Trump vs. Hillary – Who is Winning the Race?

Greetings from San Diego!  As I write this, I am attending LPL’s Annual Focus Conference with 4,000 other advisors, along with portfolio managers, economists and other investment professionals.  Today, we heard Paul Begala (D) and Tucker Carlson (R), political commentators and co-hosts of CrossFire, discuss the upcoming election.


Paul Begala (D) and Tucker Carlson (R)

The Republican View – Tucker Carlson

According to Tucker, we are seeing a national referendum on the global economy, which has not happened in recent history.  We see the coasts voting for Clinton and the struggling areas, (such as the center of the country) voting for Trump.  Tucker believes that the elite has ignored the issue of income inequality and the fact that the middle class is withering, which has given rise to the Trump candidacy.  Basically, Tucker believes that Trump has forced a discussion that the Washington elite has been choosing to ignore.

According to Tucker, if you have a society where the overwhelming majority of the fruits of growth go disproportionally to a few, then you create an inherently unstable economy.  We start looking like an under-developed Third World country, where the ruling class exists alongside everyone else (who are really mad).  Tucker believes the solution is to include more people in the growth of the economy.  He also believes that you need to listen to the people, which has not happened recently.  What is the message that the voter is sending to the ruling class?  First, globalization has a downside, and that needs to be acknowledged.  Second, mass immigration does not benefit everyone equally, particularly those at the bottom of the pay scale.

Trump Hillary race

The Democratic View – Paul Begala

In reply, Paul Begala believes that Donald Trump is either stark raving mad or the greatest performer of all time.  He believes that Clinton will win, despite the deck being stacked against her.  The vast majority of governorships are held by Republicans.  The House and Senate are also held by the Republicans.  When polled, 65% of the population believe that we are moving in the wrong direction.  Parties don’t win three presidencies in a row, as the last time that happened was Reagan and Bush winning (against Dukakis).  But, Paul believes that Clinton will win despite all of this because Trump is such a bad candidate.

Paul thinks there are two very big things going on.  First, there has been stagnant median income for years.  That frustrates the typical Trump voter, who is a high school educated older white man.  Their pay is down and they are working their hearts out.  Second, there has been an explosion of diversity.  Only ten years ago, we used to have an 80% white population, and now there is only a 70% white population.  This disruption creates mistrust and Donald Trump walked right into this.  Paul doesn’t like Trump because he believes that Trump is preying on these fears.  He doesn’t believe that Trump cares about protecting low wage American workers, given his labor record at Mar-a-lago and his employment of undocumented workers.  Regardless of his disingenuous approach, Paul believes that Trump can’t win with this message because there aren’t enough angry white men to propel him to the White House.  Although he won 13 million primary votes, he needs 65 million to win the White House, and that path is lined with women, disabled people, Hispanics, and other minorities — all of whom he has insulted by name.

Trump Insults

Paul believes that Hillary will win as she has followed Napolean’s maxim, never interrupt your opponent when he is destroying himself.  And Tucker acknowledges that if the election were held today, Clinton would probably win, but he believes that Trump has highlighted the message that has been sent from much of America – that our current immigration policies are not working.  In short, the benefit and tragedy of Trump is that he has forced the conversation, but it has been overshadowed by his antics.  Finally, Tucker also believes that Trump may gain ground in the next 76 days if he can make the election more about the average person’s concerns and less about him.  Of course, Paul doesn’t think that can happen as he stated, “when Trump goes to a funeral, he wants to be the corpse, when he goes to the wedding, he wants to be the bride, and when he goes to the christening, he wants to be the baby.”  Very funny!

This is the third time that I have seen Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson, and they never fail to impress.  Stay tuned for next week, where we discuss the economy and the stock market.

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