Do presidential elections affect stock markets?
Your emotions are on edge. The stakes have never been higher. Your vote will change everything!
May no other election in your lifetime be as divisive or ugly as this one. Our elections appear to be more and more partisan. But is this popular opinion accurate?
Perspective here will help. Consider that the musical Hamilton is the single-largest theater event of all time. Let's look at what is really going on. Hamilton is as relevant today as he was 200 years ago.
1800 was the year negative campaigning began. This was a long time ago--216 years, to be exact. Two of the absolute best leaders the world has ever seen--Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson--treated each other horribly in their attempts to win the presidency. The personal attacks were at least as vicious as the stuff today. "Warring and whoring," and this was just the beginning of our country!
Back then, we could avoid the scandals more easily and perhaps we were a little more accepting of it. Time cures all wounds, of course, and some of us long for the "good old days." But that's just a lie we tell ourselves. We were likely a little more rough-and-tumble in the American Frontier. Even in the civilized cities we were still on our honeymoon away from Mother England.
Today, with the internet and cable news, it's nearly impossible to avoid the mudslinging.
In his new book Whistlestop, "Face the Nation" host John Dickerson writes about the sordid history of presidential elections. Exaggeration and misleading comments are not new. Neither are paybacks for political favors.
When I was a student, Warren G. Harding was the poster child of infamy for political paybacks and bribery.
Thinking way back, did you learn about the Teapot Dome Scandal? Ask your SAT-preparing high school relative. They (hopefully) still study this stuff.
Today, we tend to only talk about the most recent presidents when we talk about corruption. For shame! It's so much better than it used to be!
Bad behavior from presidents is not new. If you don't trust John Dickerson, then try this popular website for the best-selling book, Freakonomics, "After researching every presidential contest from 1789 to 2004, my answer is that elections are not getting dirtier. They're just as dirty as they have always been."
The real question is what does this presidential election mean for our investments?
Warren Buffet puts it in perspective: "It's an election year and candidates can't stop speaking about our country's problems (which, of course, only they can solve). As a result of this negative drumbeat, many Americans now believe that their children will not live as well as they themselves do. That view is dead wrong: The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history."
Newsletter readers, please grab a latte and click here to read a complete and thoughtful analysis of what these divisive, partisan election years might mean for our investments.