By Alan S. Chartock | April 16, 2021

New York State will now allow us to gamble, legally, on sports betting. But what about political betting? You’d have to be impaired not to understand that along with drinking and prostitution, gambling has always been part of our culture. Now the great New York Seal will make it all completely kosher. That will lead to some additional gambling addiction but, as referenced above, there are already a lot of people gambling and now many more will profit from the enterprise. It’s common knowledge that people will bet on anything so let’s open our own political bookie joint. Here are some examples of what could happen:

Andrew Cuomo will survive his present scandals and even run for a fourth term. My imaginary bookie says 3-1 odds he beats the accusers. There are a couple of things to watch here. Letitia James, the Attorney General, and Carl Heastie, the Speaker of the Assembly, have asked for outside experts to come in and “investigate.” That’s a tip off. The last thing people want is for “Tough Guy Andrew” to get angry at them. TGA, as his nickname implies, will tough it out. He has no reason not to. He is not about to go to jail for kissing someone. Donald Trump has led the way in this field and with everything else that DA’s and prosecutors have on their plates, it is unlikely that they will bring any charges against Andrew.

Now, let’s consider the matter of who will be the next mayor of New York City. Right now, Andrew Yang is leading in the polls. The pundits are saying, “Too early to tell.” Yang is considered by some to be a moderate and an outsider with little to no experience. But Yang grew to be a familiar face during the last presidential race. So far, none of the other mayoral aspirants have really caught fire. Liberal New Yorkers are not ignoring the rash, stupid, xenophobic, anti-Asian-American fools out there. They will be more than happy to vote to buttress the fact that New York is a very sensible, feet on the ground, democracy. The last thing that most of the New Yorkers I have been talking to want is more of the “same old, same old” politicians that they really do abhor. Their present mayor, Bill de Blasio, is walking out the door with his tail between his legs. New Yorkers will want someone from the middle who seems “with it” and they will see Yang as a contender. My imaginary bookie says he is the favorite. Odds are 3-2 that he makes it to Gracie Mansion.

Sadly, the George Floyd/Derek Chauvin murder case is also worthy of a bet. Sometimes what seems like a sure thing turns out to be a good place to put some money down. Looking at the trial, it would appear that the prosecution has offered an airtight case. There was the video tape and the testimony of one expert prosecution witness after another. Not only that, in the event of a mistrial or an acquittal, the chances of mayhem in the streets are almost 100%. So the odds makers would be smart to predict a guilty verdict. On the other hand, there has to be a reason why Chauvin has not taken a guilty plea. He doesn’t want to go to prison and he knows that it is very difficult to get a jury to convict a cop. All it will take is for one person on that jury to say, “We hire police to protect us and I’m not going to vote for a guilty verdict.” Then we would have the possibility of yet another trial, depending on the hung jury. Considering all the existential issues, I would put the odds of a guilty verdict at 5-1 in favor.

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected].