How might a commie-loving nut-job become our next president? Although it seems unlikely at the moment, a Sanders victory is hardly unthinkable. Just do the math. At present the popular vote splits down the middle while the electoral map tilts ever-so-precariously red; national elections are therefore a toss-up. Trump would likely win if the election were held tomorrow, mainly because the economy is doing so well, at least on the surface. We’ll put aside the unpleasant fact that these supposed boom times have not alleviated fatal levels of public and private debt even slightly and that many trillions of investment dollars have been recklessly pumped into the shares of companies that either produce nothing, lose money or both.
Now suppose young adults do something they’ve never done before: show up at the polls in droves. If their turnout were phenomenal, as well it might be, that could swing the election to Crazy Bernie. Why would millennials Uber to grimy urban voting stations when they could be enjoying the day doing what they love — i.e., washing down wedges of inventively seasoned avocado toast with mango-flavored hard seltzer as they swap climate-change horror stories?
Bolsheviks at Heart
Well, this time they’ve got a powerful reason to vote, since they sense that their huge cohort, nominal taxpayers between the ages of 23 and 37, comprises the biggest generation of economic losers America has ever produced. This has made them political zealots, fired up with such vengefulness as only middle-class, self-perceived have-nots could possess. They are Bolsheviks at heart, ignorant of the blessings capitalism has bestowed on them, and not given to pondering the destructive logic of Bernie’s crackpot economic schemes.
In my doomsday scenario, stocks are topping as I write these words and about to enter the Mother of All Bear Markets. If this happens and it takes the economy down by mid-summer, putting a Trump win in jeopardy, Bernie would become much more electable. The mere perception of this would cause stocks to fall even harder, further raising his odds. A catastrophic feedback loop of this sort is no more or less likely than a bear market itself. They do happen, and the next is arguably long overdue.