Against the tide: Forget the chads, we're near the bottom
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Against the tide: Forget the chads, we're near the bottom

It's hard to imagine a worse news flow for markets. As I write, the US is without a winner in the presidential elections. The lawyers argue in the courts about whether various counties in Florida can conduct manual recounts. And people spend their time giving opinions on chads - those little round bits of paper hanging by a thread from the punch hole on a Florida ballot paper.

David Roche

Yes, who becomes global president - because that's what the US leader is - is now to be determined by whether a chad is a chad and thus a legitimate vote for the president, or is merely a tear in the paper and so a spoiled vote.

The sense of unease is palpable. Americans are not used to political instability. For them, this is beginning to feel like a real constitutional crisis. But that's an exaggeration. For us in Europe, a constitutional crisis means the beat of tank tracks in the streets. A change of prime minister in Italy is as insignificant as a stray dog's marker at the lamp post of power.

My own reading of US politics is different from that of the bears. The media tell us to be stressed because the country is split. Rubbish. The country is united in being unable to distinguish between two stunningly mediocre candidates for the world's leading job. The net result is that whoever gets in will have to fight for the heart and soul of America's middle ground. The first thing any president will have to do is to heal the non-existent rift in society by espousing the more moderate policies of the other party.

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