If you are hoping a middle of the road Democrat wins the party’s bid, then yesterday’s poll is an alarming one. In a new CNN poll, Bernie Sanders completed a 9-point swing to overtake Joe Biden by 3% in polls of Democratic voters. He rose a full 7 points to 27% support versus Biden’s fall of 2% to 24% overall. The first votes for the candidacy start on February 3rd in Iowa and February 11th in New Hampshire.
FINSUM: Purely looking at this from a political perspective, we think it is hard to say which candidate has the best odds of beating Trump. On the one hand, Biden can certainly capture more of the centrist voters, but on the other, Bernie is a much more realistic embodiment of the current Democrat party and could galvanize its identity to voters.
Trump’s legal team put out a bold proclamation today. In a 171-page briefing that preceded the launch of his impeachment trial in the Senate, Trump’s lawyers argue that he cannot be removed from office for abusing power. They contend that since he did not break any laws, he cannot be removed from office. The team summarized their view, “House Democrats’ novel theory of ‘abuse of power’ improperly supplants the standard of ‘high crimes and misdemeanours’ with a made-up theory that would permanently weaken the presidency by effectively permitting impeachments based merely on policy disagreements”.
FINSUM: This is a very interesting argument as the legal team seems to have changed tactics. Rather than arguing the underlying facts in the case, they are now trying to say that even if all the facts are true, Trump still cannot be removed from office.
It has been more than 18 months of brinksmanship in the making, but the US and China are apparently set to seal a phase one trade deal. The deal will be signed at 11:30 am in the White House. The deal leaves out a lot of the most difficult and contentious issues between the countries, but is a sign that things are improving. The FT summarizes the substance of the deal this way, saying “It commits China to making $200bn in additional purchases of US goods, including farm products, and other pledges on currency and intellectual property, in exchange for a small rollback in some tariffs and an indefinite hold on further punitive measures out of Washington”.
FINSUM: The key thing here is that both countries want this work out and this deal is a step in the right direction. We find this quite positive in the grand scheme of things.
Conservatives and investors, consider yourselves notified: Bernie Sanders could very well be the next president. Bernie is jumping in the Democratic race and now looks like the frontrunner after what looked like a failing campaign just a few months ago. Bloomberg is draining votes from Biden, which is helping Bernie. He is looking very good in the first three big contests of the Democratic primary, and it looks more likely than not that he will win the bid. He had a huge fundraising round in Q4, leading the democratic field. What made his dominance in fundraising so impressive was not just the size relative to the crowded race, but the fact that his average donation was only $20, showing the scale and intensity of his support.
FINSUM: We still think Bernie would falter against Trump in the main race, but his odds for getting the bid are improving.
This week the House voted to impeach president Trump. But in a little known technicality, he is not formally impeached until the House speaker hands over the impeachment to the Senate to hold its trial. House speaker Pelosi is dragging her feet on doing so in an effort to get the Senate to run the kind of trial the Democrats think is fair. In response, Trump himself is demanding an immediate trial, with Senate leader McConnell mocking the Democrats for their previous urgency on impeachment coupled with their stalling strategy now.
FINSUM: Whether you are on the right or the left, the delay by Pelosi does not look good as it is a contradiction of the previous urgency.
While it never really seemed to be in doubt, it is all but certain now that Democrats are going to bring articles of impeachment against President Trump. The party is likely to bring two separate articles against Trump by today, with an additional one possible. One will be focused on abuse of power, and the other one or two on obstructing Congress and obstruction of justice. In response to Republican criticism that the Democrats are rushing the impeachment process, Jerrold Nadler said “I want to be absolutely clear: the integrity of our next election is at stake. Nothing could be more urgent”.
FINSUM: No surprises here, but this will likely all be for nothing because of the Senate.