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Man who traded Sammy Sosa to the Cubs soon to be elected President of the United States
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(11/3/00) Gold markets are snoozing through a tight presidential race between front-runners Bush and Gore – gold traders just don’t seem to care. The race will hinge on this: are more voters disgusted, or complacent? No wonder our elections are the first Tuesday after Halloween.
Almost by default, Texas governor George W. Bush, born on third base as the third-generation heir of Prescott Bush, is about to be elected President of the United States. The closest challenger was Vice President Albert Gore, Jr., also born on third base as a second-generation offspring in the Gore political dynasty.

Earlier this year, we saw the Democratic presidential nomination handed to Al Gore on a silver platter. There had been eight years of unprecedented economic prosperity - the sun was shining, the crowds were cheering, the Presidency was his to lose…

And he did.

But let's put politics aside, and talk about gold. What effect on gold could this election potentially have?

In the good old days (William Jennings Bryan’s campaign of 1896 comes to mind), candidates would put forth, often at length, their stands on monetary policy, including gold and silver. Today, political beliefs are either derived from taking a poll of popular opinion, or they don’t exist at all. So, we can only roughly determine a candidate’s potential effect on the precious metals markets.

Traditionally, the Democrats are considered the less fiscally responsible party, and when they’re in office, it’s a good idea to own some gold. Worldwide gold markets were in turmoil during the Kennedy-Johnson 1960’s, and gold surged again during the Carter administration. Clinton was the rare exception whose Democratic administration went against expectations big-time, driving down inflation and interest rates while the stock market soared.

But Al Gore’s more free-spending tendencies seem inherently inflationary, which usually means it takes more dollars to buy the same amount of gold. So a case can be made that a Gore administration, if it could possibly follow through on all Al’s promises, would favor inflation and higher gold prices.

In that same tradition, Republicans are seen as the fiscally conservatives foes of inflation, their fights for tax cuts notwithstanding. But this year we have the additional fact of Bush’s lack of experience, and seeming lack of knowledge, of national economic affairs.

The gold markets will let us know soon enough. Currently at a 13-month low in price, and within 5% of a twenty-year low, gold has been in a 'frozen slide' for most of this calendar year. The most remarkable thing is Gold’s placid behavior in light of current events - a U. S. Presidential election is upon us, the Mideast seems to be on the brink of war, oil prices have remained solidly over $30 a barrel for months now, yet looking at a gold chart is like watching the EKG of a patient who is slipping into a coma.

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But putting gold aside, and climbing atop our soapbox, let us say that this is arguably the worst presidential slate the American electorate has faced in living memory. And the shame of it is, for the Republicans, that many of the 40- and 50-somethings whom have never voted Republican, are dying to do so.

Just to take one example, many Boomers couldn't agree more with the Republican platform concerning taxes - that they should be lower for those of us who currently pay the most.

Winston Churchill said that one who was not a radical when young had no heart, and one who was not conservative when older had no brain. The huge Baby Boomer generation, responsible for the tumultuous “youthquake” of the 1960’s, is now older, settled, and more concerned with their family's well-being than the more outward-looking causes of their youth.

And though many boomers do vote Republican these days, many more who are in ideological agreement with much that the party stands for, do not. Nor will they, as long as the party seems to be run by Dick Cheney’s peers, rather than George W. Bush’s generation.

Who gets the votes? Pat Buchanan will draw the America-first-last-and-always right-wing fringe, and Ralph Nader appeals to the anti-corporate, safe-at-any-cost left-wing fringe. Al Gore draws the complacent and the Democratic faithful, and George W. Bush will have the votes of the disgusted and the staunch Republicans.

And John McCain, who would have mopped the floor with any of these guys, isn't even in the running.

The thin choice in this year’s Presidential race just reinforces the fact that the huge number of middle-class and affluent Boomers need their own political party, if this is the best the G.O.P and Dems are willing to offer.

The only question to be answered this Tuesday is, are more voters complacent or disgusted?

 

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