Presidential Debate Odds: As time runs short, Trump faces long odds
In the famous 1979 film Apocalypse Now, Robert Duvall’s character uttered one of the all-time great movie lines when he looked out at the carnage that the war had created and declared, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”
Figurative napalm is what Donald Trump has introduced to American politics, and if he is going to go down, he has made it clear that he is going to burn down his Republican Party and a good portion of the body politic itself in the process.
Unprecedented in U.S. presidential campaign history, Trump and his army of so-called “deplorables” stand pretty much alone. He trusts only his family, a few remaining party outliers, and his Twitter feed. And as he heads into his third and final debate against Hillary Clinton (Thursday, Oct. 19, in Las Vegas), it appears that the only variable left is the size of the defeat which is almost guaranteed on Nov. 8.
Vegas is the perfect backdrop for Trump. In casinos up and down the Strip, in the shadow of his own hotel/condominium complex on the north end, down-on-their-luck gamblers reach deep into their pockets for cash that will buy one last roulette spin, one last hand of blackjack that will start a winning streak.
The debate is Trump’s final roll of the dice.
How’s it going to play out? To the odds!
Presidential Debate No. 3 Odds
Odds to win Gallup’s post-debate poll
The slight edge goes to Trump here primarily because Clinton’s cautious instincts will lessen the likelihood of an all-out brawl. More likely, Trump will come out firing and Clinton will counter with her version of Dean Smith’s four-corners offense. Trump on points in a split decision.
Over/Under on number of times Alicia Machado is mentioned by name: 0.5
Machado’s 15 minutes has been over for a while and she’s Clinton’s break-glass-in-case-of-emergency talking point if Hillary feels she needs to say something to further secure the women’s vote.
Odds the Clinton camp questions the impartiality of moderator Chris Wallace: 7/8
If it happens, more likely that it occurs pre-debate in an effort to soften the tone of the questions that Wallace asks. Chances of a full-bore, Fox-imposed Wallace attack on Clinton were reduced dramatically when Roger Ailes was forced out at the cable network.
Odds Wallace asks Trump a question about his tax returns: 5/2
Wallace has pretty much avoided this issue on his signature Sunday morning talk show on Fox, so that’s an indication that either he was ordered to go silent on it by his bosses or he doesn’t think the issue is all that important. If taxes haven’t been mentioned by the 45-minute mark, Clinton may have to reach for her bayonet and do the job herself. But she’d much prefer that Wallace brings up the topic.
Odds the candidates shake hands on stage prior to the debate: 1/3
They didn’t shake before debate no. 2, but were forced to say nice things about each other at the end of that second debate and did shake in the aftermath. I foresee a pre-debate shake for round three, though it will be a grudging, insincere handshake between two fourth-graders who have been sent to the principal’s office for fighting at recess.
Odds on how many times the word “Wikileaks” will be said during the debate
11 to 15: 6/1
Over 15: 3/1
It’s pretty much a lock that it will be the core of either the first or second question that Wallace asks. Clinton probably will not use it at all. Trump, of course, will use it as a hammer. The question here is whether or not Trump just uses “emails” instead of “Wikileaks” after the first mention.
Odds any of the women who have accused Bill Clinton of inappropriate sexual advances will be at the debate: 2/1
Trump used them as props at the second debate to divert attention from his “Pussygate” bus comments from 2005. Not likely that he’ll pay their airfare and expenses a second time.
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