Election 2012 Primer: Making Sense of Presidential Politics
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Indeed, there has been no discernible difference in returns in election and non-election years. This is because, over time, the economy grows and carries corporate earnings with it. Further, our view on the business cycle is clearer: The global manufacturing slump is showing signs of bottoming, services and the consumer still look healthy, and inflation remains benign.
All of this should sum to about average investment returns for investors, no matter what the election results might bring. Here are two things you can do to prepare. First: Review your plan. Make sure the risks you are taking in your portfolios are aligned with your perceived time horizon and investment objectives. That is what should be the ultimate driver of long-term asset allocation, not speculation on presidential election results. Second: Diversify.
Geographically, the United States has outperformed the rest of the world for the better part of the decade. Global economic data could be starting to form a bottom, and, for once, there seems to be less political risk outside the United States than inside it. How can we rely on them to give us a clear picture this time? In , the final RealClearPolitics poll suggested that Hillary Clinton would win the national popular vote by 3. In fact, she won the national popular vote by 2. The polls underestimated President Trump, but not by that much.
While the national polls suggested a tight race that gave a slight edge to Clinton, and more sophisticated models gave President Trump a 1-in-3 chance, markets had clearly priced in a much higher likelihood of a Clinton victory. The lesson for this time: Understand that a close poll suggests a close race, and recognize that market pricing might misinterpret what polls really suggest. Similar to polls, these are just tools that we will use to attempt to determine how markets are perceiving the chances of events.
They are by no means perfect, but they are useful in triangulating market perceptions. We believe the information contained in this material to be reliable but do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. Opinions, estimates, and investment strategies and views expressed in this document constitute our judgment based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. If you would like to speak with a J.
Morgan Securities Financial Advisor about customized solutions relative to your personal financial goals, contact us. Morgan in this context. All market and economic data as of November and sourced from Bloomberg and FactSet unless otherwise stated. The information presented is not intended to be making value judgments on the preferred outcome of any government decision. This material is for informational purposes only, and may inform you of certain products and services offered by J. Please read all Important Information. Any views, strategies or products discussed in this material may not be appropriate for all individuals and are subject to risks.
Investors may get back less than they invested, and past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Asset allocation does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss.
Nothing in this material should be relied upon in isolation for the purpose of making an investment decision. You are urged to consider carefully whether the services, products, asset classes e. You must also consider the objectives, risks, charges, and expenses associated with an investment service, product or strategy prior to making an investment decision.
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How to Pick a President
Morgan entity obtains services, including trade execution and trade clearing, from an affiliate; 3 when J. Other conflicts will result because of relationships that J. Morgan has with other clients or when J. Morgan acts for its own account. In hundreds of U. Many historians agree it takes at least a decade to sort out the impact of a presidents actions. Yet we bet so much on rejection or approval of the last president or two: four or eight years, being less than the decade needed to have a sense of what they did well, and what they did wrong. By constitutional design the three branches of government keep each other in check, and no matter how great a single president is as an individual, the condition and party balance of the senate and judiciary they inherent determine their fate at least as much as their ability does.
Political campaigns stress the individual, but what is harder to evaluate is their skill at working with other branches of government. While we push as many people as possible to vote , there is no primer, handbook, or tip sheet provided on how to avoid mistakes of elections past. Take a look and see if the way we vote has resulted in what we voted for? And perhaps make some adjustments this time around? Many people vote for self-interest.
Construction workers vote for the president they think best understands construction workers e.
But how can it make sense for everyone to vote solely on what suits themselves best? Certainly self interest is a major consideration in a vote, but it has to be weighed against others. There might just be people in this country, or challenges to the common good, whose needs are more important to the future of the country than our own. State and local elections often matter more for self-interest than national elections, by design. And serious weight often goes to superficial things. The jokes about high school elections being popularity contests are apt: we are distracted by surfaces.
People forget we are biased towards picking people who look like us, or fit an image of what we think a president should look like.
Bill Radice (Illustrator of Election Primer)
We are easily distracted away from better measures: namely performance, or our estimation of potential for performance. In our short attention span media-rich times many great voices of our past would never have even been heard. Many people make their list of positions on issues and try to find a candidate that best matches those positions. Or if they will cause so much harm to the nation at large to outweigh the importance of those positions.
None of which showed up on position lists for the or elections respectively.
Then consider how shallow our modern debates are: Lincoln and Douglas debated for over 20 hours in , and for a senatorial race! A full days worth of debate might be too much for us today, but the modern presidential debate protocols , diminish the candidates role in representing themselves to the public. The simple test for any political coverage is to ask this: What does this have to do with their ability to do the job?
What you hear is either trivia, gossip, mythology or noise. They are supposed to help us spot the good ones, or at least point out the attributes to look for, and that can not happen by endlessly dissecting the hidden meaning of a flubbed sentence in a speech, a vague promise, or a mistake of fact, things every president throughout history and forever into the future will, as non-robotic human beings, occasionally do.
The big confusion we make is mistaking the campaign for the presidency.
Running a great campaign bears little relationship to being a great president, as the many mediocre and tragic presidencies in our history proves They ran better campaigns, right? Sure, these things are subjective, but they offer a better framework, based on history, for making our next big bet.
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Fred I. Greenstein, Professor of Politics Emeritus at Princeton University, calls out 6 attributes most related to success in office , a veritable scorecard for our use:. Read his descriptions of these skills , as he offers excellent, and easy to understand examples from history.
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Historically great presidents were low on straightforwardness, vulnerability and order. Which flies in the face of how the well mannered, A-student, stately-goody-two-shoes personality profile candidates are expected to fit into during campaign season.
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Here it is. In 30 minutes you too can have a solid grounding on what makes for a good president, and have everything necessary to make a choice truly in the best interest of the United States. Have better, more reasoned advice for Americans? How would you recommend Americans pick a president?
Regardless of the fact that the poll was — in theory — made up of a mix not a balance of ideologically diverse professors and historians, one might argue that this still would skew liberal given the propensity of academia. In all, I agree with your method. I wish more people knew more about the Constitution and the writings of our founding fathers or understood the basic role of our Government and our President. The use of Time magazine and a Princeton Professor to define the criteria for what makes a good president also is a concern. Time is repeatedly biased toward the left.
So is academia. I did a fair amount of research for this essay, and the references I included were simply the strongest I found online. Regarding speaking: I think of communication as a skill.