Monday, June 02, 2008

Presidential Pincer

Or, why I'd be bullish on John McCain. So far, we've seen that Barack Obama has a big problem with downscale white voters. "Clinging" to guns and religion, Mrs. Obama's lack of pride in America, etc., have rubbed them the wrong way. Unless Obama can pull a rabbit out of the hat with his choice of veep, I suspect that he will never be in play for states like Tennessee, West Virginia, or Kentucky. That's not good news for the Obama campaign, but when push comes to shove Mr. Obama can afford to lose them. It will also hurt in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, which are a lot more important in the grand scheme of things. But even though this is somewhat old news, it's only half the story.

What we haven't seen yet, however, is the other half of the pincer. It has flown almost completely under radar so far, but the prospect of Barack Obama as POTUS pushes the stock market down. Expect to see a lot more of this before the election. The stock market probably prefers Republicans to Democrats in the abstract, but I expect it to be especially sensitive to the Presidential race because of the likelihood that the Dems will sweep all the elected arms of the federal government. The investor class is much bigger now than it was, say, 25 years ago. Many upscale voters would otherwise vote for Barack Obama might think again when the stock market gives a sneak preview of what the Obama Presidency might be like.

It's important to emphasize however, that this silver lining for the GOP is only good at the Presidential level, and only works there to the extent that it offsets somewhat, the huge advantage the Democrats currently enjoy. Independently of John McCain, the GOP has to figure out what it stands for and act on it, to be a credible party after this November.

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