RIP to Neera Tanden’s Nomination at OMB?

The markets are giving Neera Tanden a 51 percent chance of becoming the Senate-confirmed OMB Director by March 1.

I don’t have a strong view on whether or not Tanden will ultimately get confirmed.

I do think, however, that shorting her at these odds is a good play for now.

From now until at least January 5—the day of the Georgia Senate special elections—there are only things that can go wrong for Tanden’s OMB bid.

  • Tanden’s nasty tweets about Republican Senators could trigger enough GOP opposition to block her—especially if Republicans hold the Senate.
  • The progressive wing of the Democratic Party generally—and Bernie Bros specifically—have a lot to dislike about Tanden on account of both her neoliberal politics as well as her personal slights against Bernie Sanders. It is hardly out of the question that Sanders would privately lobby the White House against her, or even decide to cast a No vote against her.  
  • Tanden could prove to be the most controversial of Biden’s cabinet picks. If Republicans feel like taking at least one scalp during the confirmation process, Tanden could emerge as the obvious target.

A confirmation fight over her nomination is hardly necessary given that Tanden—a Yale-educated lawyer with a broad portfolio as president of the Center for American Progress—is eminently qualified for any number of senior roles that do not require Senate confirmation.  

In short, there are any number of reasons why Tanden and/or the Biden White House could simply conclude that the confirmation fight isn’t worth it.  

In a worst-case scenario, controversy over Tanden will subside and the Democratic candidates will open a big lead in the Georgia Senate races, signaling a relatively easy confirmation fight. In this case, you might need to take a small loss as her odds inches up in January.

The possibility of a big, quick payout in the next month, however, makes this a good short.

Pratik Chougule is a contributor to Star Spangled Gamblers and author of the book How to Make Money from Political Predictions: A Guide to Generating High, Steady Returns from PredictIt.

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