Will there be an assassination attempt on a national US politician in 2023?
Jan 1

Will there be a credible assassination attempt at a member of the US Congress, POTUS, VPOTUS, cabinet member, or executive branch department head this year? Former holders of these positions count as well. People who ran for these positions and lost (and never held one) do not count. Based on this initial list, I might add other qualifying positions; comment if I've missed anything. Edit: Also SCOTUS. Edit: "credible" means some chance of success. Mail attacks against a president don't count, but they might against someone without secret service protection. See my runthrough of recent public attempts on recent presidents and how I would have adjudicated them in the comments.

A few potential edge cases, and how I plan to adjudicate them if they come up:

1. Murder of a politician, with an unshared/unknown motive. If a politician is knifed by a junkie walking down a street that doesn't resolve "yes", but if a politician is found murdered I'll close the question and, in the absence of a likely motive which is unrelated to their political office, I'll resolve "yes" after a reasonable interval. Burden of proof will be on the "no" votes to show that it was not an assassination in this case.

2. Some hopelessly crazy person who thought they were trying to assassinate a politician but who never could have in a million years will be resolved as "yes" if charges are brought which are directly related to the attempt; not resolved otherwise. Edit: This question won't resolve "yes" for any plot, no matter how intricate, unless the attempted assassination process was actually begun.

3. The questions will close at the end of December if it hasn't resolved "yes" before then, but I'll hold off for a few weeks to make sure something late didn't get missed, or longer if there's still an ambiguous case pending.

Other edge cases will be resolved in the spirit of these general guidelines. I won't be voting in this market.

See "https://manifold.markets/DodgerPaschall/will-joe-biden-get-impeached-by-the?r=Tmlja0FsbGVu" for another attempt at this question. I'm donating my winnings to try and get it closer to what people thought it should be, by subsidizing this market.

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JonathanRay avatar
Jonathan Raybought Ṁ100 of NO


nsokolsky avatar

When was the last time such an attempt was made?

jks avatar
JKSpredicts NO
jks avatar
JKSpredicts NO

@NikitaSokolsky Now I'm wondering if something akin to January 6th would count for this market (an event with lots of conflicting reports).

LivInTheLookingGlass avatar

I am not betting in this market, but I am consistently surprised that in a country this armed and polarized that there are so few attempts at this

NickAllen avatar
Nick Allen

@LivInTheLookingGlass I think it's a combination of people who would sacrifice themselves to try to kill a pol being few and far between, plus the fact that because we're so heavily armed there's a general attitude of "well, there's only so much they could do to me".

Gun rights have pretty much won the culture war, so hopefully we never find out, but I expect that if gun control ever gained a lot of momentum we'd have seen more of this sort of thing.

Additionally, the Werther Effect applies; I expect the next time there's a public assassination of a US politician, more will follow rapidly.

SemioticRivalry avatar
Semiotic Rivalry

@LivInTheLookingGlass I think this says something about the actual state of polarization: people say they're very polarized, but they're too busy enjoying a very high standard of living to actually care. High income countries don't descend into political violence/civil war

JimAusman avatar

@SemioticRivalry High income countries have riots not revolutions or coups.

CodeandSolder avatar
CodeandSolderbought Ṁ150 of YES

Obama had like 2 attempts a year: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_presidential_assassination_attempts_and_plots
Trump nearly every year: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_incidents_involving_Donald_Trump
And that's just the president, I think the base rate is a lot higher than current market value

NickAllen avatar
Nick Allen

@CodeandSolder I need to clarify that this doesn't resolve "yes" for plots, only actual attempts. Thank you.

CodeandSolder avatar
CodeandSolderbought Ṁ100 of NO

@NickAllen wait, so do the mail-based attempts count? How far does it need to get before being counted?

NickAllen avatar
Nick Allen

@CodeandSolder Naw, those are crazy people actions, there's no credible attempt there. Let me go through the lists and discuss how I'd adjudicate each of those.

2016 Sandford maybe? Leaning yes.
All the rest: No. Mail doesn't get opened by the president, flipping the limo would have been impossible and ineffective, and so on. None of the rest of these are credible threats.

April 2009 yes
Nov 2011 no, random fire sprayed at the building is not a credible threat against a president. 0% chance of success, like the ricin stuff.
All others were plots or mail attacks. Mail attacks have a 0% chance of success, and are not serious.

I'd adjudicate all of these as "No" except Sandford 2016 and April 2009. Base rate looks like 2 actual possible attempts in the past 15 years. Hope that helps clarify. I'm open to feedback.

CodeandSolder avatar
CodeandSolderpredicts YES

@NickAllen you're saying mailing poison to somebody with intent to kill them isn't an assasination attempt? I feel like this criteria are opposed to how the term is normally used and in that case title should include something like "that has a significant likelyhood to succeed".

NickAllen avatar
Nick Allen

@CodeandSolder Sure, I'll include an edit for credible chance of success, thanks.

NickAllen avatar
Nick Allen

Added: "Edit: "credible" means some chance of success. Mail attacks against a president don't count, but they might against someone without secret service protection."

CodeandSolder avatar
CodeandSolderbought Ṁ50 of NO

@NickAllen I feel like just checking if charges include "attempted murder" would be simpler and more objective

NickAllen avatar
Nick Allen

@CodeandSolder Not really, all kinds of charges get stuck on, we'd have to wait until the end of any jury trial to see about a conviction if we focused on charges.

NickAllen avatar
Nick Allen

@CodeandSolder for example, mailing ricin to the president is a legal threat to whoever opens his mail, but it's about as effective against the president as witchcraft.

CodeandSolder avatar

What about SCOTUS and the Senate?

NickAllen avatar
Nick Allen

@CodeandSolder the Senate is part of Congress, and thus already included. Scotus aren't elected, and they're not technically "politicians", but they are the third branch of government, so I think we'll include them. Thanks