuading, but I think you’re onto something. This is going to resolve as a “NO.” I’m in.
Will Donald Trump mention the “caravan” in his State of the Union Speech?
This one is a toughie for me. When I put this market though the same model that I used for the “fake news” question, I get this error message, which reminds me of how my liver feels the morning after a Cops marathon.
That’s because the rhetorical concept of an illegal immigrant “caravan” is basically an unstoppable force meeting an immoveable object. Einstein warned us about this and as far as gambling is concerned, the “caravan” market lands squarely in the space where Relatively and Quantum Mechanics fail.
Let’s take a closer look at the facts.
FACT: Immigrant caravans are 100-percent not fake news. They come every few months and when they get to the border, I spend a whole week barfing because of all the dumb stories that people write about them.
FACT: The outrage that President Trump gins-up because of caravans is totally fake news.
FACT: As discussed above, Donald Trump usually leaves his conspiracy theories at home for the State of the Union.
FACT: However, at the State of the Union, one of Trump’s favorite activities is to use non-PC terms to describe real policy problems. For example, he has referred to “radical Islamic terrorism,” which both the Bush and Obama Administrations were too soft to say; and he loves to throw rocks at the PC cops when he refers to “undocumented immigrants” as “illegal immigrants.”
FACT: Donald Trump has spent a lot of time in each of his past two addresses talking about immigration.
CONCLUSION: This is a 50-50 market and is priced correctly. We know that Trump will talk about illegal immigration and we know that he likes to use zingers like “caravan” when he takes on controversial subjects. So I think I’m going to buy a few YES’s here, but not so many that they’ll cancel out my profits on the gimmes if I get boned.
Don’t bet your grocery money on this market. But lay out a few bucks to supercharge your SOTU action if you get a lucky hit on this bad boy.
Will Stacey Abrams say “Mueller” in the Democratic Response?
I wrote about this recently. It’s an easy NO. Don’t be a bonehead. Read the post and get that free money.
Will Trump say the word “Russia?”
I will say off the top that I am not betting this market. However, it is probably the most interesting of all of them. That’s because sometimes I think that Donald Trump thinks about his State of the Union addresses the way the old CEO in him thinks about corporate philanthropy. By that I mean, it’s a way to candy-over rapacious business practices and give freebies to all the people who he has hurt over the course of the last fiscal year.
In his last few addresses, Trump has set aside plenty of time to fluff-up the bleeding hearts who hate him more than a new Walmart. Some of the ways that he does this include talking about awesome employment numbers for minorities and gushing over stuff that Democrats love, like big infrastructure packages and lower prescription drug prices, except that Trump never gets around to doing anything about these things due to the fact that he is usually busy watching Sean Hannity.
So yes, I am thinking that there are decent odds that Trump would talk about Russia this year. He would absolutely love to disprove Stephen Colbert’s theory that he is “Vladamir Putin’s cock holster.” It would make sense for Trump to point out in the State of the Union that he has actually been a total savage in how he has dealt with Putin behind closed doors and absolutely crushed his regime with sanctions. The problem is that this is massively confusing since Donald Trump publicly acts like he is trying to pledge Putin’s fraternity.
My brain is too small to process this, so I am staying out of this market. There isn’t enough liquidity or price-influencing news to day-trade this market, so I see no advantage to buying either side. Maybe you can tell me why I am wrong.
But for now, KEENDAWG OUT.