Bookies Are Setting Odds on Donald Trump Getting Impeached

Donald Trump and CNN reporter got into it during Trump's first press conference since winning the presidency last week. And that's not even the most important story that broke last week.
Donald Trump and CNN reporter got into it during Trump's first press conference since winning the presidency last week. And that's not even the most important story that broke last week. Screengrab from CNN

Bookies in Ireland and the United Kingdom have been setting odds on whether or not President-elect Donald Trump will complete his first term of office and whether he'll be impeached, and lately it's looking like they don't think Trump will last four years.

Based on how Trump has acted as his inauguration approaches, that's increasingly seeming like a good bet.

As we roll toward January 20, the bookmakers have also started leaning toward impeachment. The British-based gambling company Ladbrokes Coral opened shortly after the election in November with 3-1 odds that Trump wouldn't complete his term. By November 22 the odds were down to 9-4, according to the International Business Times. Now they're 50-50 that he won't make it through.

Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker, is even less circumspect about Trump's future in the Oval Office. Right now the company is offering 8-1 odds that Trump will not make it six months (that's about twice the odds they gave Obama getting through his first six months), according to Salon. Now Paddy Power is offering 4-1 odds that Trump will be impeached before he completes his term. (It's worth keeping in mind both that Paddy Power is known for making adventurous bets about everything from endangered species to American politics, and that the bookmaker ended up having to pay out a lot of money when Hillary Clinton lost the election in November, meaning the bookmaker isn't infallible.)

Meanwhile, the odds that he will not complete his first term of office are 5-2, according to CNBC.

Allan Lichtman, a professor of history at American University in Washington, D.C  who has correctly called who would win every presidential election for the past 32 years, accurately predicted that Trump would win the election. Since then he has also said that Trump will likely be impeached, although he says this prediction isn't based on anything outside of his own intuition.

Lichtman isn't alone on this by any means. Pundits from both sides of the aisle have theorized that Trump might resign or be impeached rather than actually have to do the work of running the country. (For one thing, the office can be hard on a president's appearance, as presidents from Abraham Lincoln on down to George W. Bush and Barack Obama have shown. Trump's strange thatch of hair seems to be held on by science and magic, and we can't imagine his handling it well if he starts losing even more of it.)

Of course, based on history, the chance of Trump's getting impeached is fairly slim. Only two presidents — Andrew Johnson in 1876 and Bill Clinton in 1999 — have actually been impeached in the 228 years the United States has existed. And the only president ever to resign from the presidency is Richard Nixon, who stepped down from power in 1974 after Watergate as impeachment proceedings loomed.

But still, when was the last time we had a president who broke so many precedents and was so unorthodox before the inauguration had even taken place?

We're in a brave new orange world called Trumpland right now. It feels like anything is possible. Hell, Trump could end up being the wisest president since Lincoln and be elected for two terms because we all just love him so. Maybe. 
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Dianna Wray is a nationally award-winning journalist. Born and raised in Houston, she writes about everything from NASA to oil to horse races.
Contact: Dianna Wray