Doug Casey on Why This Election Could Be the Most Important Since the US Civil War

Doug Casey on Why This Election Could Be the Most Important Since the US Civil War by Doug Casey for International Man

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International Man: The hysteria surrounding COVID-19 and the government lockdown has completely changed in-person interactions.

How do you think this will impact the way that Americans cast their vote in the presidential election?

Doug Casey: It’s a very bad thing from Trump’s point of view. For one thing, it’s severely limiting the number and size of his rallies, which he relies on to keep enthusiasm up.

More people are staying at home and watching television than ever before. And unless they glue their dial to Fox, they’ll gravitate towards the mainstream media, which is stridently anti-Trump. People who are on the fence hear authoritative-sounding talking heads on television, and it naturally influences them away from Trump.

Furthermore, this virus hysteria is discouraging people from going out—especially older people who are roughly 80% of the casualties of this virus. They’re less likely to go to vote. But older people are most likely to be Trumpers because they’re culturally conservative. I’m assuming that the COVID hysteria will still be with us in November.

Keeping his voters at home is one thing. But the effects that the hysteria is having on the economy are even more important. Presidents always take credit when the economy is good and are berated when it’s bad on their watch, regardless of whether they had anything to do with it. If the economy is still bad in November—and I’ll wager it’s going to be much worse—people will reflexively vote against Trump.

With free money being passed out—the $600 per week in supplementary unemployment—between the state and federal payments, something like 30 million people are making more now than they were before the virus. In February, before the lockdown, there were about 3.2 million people collecting unemployment. Now, there are about 35 million. So, it seems we have over 30 million working-age people who are . . . displaced. That doesn’t count part-time workers, who aren’t eligible for unemployment but are no longer working.

When the supplementary benefits end, so will the artificial good times.

Worse, the public has come to the conclusion that a guaranteed annual income works. This virus hysteria has provided a kind of test for both universal basic income and modern monetary theory—helicopter money. So far, anyway, it seems you really can get something for nothing.

Even Trump supports helicopter money because he knows it’s all over if today’s financial house of cards collapses.

Most people will still be out of work when the free money ends. The recognition that the country is in a depression will sink in. They’ll look for somebody to blame. When things get seriously bad, people want to change the system itself.

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Doug Casey

For over a quarter of a century, legendary investor and best-selling author Doug Casey and his team at Casey Research have been helping self-directed investors to earn superior returns through innovative investment research designed to take advantage of market dislocations..