Trump and Stock Market Updates

In response to Peloci’s impeachment inquiry, Trump on Twitter invoked the possibility of civil war should he be removed from office. Predictably, the liberal media was apoplectic. Which does not make much sense to me because one would think that the far left would support civil war given that the last time there was a civil war in the US, it ended slavery and lead to the dissolution of the Confederate States of America. Some on the right also support civil war, as a last resort to lessen the left’s grip on cultural and government institutions. This makes me think that much of the outrage over civil war was manufactured by elites.

My take is, there won’t be anything even close to civil war should Trump be removed from office. In recent years, America feels like it’s on the precipice of all-out unrest and civil war that seems so close yet never happens. Since Trump was elected, there have only been a few incidents of unrest and politically-motivated violence [1], and this is even more remarkable given how populous the US is, so the per-capita incidence of political violence in the US is very low relative to all other developed countries, only second in peacefulness to Japan. Hong Kong, Turkey, Brazil, France, Spain, Italy, etc. have much more unrest on an absolute and per-capita basis. A lot of Americans on either side of the aisle may not like the status quo, but there isn’t much impetus to do anything about it.

Another question is, what effect will impeachment or Trump’s removal from office have on the stock market and US economy. There is a ton of research about this, and the consensus is, not much. The US economy in 2001 went into recession due to 911 and the bursting of the tech bubble, not because of Clinton was impeached, which happened in December 1998. Similarity, the recession in the early 70’s was attributed to high oil prices and other factors, not due to Nixon resigning. Pence is possibly more market-friendly than Trump and may summarily end the tariffs on China if Trump leaves. But , to reiterate, I think the odds of Trump being impeached are way lower than prediction markets suggest.

My prediction is, regardless of what happens in Washington, the post-2009 bull market and economic expansion will last for at least another 8 years. The selling in the stock market now will prove short-lived. In spite of all the media hype and doom and gloom about tariffs and trade wars, the total return of S&P 500 is about 7% higher (which includes dividends) today than in January 2018. The only people who care about tariffs are the media, and maybe some farmers. To most people, the effects are imperceptible. After Trump announced the first round of tariffs in early 2018, the S&P 500 fell to 2650. Anyone who bought on that dip, as I recommended, would have made 12%.

[1] If we include mass shootings, the incidence rises, but one must take into account that there have always been mass shootings regardless of who is in power, so one has to adjust by the baseline rate to show that there has been abnormally high incidence of mass shootings under Trump. The evidence suggest not.