Trump and his reflection: Biden
With an unexpectedly moderated pace in delivery, former U.S. president Donald J. Trump announced his candidacy to return to the Oval Office. He laid out his argument for why the current president, Joseph R. Biden, should not be given a second term. Mr Trump asserted that Mr Biden’s management of the economy was unsatisfactory especially when compared to the Trump Administration. Mr Trump also claimed that Mr Biden’s involvement in Ukraine puts the United States in danger of participating not just in a never-ending war, but in a potential nuclear conflict.
At first glance, it seems like fervent Trump supporters are oblivious to the potential of that a Trump candidacy works in Democrats’ favor. According to analysis cited in Yahoo News!, 28% of mid-term voters deemed the elections as a referendum against Mr Trump versus 31% of voters treating the elections as a referendum against Mr Biden. This negative sentiment against Mr Trump may have contributed to the less than stellar performance of Republicans in this year’s congressional races. While the GOP appears on its way to controlling the U.S. House of Representatives, the Democrats were able to maintain control of the U.S. Senate. While this split was forecasted in the spring, the results were far from the “red wave” expected in the U.S. House.
The financial markets got what they wanted. Conventional preference among market participants is that a split government results in less intrusive policy. The assumption is that additional regulation will have an adverse impact on returns, revenues, and profits.
Distraction is integral to electoral markets
As for the electoral markets, Mr Trump is unlikely to win over any Democrats, liberals, or otherwise left leaning voters. Is this necessarily a bad thing for the electoral markets? I don’t believe so.
First, in a federalist system, Messrs. Trump and Biden are not expected to go after every vote in every state. They will battle for the large number of Electoral College votes in the larger states: California, Texas, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, New York. For this reason, Mr Trump will lose no sleep over an inability to sway liberal voters. If he campaigns effectively in the aforementioned battleground states, he won’t need them.
The irony here is that given the recent narrative on the part of the Democratic Party, that democracy has to be saved, neither party is advocating a truly democratic process. I have seen no evidence on the part of the Democratic Party to get rid of the Electoral College. They tend to raise the issue of the Electoral College only when they lose the White House. They made no noises about the Electoral College on the two occasions where Barack Obama won the presidency.
Second, and more importantly, Mr Trump’s announcement provides the distraction that governance requires. To ensure that the electorate believes that it plays an integral role in the process of governance, it needs to perceive a conflict that it, with its vote, can help to rectify. The labeling of Mr Trump as a fascist, racist, fraudster, and insurrectionist provides the Left with a cause worthy of a visit to the ballot booth.
Conclusion: Distraction attracts participation
The perceptions of Mr Trump’s character are so far apart from the perception of what democracy and good government means that it brings into the electoral markets voters on a crusade to set things right. Mr Trump’s importance has more to do with getting voters to participate than selecting the right policy.
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