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Who Will be President in 2020? A Look at Probabilities

A few years before Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States of America, few would have predicted that the former reality TV star and billionaire would ever lead the nation. Fast forward to the GOP race, and it still seemed like an impossibility, with bookmakers in Vegas and around the world offering staggering odds on a Trump presidency.

But those odds deceased, the inevitable happened, and history will now remember the 2016 race as one of the biggest shocks in US politics. The only question now, as the race to 2020 begins in earnest, is “Who will become the 46h president of the United States?”

Will Trump hold onto a position that few expected him to claim in the first place; will we see another surprise outcome?

In this article we’re going to take a closer look at the 2020 presidential race to see who the likely contenders are based on the data available to us.

A Second Term

Of the 44 US presidents prior to Trump, 17 were elected for a second term (Franklin D. Roosevelt was actually elected for 4, while Grover Cleveland served his two terms non-consecutively).

Based on that stat alone it means that 38.8% were reelected. However, modern presidents seem to have the odds a little more in their favor, as four of the last five US presidents served two full terms. This is no doubt the main reason why the vast majority of oddsmaker still have President Trump as the favorite to win the 2020 presidency race.

But then you have to factor approval ratings into consideration. Reagan saw his ratings peak prior to his first and second term; while Obama and Clinton experienced relative stability throughout their terms.

The only exception is George W. Bush. His approval rating was sky high a year into his reign, only to slide to one of its lowest points when he was re-elected. Trump’s approval rating is currently lower than all of these re-elected presidents suggesting that he may struggle to win the race.


Turnout is always key. The US presidency is a two-horse race, with democrats/republicans rarely switching sides. Throughout the 2016 race Republicans were more engaged than Democrats. The majority supported their representative even if they didn’t entirely agree with the choice, while the same couldn’t be said for Democrats, with many supporters of Bernie Sanders refusing to back Hilary Clinton.

In recent years, there has been a change in the tides. There were far more democrats voting in 2018 and if this is paired with a strong, popular and charismatic representative, it seems likely that they’ll give Trump a good run for his money.

Democrats are also doing a better job of capturing votes from growing demographics, such as young women, African-Americans and Latinos.

The Odds

The bookmakers consider all likelihoods, using vast algorithms to better understand the race and to try and predict the outcome before anyone else. That’s how they make their money after all.

We looked at the odds of all major bookmakers across Europe, where gambling is more widely accepted and available, and in all cases Trump was the favorite. What’s more notable, however, is that they seem to be convinced that the Democrats will choose a female representative. Kamila Harris is currently leading the race, but Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand are all high up on the list.

In fact, the list of the top 10 representatives is an even split between male and female, and the odds of a female winning the race are better than the odds of Bernie Sanders winning it.

So What Will Happen?

If the odds and the probabilities are right then Trump will either win or go very close, and he will be opposed by a female representative as he was in 2016. However, nothing is a sure thing and the figures also tell us that if the democrats choose a representative that can unite the party and attract many of the demographics that didn’t vote in 2016, and if Trumps’ rating continues to fall, then the 46th president may be a democrat.

The Increasing Legal Costs all Major Blue Chips Face

Legal Costs Blue Chips

At any given time, every single blue chip company in the world is embroiled in a number of legal disputes, ranging from taxation issues to working conditions, pension problems and more. This is testament to the litigious society in which we live, as opposed to any maliciousness on behalf of these big companies (most of the time anyway). After all, actors, businessmen, sports stars and even writers find themselves involved with similar struggles on a day-to-day basis.

To the average person, a lawsuit is only worth pursuing if there is potential for a big payday at the end of the struggle. The average man and woman on the street can’t afford to rack-up legal bills in order to defend their reputation against libel and slander, or even to counter legal claims made by others. But to these companies it’s just another part of day-to-day operations.

There are a few cases that appear more than others though, ones that seem to have been costing the world’s biggest companies for years and will likely continue to do so for many more years to come.

Big Banks in Big Trouble

Over the last couple decades, the biggest banks on the FTSE 100 (the major index on the London Stock Exchange) have been paying out an astronomical amount in legal fees, essentially covering for their mistakes and trying to stay in the government’s good books. Of all of the legal costs accrued by the 100 blue chip companies in this index, half are paid out by the banks, which number fewer than half a dozen.

In total, these banks are setting aside more than £30 billion (about $40 billion) every single year, covering everything from LIBOR and FOREX manipulation disputes to PPI misselling. This combined total is more than the total annual revenue of Barclays, TSB and Standard Chartered put together, two of which are included in that $40 billion figure mentioned above.

False Advertising

In recent years Volkswagen have been tied up in an emissions scandal that will likely cost them tens of billions, money they will still be paying for years to come. When you factor in the loss of business and the general damage they have caused to the public’s perception of diesel cars, their total loss will actually be much higher. The VW Group have a revenue of close to $250 billion, so there is a lot to lose, but a small fraction of that is profit and they will be seeing a lot less of that for years to come.

At its heart, the emissions scandal was basically false advertising, albeit to a much more fraudulent extent (they were passing off their cars as being more environmentally friendly than they were, knowing it would drive up sales and drive down taxes). This is something that has caught many big companies out and VW are by no means the only ones suffering.

Danone were once fined close to $50 million for making a claim on their Activia yoghurts that something was “scientifically proven” when there was no such evidence baking it up. In the 1990s, Airborne were also hit with a substantial fine for claims that they made, while multi-million dollar false-advertising fines have also been paid by everyone from Extenze to Kellogg.

And believe it or not, even Red Bull were sued for claiming that their drink could “give you wings”.

The Mistakes of the Past Cause the Health Problems of the Future

Imagine for a minute that you run a manufacturing business and someone approaches you with a material that can essentially guard against fire and electrical issues, providing insulation and absorb sound, all for a rock bottom price. And not only is this a miraculous material, but there are no major health warnings and it has been mined by humans for 4,000 years.

You would probably take them up on the offer, right? Well, millions did. The problem is, that material was asbestos and as we all now know, it is highly dangerous and has since led to countless health problems for the workers that were exposed to it.

Asbestos is no longer widely used, but the conditions it caused are still prevalent, so much so that there are law firms setup primarily to help clients with asbestos-related diseases. Companies that used it and exposed their employees to it are still paying the cost, as are governments the world over. And rightly so, because families and individuals have been paying with their lives and their health.

Asbestos is not the only incident where a commonly used product previously thought to be safe and groundbreaking has gone on to ruin lives and bring the companies that used it to their knees. Over $50 billion is said to have been paid out on asbestos lawsuits alone, and then you have the payouts associated with damaging drugs like Thalidomide and chemicals like Radium.

But what is perhaps most surprising in these cases is that the companies at fault for manufacturing and distributing, usually bounce back, a benefit that will never be bestowed on the millions that suffered because of them.

The German manufacturers of the Thalidomide drug, which caused horrible birth defects in countless Americans and Europeans, were sued repeatedly and even tried for manslaughter, and yet the company remains to this day. In fact, they are the ones responsible for creating the opioid Tramadol, which has created a few problems of its own.

In other words, the little guys can fight back and get a little justice, but nothing stops these multinational from marching on. Whether you see that as a good thing or a bad thing is entirely down to perspective.