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Election 2024: Dumb and Dumber

The most important US election ever? Again...?
THIS is a financial newsletter and not a political service, says Jim Rickards about The Daily Reckoning.
At the same time, it's the case that the financial and political worlds are becoming more closely entwined to the point that it's almost impossible to treat them separately.
That's why we have to keep a close eye on political developments. They can have a major impact on your investments.
For better or worse, the US 2024 presidential election race is in full swing.
I've never seen a presidential election with more at stake. Yes, I know, analysts say that about every election. But with nuclear war, de-Dollarization, and a global financial crisis all on the table there's no exaggeration in this case.
Do we get more woke and more broke under Biden? Can we dig ourselves out from under four years of disastrous economic and foreign policy? It's not too much to say the future of the republic depends on the outcome.
Still, it's far too early to make predictions and I won't even try. But it's important to know what's at stake and the major issues that'll affect the election.
Let's first consider the incumbent president, Joe Biden. Biden is frail, feeble-minded, and unsteady on his feet with audibly slurred speech. He seems lost and confused and has the empty stare of those suffering cognitive decline.
Is he really fit to serve another four years?
Biden is running slightly behind Donald Trump in an average of national polls with Biden having 43.5% support, and Trump getting 44.1%. That's a statistical tie. Neither candidate is close to 50.0%.
Biden has an unfavorability rating of 53.9% compared to a favorable rating of 39.2%; that's a negative 14.7% spread, horrendous for a sitting president. It's a sign of the times that the only major politician with worse ratings is Trump. He's 39.2% favorable, 55.5% unfavorable, a negative 16.3% spread.
Biden's job approval rating on the economy is only 38.3%, a troubling level especially if the economy slips into recession. The American people are treating a Biden-Trump contest as a remake of Dumb and Dumber.
At this point, it's not even clear that Biden will be the Democratic nominee. His obstacles include failing health, removal from office under the 25th Amendment, and further revelations of criminal wrongdoing by Biden himself and his family.
Then there's Trump. He faces multiple criminal charges, all of which are politically motivated.
So far, Trump has been the true Teflon Don and has managed to grow in popularity with overwhelming support for the Republican nomination despite two impeachments, two indictments (with many felony counts), more indictments expected, countless false accusations (Russiagate, January 6th insurrection, etc) and much more adversity.
His political base remains rock solid at about 44% of eligible voters and is over 80% among Republicans. The question is whether that support will wane if Trump is actually convicted at trial.
Most supporters will probably dismiss the convictions as an unjust targeting of Trump and one-sided enforcement of the law. But not all. Independents and moderate women voters will treat it as the last straw and find themselves unable to support a convicted felon in the primary and general elections.
This may be extremely unfair given the amount of criminal activity apparently conducted by the Bidens, but as John F.Kennedy said, "Life is unfair." Even if any convictions are ultimately overturned (a good possibility), it will be too late for Trump.
Like Biden, Trump may not finish the race. Trump does not have the mental and physical problems of Biden (he's sharp and has an extraordinary amount of energy), but his legal problems are more immediate. Biden may be under investigation, but Trump is under indictment.
A conviction will finish Trump despite recourse to appeals and promises of self-pardons if elected.
Even champion thoroughbreds sometimes fall in the backstretch. This may be a race where frontrunners Trump and Biden both fall. That's why the other candidates should stay on your radar screen despite trailing in the polls today.
Who are they? Do they have a realistic chance?
First, let's consider Robert F.Kennedy, Jr. (RFK). The Kennedy family has been a political dynasty. John F.Kennedy was a US senator and president. Robert F.Kennedy was US Attorney General and was also a US senator and presidential candidate. Teddy Kennedy was one of the longest serving and most effective members of the Senate.
Having a father and uncle as senator, and another uncle as president certainly puts Kennedy in historic political company. He certainly has no problem with name recognition.
Here's the key question for Democrats at this early stage of the 2024 election cycle. On the one hand, they regard RFK as some kind of fringe candidate or worse. They talk about his past environmental activism and antivaccine positions as being kooky and unacceptable. They treat RFK as an annoyance, not to be taken seriously.
At the same time Democrat operatives are reportedly getting "the jitters" thinking about a Kennedy candidacy opposing Joe Biden in the Democratic primaries. Well, which is it? If Kennedy is out on the fringe, then there's not much to worry about. On the other hand, if Kennedy is making Democrats nervous then he must be doing something right. The truth is the latter.
Kennedy is polling at about 20% among Democrats, higher in some states. That's comparable to what Eugene McCarthy was polling in 1968 when he had a strong finish in the New Hampshire primary. Shortly after that showing, Lyndon Johnson withdrew from the race and Bobby Kennedy jumped in.
A 20% polling result is not fringe. It's a direct threat to Biden. RFK's views on vaccines are no longer considered fringe either. After being lied to for years by the US government about the so-called Covid "vaccines" (which don't stop infection, and can have deadly side effects), Americans are much more open to RFK's legitimate warnings.
This brings us to one of the wild cards in the race, a true shock. Imagine this headline: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wins the New Hampshire primary.
Most analysts haven't even thought of this possibility, but it's the most likely outcome as of now. Here's why: The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has ordered that the South Carolina primary should go before the New Hampshire primary in 2024.
New Hampshire has long been the first primary in the nation. The reasons for the DNC change are clear. Joe Biden finished fifth in the New Hampshire primary in 2020 and was written off as a candidate. Just eighteen days later, Joe Biden won the South Carolina primary. What happened?
Democrats were scared to death that Bernie Sanders would win the nomination and took drastic steps to make sure Biden won in South Carolina. They enlisted help from James Clyburn, a South Carolina congressman since 1993. Most of the other Democratic candidates at the time dropped out in the days before the primary. The fix was in. Biden won and never looked back.
In 2024, the DNC is taking no chances. They're kicking off the race with South Carolina. The problem is that New Hampshire does not agree. New Hampshire's "first primary" status is actually a state law. The New Hampshire governorship and both houses of the state legislature are controlled by Republicans. They will ignore the DNC and go ahead with their primary before South Carolina. RFK, Jr. has said he is running.
The DNC and the White House say Biden will not run. This means RFK, Jr. will win New Hampshire. At that point, things will get interesting. The Democrat establishment should have the jitters.
On the Republican side, we have to consider Ron DeSantis. From the perspective of education, experience and accomplishment, DeSantis may be the best qualified candidate for president.
DeSantis won many compliments for his handling of the pandemic while governor of Florida. He did everything possible to avoid mandatory masking and vaccinations despite heavy pressure from the Biden White House, and he kept schools open longer than in all but a few states.
He's carved out a niche as the anti-Woke governor and has not been afraid to pick fights with giants such as Disney and the teachers' unions when it comes to standing up for the rights of children.
There seems to be only one thing standing between DeSantis and a trip to the White House – that's Donald J. Trump.
Polls don't mean much at this stage of the race. They're mostly about name recognition and historically are quite different than where the race ends up. For now, Trump is favored by 51.2% of Republican voters while DeSantis is favored by only 21.5%.
That's a 30.6% lead for Trump, usually enough for pundits to say the race is practically over. But given Trump's unfavorability ratings and pending criminal cases, and the fact that Trump does not have a strong lead over Biden, it's far too soon to write off DeSantis.
DeSantis's fortunes are not entirely in his own hands but depend heavily on Trump. If Trump's legal problems do not handicap him, it's hard to see how DeSantis can displace Trump in the Republican field. If Trump is convicted of crimes or if his trials reveal serious wrongdoing (as opposed to the frivolous charges filed by New York), Republicans may turn rapidly to DeSantis as a party savior.
Also, he's only 44 years old, an age that could be considered an asset as Trump and Biden compete to see who the oldest president by the end of his term in office can be.
Perhaps more interesting are potential candidates who are not in the race at the moment. Foremost among these is California Governor Gavin Newsom. Newsom will not challenge Joe Biden directly, but he is ready to pounce if Biden dies or if Democratic leaders force Biden out of the race either because of health or the growing bribery and corruption scandal.
Kamala Harris is not the logical replacement; she's a dunce. Newsome is ready to step in and would be the most likely nominee in that scenario. Despite the usual uncertainty and conditionality, Newsom would be considered a good bet to win the presidency against Trump.
Even more interesting is the rise of a third-party called No Labels. The party is not specifically anti-Trump or antiBiden but is dedicated to giving Americans more choices than a demented Biden or an Ultra-MAGA Trump.
The hardest part about organizing a third-party is getting listed on the ballot in all 50 states and DC. Many states have expensive and exclusionary policies in order to keep the two-party monopoly in place. It can take years and millions of Dollars in legal fees to get on the ballot in enough states to have a credible campaign.
No Labels has already done most of the hard work and is well on its way to being on the ballot in a critical mass of states. They will each have their own primary process – the No Labels nomination is not simply handed to a favorite but has to be earned in a primary-type competition.
The Best Advice
The best political advice today is don't buy into the media narratives. The election deck is full of wild cards. There are at least ten other scenarios just as impactful and unexpected as the ones described above that could push results far beyond current expectations.
Biden's demise? Trump's imprisonment? Kamala's incompetence? These and other issues hang over the coming presidential election cycle.
This will be a volatile and surprising election cycle. Some of the surprises will offer excellent investment opportunities. Some will not treat investors kindly. I'll be watching all of them to keep you ahead of the curve so you can preserve wealth and even profit from the coming tumultuous political season. Stay tuned.
Lawyer, economist, investment banker and financial author James G.Rickards is editor of Strategic Intelligence, the flagship newsletter from Agora Financial now published both in the United States and for UK investors. A frequent guest on financial news channels worldwide, he has written New York Times best sellers  Currency Wars (2011),  The Death of Money (2014) and The Road to Ruin (2016) from Penguin Random House.
See the full archive of Jim Rickards' articles on GoldNews here.


Please Note: All articles published here are to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it. Please review our Terms & Conditions for accessing Gold News.

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