Political Props: Betting on Joe Biden’s Cabinet Picks

By in Politics on
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White-House-Joe-Biden

Contrary to what the sitting president may want you to believe, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the next president at noon on January 20. Biden was able to easily surpass the threshold of 270 electoral votes earlier this month. While President Donald Trump appears to be trying everything he possibly can to remain in power, he’ll be leaving the White House as soon as Biden takes the Oath of Office.

While Trump’s reluctance to wave the white flag has resulted in a rocky transfer of power to this point, it’s only a matter of time until he gives in to the reality. In the meantime, Biden is in the middle of shaping his own upcoming Administration. He has already tapped Ron Klain to be his chief of staff. Klain served as Biden’s chief of staff while he was vice president under Barack Obama, so he seems to be a natural choice.

President-elect Biden has also reportedly decided to name Tony Blinken Secretary of State. Blinken was the Deputy Secretary of State from 2015 to the end of the Obama Administration in 2017, while he also served as National Security Adviser at the beginning of President Obama’s first term.

Biden will reportedly unveil more members of his cabinet in the coming days and weeks. Political betting sites have posted a few prop bets in anticipation of the upcoming announcements. You can bet on which person will be the next Attorney General, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of the Treasury.

Which candidates will eventually get the nod? Let’s dive right in.

Secretary of the Treasury

  • Janet Yellen (-250)
  • Lael Brainard (+200)
  • Raphael Bostic (+800)
  • Elizabeth Warren (+1000)
  • Roger Ferguson (+1000)
  • Sarah Bloom Raskin (+1200)

Biden said last week that he has already decided on his Treasury secretary, and that the announcement will come just before or after Thanksgiving. With Turkey Day three days away as of this writing, you obviously have a pretty limited time to get your bets in.

The oddsmakers at BetOnline have installed Janet Yellen as a sizable -250 favorite to be Biden’s first Treasury secretary. Yellen, 74, was the first woman to be Chair of the Federal Reserve, where she served from 2014 until 2018. The longtime economist held various positions within the Federal Reserve starting in 2004.

Yellen and Lael Brainard are thought to be the frontrunners. Either candidate would become the first woman to be named to this job. Raphael Bostic and Roger Ferguson, who have also been linked with the post, would become the first Black Treasury secretaries.

Brainard has the next-best odds at +200, but her candidacy has reportedly struggled to gain any traction. Brainard reportedly hasn’t been contacted by anyone from Biden’s transition team, which obviously can’t be a good sign for her chances of getting the job considering he has reportedly already made his decision.

Elizabeth Warren would be a popular choice with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, but it seems fairly unlikely that Biden will offer her a job in his Administration. Holding as many Senate seats as possible is crucial for Democrats, and Warren is a Democratic Senator from a state (Massachusetts) with a Republican Governor. Because Governor Charlie Baker would be in charge of appointing Warren’s replacement, a cabinet post for the Senator seems very unlikely.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. There’s an awful lot of smoke surrounding the possibility of Yellen becoming the first female Secretary of the Treasury, so that looks like the smart play at -250. Make that bet now before the odds dip even further.

Secretary of the Treasury –Yellen (-250)

Secretary of Defense

  • Michele Flournoy (-2000)
  • Tammy Duckworth (+600)
  • Jack Reed (+800)

Yellen seems to be a natural choice to head the Treasury thanks to her vast experience from her days in the Federal Reserve. So, it makes sense that Michele Flournoy is a leading candidate for the Secretary of Defense job.

Flournoy served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy during the Clinton Administration. She then served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy for most of the first term of the Obama Administration. In addition, she has also been a special advisor to former Defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta.

Biden has long said that his prospective cabinet would be much more diverse than the Trump Administration’s. While Trump’s staff and cabinet is largely comprised of white men, Biden had been adamant about including more women and people of color if he won the election. Flournoy would become the first female Secretary of Defense if she is eventually confirmed to the job.

Flournoy is a heavy -2000 favorite, but Tammy Duckworth and Jack Reed have also generated some buzz. Duckworth is a sitting Senator from Illinois. Illinois is about as blue a state as you’ll find, so the Democrats wouldn’t have to worry about Governor JB Pritzker filling her vacated seat with a Republican.

Senator Duckworth has a lengthy background as a military officer with 22 years of experience in the Army Reserve and National Guard. Reed, a Senator from Rhode Island, is one of the Ranking Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former Army officer.

It’s hard to bet against Flournoy given the odds. You’re not getting any upside in her -2000 odds, but there’s a reason she’s such a heavy favorite. She seems to be a lock for Secretary of Defense.

Secretary of Defense –Flournoy (-2000)

Attorney General

  • Doug Jones (+200)
  • Lisa Monaco (+200)
  • Sally Yates (+200)
  • Deval Patrick (+600)
  • Xavier Becerra (+600)
  • Julian Castro (+700)
  • Merrick Garland (+700)
  • Tom Perez (+700)

You may remember Merrick Garland. Garland made news back in 2016 when President Obama nominated him for the US Supreme Court post that came open following the death of Antonin Scalia. Despite Scalia’s death coming in February, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell decided against bringing Garland’s candidacy to a vote in the Senate and said that the American people should decide the fate of the seat in that year’s presidential election.

Hillary Clinton lost to Trump that year, of course, so Trump wound up filling that seat with a more conservative judge. NPR reported over the weekend that Garland’s name has surfaced again, this time in Biden’s private discussions regarding his pick for Attorney General.

Garland has been involved in the Departemnt of Justice for decades. He served as the chief judge of the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC, and the mere mention of his name as a potential pick makes him an interesting betting option given the current +700 odds.

Doug Jones (+200) and Sally Yates (+200) are a couple interesting options, too. Jones just lost his Senate seat in the election earlier this month, so he’ll likely be looking for a gig. Jones was a US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama before launching his political career.

Yates, of course, served as Deputy Attorney General in the latter stages of the Obama Administration before briefly serving as Acting Attorney General at the beginning of the Trump Administration. Trump fired her after she raised red flags to fellow administration officials about Trump’s decision to make General Mike Flynn his National Security Adviser.

  • Yates having made headlines for battling the Trump Administration may complicate her potential nomination to the job, especially if Republicans still hold the majority in the Senate following the Georgia runoffs in January. While Yates would seem to be a natural pick for the job, her chances of actually being confirmed are a bit dicey. As a result, I’d pass on betting on Yates at the current +200 odds.
  • Lisa Monaco (+200) served in the Justice Department for 15 years across the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations and was the first woman to lead the DOJ’s national security division.
  • Deval Patrick (+600), the former Governor of Massachusetts, briefly launched an ill-fated presidential campaign late last year. He was the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division under President Clinton from 1994 until 1997.

At this point, Garland looks like the top value bet here at +700. We have less clarity with regard to potential frontrunners for Attorney General, but Patrick (+600) and Monaco (+200) look like the next best options. Jones could be worth a flier at +200, but I would side with Monaco if I’m betting one of the early favorites.

Attorney General –Garland (+700)
Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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