As the 1992 presidential campaign heated up, it was evident that the U.S. economy was still struggling. And, although 90% of Americans polled in March 1991 approved of President Bush’s performance, just a year later the president’s approval rating had dropped below 40%. While not terrible, the growth that had been enjoyed for most of the previous decade was not being realized.
It was in this atmosphere that James Carville implemented three constant reminders for Bill Clinton’s campaign workers:
- Change vs. more of the same
- The economy, stupid
- Don’t forget healthcare
Since that time the truth has come back around with every election. Not once in the past 60 years has an incumbent who was voted into office lost when the markets were in an upturn. Consider carefully the chart below, representing the S&P 500 during this time. The green lines represent the re-election of incumbents. The red line represents the defeat of an incumbent.
After the presidential debates, almost all honest analysts had to admit that Obama had been trounced by Romney. However, the real question is in regard to how much this will affect the elections.
Americans have a history of myopia. Few will remember the last four years. Few will be swayed by Obama’s America 2016. That’s why Americans re-elected President Clinton in 1996. Again, it was the economy, stupid.
Something very interesting happened on the heels of the recent debate. The markets surged forward after the dust cleared. Exactly why this would happen is unclear, other than that they were looking for an excuse to do so.
However, this could certainly be an interesting twist of irony. How incredible would it be for Romney’s clear debate victory to spur the markets forward, only to result in Obama’s victory?
If history is any teacher, it doesn’t seem incredible at all. With so many Americans loving their Obamaphones and buying into the lies of Obamacare and other socialist programs being forced down our throats, it’s very possible we’ll get another four years of the same.
This isn’t a plug for Romney. It’s an indictment against the American people. If I was plugging someone, it would be a libertarian who was clearly coming from the Austrian school of economics (such as Paul Ryan).
As you consider the mood of the country, the recent move toward QEternity and the move in the markets, watch carefully how the elections unfold. In spite of the highest unemployment rate in decades, a rapidly diminishing middle class, dropping incomes and a deteriorating standard of living, I sincerely expect that, barring a serious market crash in the next couple of weeks, our current president will be re-elected.
Perhaps he knows this. Perhaps that’s why he was so unprepared and distracted in the debate. And perhaps we as a people are so shallow that it just doesn’t matter.
J. Keith Johnson’s Austrian and libertarian perspectives on current socioeconomic and geopolitical affairs are fueled by his insatiable desire to both discover and share the truth. A Goldco Direct affiliate, you’ll find his commentary on The Gold Informant website, as well as various Internet financial and news sites.