As you are probably aware, I am on the heater of a lifetime right now and pretty much turn every political gambling market that I touch into pure gold. This is due to the fact that most of the betting action is focused on the Senate’s actions to confirm Joe Biden’s Cabinet, and I am the world’s #1 genius at predicting what the Senate will do.
That said, I know the price of being cockey. Yes, there are tons of Congressional gambling cows to be milked right now, and I am ready to place my mouth on their utters this second if I think I can get a taste.
But the worst thing you can possibly do while you are on a heater is to pull a Jennifer Lawrence, which is what happens when you go for too much and wind up making absolutely garbage calls, like starring in Passengers, Mother!, and Red Sparrow. That is the cost of thinking your winning steak will never end.
So this post will explore 2 very juicy cabinet markets… but they’re tricky, they aren’t easy money… they’re no Silver Linings Playbook or American Hustle… in fact, on a good day, they’re slightly above average plays on par with X-Men or Joy. These nominations are…
MICHAEL REGAN for the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) & MARTY WALSH for the DEPARTMENT OF LABOR (DOL)
Let me be clear, animals: these two bets are hard ones to crack:
The main reason why is that the EPA and DOL have tend to be extremely partisan agencies in every administration.
During Democratic presidencies, the Department of Labor turns into a union organizing hall full of people who are staunch advocates for guillotining the rich; and the Environmental Protection Agency basically becomes a circle jerk for government bureaucrats who want to save the earth by phasing-out indoor plumbing and forcing Americans to poop into biodegradable diapers that can be used to replace fossil fuels.
Obviously, when these departments are in Republican hands, they are politicized in the opposite way. The DOL is used to crush the little guy, and the EPA treats drilling applications from oil companies and coal companies a lot like this:
But after reviewing the hearings and backgrounds of both Marty Walsh (Labor) and Michael Regan (EPA), it is clear that Republicans actually kind of like these guys. And the reality is that even if they don’t like them and succeed in blocking their nominations, Joe Biden would just pick another person who in all likelihood would be way worse.
BTW, if you are going to make money in these markets, you must watch the confirmation hearings. You can do that here:
Here’s what I learned that is informing my betting strategy:
Marty Walsh received support from GOP Senators who have some pretty diverse personas and this is f*cked up. YES votes from the GOP included:
- Young firey MAGAs like Sen. Roger Marshall & Sen. Tommy Tuberville
- The ones who always vote yes: Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sem. Susan Collins
- And the persuadable centrists: Sen. Bill Cassidy and Sen. Richard Burr
Michael Regan’s final tally was significantly more partisan, but still displayed an alarmingly diverse base of support for Biden’s top environmental cop:
- Sen. Kevin Cramer (ND) comes from an energy state, which will pay a heavy price for whatever quack regulations the EPA will produces these next 4 years
- Sen. Dan Sullivan & Roger Wicker supported, but they tend to support everyone
- And Sen. Lindsay Graham voted yes. As I’ve said, Lindsay Graham post-Trump probably is your best indicator of where the moral center of the GOP Senate Conference is.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
If you have been following my smoking hot takes on the Biden confirmation process, then you know that I 100% believe that most gamblers are absolute farm animals who take the wrong lessons from every hearing.
First of all, Republican committee members are highly incentivized to vote YES on Biden’s nominees. This is because they want to have a good relationship with a cabinet secretary to influence policy going forward.
Being a dick at the outset kills your ability to use your personal relationship with a cabinet head to shape policy. So YES votes from GOP committee members can only tell you so much about how the broader Senate will react to a given nomination.
Secondly, since Labor and Environmental policy are so contentious, especially in energy and manufacturing states, there are going to be Senators who just have no ability to vote YES under any circumstances due to local pressure. For example, the EPA basically put the State of West Virginia out of business for the entire Obama Administration, so Ranking Member Shelley Moore-Capito (WV) could never vote to support Regan, even though she probably told him privately that she would be cool to him.
Thirdly, we are starting to learn about how many votes nominations whose jobs are politicized in D.C. but NOT in the general public usually get.
My proxy here is Jennifer Granholm (Energy) and Miguel Cardona (Education), who carry similar partisan bags to Regan and Walsh. DOE deals with the flip-side of EPA’s portfolio; and Republicans tend to view the Department of Education during Democratic regimes as nothing more than a shill for Teacher’s Unions… aka, just a second Department of Labor.
When I consider all of this, I think the following:
- I have no idea how many votes Walsh will get and PredictIt’s choice to start the gambling at 67+ is not a help. I think his confirmation will likely be in the 64-ish range, but could go into the 70s too, since there is no question about his qualifications (Mayor of Boston) and he is culturally similar (old, white, and Catholic) to a lot of the GOP. They also know he is way better for their interests than some of the absolute lunatics on the Democratic bench.
ACTION: I bought some YES in 67 or fewer at 25c, and am trying to get in on the two brackets above, which are over priced at 15c. If the market goes my way, I’ll dump these early.
- Michael Regan’s nomination will probably be a partisan one. But the current 42c for a YES on 67 or fewer votes is way too high for me to be comfortable. 70 or fewer votes comes out to a 66 cent bet which I MIGHT be comfortable with… but again, it seriously creeps me out that Republicans are so cool with an EPA official like Regan.
ACTION: I’m sitting this one out unless I can get a cheaper entry on 67 or fewer.
- I consistently over-estimate the Senate’s willingess to behave. Though the last 2 months have set records for profitability on SSG, I have left a lot of money on the table because of my fear that the Senate will transcend partisan pettiness to dispose of these nominations faster.
ACTION: I will slam a few more Modelos and watch some Jose Conseco highlights until I feel confident enough to bet on Regan’s nom. Look for an update on that.