To the surprise of absolutely nobody who has been paying attention, President Joe Biden has formally filed a statement of candidacy to run for a second term. He released this video yesterday.
Market remains sceptical of Biden
The betting reaction, it must be said, has been muted. At the time of writing, Biden is trading at 2.727/4 on the Betfair Exchange, implying a 37% chance of re-election.
That has only edged slightly forward since he decalred he would seek a second term and he remains backable for the Democrat Nomination at 1.222/9 (82%).
Evidently bettors remain open to the idea that Biden will either have a change of heart, suffer some kind of health or political setback in the meantime, or be beaten by a challenger. But whom?
No sign of heavyweight challenge
There is no hint whatsoever of a challenge to Biden from the most plausible alternatives - Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer.
Instead a sizeable gamble has developed in recent weeks on Robert F Kennedy Jr. Matched at 29.028/1 today, he is now trading as fourth favourite for the presidency.
Whilst boasting the family connection to a Democrat icon, Kennedy is way, way outside the party mainstream. He's a conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer. This bid is more about building his profile and influence.
Those odds represent terrible value and note, he's actually the same odds for the nomination as he is to win it, then defeat a Republican.
Ramaswamy has resources to stay in
There are also two notable gambles developing on outsiders. Vivek Ramaswamy - an entrepreneur with no political experience - has already entered the Republican primary and is trading at 85.084/1 for that initial target and 120.0119/1 for the main event.
Ramaswamy has deep connections to GOP mega-donor Peter Thiel and Ohio Senator J.D. Vance. If nothing else, that means he has access to the money required to stay in this race for the long haul.
Ramaswamy's agenda involves all the key right-wing talking points - tech censorship, critical race theory, anti-woke rhetoric. Many prominent Trump surrogates are supportive.
Can Ramaswamy beat Trump and/or Ron DeSantis? I very much doubt it. But perhaps his aim is wider, again to develop his profile and critically to still be standing if and when the big-two hit trouble or are ruled out. Which brings me to the other big gamble of the week.
Could Tucker Carlson run?
Long-term readers may remember my talking up Tucker Carlson's chances in the aftermath of the 2020 election. This week Carlson (pictured below with ex-golfer Greg Norman) sensationally parted ways with Rupert Murdoch's troubled Fox News.
Immediately, speculation begun that this could precede a presidential run. His odds have collapsed from around 700.0 to 120.0 over the past 48 hours.
We do not know the details for sure, but it seems very likely that Carlson's exit is related to Fox's enormous settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, as discussed last week in my Politics Live blog.
It seems he was pushed out, despite being less culpable for the election-denial before the January 6th insurrection than other Fox commentators.
My instinct is that the explanation lies with Carlson's own activities and self-image. Whereas those other Fox pundits can be relied upon to tow the company line, and accept whatever pivot Murdoch has in mind to save his company, Carlson has crossed over the line and at least thinks he has a bigger agenda.
Putin's network will back Tucker
I've written for years about Trump's connections to Russia and Vladimir Putin's quite overt agenda to influence Western politics. He has reliably pushed Kremlin talking points since the 1980s, from outside then inside politics.
I have firmly believed Carlson was effectively a Putinist ever since he moved his show to Budapest for a week, in homage to Russia's favourite European leader, Viktor Orban. (Trump famously said Orban was 'like a brother').
Ever since, he too has pushed that never-ending avalanche of Kremlin propaganda. Nobody in US politics, other than perhaps Trump, gets more frequently praised and promoted on Russian state media.
I doubt very much there is an imminent plan to run for president. Rather, Carlson will continue to be a reliable Kremlin propagandist on right-wing media. His profile will build outside politics, just like Trump. Perhaps, one day, an opportunity to run will emerge.
If so, 'Tucker' definitely has the name recognition and reach to contend in a GOP primary. Again, just like Trump. This is a well-worn playbook.
Will such an opportunity emerge before the 2024 election? Probably not. At the moment, Trump seems almost inevitable for the nomination. However none of us, including himself or potential rivals, know how the various indictments, investigations or legal quagmire will ultimately materialise.
Brian Kemp is the best outsider punt
I suspect that speculation will persist that Trump could be forced out right through until next summer. With DeSantis still unsure to run, that would throw the GOP primary wide-open. Hence the legitimate, low-risk gambles on the likes of Ramaswamy and Carlson.
I'll add one more name to the mix. Brian Kemp is the Georgia Governor, trading around 150.0149/1 for the nomination, 300.00299/1 for the presidency. There is no speculation that he will run. However that can change quickly.
There is no love lost between Kemp and Trump. The Governor has defied the party leader over certifying the election result, and in state primaries, and benefited from doing so.
He won re-election on a much increased margin in November. On the same ballot, Trump-backed Herschel Walker lost the Senate race.
If DeSantis doesn't run or flops, the Republican establishment will look around for an alternative to Trump. I can't think of anyone who better fits the bill than Kemp. And remember, Georgia will be arguably the single most important swing state in 2024.
We've just seen how these outsider gambles develop quickly, whether realistic or not. Expect plenty more over the next year.
Follow Paul on Twitter and check out his website, Political Gambler.