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Lessons from 2012 Presidential Election

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On November 7, 2012 @ 7:19 am In Investing,Philosophy,Rules | Comments Disabled

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 [1] 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 . . .


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[1] Nate Silver: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/11/nate-silver-and-the-lessons-of-2012/

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