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.
In what seemed an inevitable development, House Democrats are starting their push against the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest. The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets will devote a hearing next Thursday to the SEC’s new rule proposal. The chairwoman of the committee is Maxine Waters, who was a champion of the defunct DOL Rule. Waters has commented on the SEC BI Rule that “When you have investment advisers who are not acting in [clients'] best interests but acting in their own best interests, it does not bode well for our senior investors in particular”.
FINSUM: We think the SEC BI Rule is a long way from ever getting enacted and will likely experience significant redrafting before implementation.
US investors got spooked yesterday by the Democrats’ “healthcare for all” proposal to bring universal socialized care to all Americans. The big fears manifested themselves in insurance stocks, which were hit considerably. However, the proposal has little chance of getting approved as it will certainly be blocked by the Senate. Even if a Democratic president gets elected, it is unlikely the Democrats would gain the 60 seats in the Senate necessary to approve such a move. Therefore, most analysts expect insurance stocks to recover, though not immediately.
FINSUM: We do not think that this plan will come to pass any time soon, but we do think the country is headed in that direction because of the leftist leanings of Millennials, who will slowly gain political power.
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.
Advisors need to be worried about 2020 because some major changes may be on the way. Some of the most prominent Democrats, including presidential candidates are putting forth incredibly progressive proposals which call for heavy tax hikes. For instance, Elizabeth Warren, who will be running for president in 2020, is calling for a wealth tax of 2-3% on those with over $50m of assets. Economists say such a measure would raise almost $3 tn over a decade. Democratic party darling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez (D-N.Y.) has put forward a plan calling for up to 70% tax rates on the wealthiest Americans.
FINSUM: In our view, the specific plans are not as important at the moment as the overall direction of the Democratic party and its candidates. While this is very divisive policy, it is a reflection of how polarizing national politics have become. It is also notable because this kind of major plan is the type of platform that can really drive Democratic policy going forward. This may become a rallying cry for the party.