It’s too early to talk about the 2016 presidential election, but it’s not too early to bet on the outcome. This is when you can find the good odds. If you wait until the week before the election, you’re going to get 1-4 on the obvious winner. That’s what Barack Obama was paying late last October.
HILLARY CLINTON, 7-2: Clinton is the only Democrat worth betting on. If she runs for her party’s nomination, she’ll get it. In 2016, the Democrats are going to adopt the Republican practice of nominating the candidate who finished second last time. In eight years as a senator from New York and four years as secretary of state, Clinton developed a personal following and an independent image that will make her candidacy seem like something other than a continuation of her husband’s and Barack Obama’s administration. According to a Reuters poll, she is the most popular politician in America, with a 61 percent approval rating. Given that she has a near 100 percent chance of winning the Democratic nomination, she only needs a 25 percent chance of beating the Republican to make these odds worthwhile.
MARCO RUBIO, 6-1: The Cuban-American Rubio is supposed to be the Republicans’ Barack Obama: a young minority candidate that will broaden the party’s electorate and reverse eight years of the opposition’s success. Rubio finished second in the straw poll at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Republicans may be desperate enough for a winner -- and desperate enough to attract Latinos -- to ignore his liberal views on immigration.
CHRIS CHRISTIE, 20-1: The Republican governor of New Jersey rose above partisanship when he toured his state’s coastline with President Obama after Hurricane Sandy. He’s fat and loud, but he’s not a plastic politician, and he’s a Republican who succeeded in a Democratic state.
BOBBY JINDAL, 50-1: Jindal, the 41-year-old Indian-American governor of Louisiana, is another candidate who can make the Republicans look more diverse. In 2015, Jindal will finish his second term, leaving him free to run for president full time. Jindal, who worked in the George W. Bush administration and opposes abortion and same-sex marriage has great conservative credentials, and way more than a 2 percent chance to win the presidency.
RAND PAUL, 100-1: Paul, the first-term senator from Kentucky, won the CPAC straw poll. Paul gained national fame for a 12-hour filibuster in which he questioned whether the Obama Administration had the right to order drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil. The speech impressed civil libertarians in both parties. Paul also favors decriminalizing drugs. He could convincingly portray the Republicans as the party of freedom and liberty, which gives him more than a 1 percent chance.
All the other candidates are a waste of your money -- including Rahm Emanuel, a ridiculously low 20-1.