What geopolitical issues will most affect manufacturing?
At the recent National Fluid Power Association’s International Economic Outlook Conference — this one held virtually, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Sam Potolicchio of Preparing Global Leaders Forum, spoke about some of the key geopolitical trends likely to impact business in the coming months and years.
Potolicchio explained that the upcoming U.S. presidential election will clearly constitute the top geopolitical event this year and will affect trade issues and business in general. And no matter what either political party wants you to believe, he said that the question often comes down to the “beer question” — who would you rather have a drink with? The issue of personality and charisma is important to voters.
Potolicchio also said that so much of our elections will be determined by a head nod or an off-key comment, because we’re so on the knife edge of being split 50/50 in this country. As an example, he said that he thinks the small-at-the-time moment of Hillary Clinton slipping when getting into an SUV was a moment magnified in some voters’ heads and likely contributed to her loss more than many people would think. He also said that “anyone who tells you they know who is going to win President is full of bunk.”
Advantages that Biden has include: He is not Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, or Bernie Sanders. Biden is dominating among voters who disliked both Trump and Clinton. He also has the Obama advantage, and will try to make this an extension of the Obama years. What’s more, Trump has not found a way to encapsulate Biden; the Sleepy Joe nickname is not hitting with voters in the way that Crooked Hillary did. What’s more, the pandemic has completely transformed things. Reagan asked: Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago? That will be a tough thing for Trump to battle.
Trump’s advantages are: Never Trumpers are now firmly into his camp. It’s going to be di cult to see people switching sides. Biden is an establishment candidate, and they rarely win for the Democrats. Additionally, “Washington” candidates usually lose. Trump is actually not that historically unpopular as a president. He stays in a 42-43% popularity range, which means it will likely be a tossup. Voters who are more likely to vote to him are not as likely to vote for a third-party candidate.
The big question remains — Will a second wave of the pandemic hit in October? We don’t know what voter turnout will be, and Potolicchio noted that higher turnouts generally mean a Democratic victory. But if it’s reduced to all mail-in voting, that could push down Democratic voting. Republican votes are generally more successful by about 5%, which could be a huge X factor.
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