The Wall Street Santa Claus Rally

Record high closings, a booming U.S. economy, and Democrats may soon need a new message on the economy.

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U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. March 15, 2016. (photo: Gage Skidmore)

2019 was an unfortunate year for millionaire career politicians like the distinguished Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Sanders of Massachusetts. It was an unfortunate year for many others who have forged their fortunes on a message that the evil rich are bilking masses of noble impoverished people like some sort of Dickensonian parody of an old Victorian novel.

Trump, the ruthless robber baron; themselves, lone beacons of truth in an Orwellian pre-apocalyptic wasteland; doing a far, far better deed than they have ever done at great personal sacrifice. The world, they sigh, must be saved from capitalism.

In reality, the non-partisan number crunchers tell us we’re living through the most prosperous period in all of human history. The decade that will be ending in a few days saw the largest number of people lifted out of extreme poverty in history. The worldwide extreme poverty rate has fallen, for the first time, to under 10%. It was 60% in 1958.

This side of the Atlantic, the U.S. economy is booming and American consumers are brimming with confidence.

This holiday season was so full of economic good cheer, Republicans could scarcely contain themselves. Democrats can’t seem to contain the news either, though for different reasons.

While 2019 was peppered with dire warnings of a deep recession in response to Trumpian failure being imminent, the rosy fiscal outlook for the U.S. heading into 2020 has put pay to all but the most stubbornly persistent.

The sky, as it turns out, was not falling at all. Wall Street is far from spooked and seems to be betting on the outcome of House Democrat impeachment proceedings being Donald Trump still in office. Wall Street is betting on a trade deal with China, too.

The Saturday before Christmas, that last bastion for last-minute shoppers, reached an all-time retail high in 2019. Shoppers spent an estimated 34.4 billion on December 21, 2019 and retail sales grew 3.4% from 2018.

Unemployment stands at a 50-year low, with record low unemployment for African-Americans, Latinos, and women.

Whether the Democratic candidates for president are willing to admit it or not, U.S. consumer confidence is very high with 76% of Americans rating the economy as very or somewhat good.

In the debates so far, Democratic candidates have parried questions relating to the strong economy with demurs about economic improvements not really improving things for everyone. Then, they change the subject.

This is not going to get Democrats the support and votes they need to win in swing states and in heavily working class districts. Democrats need a better message on the economy than “but wait, look over here.”

How can Democrats possibly know what voters do want to hear about the economy and economic growth?

Easy. In all three recent Moody’s polling models, the ones that have been right every year save one since 1980- 2016 when they predicted Hillary Clinton would win- Trump is winning by a landslide in 2020. Why?

Because the average voter is better off financially than they were four years ago. The Trump stock market rally is far outpacing past U.S. presidents, according to CNBC. And what Moody’s calls the “pocketbook model” draws a direct link between stock performance and voter contentment.

Online behemoth Amazon delivered its last Christmas package at 11:59 p.m. in Seattle on Christmas Eve and reported a whopping 21.6% stock gain over the last year. The only problems are growing pains as demand for Amazon products continues to skyrocket and the delivery and fulfillment infrastructure struggles to keep up.

The S&P 500 index is up 30.6% over the last year and the Nasdaq passed 9,000-points for the first time in history this week. Things are looking up on Wall Street- way up.

Democrats can choose to ignore these deafening bellwethers. They can continue to feed the fed horse of impeachment, which is failing to move the needle in Democrats favor by any known metric.

Or Democrats can choose to meet Trump head-on, discussing how the economy would be doing even better with a cool-handed Democrat to steady the helm.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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