A couple of years ago I met an old Canadian business friend of mine for the first time for a while. He had been the Finance Director in Canada of the Corporation for which we both worked but like me he was now retired. We swapped notes about what we were doing and about the state of the World – as you do. I made some mildly disparaging remark about Donald Trump who was a year or so into his presidency and was already showing signs of his inappropriateness for high office – “Yes” said my friend “but look at Wall Street”.
On rational, moral or national reputation grounds there is no case for Trump. He’s a grotesque political aberration of unimaginable ineptitude and dysfunctionality. But even today he’s at 40% in the opinion polls when you’d think he should be in single figures. And the Republican Party, with one or two honourable exceptions, still supports him. Why?
The first reason that the idea of Trump’s re-election is not the zero chance option it should be is the continued support of poor whites. This is not a Liberal cohort and they are Trumpite to a man or woman. Every race inspired riot enhances Trump’s support in this group of disadvantaged Americans. The second reason that Trump is not out of it is the Fat Cat vote.
Those at the top of the tree financially got there in part on the back of a booming Wall Street. When your personal wealth grows with little effort on your path you vote for the ideology that does it – if the standard bearer of that ideology is Donald Trump so be it.
Strong stock markets with healthy dividend-paying shares are not just good for the Fat Cats of course. My Pension Fund still invests heavily in the equity asset class, and there are plenty of investment funds important to ordinary citizens like me predicated on Wall Street or FTSE Blue Chips. If Wall Street stays strong up to November and Trump can get across the message that this is good for all Americans don’t write him off.