Presidential Election Analysis - September 1, 2012

The Republican National Convention is over and now we get to look forward to (or not) the Democratic National Convention.  While I am biasedly libertarian and will absolutely not vote for Romney or Obama, I am going to try to offer some unbiased analysis.

I didn't watch the whole convention in Tampa, but I did see a few speeches.  I saw Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Clint Eastwood, and Mitt Romney.  I have to say that out of all of those people, Romney was by far the least charismatic.  Perhaps Eastwood's speech was a little strange, but it wasn't boring.  Plus, it may have even rattled the establishment a little.  And I'm not saying that I believed all of the talk about liberty from the other speakers, but they were somewhat charismatic.

Romney, on the other hand, comes across as stiff and robotic.  He is another John Kerry or Al Gore.  He is a dud.  He does not come across as stupid like George W. Bush, but he doesn't really come across as all that likeable.  He doesn't come across as unlikeable either (except for some of the things he is saying).  He seems like a decent family man, but it is always hard to say.  I consider most politicians to be sleazy, and I'm sure he is no exception.  Regardless, he just doesn't have much appeal to the average person.  Republicans are supporting him because they hate Obama.

I'm not saying that Romney's lack of charisma is a reason to not support him, but it is a reason that millions of Americans won't support him.  It should be for his bad policy proposals and his lack of principles, but it will be his lack of charisma that mostly haunts him.

After the Democrat's convention, Obama will likely get a slight bounce back up in the polls.  At that point, I think Obama is the favorite to win the election.

Romney and the Republican establishment really ticked off the Ron Paul supporters in Tampa.  The word has spread quickly through the internet of their treatment.  My guess is that the large majority of Ron Paul people will not vote for Romney.  They probably won't vote for Obama either.  Some will go to Gary Johnson, some will write in Ron Paul's name, and some will stay home.  Regardless, Romney will not get many Paul supporters voting for him.

I do see one scenario where Obama could lose to Romney.  If there is some major bad economic news in the next two months, then Obama may be done.  For example, let's say that the stock market (the Dow) drops 2,000 points over the next two months.  Let's say that unemployment continues to tick back up.  This may be enough to tip the scales in favor of Romney.  Ironically, there is not much Obama can do about this.

Most potential voters are probably already decided at this point.  There is probably about 10% of the voting population who could still go either way.  If things stay the same between now and the election, then they will likely default towards Obama.  If things are looking worse, particularly economically, then they might decide to pull the lever for Romney.

I know I make a lot of Republicans mad when I say this, but I don't thing it will matter much either way.  In some ways, Romney could possibly be worse if he decides to take military action against Iran. As far as economics, Romney will not be any better than Obama, especially because there will no longer be any opposition to big government coming from the House of Representatives, even if it is just in rhetoric only.  There might be a slight hope of repealing Obamacare if Romney wins, but even this is doubtful.  The Republicans would have to win the Senate and then they would actually have to get the votes for repeal.

As far as investment implications, I don't think there are any.  Conservatives think that the economy is completely dependent upon extending the so-called Bush tax cuts.  Liberals (in the modern use of the term) think that the economy will run better if we tax the rich more.  But it all goes so far beyond tax rates.  More important is the spending, government regulations, and Fed policy.

If Romney is elected and all of the tax cuts are extended into 2013, it will not make much of a difference.  We are still facing a massive recession, or else massive price inflation before that.  It cannot be avoided at this point because of all of the previous malinvestment that has taken place.

It is somewhat ironic because the Democrats and Republicans should be hoping the other side wins.  Whoever is president in the next term is going to face major economic problems and is probably going take a lot of blame.  The problems have already been created.  The only way to solve them at this point is to cut spending massively and default on some of the government promises.  I don't expect that out of Obama or Romney, unless they have no choice.

In conclusion, I predict Obama will win unless there is some kind of major change like a big drop in the stock market.  Intrade is also predicting an Obama win at this point, with about 58% voting (with their money) in favor of an Obama win.