Drinks With the President

President Barack Obama certainly arrives at a party like a rock star. Three silver GM Suburban’s flanking an armored black Cadillac limo screech to a halt with lights flashing. All of the roads in the immediate vicinity are closed to traffic.

A dozen sunglass bedecked Secret Service agents leap out, immediately scanning the perimeter. The president bounds out and briskly walks to the plush home of a wealthy supporter.

I managed to briefly touch base with the president during his recent fund raising swing through the San Francisco Bay area. For a mere $32,000 donation to the Democratic National Committee, I received a sweaty handshake and a thank you from the former South Chicago community organizer.

It was all part of a broad swing through the Western states to rally the faithful, and to top off the DNC’s coffers, which has raised a record $50 million in California this year. Perhaps Obama just wants to be among friends. While his national job approval rating languishes at 47%, it is 55% here, and an eye popping 72% among Democrats.

Since the 2008 election, some 6 million millennials, generation Y’s, or echo boomers have gained the right to vote. Have you spoken to your kids lately? The only issues they care about, the environment, global warming, gay rights, and ending the war, are overwhelmingly Democratic ones. Another 4 million immigrants have also joined the voter rolls.

Sure, only 30% of these groups vote at all. But when election results swing on majorities that can be counted in the hundreds, think Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2004, and Minnesota in 2008, they could make a decisive difference.

The polls we see reported daily are only taken of participants with land lines. So they may be undercounting both cell phone addicted, texting millennials, and immigrants. How many of your kids have land lines? My bet would be none.

Now, let me throw one big unknown out there. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission decision, the most recent election was the first to see unlimited anonymous corporate donations since the sixties. As a result, the number of election ads disclosing donors has fallen from 97% in 2006 to 32%.

California’s proposition 23 was a perfect example of what this means. Billed as the ‘Save California jobs bill,’ the measure was placed on the ballot and promoted by $6 million in financing from Texas base energy giant Tesoro Petroleum (TSO). And what is the company’s plan to create California jobs? Suspend the state’s stringent environmental regulations so it could build a new oil refinery in nearby Martinez.

In every postwar election, the party in power has lost an average 27 House seats in the midterm elections. Obama knew this the day he walked into office. That is why the most radical parts of his agenda, like health care, were front end loaded. Expect to hear much about the President’s surprise, Clintonesque move to the middle, which was in fact, planned two years ago.

Yes, I know, I should stick to my day job of calling every turn in the market. But sometimes, that profession and making political prognostications become one in the same. Knowing who the next president is going to be is an immensely valuable piece of market information, as the economic philosophies of the two parties are so radically different.

Do you think the White House situation room has a ladies room?

Obama with Security

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