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Choice and consequence

Joe Biden introduced his newly chosen running mate

Joe Biden introduced his newly chosen running mate Kamala Harris on Wednesday, with the former vice president and California senator appearing for the first time together as the Democratic presidential ticket. (Aug. 12)

Daily Point

Betting on Biden (and Harris, and Trump)

As befits our divided country, even the oddsmakers appear to be split on the impact of Joe Biden’s choice of Sen. Kamala Harris as his Democratic vice-presidential running mate. Biden is still the clear favorite in November, but an influx of bets on President Donald Trump after Biden’s announcement had some prognosticators adjusting their odds in the direction of the incumbent.

At online sportsbook BetOnline, the president’s odds improved from +135 to +105, meaning you would wager $100 to win $105. Biden’s odds, meanwhile, dropped from -160 in June to -135, meaning you would have to bet $135 to win $100. The number swings were the same at Las Vegas-based online bookmaker SportsBetting.ag, the only difference being that Trump had been at +130 before the Harris unveiling.

But at PredictIt, which functions like a stock market with users buying and selling “yes” or “no” shares for a particular outcome, the fortunes of the two candidates were unchanged. A “yes” share for Biden still cost 59 cents Thursday morning compared to 43 cents for Trump.

For politics junkies looking to wager on a less consequential outcome than the winner of the presidential election, BetOnline and SportsBetting.ag are among those offering a “monumental” wager: Who will be the next person whose face is chiseled into Mount Rushmore?

This has long been a topic of controversy. Recent speculation derives, of course, from Trump’s visit to the iconic spot for a July 4-related rally and his musings about his “dream” to have his face on the famous granite wall. But the odds say: No way.

The betting on both outlets is dominated by a trio of acronyms – MLK, JFK and FDR. That would be Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy (America’s top choice per a 2010 Gallup poll) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, at odds of 20/1, 25/1 and 33/1, respectively. Following them, in matching order, are Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass, Alexander Hamilton, Barack Obama, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Andrew Jackson.

Bringing up the rear is Trump, at 100/1.

The entire exercise is somewhat fanciful, since the National Park Service has said no new faces will be added because the surrounding rock is not secure enough for carving and because the work was considered complete with the death of sculptor Gutzon Borglum in 1941.

So a bet on this proposition could be considered a political statement, also befitting our divided country.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie

Talking Point

Boyle gets NYSUT pick over Pellegrino

General election endorsements from New York State United Teachers came out last month and featured the usual mix of Democrats, Republicans, and incumbents. But the group made a somewhat noteworthy choice in New York’s 4th State Senate District, going with Phil Boyle over Christine Pellegrino. 

Pellegrino spent years teaching in Baldwin before her political career, and NYSUT funneled a big chunk of change to an independent expenditure committee aiding her in a memorable special election win for a State Assembly seat that drew national headlines in 2017. Pellegrino, a Bernie Sanders delegate in 2016, was lauded by the Working Families Party as a sign that progressive candidates could win in areas carried by Donald Trump the year before. 

In a statement to The Point, Pellegrino pointed to Assembly work on school funding and student assessment issues and said she was “confident that I will have the support of the rank and file members, the teachers and parents in my district who know that they can trust a teacher like me to fight for our kids, our schools, and our communities.”

The teachers’ group has been off and on in its support of Boyle recently. They endorsed his Democratic opponent in 2012 during his first successful State Senate run. NYSUT backed him in 2016 and then switched to Democrat Lou D’Amaro last cycle. Now it is returning. 

“It’s always an honor to earn NYSUT’s endorsement," Boyle told The Point.  

It’s not the only recent surprise news from Boyle, whose base is rooted in the Conservative Party. Point readers will remember his support earlier this summer for raising taxes on the wealthy. (Take it easy, he said, only a temporary change to get us through the current crisis.)

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Biden blooper

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/cartoons

Final Point

Long Islanders on COVID-19 — the differences among us

A nextLI COVID-19 survey finds that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted attitudes and viewpoints differently along racial and ethnic lines. Prior to the pandemic, Black residents were twice as likely as white Long Islanders to be unemployed and to live in poverty, according to 2018 Census data, and the COVID-19 crisis only exacerbated that. The survey results reveal that:

  • Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) respondents are more likely than their white counterparts to feel that the COVID-19 situation on Long Island is getting worse.
  • They are also more likely to be supportive of expanding health coverage access as a result of the pandemic.
  • Black respondents show the most hesitance when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination.

The disparities were discussed at Wednesday’s Newsday Live/nextLI virtual event.   Moderated by Coralie Saint-Louis, panelists included Erika Hill (Vision Street Research), Retha Fernandez (Suffolk County’s chief diversity & inclusion officer), Theresa Sanders (Urban League of LI) and Pamela M. Pratt (Regal Solutions Group). A recording of our event can be viewed here

You can explore these questions and more at next.newsday.com, or sign up for our next panel discussion at 2 p.m. Monday, which will focus on COVID-19's impact on the next generation of Long Islanders.

—Kai Teoh @jkteoh

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