Here are the Super Tuesday results, in case you need the details. I wrote a spiel about my take, please don’t take this as me pretending to be an expert on politics.
Let me start by saying that this is not now, nor has it ever been, a political blog. I don’t affiliate with any party and my leanings could probably best be described as “Centrist Anarchist”. By which I mean, I’d prefer to see the extreme wings of both parties burned to the ground, with a technocratic moderate coming along to run things pragmatically.
Don’t worry – we’re in no danger of that happening anytime soon 🙁
In 2008, I wanted to see John McCain win. In 2012, I was rooting for Mitt Romney.
Both men were moderates who were forced to say and do ridiculous things to curry favor with the extremists who now control the GOP.
McCain was talked into Palin as a running mate who would “energize” the party’s insane base. He also thought he had to run based on the “soundness” of Bush’s economy, which by the fall of 2008 was obviously crashing. Romney was forced to repudiate his signature achievement as the governor of Massachusetts, the state’s health care reform, and it was the wrong time to run a private equity billionaire, despite his inherent decency and steady demeanor.
So, we got Obama. Twice. Fine. And the Republicans treated him disrespectfully for 8 years and went about their business as though he hadn’t been legitimately elected. This is one of the primary reasons for why there’s been a counterproductive fiscal response (or non-response) to the great recession and the Fed was left to pick up the slack in the form of its experimental QE policies. The drag from state, local and federal government layoffs probably held the recovery back from its full potential all this time.
The stock market went bananas, as did real estate, as a result of the Fed’s efforts to reflate, but this hasn’t helped the bulk of Americans in the same way that a strong economy with real wage growth would have. This election’s dynamics are the result.
The stock market began to feel more confident about Hillary Clinton after her first few primary and caucus wins and began to rally. It ran up furiously yesterday as word came out from around the country that Super Tuesday would be a victory for her (or a defeat for the anti-business Bernie Sanders).
Make no mistake, Hillary Clinton is the stock market’s choice. She has key relationships with all the large investment banks and has always been friendly with the stewards who watch over big pools of money, both at home and abroad. She represents a continuation of the status quo, a throwback to the fondly-remembered 1990’s and the best chance for regulatory and tax policy continuity.
She also guarantees gridlock with a Republican congress that’s been gerrymandered like a well-marbled ribeye steak. Stocks like gridlock. Look it up.
And you can feel free to disregard her rhetoric about Valeant and the pharmaceutical “price-gouging” that earns her big applause on the trail. She’s just saying whatever she has to in order to squeeze the daylight from between her positions and Bernie’s. Her husband was bashing drug companies during his campaign too. The drug stocks fell and then snapped back when the campaign was over. It went on to become an incredible decade of gains for pharma investors.
The Clintons’ approach to politics can be best summed up with the word expedience. They are the anti-Cruz. I don’t say that like it’s a bad thing. Obstructionism, even if coming from a pure, conscientious place, is not going to help us. Unfortunately, it’s the only playbook that Cruz and the Tea Party seem to want to work from. What Cruz attempted to do to this country during the debt ceiling crisis makes him every bit as unfit as Trump is from a temperament perspective.
Also, I just don’t like him. Neither does anyone else.
We haven’t heard the last of Marco Rubio either, although I would have been okay with him as the nominee this time around (there’s still a long shot, they say).
My thing with Rubio is that I don’t believe he has fully-formed ideas on a lot of things yet. He’s young and had very little economic and foreign policy experience in his role as a senator in Florida. My guess is that, as the GOP’s nominee, he would have shifted center-right and offered Clinton a real challenge among undecideds / independents. He’s handsome, likable, youthful, has a nice looking family and would probably start saying much smarter things once his advisor situation got an upgrade.
But if it’s to be Clinton vs Trump, and Clinton can outclass the Trump machine between now and the fall, the stock market may get its way in the end. I think we’re seeing that realization start to dawn on the ever fretful investor class these days. Thankfully, there will be something new to worry about soon enough.