Whatever we may have planned, this week is suddenly all about John Bolton. Someone leaked details of Bolton’s White House tell-all to the New York Times, and The Moustache of Doom was reportedly not nostalgic in his recollection of his time in Trumpworld. His high-resolution recall upended the President’s current impeachment defense and – more importantly – roiled the Will Bolton Testify? futures market. (It also revealed that every morning the President spends more time in hair and make-up than Melania, which suggests a new PredictIt market: who tweets more from their hair and makeup chair, Trump or the cast of Stranger Things?) In two days, YES shares went from 22- to 48-cents, an annualized ROI of 39,676% for those who bought just before the rocket went off — which is to say: other people than me.
“Big if true,” comments Loafers, “or the most elaborate pump of all time.”
Let us just say, first of all, that we like an elaborate pump as well as the next guy. But in this case the market dismisses pumping, elaborate or otherwise, believing instead Bolton’s swiftly-penned, almost-as-if-he-was-planning-ahead vengeance porn. Whatever Bolton’s recollections and copious notes may mean to the question of guilt or innocence, on the matter of his testimony the news changes everything.
“He’s comin’ for ya,” says Slenderbish, and you can just imagine his/her eyes narrowing into Eastwoodian slits and his/her fist tapping slowly his/her holster.
Bolton remains silent, but a small group of Senators have stepped to the mic to express their concern and dismay. Pardon our cynicism, but we’re not changing our who’ll vote to convict? bets just yet. The track record suggests that small group will hem and haw and then vote as if family hitman Eric “Crazy Gums” Trump was holding their children at knifepoint. (We covered the lively trade in vote-to-convict futures here.)
“Bolton’s book will be admitted as evidence to trial,” predicts ZeroProfit, capturing the threadster zeitgeist but omitting a key implication: if the manuscript is entered into evidence all the good parts will be reported and no one will need to buy the book. That’s the worst-case scenario for Bolton, who has a book tour scheduled and millions riding on keeping his good parts hidden until people pay to see them. (Insert Anthony Weiner joke here.) At the same time, Bolton has to finesse the whole turncoat thing with conservatives. His best option may be to testify in a closed-door deposition – which would also be the least destructive path for Republicans.
Here’s where the rules come into play. Brioxiv may believe the market is “just being shorted at this point”, but it remains a 50-50 proposition. The reason for that is: if The Moustache speaks in private, the bet resolves NO.
One other complication: Bolton’s book is scheduled for release on St. Patrick’s Day, two weeks before the market’s deadline. It is conceivable that Bolton and his people might drag things out enough that he would testify publicly only after the book has earned-back its advance. That could push his testimony beyond the market close and extend the impeachment trial months past Mitch McConnell’s declared goal of right now, dammit — which, come to think of it, would be a good chant for White House staffers awaiting the President’s emergence from his make-up room.
There are a half-dozen other markets affected by the Bolton revelation.
Will Hunter Biden Testify? YES shares are up by the same percentage as the Bolton market. GatorDon is the first to reach the obvious conclusion, so we’ll quote him: “If Bolton testifies it’ll be in a trade for Biden.” Like Bolton, Biden Jr. would have to testify in public, and the same caveats about closed-doors apply.
“Y’all be dumb,” suggests Mikeys68, though he doesn’t specify who, exactly, he’s talking about. Perhaps we could open a market on that, but for now we just like to include a little empty invective to spice things up.
Meanwhile, the alien universe of attorneys defending the President did their best to ignore what someone — we’re guessing Wolf Blitzer — will soon be calling “The Bolton Papers”. The defense attorneys focused largely on making Chuck Schumer’s speaking style seem sprightly, but they must have landed a few punches because both the Will Trump Complete His First Term? and the Will Trump Be the Nominee? markets rose a few points as they spoke.
”It’s on sale boys,” threadster GibbleBerry confidently tells those invested in Trump completing his first term. “Pick some shares up while you still can.”
“Trump has a 95% approval with the Republicans,” says DickMorris, who apparently named himself after the political consultant later implicated in a memorably entertaining toe-sucking scandal, “and one wonders if he will get the nomination? Dumb question.”
Of course it is. That’s why we asked.
Just because Democrats can’t decide on a Presidential candidate doesn’t mean you can’t bet on who his/her running mate is going to be. The current, perfectly logical front-runners are Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar – two dedicated public servants struggling to demonstrate they have more electoral appeal than, say, Jeb Bush or, to be blunt, cabbage.
Things get a little zooier down-market, where somebody named Nina Turner has gone from zero to 9-cents (2.25 Yangs) since her mid-January entry into the market. Turner is one of those lost-her-last-election-so-lets-promote-her politicians Democrats find compelling. Four years ago she jilted Hillary to elope with Bernie, along the way turning a cold shoulder to Jill Stein’s seductive offer of her Vice Presidential slot. Since then, Turner has run Bernie’s PAC, winning friends and influencing people by refusing to use its colossal mailing list to benefit Democrats. But she checks-off a couple of hyphenates — African-American, Vagino-American — important to Dems in their increasingly white and male horse race.
“But wait!” as they say in per-inquiry television ads. “There’s more!”
“Bernie needs an insurance policy,” points out BRCitizen. “If Bernie is elected, (the Establishment) will literally stop at NOTHING to remove him from office, by any means necessary.”
That insurance policy, according to Citizen, is a running mate so appalling Bernie-haters would cryogenically suspend the failing President Sanders to keep his Number 2 from plopping into the Oval. (We probably could have said that better.) Godzilla would fit the bill, but he’s a Japanese citizen. So they’re left with Turner and mean girl Tulsi Gabbard, currently trading at an improbable 2 Yangs.
JTWalters agrees Bernie needs insurance, but for different reasons.
“If anyone else is VP they will try to assassinate him (Bernie),” he opines. “The effin, ominous they.”
Which doesn’t sound at all overwrought to us.
CONSPIRACY THEORY SWAT-DOWN OF THE DAY
On the next Supreme Court justice to retire board, Taloflex whispers that the market may be fixed: “This market is ripe for inside trading,” he says, perhaps shifting his eyes from side-to-side in search of eavesdropping coppers. “Just think how many doctors have read RBG’s latest CT or MRI. Some poor radiology resident is gonna find a metastasis one of these days and tell all his friends to max YES on her.”
“Yeah bro you’re right,” responds Stsimpson10 walking briskly by without making eye contact. “Imagine making it to the top of your field and earning the privilege to treat SC justices and then risk it all trying to make $250.”
Sounds like a lot of money to us. Who’s in?
On Twitter, @TomSayingThings cracks wise about politics, culture, and people he knows aren’t on Twitter.