Elections in Days Gone Past.

I am headed for the airport shortly and wanted to dash off a quick note. On Wednesday, I am hosting my Houston strategy luncheon, and Thursday I am conducting my options school in Tampa, Florida (see below). On Friday, I am the keynote speaker at the HS Dent Network conference. So it will be a busy week.

The post-election rally which I have been predicting for months and am positioned for with my Trade Alert Service is unfolding exactly as I expected. The S&P 500 is up a blazing 16 points, and the Russell 2000 (IWM) has popped 0.72 points. Even Apple (AAPL) is up $10 from yesterday’s lows. The last chance to participate in this rally in full was last Thursday. Nervous Nellies who have awaited the outcome for Wednesday morning will end up missing one-third to one-half of the entire move.

Traders are clearly jumping the gun, unwilling to wait for the certain Obama win. You really see this in gold (GLD) — up a ballistic $50 in two days — the asset class that would suffer the most from a Romney win. Financials, like Bank of America (BAC) and JP Morgan (JPM), are up, but lagging the market, expecting four more years of abuse at the hands of the president.

I come from a background that is drowning in history. I am the end product of pilgrim stock who landed in Massachusetts in 1630. I am descended from two of the witches hung at the Salem witch trials, a connection to which friends attribute my marketing predicting prowess. We have traced ourselves back to 17 ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War.

The original John Thomas served on George Washington’s staff at Valley Forge, and was responsible for building log cabins for the troops. We sued the government to overturn a portion of Andrew Jackson’s 1830 Indian Removals Act — and won. We still know the names of all the slaves we owned because the wills were registered with the county court house. We fought on both sides of the Civil War.

So I feel well-qualified to comment on elections past. In the late 18th century, only “men of property” were allowed to vote. You had to own 25 acres of land with a house, or 50 acres unimproved. Only about 5% of the population qualified. The great irony of the Tea Party movement, which wants to return the country back to our old ways, is that virtually none of them would have been permitted to vote back then.

The US was largely a rural agricultural country in those days. Voters often had to ride on horseback for days to vote at the county seat, frequently through frigid November snows. Some congressional seats were decided by the casting of a mere 10 or 20 votes.

Candidates greeted the hungry and exhausted travelers with feasts of venison on a spit and a concoction of dark rum, honey, and cloves, haranguing them with speeches while they ate. Often, the candidates who put on the best spread and got the most voters drunk won the election. These frequently degenerated into drunken brawls, and more than one county court house was burned down. This lead to laws mandating election “dry” days, which are still in force in many parts of the country.

Look at the long lines snaking out of polling stations today, citizens enduring five hour waits, I am reminded of how much the country has changed in 220 years. But it is also clear how much it has remained the same.

Is This a Hanging Chad?

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