Barack Obama got reelected President of the United States on Tuesday in a bitterly fought election. Many Republicans are offering reasons and explanations on what happened, why Romney and other Senate candidates lost, and how to proceed in the future. Democrats are hailing the election victory a mandate for their policies. Without question, the citizens of the United States sent a message to people who are wealthy that they are not wanted as political leaders, at least not in the contests of 2012. Across the country, voters also in some instances approved tax increases, certainly in California. I find it interesting, and in my opinion wrong, to believe a country with 50 trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities, and a state like California, which is running 10 billion dollar annual deficits, is not going to focus on ways to cut costs first. Any successful business person knows you take care of what you can control, which is your own spending. If you can find ways to become more efficient you do it right off the bat, as a more productive business is more profitable. However, the majority of the voters across the country apparently do not feel the same way.
With respect to the political situation between the two parties, you must look at the demographics to understand what happened. It is very simple, and obvious, the current Republican party is not seen as an attractive alternative to the Democratic party for young people (especially young women), hispanics, asians, and african americans. The percentage of these voters the democratic party won is way too large of a hurdle for any opponent to overcome. These voting blocks will continue to grow, and the percentage of the vote which is caucasian, around 72%, continues to decline. Barack Obama spend the last 5 years courting these voters and getting them to register to vote, and when it was time to show up to vote, they certainly did. The unwillingness or lack of effort the Republican party made in attempting to engage these constituencies decided this election, and could continue to plague the party of Lincoln for many years to come.
I believe there were many other issues which contributed to the Obama win, certainly with to respect to a few of the choices Mitt Romney made, some of which were forced on him. First, with so much of the Republican primary devoted to a race to see who could be more conservative, Romney had to take positions on immigration and abortion to get himself elected. When the Republican primary dragged on and on it hurt his financial position, so it left him depeleted at the ouset of the general election. At that point, Obama used his resources to paint Romney in such a way as the swing voters in the midwest became convinced Romney was not somebody who they could relate to. Certainly, a legitimate question is how can a guy worth $200 million talk about tax fairness and economic opportunity with someone who earns 30-50 thousand dollars a year? Romney did a good job of trying to answer those questions in the debates, but mindshare is earned by repitition, like advertising. When people see things a thousand times, eventually, they begin to believe the narrative. I also believe picking Paul Ryan was a major mistake, as Romney went 0- for the midwest. The obvious choice was Marco Rubio, and Rubio has a very good chance to be the nominee in 2016. My last thought on the election is I think Mitt Romney very much helped Obama because his ideas about leadership and working with the other side are mandatory for Obama to have any success in his second term. The interesting question is whether Republicans, after having been the recipeint of a brutal advertising campaign by President Obama, are going to want to cooperate.
The stock market has sold off the last few days after Mr. Obama got reelected. Investors are obviously concerned about the fiscal cliff, impending dividend and capital gains tax increases, possible marginal tax rate increases, and the implementation of Obamacare. The stock market always has stocks which are trading where people think they are a bargain. Currently, you can probably find many companies where you can look at the valuation and the stock may be trading near multi year lows. Stepping in to buy these equities can be painful as you are trying to "catch a falling knife." However, you will only know 2-3 years later how wise a decision it was to buy the stock.
Here are some interesting thoughts about how investors are approaching the new year- http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-08/obama-victory-leads-wealthy-to-make-quick-pre-2013-moves.html
Voters decide to raise our taxes-http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-08/voters-to-congress-raise-our-taxes.html
Amazon decides to make a big push into wine-http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/08/third-times-a-charm-amazon-tries-again-with-launch-of-new-vertical-amazon-wine/
Y H & C Investments, Yale Bock, and the family of Yale Bock own positions in securities mentioned in the blog post. Investing in stocks can lead to the complete loss of your capital. As always, on any company mentioned here, past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk of losses on invested capital. One should research any investment and make sure it is suitable with your objectives, risk tolerance, risk profile liquidity considerations, tax situation, and anything else pertinent to your financial situation. Also, the CFA credential in no way implies investment returns will be superior for any charterholder.
Here are some articles written about specific companies by Yale Bock at Seeking Alpha-