The Perfect Storm of the Presidential Election

By Todd Harrison  NOV 06, 2012 10:15 AM

Decision day has arrived for those with the ability to vote.



Editor's Note: Todd posts his vibes in real time each day on our Buzz & Banter.

Election Day is here and you know what that means—decisions, debates, and divisiveness; and at the end of the day, we may not have any more clarity than we do now. 

Hurricane Sandy provides the perfect cover for controversy, which would be apropos given the wild ride this year. This is conjecture, mind you, but when the dust settles, my sense is that Obama gets four more years. You know it won’t come easy.

With that said, I will offer a contrarian view. As backward as it sounds, an Obama victory could stave off an entirely more profound stock market negative: Mitt Romney's vocal distaste for Bernanke and his policies, which have provided 15 trillion-odd reasons why the stock market isn't much lower (this is not a natural tape given the intervention).

I'm a card-carrying free-market guy so don't shoot the messenger. And there's no guarantee that Big Ben will opt-in to another term regardless of who wins the election. It's a pretty thankless job, as most jobs are these days; I would imagine that grading papers, smoking a pipe, and posturing theses is an attractive alternative to being in a venomous bull's eye. 

Meanwhile, a biting reality is starting to set in on the east coast. For those of us without power—1.35 million all told—it's not about the haves or the have nots, our next president, or venting at the utilities; it's about preparing for the nor'easter that is barreling up the coast. 
While commuting this morning on the Long Island Railroad—in between the screaming, yelling, and yes, actual fights—I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal.

"Sandy has done what Occupy Wall Street tried and failed to do," says a person said to be a fixture at high-end benefit galas. "It's made people think about the people who don't have what I have."

That's true, to a point. Once upon a time, immediately following 9/11, Wall Street banks helped Wall Street banks, arm-in-arm, side-by-side, reeling from unfathomable devastation until a more provocative motivator emerged: Money.

History may not repeat, but it will likely rhyme. Hopefully we'll carry forward some empathy, understanding, and appreciation of our fellow human beings. This isn't coming from someone on the other side of the tracks (my home is currently a "have not"); I've been highlighting this societal chasm long before it rose to the mainstream consciousness.

There are a lot of good people out there—I know folks who dutifully trained for the New York City Marathon for more than a year and rather than lamenting its cancellation (which was the right decision), they spent Sunday in Long Beach, helping people who lost everything find something, maybe even a glimmer of  hope.

That human spirit will save this country; it will take time, patience, perseverance, and fortitude, but it will get better out there; you have my word on that.

Random Thoughts:

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Twitter: @todd_harrison

No positions in stocks mentioned.