Beto O’Rourke, long expected to step into the race for the Democratic bid, has finally announced he will. The young Texan lost a close race to Ted Cruz in Texas in November, but is aiming to ride his surge in popularity to the White House. Unlike many other contenders from the Democratic party, he is more of a centrist, not adopting the now-common socialist platform. Commenting on his candidacy, Beto says “The challenges that we face right now, the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate have never been greater. They will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America”.
FINSUM: Outside of maybe Bernie Sanders, we think Beto is the biggest contender to Trump because he may be able to simultaneously get voters on the far left and some of Trump’s more centrist supporters.
The pool of Democrats keeps moving left. In what comes as a no surprise (but was not a sure thing), Bernie Sanders has just announced his candidacy for the 2020 election. His platform is going to be built around three pillars: free education, Medicare for all, and a $15 minimum wage. Sanders narrowly missed the Democratic nomination in 2016 and has a particularly strong following among the young.
FINSUM: Politics could not be more polarizing right now, so in many ways it makes sense that the Democratic candidates are quite far left. The difference between now and 2016 is that those leftist narratives have more popular traction than the more centrist position Hillary Clinton adopted then.
The Democrats may have won the House, but they are at a definitive crossroads. While the Republicans currently have a well-defined brand and agenda, the Democrats found themselves largely without a leader and without a clear agenda (other than being anti-Trump). That means they will have some big decisions to make in the near term as they try to mount a push for the presidency in 2020. There appear to be two major policy decisions the party is considering. The first is whether pursuing a fruitless impeachment against Donald Trump would be worthwhile, and the second, and frankly more intriguing question, is whether they will adopt a “Medicare for all” platform.
FINSUM: So much hangs in the balance right now. The Democrats have let themselves be overshadowed by the Republican party and will need to find their ideological and policy footing ahead of the next election. We expect the party’s agenda will move further left in order to serve as a mobilizing foil for its base.
It looks like Michael Bloomberg, founder of the eponymous financial data firm, is eyeing a run at the White House. The move, which the Financial Times quipped was one New York Billionaire trying to replace another as president, surprises no one, as Bloomberg has been hinting at his run for some time. He has given over $100m to Democratic candidates for the midterm elections, something a staffer said was “a hell of a lot of IOUs”. Bloomberg will be 78 years old in 2020.
FINSUM: Speaking purely from a competitive standpoint, we have mixed feelings about whether he would be a good candidate for the Democratic party. On the one hand, he is more centrist than a lot of other Democrats, so could get some Republican votes. But on the other, he is also a New York billionaire, which could turn some off.
Everyone is feeling it, but no one is sure when it might actually come. The big question is when will this bull market end and finally reverse into the bear market everyone fears. While a solid case could be made that it has already happened, Barron’s says it will be in 2020. The logic is that in 2020 the US will be facing genuinely higher rates, and the short-term benefits from tax cuts will have faded from earnings and the economy.
FINSUM: There is a serious argument to be made that the market may have already peaked, but the idea of a 2020 downturn sounds quite compelling too.