I am always on the look out for lessons that I can apply to investing and business. This post-election morning is not any different.

Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting aspects of the election season, and try to discern what lessons there are, for investors and others to learn:

1. Process Matters: Sharp data analysis beats squishy feelings. The accuracy of a handful of statisticians versus the bloviating punditry is for me, the single most dramatic storyline of the election.  Nate Silver showed data, logical reasoning and mathematics outperform “gut feel” and instinct.

2. Think Deeply Before You Speak: Grand pronouncements with limited upside but immense downside are suicidal in every field. The Romney OpEd about letting Detroit go bankrupt may have doomed his candidacy in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.

3. Be True to Yourself: Romney is a former moderate, pro choice governor who worked as bipartisan chief executive in Massachusetts creating a state wide healthcare program. He ran away from that, first tacking hard to the right to win over the base, then shifting to the middle during the election. He should have ran on his credentials instead of trying to please every one.

4. Planning and Execution Matter: The blocking and tackling in states like Ohio Florida and Virginia were a huge advantage to the incumbent. His team executed well, where as Romney team (apparently) came up short. Being able to put together a smart plan and then execute on it is crucial.

5. Choose Your Business Partners Well: The VP choice is a major decision a Presidential candidate makes, and Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan added nothing to his chances. If you are trying to shore up your base at your convention, you have not done the requisite planning. Ryan could not even deliver his home state and fumbled his debate to a grinning goofy Biden. All told, a net negative for the Romney campaign.

6. Dont Live in a Bubble: Large swaths of the conservative movement live in an alternative universe where facts don’t matter and science is irrelevant. The selective perception of bubble people who never venture beyond Fox News and Drudge and UnskewedPolls is self reinforcing. If you spend most of your time rationalizing why the polls are inaccurate and the media is biased, don’t be surprised at what happens next.


I may try to expand this later . . .

Category: Investing, Philosophy, Rules

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

65 Responses to “Lessons from 2012 Presidential Election”

  1. bonalibro says:

    One more thing, if you’re a radical of any persuasion, it’s important to remember that most people aren’t where you are politically. Besides which, there are too many powerful forces that must be dealt with to accomplish anything, let alone get re-elected. It’s in the second term, when the political risks are less, that some facets of a radical agenda are most likely to be pursued. So if you support a candidate who disappoints you by governing from the center, be prepared to support him anyway, the second time around, lest you make yourselves irrelevant. No one, even someone with your agenda, is going to govern according to the wishes of a small and fickle minority.

  2. ancientone says:

    About number 3; if Romney had stayed true to himself, he wouldn’t have gotten the nomination. One almost longs for the “smoke filled rooms” of the past where the party bosses picked the candidate who they thought had the best chance of winning the election. The current primary process brings out the crazies of both parties, and makes it extremely hard for a candidate with reasonable positions to get nominated.

  3. Bill Wilson says:

    Point number 3 is a problem for any Massachusetts Republican. As a resident of Massachusetts, I can tell you that we like our Republicans liberal and our Democrats really liberal in statewide elections. Those views don’t play well on the national stage, so it should be no surprise that the last two Massachusetts candidates for President were known as flip floppers.

    I was undecided up to the last day. I voted for Obama because I’m not afraid to admit that I like Obamacare. What’s the alternative? That could be another point on your list. If you don’t like something, offer an alternative.

  4. techy says:

    6 hours to vote in heavy democratic counties in swing states with republican govs, not enough ballot papers……is this 2012, is this happening in a thirld world country?

  5. bonalibro says:

    I second that, ancientone. I’ve been saying it for years. I think both parties have been destroyed by their radical activists. The left abandoned Obama to the extent of 11 million votes, but not enough to sink him because the right abandoned Romney by up to three million votes. That was Romney’s margin of victory right there.

    The irredentists in both parties have no case to make for themselves now.

  6. A says:

    There are going to be a lot of very unhappy billionaires.

  7. seneca says:

    “Romney is a former moderate, pro choice governor….”

    Actually, in 2005 as governor, Romney vetoed a bill to offer emergency contraception to hospitalized rape victims. And this was BEFORE he went severely conservative.

  8. Mcox023 says:

    I share the same sentiments as others shown above. The 2003 ” version” of Mitt Romney (we all know there are many versions) was much more appealing than the man we saw pander to the extreme right. The Republican party has a lot to learn from this election, especially after you look at tea party candidate performance. In addition, I think we all learned that immigration is a key issue and won Obama critical support in vital swing states. Look at Colorado, Nevada and key counties in Florida. Republicans have completely isolated themselves from the Hispanic voters (among a slew of other demographics) and this cost them battleground states.

    On to the fiscal cliff we go!

  9. normal1 says:

    I might add a practical lesson: early voting. I drove past a nearby early voting location last Sat.(an empty Kohls store in an area with many empty storefronts) and the lines surprised the hell out of me. That had to play some part in this election. Add to that the probable backlash against Husted’s overzealous attempts to control voting, Ohioan here.

  10. Jim67545 says:

    Been thinking about the electoral college. It was created at a time when assembling the national election state level results involved a sometimes lengthy horseback ride. What would be the ramifications of eliminating it in favor of the pure popular vote count?

    I wonder if it would encourage more moderate elected leaders (ancientone). It may be that a Republican in California or a Democrat in West Virginia would not bother to vote because the state was so lopsidedly leaning for the other party. It might also discourage more moderate voters of the same party whose vote is “not needed.” So, the opposition and moderate vote is depressed which allows the majority party, in theory, to be more extreme without risk.

    There would be no “battleground” states. A vote in any state counts equally. (Sounds like democracy to me.) I wonder if it would be the death of super PACs. Why? Because gathering enough money to super saturate every state is unimaginable. Something needs to be fixed and this could be it.

  11. Lyle says:

    I would point out that Paul Ryan failed in the most basic job of a VP candidate historically to deliver his/her home state to the ticket.

  12. DarthVaderMentor says:

    As to number 5, I’m not too sure that Romney had much leeway as to his VP selection. Paul Ryan, as poor a choice as he turned out to be, may have been forced on him.

    The word around Miami for weeks has been that Rubio was smart enough to have turned him down.

  13. AHodge says:

    i think romney hated campaigning
    and picked a bad staff
    but personally turned a disaster into a respectable (not close race) with the debate–and hitting his appearance stride late
    i used to think the R soperatives Lutz etc know this better
    not this time
    and when i watcha documentary on the clinton war room- the Ds now have the staff edge and the demographic direction right
    Obama loves campaigning–that nostalgic crying in Iowa about his “last campaign”
    makes me think thats the only thing he gets juiced over
    we will see by early december about governing

    Ds likely dig in on some top bracket income tax rate increases-or Buffett rule
    even beaten Rs are not going to cave on top rates fr nuthin in return
    without big gimmee s on entitilement
    medical other benefits etc
    hard to do these pieces of a mini big reform in a month with a lame duck congress

    i love the smell of napalm and Fiscal Cliff in the morning

  14. gordo365 says:

    @ancient I disagree with your statement “The current primary process brings out the crazies of both parties”

    Is the process to blame? Is this an example of false equivalency?

    Democratic primary process 4 years ago produced Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. They are not crazies.

    Republican party – driven by Grover Norquist, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter etc. DOES produce crazies.

  15. The Retired CNBC Sucks says:

    I would say the biggest lesson from the 2012 Presidential Election is that prospects for the future are extremely challenging, in this country and also possibly for the rest of the world if other nations do not manage well their relationship with a declining, largely ignorant, and angry America.

    Common sense won by a thin margin last night. Half the people voted for a reasonable, centrist superstar politician and fairly commendable leader in President Obama. The other forty-eight percent voted for a belief system that cutting taxes on the wealthy somehow lowers the budget deficit and that we can continue to militarily dominate the world without a functional economic system to fund our appetite for war. Of those forty-eight percent, you had a vast number of poor and middle-class people getting poorer everyday voting for a Republican Party that has worked tirelessly over 30 years to create every advantage for the wealthy, and especially, the wealthiest, and to destroy the middle class and the poor. You had vast numbers of old people on Social Security and Medicare voting for a Vice Presidential candidate whose sole purpose in life is to ultimately get rid of those programs. You had young home owners who voted for a political agenda that would remove home mortgage interest deductions, consumers who voted for proponents of national sales taxes, women who voted to have fewer rights over their own bodies, students who voted to have less student aid.

    As I looked at the sea of red in every electoral map shown on TV last night, I asked to myself: Does it really take a man as politically talented as Barack Obama and a political machine as effective as Obama for America to get Americans to vote for their self-interest by the thinnest of margins?

    I do not know what will happen in 2016. The Democrats do not have another superstar waiting in the wings. Americans have a natural inclination to vote Republican, the real party that creates debt.

    Contrary to what Romney asked, I will not pray for President Obama and America. I will pray that the Secret Service does its job, that Americans somehow get back their common sense, and that I am prepared within the next four years for the real tough times ahead in the likely case they do not.

  16. coleyc says:

    Occams Razor. The guy who promised more shit won.

  17. DrungoHazewood says:

    Got to have a good partner. Mine saved me from utter oblivion.

  18. Wexler says:

    #7, this:

    Exit polls 2012: Voters blame George W. Bush

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83422.html#ixzz2BXwhMxeN

  19. kmayer98 says:

    On #6, I think this stereotype of conservatives as not knowing facts cuts both ways. Let’s not get out of control here, Mr. Ritholtz. All of my family are Democrats. ALL OF THEM. And watching last night’s election, they were oblivious to basic facts about the election, the country’s finances, etc. All they know is their life will be perfect if Obama won and Romney lost. MSNBC told them that. So the brainwashing takes place on both sides. Only there were more zombies for President Obama last night.


    BR: Most of the lefties I know are disappointed in Obama. The only reason they voted for him again was the prospect of something much worse.

    Huge swaths of the far right live in a bubble and have no clue as to reality (including science). Your view of Obama supporters is similar.

    It is what it is.

  20. zitidiamond says:

    One other lesson Republicans should learn from their defeat, is that Jim Crow Era measures to suppress voter turnout, while marginally effective in the short term, alienate growing demographics, over the long term. Voting is a civic obligation, not an act of civil disobedience.

  21. DeDude says:

    Im am not sure exactly who won- but thank God the tea-party lost.

    Now on to the fiscal cliff. Hopefully Obama will just step aside and let the house run US over that cliff. After all the old tax-cuts have expired and the military taken a decent cut, Obama will be in a very strong position. He can propose a whole new set of tax cuts specifically targeted at the consumer class and families with children, and force the GOP house to implement democratic policy or vote against tax-cuts.

  22. techy says:

    kmayer98: if people think religious belief is the only thing that matters to them and they are willing to fight to death for it, do you think that is rational? I am sorry but the republican party is made up of 70% crazies who believe in fantasy. The very reason why elections are not being fought on real policies but mostly side shows.

  23. techy says:

    Kmayer98: let me add more, you cannot help people get employment but then you want to call them bum? do you know why religious southerners, the very “keepers of their brother” kind call the poor the bums, because poor people are mostly black. yes they are racist.

  24. DrungoHazewood says:

    romney hated campaigning

    I’m sure he glad its over. I’d get a drink, get on my boat and have someone drive me around for awhile. Or sail maybe. Just relaxing. Then have a family cookout and play and talk with the grandchildren. That would be sweet.

  25. louiswi says:

    Off the net this morning:

    fifteen reasons why Romney lost-in no particular order:

    1. Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes and the Friends of Extemists network
    2. John Boehner
    3. Mitch McConnell
    4. Sarah Palin
    5. Ann Coulter
    6. Paul Ryan
    7. Rush Limbaugh
    8. Charles Krauthammer
    9. Jonah Goldberg
    10. Victor Hansen
    11. Newt Gingrich
    12. Michelle Bachmann
    13. Donald Trump
    14. Eric Cantor
    15. Rick Santorem

    It is very important to note that Romney was not one of the reasons Romney lost. It is the crazies controlling the party that brought about their defeat.

  26. ami_in_deutschland says:

    How about this investment lesson?

    If Sheldon Adelson starts pouring money into something, choose the other option!

  27. mregazzoli says:

    I completely agree with you Barry.

    What do you guys think about the DOW crossing down the 1300 o level?

  28. sihaque says:

    Don’t assume that voters are idiots (Gas prices have doubled), that they have no long-term memory (Only Obama is responsible for the recession), that flat-out untruths (Jeep moving production to China) will win you the election.

  29. Greg0658 says:

    my county has a population of 113,518 of which 47,304 voted for 2+ parties and 92 votes was the swing to equal and/which gave the win to (R)Romney+Ryan …. i’m happy but sad :-|

  30. BennyProfane says:

    @The Retired CNBC Sucks

    “I do not know what will happen in 2016. The Democrats do not have another superstar waiting in the wings. ”

    Really? You forgot about our secretary of state. One could argue a bigger “Superstar” than Barack. Especially in the eyes of half the population.

  31. ami_in_deutschland says:

    And for those not skittish about negotiating the inevitable conflicts with federal law, new and interesting investment opportunities are opening up in the agricultural sectors of Washington and Colorado…

  32. BennyProfane says:


    “If Sheldon Adelson starts pouring money into something, choose the other option!”

    Or, better yet, Linda McMahon in Ct.. 100 million bucks down the drain.

  33. DG says:

    I spent yesterday working legal protection yesterday in Florida (where we have won). The silly obstacles the GOP has put in the way of people’s vote is larger than I suspect people think – it probably costs us about 2% of the vote.

    But it really makes Hispanics and African Americans mad – and the GOTV people I talked to last night here thought it made their jobs easier. It may be that the voter obstacles put in front of Hispanics is the sort of thing that makes Hispanics Democratic in the same way Civil Rights made African Americans Democratic.

    I am happy – and surprised – that Obama beat his ’08 margins in Tampa/St Pete where I live.

    Daniel Esq

  34. AHodge says:

    so further on Cliff
    i thot Rs were lying hypocrites for mostly on Obamas leadership
    blaming of O for not leading while it was F U behind the scenes
    but now there is no one in charge
    if there is a Fiscal Cliff deal
    Obama or sombody has to ask what Rs need on entitlements
    and go beat up Ds to agree to it

    they could just postpone for 3 months or whatev
    also raise debt ceiling a little
    but that just give a few more mo for somebody somebody anybody to lead?

  35. AHodge says:

    i also think Rs money was wasted bad management (Rove?)partly
    but also the PAC money really is independant and i think some was spent on scary and self defeaing stuff
    putting out atlas shrugged and over the top ads better suited to a primary
    when it comes to “independant” spending careful fhat you wish for

  36. “…6. Dont Live in a Bubble: Large swaths of the conservative movement live in an alternative universe where facts don’t matter and science is irrelevant. The selective perception of bubble people who never venture beyond Fox News and Drudge and UnskewedPolls is self reinforcing. If you spend most of your time rationalizing why the polls are inaccurate and the media is biased, don’t be surprised at what happens next…”

    yon’ Ritholtz,

    as much as I may be reluctant to proffer ‘Unsolicited’-Advice, #6., as you have it, above, Needs to be #1. .

    Last Night’s ‘Results’ were, dramatically, revealing, in more ways than one..

    not the least, of which, was hearing, already, this Morning, more ~’belly-aching’ out of, too, too many ~70+-”True Conservatives”..

    “Adapt, or Die.”

  37. hue says:

    beeks? what happened to beeks?
    turn the machines back on, turn the machines back on http://ti.me/U9bH0W

  38. Joe Friday says:


    Occams Razor. The guy who promised more shit won.

    Au Contraire.

    Romney promised an unpaid for five trillion dollar tax cut, an unpaid for two trillion dollars more in defense spending, and an unpaid for one trillion dollar extension of the Chimpy Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, while simultaneously promising deficit reduction.

    That’s eight trillion dollars “more shit”.

  39. James Cameron says:

    The accuracy of a handful of statisticians versus the bloviating punditry is for me, the single most dramatic storyline of the election.


    I believe Silver nailed every state (his blue/red map agrees with the eventual outcome sans Florida, but his electoral vote count projection is short for reasons that aren’t clear, at least to me). I think his work was quite remarkable.

    Politico has this to say regarding the Republican momentum that Rove, Noonan and others were talking up a storm about, and that the true believers were eating up, hook, line, and sinker:

    “The Romney campaign counted unanswered phone calls and door knocks in its tallies of voter contacts that it frequently released to the press. Political director Rich Beeson told reporters they saw huge
    momentum and movement, and were counting on enthusiasm, without offering much backup beyond expecting their voters to turn out on Election Day.”


    So . . . that momentum turned out to be just as fictional as the campaign’s big ideas on taxes and the economy.

  40. techy says:

    Is there any analysis about the behavior of the republican congress please point me to it, will they work to fix the real issues or they will be again saying no tax increase but more defense spending?

  41. wally says:

    Good points all, BR.

    #3 especially: the Repubs can lay this defeat right on the Tea Party and fundamentalists who force candidates to pander to their loony positions in order to get nominated. That’s what made Romney into an outright liar later on.

    But, who invited those people into the Republican party? So: the moderate Repubs need to look into the mirror and have a long, hard think.

  42. craigc says:

    Brry (Rthltz): m bg fn f yr blg. D yrslf fvr nd dn’t stry t fr frm yr r f xprts, whch s nt pltcs. Fw thngs: Pckng Pl Ryn mnt Rmny ws srs bt chngs n r bggst prblm rs. H cld’v wnt wth sf chc bt h pckd th mst srs mndd rpblcn t thr. Hs flt fr wntng t ctlly chng thngs.Tryng t mcr-nlyz thngs lk Rmny’s p-d pc bt Dtrt hrdly psss th mstr tst. mr lkly xplntn s bm scrd ppl nt thnkng Rmny ws dtrmnd t tk wy thr ‘fr’ stff. nytm vtrs cn vt thmslvs mr by tkng frm th fw, thy’r gng t d t. Pnt nmbr 4 s cmpltly rbtrry. W hv n wy f knwng wh dd bttr jb f mblzng vtrs. t s mr lkly cs f Brry (bm) sng hs scr tctcs nd prmsng mr bnfts t th mjrty. t’s sy t spnd-nt s sy t fgr t hw t ct bck nc ppl r sd t wlfr. rd fxnws nd drdg bcs cn thnk fr myslf. dn’t nd th NYTms r Rchl Mddw tllng m hw t fl bt tpc. W dn’t lv n bbbl-w lv n th rl wrld whr thr r rl prblms tht nd srs ppl t slv thm. Nt sngl dmcrt s ntrstd n slvng prblms. Thy r ntrstd n tllng y wh’s t blm. Tht wns y lctns. Snd fmlr? Yh t’s frm ‘Th mrcn Prsdnt’ nd s cmpltly pplcbl t th Dmcrts strtgy(s frnt pg f th wll strt jrnl ‘Bg bt sx mnths g pvd wy fr prsdnt’s wn’).


    BR: Your IP Address and email argue against your claims. And your emails to me make it clear you have no idea what gets discussed here, and are not afraid to lie to me.

    Hence, you are disemvoweled.

  43. riley says:

    #3 Not many politicians that have any core beliefs. Most just say what they think will allow them to get the votes necessary to win the current election. Agree or disagree with them, Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kusininch and Ron Paul are the only three in congress that are intellectually honest.

    #5 The election was about the economy. That limited Romney’s choices to Ryan or Portman. Romney needed an energy guy (the campaign was lifeless) and a non-Bush so Ryan was the choice.

    #6 Amazing how the crazies are always on the other side. Go back and read The Wrong Side Absolutely Must Not Win. http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/11/the-wrong-side-absolutely-must-not-win/

  44. techy says:

    Wally: The congress is actual representation of people, unfortunately in a democracy even the crazies have the same power and unfortunately the crazies want to take us back 100s of years and they are in no mood to comromise, so what do you do? In fact I have debated with educated southern christians and they say that religious beleif trumps everything and they will fight to death for it. Any game theory people willing to analyse the future outcome of this deadlock?

  45. JD says:

    Barry – well said. You could add:

    7. Knowing What Your Audience Cares About – Memo to the Republican Party: Don’t trot out an awkward, uncharismatic, inarticulate rich guy as your nominee in a year when a struggling middle class jobs landscape is by far the #1 issue. People want to think their candidate is someone who at least remotely understands them.

  46. delilo says:

    You can look for lessons, but this is why.
    There are a lot of libs out there.

  47. Protege21 says:

    Silver nailed every state. I happened to win some cash because of him. Thanks Nate! As for his electoral vote estimate, I believe the 313 number was an average of all the simulations in his model. Further down they had the probability for each electoral vote result, and 332 was the favorite at about 20-25%.

    I’m a little surprised at the reaction of the market to Obama’s win. It seemed too easy to predict a down day based on ideological emotions. So I was hedged as before, missed opportunity I guess. The explanation I’m leaning to is not the Obama win causing the drop, but the status quo at all levels. The pricing in of a poor response ahead of the fiscal cliff has begun.

  48. romerjt says:

    I have to pinch myself to make sure this hasn’t been one long episode of Onion News . . . Could they have created a more bizarre cast the those direct for Fox News casting . . . Cain, “Libya?, now let me think, or Perry who couldn’t remember what agency wanted to eliminate, or Newt, “I think I’m going to be the nominee. ” And they all fell to Mitt who had created in MA the one thing the Rep wanted to get rid of . . .(you can’t make this up) and then raced around the country contradicting himself every few days. Pretty funny stuff.

  49. [...] Six non-political lessons from the election.  (Big Picture) [...]

  50. James Cameron says:

    Lest we forget . . .

    Rove: Sifting the Numbers for a Winner

    “Sometime after the cock crows on the morning of Nov. 7, Mitt Romney will be declared America’s 45th president. Let’s call it 51%-48%, with Mr. Romney carrying at least 279 Electoral College votes, probably more.”


    Peggy Noonan

    “I think they are and I think it’s this: a Romney win. . . . I suspect both Romney and Obama have a sense of what’s coming, and it’s part of why Romney looks so peaceful and Obama so roiled.”


    Newt Gingrigh

    “Romney will carry over 300 electoral votes”


    Kimberly Strassel

    “My final prediction is that at a minimum, Mr. Romney wins 289 electoral votes, a tally that includes Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin. If it is a big night, he also picks up Pennsylvania and maybe Minnesota.”


    Michael Barone

    “Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals.”


    Dick Morris

    “Once everyone discovers that the emperor has no clothes (or that Obama has no argument after the negative ads stopped working), the vote shift could be of historic proportions.

    “The most likely outcome? Eight GOP takeaways and two giveaways for a net gain of six. A 53-47 Senate, just like we have now, only opposite.”


    Michael Graham

    Mitt Romney set to win, maybe by a mile: Republican momentum makes prez desperate

    “But who cares if Obama loses the popular vote (and he will, by the way)? All that matters is winning the Electoral College vote in the “swing states!” That’s Obama’s path to victory!”


    Jay Cost

    “When you average out these two views, you get an Obama lead of 2 points – but that does not appear to be very meaningful, considering that just 2 of 25 polls in the last month have found him up by that margin!”


  51. diogeron says:

    Let me suggest a “headline du jour” from Jason Linkins, writing on Huff Post today regarding the triumph of the quants over the pundits and those who rely on biased sources for their “evidence…”

    “Dick Morris falls on sword for missing predictions, misses sword.”

  52. Greg0658 says:

    1256p romerjt LOL :-) .. its all in the 20121221 script .. GS & PPT .. MSM is setup thru the great conjunction (at least)
    The Dark Crystal – 1982

    muppets rule :-)

  53. SecondLook says:

    Another investment related note about the election:

    Americans tend keep their brand loyalty, regardless. It’s very hard to make them switch in any significant numbers.

    While we like to imagine that every election is a horse-race, the reality is that incumbents have a deep, abiding, edge in just about every election, from the Presidency down to the local city council. We aren’t a “throw the rascals out” people, but rather a “politicians are all crooks and thieves, but my guy is okay” kind of folk.

    In regards to the Presidency, going back to the start of modern politics (circa 1900), of the 15 incumbent presidents that stood for reelection, 10 have won – if you exclude Ford, who was, so far, a unique anomaly of an incumbent, the ration is 10-4. In other words, getting reelected as President is simply a white swan event.

    As an investment theme, buying into companies that have massive name recognition and loyalty – think the wide moats metaphor – is an anti-percentage play.

  54. bonzo says:

    I disagree that #1 can be applied to the financial world. In the political world, everyone has 1 vote, we vote our interests and those interests are constant, and my vote doesn’t immediately cause other people’s votes to change. Everything is different in the financial world. Some people have lots more money than others to “vote”. You can vote long or vote short and few people care which side they are on (long versus short) as long as it makes money. Most importantly, what other people do affects what I do. Either I go along with the crowd (momentum) or I fight it (contrarianism). Bottom line is that process and data analysis is NOT going to work in the financial world. As soon as someone figures out an algorithm that works, someone else will figure out a way to exploit that algorithm. Case in point is all the hoopla over seasonality right now. How’s that working out so far? Granted we are just beginning the season, but still…


    BR: IMO, Europeans vote their interests, while Americans vote their aspirations

  55. VennData says:

    a1) Bush could have done the same pre-packaged bankruptcy that Obama did, but he dithered. The last non-act of the worst US President in history tipped the balance, it would have been a non-issue if Bush had done what needed to be done (and cost us less) but watching angry white rednecks like Cliff Assness bitch because they didn’t make a bunch of money is funny.


    a2) Anyone saying that the “Proof” of their argument is voters will support it at some future date like this angry old redneck like Paul Roderick Gregory who actually wrote this sentence:

    “…November 6 will show that Ohio voters have too much common sense to be taken in by Obama’s whoppers…”


    a3) Science wins because science works. Astrology ain’t:


    a4) Redneck, you are not a Wild West Cowboy shooting your Colt at Indians. You are a slug who sells a boring product to people who the gov’t has said they will take care of in old age so go ahead and spend your money now.

    a5) Birther/Kenya/Socialist joins Communist in the dustbin of US political history.

    a6) You rich rednecks like Adleson, Simmons, Koch(es) et all didn’t spend nearly enough money. An efficient market would dictate that you would have to spend AT LEAST AS MUCH AS YOU WOULD RECEIVE IN TAX BREAKS to get your guy in with the changing demographics in America. So just give all your money to Karl Rove like a conned widow, because a anti-tax lunatic and his money are soon parted.

  56. TennesseeCPA says:

    We are California.

  57. BennyProfane says:

    That’s not a bad place to be. At least we ain’t Greece.

  58. willid3 says:

    the reason we have such large deficits is the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. and you know why they had to have the 10 year expiration date? because when they were being proposed the budget arm scored them as causing massive deficits. which they created.
    and there was a recent study that showed that tax cuts do no goose the economy, in fact they actually do the reverse.
    and that study was pulled because it didn’t fit in with the GOP ideology. and seemingly its their life’s one absolute need. unless its a tax cut for the 99%

  59. Biffah Bacon says:

    The next step is to beat down the Tea Partiers left in the house to be at least moderately compliant and watch Obama et al like hawks to make sure they don’t triangulate away the safety net, civil liberties, and avoid foreign policy mayhem like invading the Middle East, Africa, or Afghanistan/Pakistan.

  60. OscarWildeDog says:

    Let me add one more to your list Barry: Stay away from polarizing social issues. I was in the military for many years as an officer and the three things we did not discuss (generally) was politics, women and religion. Romney had to discuss the first one (duh) but not the next two. There are many techniques and ploys to get people off your tail in trying to get you to talk about women and religion. I think Romney did a fair job with making his religion a non-issue, but when you discuss women, then all minorities come up as a subject, something he was terrible talking about and directly to. “Self-deportation” and trying to walk a tightrope between what he really felt (pro-choice) vs what his base wanted him to believe (pro-life) didn’t help either.

  61. courageandmoney says:

    A Romney Voter Here. I’m just Laughing at today’s results and at these posts……….I’m at total peace, and really laughing inside……”You reap what you sow”.

  62. slowkarma says:

    I just read a story on Bloomberg about what a bind the Republicans (the House) is in, with Obama reelected and a stronger Democratic Senate, and how the Republicans will essentially have to capitulate.I don’t understand the reasoning. The GOP is not homogeneous party, where votes are determined by the leadership; it’s 439 (or so) individual Republicans who have to get reelected in bitterly conservative districts. If they cave, they lose their jobs, so it appears to me that they face a decision: a “grand compromise” after which they lose their jobs, or dead-ender resistance which drives us over the cliff, but they keep their jobs. Or is there something faulty with this analysis?

  63. emrobin says:

    Unfortunately, the bubble mentality exists with the fed. Ignoring the facts regarding QE Japan and Europe that it doesnt produce jobs

  64. [...] on Lessons from 2012 Presidential Election by Barry Ritholtz in The Big [...]

  65. [...] Wednesday, I jotted down a few takeaways from the election that were applicable to investors and people [...]