Trump, Super Tuesday, oil futures dominate Monday trading action

Shrugging off disappointment after the G-20 summit bust, traders and investors turn their attention to improving oil, Super Tuesday, and, of course, The Donald. The people are as mad as hell.

Donald Trump and Howard Beale
Donald Trump and Howard Beale. (CDN satirical collage)

WASHINGTON, February 29, 2016 – Happy Leap Day, stock market fans! (If there are any fans left.) February 29 comes only once every four years. But this year, it’s merely a prelude to Super Tuesday, March 1 where, at least for the GOP, the Presidential Sweepstakes are still up in the air, but likely to come down in favor of that stalwart, lifetime Republican, Donald Trump.

Anticipation of tomorrow’s results—and speculation as to what they will mean—is already driving markets today, close on the heels of the annual G-20 summit. Predictably, that photo-op confab proved to be a bust, with absolutely zero news on what overpaid government bigwigs plan to do about the world economy’s perpetual stasis.

Oh, China sort of kind of promised it wouldn’t precipitously devalue the yuan anymore. But believing promises from the Chinese government is a little like believing that Iran’s ayatollahs really do like the U.S. after all. So we move on.

And in so doing, we find that oil futures are trying a little harder to stay over $30 at the noon hour, with WTI currently sitting at around $33.52 bbl., while Brent is about a buck and a half higher which is typically how the pricing works.

At the same time, given the crony capitalist nature of our Federal government as currently configured, investors are looking to divine some meaning out of what they think tomorrow’s Super Tuesday Republican primary sweeps will show—namely that blustery, shoot-from-the-hip Donald Trump will run the electoral table, creating some real problems for the current GOP elites who sold out their constituents years ago and actually wonder why they seem to be losing control of “their” party.

“Well, DUH!” as today’s teens like to say. (Or liked to say… the aging Maven can’t always keep up with what’s current in the jargon department.) The Republican establishment today—still pilloried by Democrats as being blindly pro-Big Business—is actually pro-themselves. Since they got rid of that annoying Newt Gingrich around the turn of this century, they’ve striven to evolve from actual Republicans to Democrat-Lite.

Some time in the early 2000s, Republican leaders came to the conclusion that if well-heeled Dems could successfully use crony-capitalist megabucks to buy votes while simultaneously convincing the proletariat that the party really was for the little guy, well then why couldn’t they do the same thing. So they did, which lost them both houses of Congress and ushered in the first-ever President who actually and actively hates America.

The GOP didn’t totally get the message voters were sending in 2010, 2012 (for Congress at least) and again in 2014—namely that they were fed-up with the “transformation” of America and wanted the Republicans to fix things. What those Republican voters have gotten since 2010 is an unbroken string of broken Republican promises. The party has wimped out on every confrontation with The One, and the party’s supporters have nothing to show for their efforts.

So now the GOP grassroots are pissed. So pissed that they’re getting ready to send a message, big time, by endorsing a pretty much lifetime Democrat real estate mogul and TV star as their 2016 standard bearer against the now likely Democrat Party nominee, Hillary “Benghazi” Clinton. Like Howard Beale (pictured above) in that 1970s classic Paddy Chayefsky film satire, “Network,” today’s fed up Republican grassroots “are as mad as hell” and they’re “not going to take it any more.”

As the so-called Republican leadership huffs and puffs about how they’re going to save “their party” from this monster, they’re once again missing the point—which, of course, pretty much every Washington professional, political or not, has been doing for years, namely that a huge, disaffected and increasingly impoverished majority of voters are now so furious that they’re ready to put a virtual bull in a china closet into the White House no matter what. (What the pundits and pols are also missing is that a lot of disgruntled Democrats feel the same way.)

All this is what happens when you consistently act as if the majority of people in the room simply don’t exist.

What it means for Wall Street is anybody’s guess. However, there is some vague sense that if you end up putting an actual businessman in the White House, he might actually do something about getting the economy going again, because he likes to make money and likes to see his country making money, too.

So trading continues Monday at a measured pace. No one really knows if March will come in like a lion for Wall Street. But we sure as hell live in interesting times. As they say on many a TV show, “nobody saw this coming.” We actually did. But we won’t start knowing what that means until tomorrow. ‘Til then, keep your powder dry.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17