President Trump’s “germophobia” and longstanding reluctance to shake hands or hug people hasn’t saved him from exposure to the coronavirus, we learn this morning — both the President and First Lady have tested positive, following the announcement yesterday that Hope Hicks was going into quarantine after a positive test — but perhaps it will help some of the rest of the West Wing avoid the virus. Hopefully this will be one of the “asymptomatic” positives that we have seen so much of, but this is serving to shake up everyone’s views of the election… an election for which well over two million ballots have already been submitted in early-voting and mail-voting states.
I obviously have no idea whether this will be a non-event in a week, or will spread throughout the West Wing and lead to actual illness or hospitalization of any key folks — including Joe Biden, who like Trump is very much in the “at risk” demographic and spent a couple hours near the Trump team, indoors, during that ridiculous “debate” this week (though at least they didn’t shake hands or stand near each other). So far, Biden and VP Mike Pence are still testing negative, as are the other White House folks we’ve heard from, but the lag for testing and viral spread means the media will be going nuts over this for at least a few more days, even if the Trumps don’t show anything beyond the current “mild symptoms.”
Assuming this blows over as a health issue for all concerned (fingers crossed on that), here’s my prediction about what will happen in the markets over the next couple months, should you wish to hear it: The market will steadily drop in the few weeks heading up to the election, falling by at least 5-10% overall, maybe more as people succumb to panic on bad news days… then Joe Biden wins the popular vote by a healthy margin and the electoral college vote by a slimmer margin, and the Republicans hold on to the Senate majority (which seems to be the “75% likely” mainstream expectation of most pollsters), and, following the election, the market climbs dramatically into the end of the year in a post-election relief rally.
Am I betting on that? No. I have a tendency to try to predict the short-term future, like anyone else, but I’m not dumb enough ...