It’s long been rumored that former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence might be fired as vice president and removed from the ticket. As the window of time left for that to be possible closes, political traders (let’s call them gamblers) on PredictIt are pegging the chances at 10/1.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to make his running mate selection this week, having promised months ago that he would select a woman. With President Donald Trump struggling mightily among female voters according to polls, the thinking is that Trump might look to replace Pence with a woman, possibly former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley or current South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
Some pundits have also speculated that replacing Pence could inject some energy into the Trump campaign. He’s widely considered a significant underdog for the November general election, though anything can change with the debates coming up and continually evolving threats to mail-in voting under the reported undermining of the U.S. Postal Service.
There are also some gamblers out there who see a slight chance of Trump either dropping out of the race or resigning from office, which would likely make it so Pence wouldn’t be the GOP nominee for vice president. The prediction market doesn’t involve how or why Pence isn’t the VP nominee.
Currently, Pence is at his 90-day high in terms of the market resolving in the affirmative (him being the GOP VP nominee). He dipped to 81 cents in late June, before recovering in recent weeks despite persistent speculation that him being kicked to the curb is still a possibility.
Clock is ticking
Trump doesn’t have a lot of time left if he wants to replace Pence with the governor of South Dakota, who reportedly would be interested in putting his face on Mount Rushmore.
The GOP convention kicks off on Aug. 24.
There’s probably little downside to replacing Pence, as nothing Trump does at this point would upset his base. Though some say a move like ditching Pence would appear desperate, desperation is arguably a common theme for his campaign. The benefits of Pence as VP are already baked in, and so removing him in favor of Haley, Noem, or someone else wouldn’t be damaging. It might have upside.
Also worth noting is that Indiana is one of Trump’s safest states.
The chances of Pence’s departure aren’t great, as the betting market indicates, but gamblers buying “no” now might be rewarded with a couple cents of value in the immediate aftermath of Biden’s announcement. If Trump was to replace Pence at that point, the person Biden chooses as his running mate, who would debate Pence on live TV, would be relevant.
Biden doesn’t have anywhere near a consensus pick, so there will be criticisms of any decision he makes. That dynamic could reduce the already low chances that Trump would try to upstage his selection by announcing Haley or Noem as his new running mate.
At the end of the day, this is all spectacle, but gamblers are heavily invested.
Nearly 1 million shares in the Pence market have been traded since it was posted on PredictIt.