Biden his time

It is easy to forget it is an election year. Having spent much of his Presidency painting Twitter in exclamation marks, a sick economy presents a sticky problem for Trump’s re-election campaign. It is likely he will be heading to the polls with some of the ugliest unemployment data of any sitting President. And of late, the betting odds have shifted, with the markets now showing Biden in front. Indeed, there appears to be money piling onto a full Democratic sweep; blue goes the Senate and the House. Whilst a President Biden would likely extend the broader status quo, a bigger change in Washington would fan Pelosi’s ardent policy agenda. In our minds, Biden would be a weak President, and would defer to the Party. Given his age, he would sit for one term and dance to Pelosi’s tune. Whilst a recession may cobble Trump, for Biden it presents a different set of risks. Polls show that voters trust Trump to fix the economy, despite being on the tiller when the ship hit the rocks. Rightly or wrongly, he’s seen as a deal-maker. A doer. He is also an avid protectionist, with a muscular and outspoken approach to geopolitical engagement that chimes with the flowering scepticism towards both China, and the established order of globalisation. Another development is that Biden, appears set to opt for a female Vice-President. Amongst the contenders Warren is clearly qualified, Harris offers ethnic diversity, Klobuchar is a traditional liberal cut in Biden’s mould. All have issues. Perhaps Gretchen Whitmer, the Governor of Michigan and a key swing state, sitting out in left-field but with little experience in the corridors of power, could yet come through on the outside. The field is open. Time will tell, but the bookmakers – at print – appear to favour Klobuchar. Whilst the polls and betting markets suggest change, both have been spectacularly wrong and the outcome of the 2020 election is more fluid than ever. It’s an exciting time for bottom-up stock picking, as the associated volatility of the election run in will throw up both risk, and opportunity.