Furious Trump Mauls Biden; Here are the Implications
Author: Greg Valliere
September 30, 2020
LAST NIGHT’S EMBARRASSING, cringe-inducing debate was all about Donald Trump — angry and belligerent, breaking all the rules — as he crudely mauled Joe Biden, who at times seemed stunned by the ferocity. But Trump needed to win a dwindling group of undecided voters, and on that score he probably failed.
WITH BOTH CANDIDATES TALKING PAST EACH OTHER, it’s difficult to imagine that either of them won many new converts; millions of viewers may have dropped out before the debate ended. So we have to conclude that the race probably hasn’t changed much, with Biden still ahead by about 6 points in the popular vote and on a path to capture a narrow Electoral College victory.
BIDEN WAS ADEQUATE: We masochistically watched the debate a second time during the night, and thought Biden was more assertive than our initial impression. Yes, Biden looks old, but he was sure-footed with his sound bites and got in his own shots against Trump. Biden was adequate, with no serious gaffes; he cleared the low bar that Trump inexplicably gave him.
Some key take-aways:
This Could Get Worse: The chilling comments by Trump on a “rigged” election reinforced our belief that he will go all the way to the Supreme Court if it looks like he narrowly lost. Trump will claim that mail-in ballots in key states are fraudulent, and there are fresh examples of irregularities in New York that will reinforce his argument.
The markets have to brace for weeks of uncertainty; the high court didn’t settle Bush v. Gore until Dec. 12, 2000. Could a protracted stalemate lead to civil unrest? Trump didn’t make any effort last night to calm his far-right supporters.
Missed Opportunities: Inexplicably, Biden did not pounce on the New York Times assertion that Trump owes over $400 million to creditors; that’s the most serious allegation regarding Trump’s taxes. And Biden did not point out that the federal government owns most of the smoldering California forests, which Trump insists are poorly managed.
Let’s Call it Off? The debate was such a train wreck that there will be inevitable
calls today to skip the next two debates. But we doubt that either candidate would
agree. Next comes the VP debate on Oct. 7, then two more Trump-Biden clashes, on Oct. 15 and 22.
The next big event: This Friday’s unemployment report might show that the summer economic recovery is running out of steam. We continue to believe the economy needs more fiscal stimulus — it’s not a question of whether, but when. Steve Mnuchin may offer a final proposal today to Nancy Pelosi, but a deal is more likely to come later rather than sooner.
The bottom line: We’re still not ready to make a final call (let’s see the post-debate polls), although we continue to believe that if the election were held today, Biden would win, probably taking the Senate with him. Can Trump narrow the gap in the final five weeks? Perhaps — but not if he has another debate like last night; Trump’s anger and bullying hurt his cause.
The views expressed in this blog are provided as a general source of information based on information available as of the date of publication and should not be considered as personal investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy and/or sell securities. Speculation or stated believes about future events, such as market or economic conditions, company or security performance, or other projections represent the beliefs of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of AGF, its subsidiaries or any of its affiliated companies, funds or investment strategies. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in these commentaries at the time of publication; however, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Market conditions may change and AGF accepts no responsibility for individual investment decisions arising from the use of or reliance on the information contained herein. Any financial projections are based on the opinions of the author and should not be considered as a forecast. The forward looking statements and opinions may be affected by changing economic circumstances and are subject to a number of uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward looking statements. The information contained in this commentary is designed to provide you with general information related to the political and economic environment in the United States. It is not intended to be comprehensive investment advice applicable to the circumstances of the individual.
AGF Investments is a group of wholly owned subsidiaries of AGF Management Limited, a Canadian reporting issuer. The subsidiaries included in AGF Investments are AGF Investments Inc. (AGFI), AGF Investments America Inc. (AGFA), AGF Investments LLC (AGFUS) and AGF International Advisors Company Limited (AGFIA). AGFA and AGFUS are registered advisors in the U.S. AGFI is a registered as a portfolio manager across Canadian securities commissions. AGFIA is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. The subsidiaries that form AGF Investments manage a variety of mandates comprised of equity, fixed income and balanced assets.
About AGF Management Limited
Founded in 1957, AGF Management Limited (AGF) is an independent and globally diverse asset management firm. AGF brings a disciplined approach to delivering excellence in investment management through its fundamental, quantitative, alternative and high-net-worth businesses focused on providing an exceptional client experience. AGF’s suite of investment solutions extends globally to a wide range of clients, from financial advisors and individual investors to institutional investors including pension plans, corporate plans, sovereign wealth funds and endowments and foundations.
For further information, please visit AGF.com.
©2022 AGF Management Limited. All rights reserved.