FarmLink Welcomes Jacob Shapiro to our guest blogger series
Jacob Shapiro, geopolitical analyst and owner of Perch Perspectives, is answering our questions about geopolitics in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We sincerely thank him for his time and incredible insights.
You might remember Jacob Shapiro’s geopolitical presentation from Grain World 2019. The world he described then has become somewhat a reality now. At the time of Grain World, no one had heard about COVID-19 or knew the impact it would have on the economy. We’re living in a different world and who better to shed some light on what is going on than Jacob Shapiro.
Mr. Shapiro, Does Trump win in November? What does the U.S. look like on February 1st, 2021?
Take what I say with a grain of salt on this score. I did not think President Trump had a prayer of winning the 2016 election, and obviously I was sorely mistaken. That said, I do not see a clear path to victory in November for the President.
The reasons are relatively straightforward. President Trump does have a very loyal base, but to the extent that he was able to extend that base, it was because the economy was “doing well.” I want to be a little bit more specific there, because taken as a whole, I don’t think the economy was actually all that strong. Private and public debt were skyrocketing. Wealth inequality was continuing to widen. There was no meaningful reform to the broken U.S. healthcare system. But the people that voted for President Trump were unconcerned with those sorts of metrics. President Trump got his tax cuts; corporate profits were downright giddy; the stock market was reaching new heights every day. Those folks all turned out for President Trump in 2016 and tolerated his boorishness because he was giving them what they wanted.
That is now all gone. And it is gone in part because President Trump – like a number of global leaders – severely underestimated the potential threat of COVID-19 and continues to oversee one of the world’s most disjointed and incompetent COVID-19 emergency responses. It is not unlike the situation John McCain faced in 2008. If the Great Financial Crisis had not happened (and if bad polling numbers due to the GFC had not pushed McCain into selecting Sarah Palin as a Vice-Presidential candidate), McCain would have been in a very competitive race with then-Senator Barack Obama. The GFC made the race a foregone conclusion, and I would think the same will be true of COVID-19 for President Trump.
In addition to this, the Democratic Party has decided after much wailing and gnashing of teeth on a moderate candidate. If President Trump were squaring off against Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, many of folks who voted for President Trump while holding their nose likely would have done so again. But President Biden is someone they can get on board with, someone with a reputation for compromise and who commands bipartisan respect, who has been in politics for decades and can credibly claim to model a calmer, more respectful political discourse. Biden’s greatest electoral advantage is that in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan – where President Trump beat a very unpopular Hillary Clinton by narrow margins – he should be able to clean up nicely.
The Democratic Party seems to have become expert at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but I think even it will be hard pressed to lose this contest.
Mr. Shapiro has been busy since Grain World. He recently launched a new business and political consulting firm called Perch Perspectives. You can contact Mr. Shapiro directly via e-mail ([email protected]) or on Twitter or LinkedIn.
FarmLink would like to offer a sincere thank-you to Mr. Shapiro for being part of our blogger series.
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