One of the most exciting parts of the election cycle – at least, once the main candidates are sorted out – is the selection of Vice President. And it’s also a major election betting market, as gamblers are eager to make money on guessing who a given candidate will pick as their running mate.
If you’ve been following the run-up to the 2020 Presidential election, one of the biggest mysteries is who Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will ask to join them on their party ticket. There is tremendous speculation in both cases, but the Sanders campaign seems primed to announce first, as he’s the underdog now according to the polling and the remaining primary election odds on the boards.
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The Democratic odds are currently the most intriguing, as the race has narrowed to two viable candidates: front runner Joe Biden representing the establishment, and Bernie Sanders representing the progressive socialist arm of the party.
Sanders is viewed as an insurgent and is clearly persona non grata in his adopted party. (He’s officially listed as an Independent but is running on the Democratic ticket, which has raised the hackles of many of the Democrat rank and file.)
Biden has less to gain tactically with his pick, but it will be interesting to see the politician he chooses as his running mate, too. In Biden’s case, due to speculation on his deteriorating physical and mental condition, many voters will have to think long and hard about his VP’s viability as President should Uncle Joe be unable to perform in his duties once elected.
In both cases, the VP favorites seem to be “women of color,” as that demographic combination is viewed as a positive boon for Biden and Sanders alike. The following VP odds are from Bovada:
Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee
Republican odds are posted, even though Donald Trump is running as the incumbent and already has Mike Pence as his Vice President. There has been speculation that Trump would “fire” Pence (i.e. ask him to step down) and replace him with Nikki Haley in order to have a woman on his ticket to match what the Democrats will likely do. But so far, that analysis hasn’t been backed up in the mainstream. Pence is the clear favorite when it comes to Trump VP odds.
If you’re going to bet on a presumptive VP selection, it can help to look at the strategic calculus of picks in the past. While we could dedicate a whole encyclopedia to past VP picks and the rationale behind them, we’re only including the last few Presidential races in this retrospective. The strategies seem to be timeless, so this brief list should be enough to help bettors make informed decisions now and in the future.
In 1992, Bush was seeking re-election, and partly due to the unending gaffes of Dan Quayle (aka Mr. “Potatoe” Head), he was the last incumbent to not win a second term. Clinton made a “safe” pick in Al Gore, which served him well. However, this race preceded the current heavy-handed trend of picking a token VP for targeting specific demographics, which wouldn’t become the norm until relatively recently (and which should be on full display in 2020).
This race was a foregone conclusion, with Clinton easily beating the Dole/Kemp ticket. Clinton stuck with Gore, while Kemp was an uninspiring pick by a feeble geriatric with little chance to win in the first place.
Al Gore’s Lieberman pick was not inspiring, and it likely cost him the Presidency in 2000, as the race came down to “hanging chads” in Florida. The contest was extremely close, but Bush’s pick of Cheney as a major career insider and international interventionist would be prescient and helpful, especially after the events of 9/11.
John Edwards would turn out to be one of the phoniest VP picks in history, given the scandals that came later. However, in 2004, he was simply ineffective and lacked the galvanizing panache that a VP needs to give his running mate a real assist. Meanwhile, the Bush/Cheney ticket was more or less unstoppable.
Barack Obama could have picked anyone as his VP in 2008 and won easily, as he was the ultimate galvanizer. The Biden pick was safe if cynical, as it locked up the moderate “white” vote for the “first black President.” On the other side, however, was where the token pick trend started for VPs. McCain chose Sarah Palin – the female Dan Quayle – strictly as a ploy to attract the female vote away from the left. It didn’t work, and it was transparent. But for bettors, the pick was obvious, and many made good money on selecting the former Alaska governor on the odds boards.
An unbeatable ticket on the left meant that Mitt Romney’s pick wouldn’t matter, and it didn’t. Paul Ryan is as establishment and vanilla as they come, and Romney lost easily. For bettors, races like this are tough when it comes to picking the likely VP, because it simply made no difference. It could have been anyone, because nobody offered Romney a clear tactical advantage.
While there were no token picks for VP in 2016, Tim Kaine was a safe wager for those in the know, as he effectively worked in concert with the Clinton campaign during the primaries for what many assumed was a secure VP slot. On the Trump side, nobody expected Pence to be the pick, because no radar in the world can penetrate the Trump Train and the tactics that drive it. In 2020, Trump may as Pence to resign and go the token female route with someone like Nikki Haley if there’s an advantage in doing so. Still, why mess with success? Pence thus remains the GOP VP favorite.
Betting on the VP race is easy enough, as all you have to do is sign up at an offshore betting site. Since local domestic books don’t currently accept bets on politics, these sites are your only safe, legal options to make real money on Vice Presidential selections. The process is simple and takes about five minutes:
While political odds are available year-round, you can only find VP candidate odds once the primary field has narrowed considerably. In 2020, VP odds only began cropping up once Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders were the last men standing, and that’s usually how it goes. Now that these odds are up, however, you need to jump on them ASAP when you see a line you like, because they change literally daily as the primary season progresses.
Local brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and domestic online betting sites don’t offer political betting lines. In most cases, there are no state laws against the practice, but it’s effectively a tradition that US sportsbooks refrain from offering odds on VP candidates and other election and political fare. This could change in the future, but for now, if you want to wager on politics, you can only do so at reputable offshore betting sites.
Yes! If you use a respected, legitimate offshore sportsbook to place your bets, you are breaking no federal laws in doing so. Millions of Americans wager on politics each election cycle, and it’s a pastime that is only growing in popularity. At the state level, only CT and WA bar online gambling (including election betting), but even residents of these states are accepted at offshore betting sites, and nobody from either area has ever been fined or arrested for betting real money online. Still, please follow all local laws when considering signing up at any online sportsbook.
The VP pick is always a tactical move designed to boost a ticket by installing a running mate that picks up the slack in states where the main candidate performs poorly. As a result, Presidential candidates usually wait until all or most state primaries are over before announcing their VP choice. In primary races where one candidate is a clear favorite, the underdog may announce their VP pick sooner in the cycle. Typically, though, these announcements are made towards the end of the primary circuit.
No. However, the President can ask for the VP to resign or otherwise isolate him or her if they are considered a liability. There is a lot of talk of Trump “firing” Vice President Mike Pence in order to replace him with someone like Nikki Haley, but this would require Pence to step down. Trump could also choose a new running mate for his 2020 campaign, since that election is technically for a different presidency.
Yes and no. While the 22nd Amendment states that no one can be elected to the office of the President more than twice, a VP isn’t a President. Meanwhile, the 12th Amendment says that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President in the United States.” Effectively, this means that a former two-term President cannot be a VP, but a former single-term POTUS could be. For 2020, this means that Biden cannot select Barack Obama as his running mate.
There is much speculation that Hillary Clinton would accept a Vice Presidential position at the behest of an establishment candidate. The issue was raised in earnest when she said she’d consider running alongside Mike Bloomberg, but after Mini Mike dropped out, it seems less likely that front runner Biden and his camp would take a risk on her. Trump beat Clinton convincingly in 2016, after all, and she might be an anchor rather than an asset to the Biden campaign. Still, sportsbooks are accepting wagers on a Hillary VP selection, so you can put money on that contingency if you think she’s going to be picked.
The Vice President duties are often overlooked, with his or her most important task being that of tie-breaker in the Senate for any legislation that results in a deadlock. The VP also technically presides over all Senate deliberations. However, these Vice President jobs are mostly ceremonial. In practice, most VPs are saddled with leading various policy task forces as delegated by the President, and they also campaign for their running mates in various states during election cycles.
As with Presidential candidates, a VP must be at least 35 years old at the time of his running mate’s inauguration in order to be eligible for the post.
How much money does the Vice President make? Quite a lot, it turns out. In 2020, the VP’s salary is pegged at $235,100 per year. That’s a little more than half of the President’s $400,000 salary.
The President lives in the White House, but where is the Vice President residence? Most folks think that the VP also occupies the White House, but these are running mates, not roommates. The VP officially resides at 1 Observatory Circle, which is located on the northeast grounds of the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC. At 2.5 miles, this is about 15 minutes away from the White House.
If the President is incapacitated, dies in office, or is removed from office, the VP becomes the POTUS. However, if the VP is similarly unable to finish out the term, the official Presidential succession plan pegs the Speaker of the US House of Representatives as the next Commander in Chief.