A single House race in Montana could determine the presidential election.
Or it could be one in Minnesota. Or Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan or even Alaska — all districts where Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set out to not only expand the House majority but to tip party control of the states’ congressional delegations in case a disputed presidential election needs to be decided by the House.
It’s a stunning campaign strategy to match the extraordinary times. Under election law the House would intervene if the Electoral College gave no presidential candidate the majority Jan. 6. Preparing for that unthinkable reality, Pelosi is openly working to block President Donald Trump’s advantage if, as he has suggested, he ties up the results of the Nov. 3 election.
Pelosi has been issuing stark public warnings to the president not to go down this path.
“There ain’t no light at the end of the tunnel in the House of Representatives,” Pelosi said at a recent press conference.
“Just skip it,” she said again Tuesday. “It is a train coming right down at him.”
Not since the 1800s has a presidential election ended up being decided by the House. But in the visceral political climate of 2020, there’s a growing concern about various chaotic scenarios in the race between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
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Ahead of the election, Trump has refused to say whether he would uphold the nation’s tradition of a peaceful transfer of power in the event he loses to Biden — prompting some in his own party to vow that voters’ wishes will be followed.
At a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Trump suggested he might lean on his “advantage” in the House to help deliver him a second term.
“We are going to be counting ballots for the next two years,” Trump said at the Sept. 26 rally following a Rose Garden event at the White House days before he was diagnosed with COVID-19 .
“I don’t want to end up in the Supreme Court and I don’t want to end up in Congress either _ even though we have the advantage if we go back to Congress,” Trump said. “Does everyone understand that?”
The House is already controlled by Democrats, and not expected to switch this fall, but Republicans actually control of the majority of 50 state delegations to the House. That’s what Pelosi is out to flip.
Pelosi said she had been working “sub rosa” on her plan for some time but decided to go public once Trump did, too.
“We’re ready,” she said Wednesday on ABC’s “The View.”
Under the 12th amendment to the Constitution, each of the nation’s 50 states gets one vote for president for their House delegation. The president can be selected by a House majority — 26 states — if the Electoral College deadlocks or is unable to agree on the winner. Jan. 6 is set by federal law as the date for the tabulation of the electors’ votes.
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As it stands, 26 of the state congressional delegations in the House are controlled by Republicans, 22 by Democrats. Two — Pennsylvania and Michigan — are essentially tied.
Since it’s the new Congress seated Jan. 3 that would be called on to resolve an Electoral College dispute, Democrats are eyeing states that are tied or where Republicans hold a slim majority to deny Trump’s hold on the delegations. Under Pelosi’s strategy, Democrats don’t need to reach 26 states, they just need to knock Republicans down by one — to 25 — to prevent Trump from having the majority.
Their map includes about a dozen races that dovetail with candidates in the Democrats’ “Red-to-Blue” program that’s trying to flip Republican-held seats, according to a Democratic strategist granted anonymity to discuss the planning.
The most likely options are in Pennsylvania, where Republican Rep. Scott Perry faces a tough reelection against Democrat Eugene DePasquale, the state’s auditor general, in the Harrisburg-area district. There’s also Michigan, where Democrats are trying to tilt the delegation by seizing the Grand Rapids-area district where Rep. Justin Amash, the independent aligned with Republicans, is retiring.
There are opportunities in Florida, where Republicans have a one-seat majority, and in Texas, where Democrats would need to sweep five seats to tip the state. And in states with a single at-large House representative.
Pelosi mentioned Alaska at her press conference last week — where longtime Rep. Don Young faces a tough reelection against independent Alyse Galvin — as an example.
Another is Montana, where Democratic former state Rep. Kathleen Williams and Republican state Auditor Matt Rosendale are vying for the state’s lone at-large seat.
Jacob Rubashkin, an analyst at the nonpartisan Inside Elections, said the at-large races could be Democrats’ two “best targets” in what otherwise is an “uphill climb.”
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One new uncertainty emerged in Minnesota, where Rep. Angie Craig, a Democratic freshman seeking reelection, is suing to prevent her race from being postponed to February after the death of the Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate. Under state law, if a candidate with major party status dies within 79 days of Election Day, the contest shifts to February. That could cost Democrats control of the Minnesota delegation.
Pelosi’s strategy is one of many scenarios playing out as the parties brace for an election like none other, punctuated by the coronavirus pandemic, grave economic stress and president’s refusal to adhere to governing traditions and norms.
Rather than calm the nation before a heated election, the president is fuelling doubts about the legitimacy of the vote. He repeatedly says the election is “rigged” as election officials brace for an onslaught of mail-in ballots, even though one study showed voter fraud is so rare there’s a greater chance of being struck by lightning.
Veteran GOP election lawyer Ben Ginsberg said there’s a long ways to go from election day Nov. 3 and a potential House vote on Jan. 6.
“History is that you do know on election day,” he said. He says there’s a less than 50-50 chance the election drags on for week and gives the “chaos theories” a less than 1 per cent probability.
“It’s a low number,” he said. But, “it’s much higher than people have ever contemplated.”
© 2020 The Canadian Press
Canadian economic growth cools to 1.2% in August – CBC.ca
The Canadian economy grew in August as real gross domestic product rose by 1.2 per cent in August, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
That marked the fourth straight month of growth following the steepest drops on record back in March and April amid pandemic lockdowns. August’s figure was down from the 3.1 per cent expansion seen in July.
The August number was still ahead of what forecasters had been expecting. According to financial data firm Refinitiv, economists had been predicting growth of 0.9 per cent for the month.
Despite the recent string of growth, overall economic activity is still about five per cent below February’s pre-pandemic level, Statistics Canada said.
September growth is forecast
Preliminary information from Statistics Canada indicates real GDP was up 0.7 per cent in September, with increases seen in the manufacturing and public sectors, as well as in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction.
“This advanced estimate points to an approximate 10 per cent increase in real GDP in the third quarter of 2020,” Statistics Canada said. Back in the second quarter, the country’s GDP shrank by 11.5 per cent in the three-month period between April and June.
Assuming the economy contracts in October and November as a result of a resurgence of coronavirus cases, fourth-quarter GDP looks likely to undershoot the Bank of Canada’s “tepid” forecast for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of one per cent, said CIBC Capital Markets senior economist Royce Mendes.
“It appears that the economy was slowing more than expected heading into the fourth quarter, and the most likely outcome now suggests that GDP barely advanced during the period,” Mendes said in a commentary.
BMO chief economist Doug Porter said the way forward has been deeply clouded by the second wave and renewed restrictions, so growth will cool considerably in the fourth quarter.
“However, we suspect that with ongoing massive fiscal support, less restrictions than earlier, and, simply, that consumers and businesses have learned to operate in this new environment, the late-year setback should be relatively mild,” Porter said. “In fact, we continue to expect modest growth overall for [the fourth quarter].”
The TSX Composite Index Fell Almost 5%: Is the Stock Market Crash 2.0 Here? – The Motley Fool Canada
For a long time, billionaire investors like George Soros and Warren Buffett have been saying that a second stock market crash is in the making. The TSX Composite Index surged 30% between April 1 and September 1 after falling 34% in March. The market crashed when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and the market rallied on the back of the government stimulus package.
There were fears that the second wave of pandemic after the reopening of the economy would repeat the March sell-off. These fears are materializing. The increasing COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Canada, and Europe are recreating conditions of a lockdown. But this time, there won’t be a complete nationwide lockdown but tighter travel restrictions. Governments are better prepared to handle a coronavirus outbreak than they were in March.
Is the stock market crash 2.0 here?
George Soros stated that the free money coming from the fiscal stimulus package created a liquidity bubble, which drove stock valuations to new highs. When the valuations are high, there is more downside than upside.
The stock market was already bearish when the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) delayed Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) payments because of a technical glitch. The liquidity coming from the stimulus package was drying up. The COVID-19 resurgence accelerated the bearish tone. The TSX Composite Index has fallen 4.7% in the last three trading days and 6.2% in 13 trading days. In the March-sell off, the Index fell 11.8% in three trading days and 18.7% in 13 trading days.
The potential of another wave of pandemic hurt Air Canada (TSX:AC) and Suncor Energy (TSX:SU)(NYSE:SU) the most. Their stock prices fell 11.6% and 10.2%, respectively, to their March lows. Even virus stocks like Shopify, Lightspeed POS, and Kinaxis dipped single digits this week.
Companies are releasing their third-quarter earnings. The TSX Composite Index decline was partially offset by earnings surprises. For instance, better-than-expected third-quarter earnings sent RioCan REIT stock up 2.46%.
Stocks in the red
AC and Suncor are already struggling with sluggish air travel and oil demand. Another wave of tighter restrictions dampened any hopes of a recovery this year. The stock price momentum of AC and Suncor was range-bound since the pandemic. The recent dip pushed their stock prices to the lower end of their price range. AC stock has found support at $15. But Suncor stock lost its support and fell below $15. Warren Buffett exited airline stocks but retained his investment in Suncor in April.
A prolonged sector weakness leads to consolidation. The oil and gas industry has been in crisis for six years, and the pandemic has made things worse. Moreover, interest rates are near zero, creating an opportunity to acquire companies with strong assets at an attractive price.
The Canadian oil and gas industry saw its first mega-merger; Cenovus Energy agreed to acquire Husky Energy for $3.8 billion. Analysts believe that this could be the beginning of a mergers and acquisition supercycle. Suncor is in a far better position than most oil and gas companies because of its integrated business model. Its third-quarter earnings gave a snapshot of its liquidity, which will help it withstand crisis and operating efficiency that will help it return to profit when the oil price recovers to US$45/barrel.
The airline industry is already consolidated. It might undergo further consolidation, or some airlines might declare bankruptcy. For instance, AC slashed the Transat A.T. bid price by more than 70% to $190 million. But this deal could fall in jeopardy if AC faces the risk of bankruptcy.
What should you do in this stock market pullback?
The recent dip in the stock market has created an opportunity to buy post-pandemic stocks at discount. Suncor has growth potential, but its growth comes with risks. There are better stocks like Enbridge and RioCan, which have dividend yields of over 8.86% and 9.97%, respectively. These stocks are also reporting profits and positive cash flows. The stock market pullback has created an opportunity to lock such high-dividend yields for a lifetime.
Here are some more quality stocks to buy in the recent stock market pullback.
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Fool contributor Puja Tayal has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Tom Gardner owns shares of Shopify. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Enbridge, Shopify, and Shopify. The Motley Fool owns shares of Lightspeed POS Inc. The Motley Fool recommends KINAXIS INC.
Gold price off its lows as ECB signals further stimulus in December – Kitco NEWS
(Kitco News) – Gold prices remain under pressure, but well off their session lows after the European Central Bank (ECB) signaled it would unleash new monetary policy stimulus measures in December as the European economy continues to feel the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ECB president Christine Lagarde said in a press conference following the ECB ’s monetary policy decision that it is clear the European economy will need further support as a second wave of the coronavirus forces countries to institute new lockdown measures.
“We have little doubt that circumstances will warrant a recalibration and implementation of monetary policy,” she said.
The dovish outlook is helping gold prices recover from Wednesday sharp selloff. Panic selling has swept through financial markets this week as investors shift their expectations on global growth. December gold futures last traded at $1,871.80 an ounce, down 0.39% on the day.
The comments come as the ECB continues to see significant risk to the European economy heading into the new year. Wednesday, both France and Germany announced new lockdown measures as both countries have seen a surge in new COVID-19 infections.
“The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook are clearly tilted to the downside,” Lagarde said in her opening remarks. “This largely reflects the recent resurgence in COVID-19 infections, the associated intensification of containment measures and a highly uncertain timeline of the pandemic and its implications for economic and financial conditions.”
Lagarde said that the staff are currently analyzing its programs ahead of December ’s meeting. The December meeting will also see the release of the central bank ’s updated economic projections. She added that this recalibration will touch on all of the central bank ’s tool to find the best mix to support lending conditions and the European economy.
“On the basis of this updated assessment, the Governing Council will recalibrate its instruments, as appropriate, to respond to the unfolding situation and to ensure that financing conditions remain favorable to support the economic recovery and counteract the negative impact of the pandemic on the projected inflation path,” Lagard said.
Lagarde ’s dour outlook came after the ECB said that it maintained its interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.00%, 0.25%, and -0.50%, respectively.
The central bank also said that it would maintain the current pace of its emergency stimulus measures.
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