What a long, strange trip it's been for the Democratic Party and their race to retake the White House. The race began with an extremely crowded field, and Joe Biden emerged as the very early favorite. Then he faded, way back to the middle of the pack. Different candidates, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, took their turns as the favorite/presumptive nominee.
Biden came back strong from irrelevancy, to the point now that his clinching a primary win is a matter of when, not if. Regarding the general election, the odds were heavily in favor of Trump as recently as late February. It's a totally different race today, with Biden and Trump almost tied in what has been a disastrous few days for the President.
The effect of Covid-19 and the stock market crash that it's caused have been a double-barrelled game changer for the Presdient. While, yes, it's not Trump's fault that a global pandemic broke out, he's done himself zero favors with extremely poor public facing on the situation. Numerous times, we've seen Trump disinform and misinform, sometimes out of ignorance, other times out of extremist self-interest.
Either way, a majority of Americans don't feel comfortable in the way POTUS 45 is/can handle the coronavirus crisis, and you're seeing that lack of confidence reflected in the Dow Jones average continuing to crash. Monday saw the worst single day drop since the infamous Black Monday of 1987, a trading session that saw such a sharp drop, trading was halted for 15 minutes.
It was the third time in the last six trading sessions that the halt measures were triggered, a statistic reflective of just how spooked the markets are right now. Any time the market drops 7%, it triggers a circuit breaker and the 15 minute break on trading activates. The first time it happened was 23 years ago, in 1997.
The Fed's emergency rate cut to zero and quantitative easing measures, which included a $700 billion stimulus package, on Sunday were simply not enough to calm the markets. The Dow rebounded on Tuesday, a Primary Election day in three states: Illinois, Florida and Arizona. Biden triumphed in all three, with Sanders' chances for the nomimation dissipating significantly by the week.
Perhaps the midday White House press briefing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday helped the markets out? Mnuchin is pitching a $1 trillion government aid/fiscal stimulus package to Congress. Mnuchin said that the government is looking to get emergency funds to Americans "immediately," to try and help alleviate some of the unprecedented financial stress that's afflicting citizens in numerous industries. It is set to include a first wave of checks sent to every American adult, beginning April 6 that will cost the treasury $500 billion.
Some sectors, such as travel, hospitality, sports and entertainment, are in total shut down for the foreseeable future. The businesses reliant on these industries are taking a massive hit as well.
Hiring freezes are becoming more widespread, and layoffs could soon follow. Meanwhile the Fed announced another additional $500 billion plan to supplement the emergency announcement this past weekend. Unfortunately, Wednesday was another massive day in the red, with all the major indices significantly down across rhe board. As of this writing, the big board has lost 1,200 points, or about 5% on the day.
The Dow is now officially at a level lower than it was when Trump took office. Right now the government is reinstating measures used during the global financial crisis in 2008, and the current general anxiety in this country is certainly on par with, if not higher than immediately after 9/11.
And it's all awful news for Trump and his party come November. Of course, there's still a long way to go between now and the election, as the situation changes drastically by the hour, let alone the day. It's really hard to forecast anything beyond a 14-15 day period right now.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and ChicagoNow.
He's been a featured guest in dozens of media outlets including The History Channel. His work has been cited in hundreds of publications including the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.