Good afternoon. Here’s your Early Warning for Monday, 26 October 2020.
ADMIN NOTE: I’m back in the office this week. I’d like to welcome our newest subscribers to the EW. We appreciate having you on board, and hope you find value in what we do. – S.C.
- Analysis: Outside, inside views at odds on Trump victory
- Another four years of Speaker Pelosi?
- Small business troubles continue
- Investment firms remain solid on Dem sweep, stimulus
- Gundlach: Stocks to crash within 18 months
- Weekend Roll-Up
- Leftists continue to distribute medical supplies
- Leftists push strikes as post-election course of action
- Oregon anti-fascists plan “Week of Action”
- Amazon workers threaten strike
- Activists post maps, prepare for upcoming protests
- Phoenix-area Leftists doxx law enforcement officers
Analysis: Outside, inside views at odds on Trump victory
Bottom Line Up Front: I am moderately, but not highly, confident that Trump will win reelection in an uncontested election. I am, however, highly confident that there will be substantial civil unrest during a contested election scenario or any outcome where Trump wins. I am also highly confident that a Biden victory will foster a popular desire to punish Trump supporters, which is likely to further inflame the country’s low intensity conflict.
With just over one week until Election Day, I expect that President Trump is more likely than not to win reelection in a free and fair, uncontested election. The outside view–the polling data–says that Trump should lose. That remains a distinct possibility, but polls are just one data point. The inside view is that voter enthusiasm for Trump remains higher than it is for Biden, and higher voter turnout among Trump supporters in battleground states where polling is within the margin of error could again turn the polls on their head. (The unspoken part of many of these polls is that Trump is actually within the margin of error.)
Votes, however, may not ultimately decide the election. I do expect election results to be contested for a number of reasons.
My greatest concern is over what’s happening in Pennsylvania, where the state’s supreme court ruled last week that mail-in ballots won’t be required to have a matching signature. The state is widely regarded as a must-win for either campaign, so it’s an early contender for litigated results.
Legal challenges to electoral outcomes are not uncommon. Both campaigns have every incentive to escalate election results to the courts, where there’s a fighting chance of the results being overturned. Over the summer, the Biden campaign deployed over 600 lawyers to begin preparing contingency lawsuits. The Trump campaign has done the same. In addition to legal challenges, this election is also likely to be rife with accusations of voter intimidation and disenfranchisement, which could result in a significant amount of civil unrest. Additionally, there’s a good chance of a post-election period where uncertainty over the outcome drives additional unrest. Uncertainty breeds instability.
The most dangerous contested election scenario is an intractable constitutional crisis that’s decided in Trump’s favor by a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, setting up another four years of protests, unrest, and potentially political violence. – S.C.
Another four years of Speaker Pelosi?
With Democrats highly favored to retain the House of Representatives, politicos are looking at who will be Speaker in 2021. Current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is heavily favored. Several House Democrats expressed doubts about significant challenges to another term for Pelosi. (Analyst Comment: Speaker Pelosi previously said she would seek only one more term as House Speaker, starting in 2021. Although widely favored, she might well face a significant challenger. In previous reporting, I’ve discussed how the Democratic House makeup is changing to include more progressive and democratic socialist members. Justice Democrats, the political action group that put Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into Congress, might add as many as five new members to Congress in 2021, in addition to the seven currently serving representatives. AOC’s political action committee, Courage to Change, is promoting an additional five candidates. In their best case scenario, the democratic socialist voting bloc of the Democratic Party could have up to 17 members of Congress in January 2021, which is slightly less than four percent of the entire body. That may not seem like much, but democratic socialists are making gains in each successive election cycle. That trend is virtually certain to continue. AOC, who organized opposition against Pelosi in the 2018 race for Speaker, recently said she was committed to supporting “the most progressive candidate” for House Speaker, but did not necessarily commit to supporting Pelosi. – S.C.)
Small business troubles continue
According to a recent survey from Small Business for America’s Future, some 14% of small business owners say they won’t make it past the end of the month, and a third reported their businesses won’t survive through the end of the year. According to similar data, the number of small businesses in America has dropped 25% since January. (AC: While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin continue negotiations on a stimulus bill, many small businesses continue to suffer the effects of the recession, consumer preference for shopping online, and expiring stimulus programs. Small businesses are 99% of all businesses in the U.S. and employ roughly half of all employed Americans. Many analysts fear that failing small businesses simply won’t come back, making big box stores and online retailers the clear beneficiary. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that Biden’s plan for a $15 minimum wage law will lead to strong small business job creation. – S.C.)
Investment firms remain solid on Dem sweep, stimulus
In their most recent note, Blackrock, the world’s largest investment firm, restated their expectation that a Democratic sweep of government is more likely to lead to further stimulus, bringing stability and growth to market prices. (AC: This has become the standard line of reasoning for numerous investment firms. In a note to investors last week, Goldman Sachs’ Jan Hatzius wrote that he saw $2.5 trillion in stimulus passing following a Dem sweep. – S.C.)
Gundlach: Stocks to crash within 18 months
In an interview earlier this month, billionaire “Bond King” Jeff Gundlach said he expects stock prices to crash within 18 months. “I do think that within 18 months it’s [the market] going to crack pretty hard. When the next big meltdown happens, I think the US is going to be the worst-performing market.” Gundlach added that while he’s bullish on the dollar for the next several years, he’s “very, very negative long term on the U.S. Dollar.” (AC: Gundlach has made more correct calls that he’s missed. While he’s not 100%, he does provide an opinion that I value and respect. Gundlach’s long term bearishness on the USD reflects his criticism of compounding deficit spending and debt problems, and he, like others, is likely to eventually be correct about a debt-laden collapse. – S.C.)
The information provided by Forward Observer in this report is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered financial advice. You should consult with a financial advisor to determine what may be best for your financial needs.
LOW INTENSITY CONFLICT INTSUM
Austin, TX: Far Left activists harassed live-streamer Hiram Gilberto during a protest, demanding the resignation of Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley.
Bellevue, WA: Black bloc anti-fascists marched through residential neighborhoods in Bellevue, Washington chanting, “Every city, every town, burn the precinct to the ground.” Police arrested the driver of one support vehicle driver over a suspended license.
Los Angeles, CA: Black Lives Matter activists and anti-fascists assaulted and forcibly removed a black man–reportedly a veteran–carrying an American flag during their “Graveyard March.” The crowd chanted, “No good cops in a racist system” and “No good Jews in Israeli spaces” during their march.
New York City, NY: A large “Jews for Trump” caravan drove through downtown NYC. Anti-fascists and BLM activists threw projectiles, threw paint, stole flags, and assaulted caravan participants.
San Bernardino, CA: BLM activists illegally blocked traffic, harassed drivers, keyed vehicles, and assaulted drivers attempting to drive through or past.
Tacoma, WA: BLM activists illegally blocked traffic, harassed drivers, and assaulted drivers attempting to drive past their road block.
Woodwinville, WA: BLM activists threw an unknown liquid they claim was water on a Trump supporter, who then drew a concealed handgun in response. No shots were fired, no injuries reported, and no arrests were reported.
Leftists continue to distribute medical supplies
According to recent reporting, numerous anarchist and socialist groups continue to acquire and distribute individual first aid kits (IFAK) to prepare for future unrest. (AC: An IFAK is most commonly associated with tactical medicine, as IFAKs originated in Army special operations. In other words, it’s not a basic first aid kit. It was designed to treat gunshot wounds and other injuries commonly incurred on the battlefield, hence the earned nickname “blowout kit”. Anarchists have used IFAKs and other medical kits to treat wounds in clashes with police this year. This preparation is indicative of continued clashes with right wing demonstrators and/or police, especially surrounding the election. – S.C.)
Leftists push strikes as post-election course of action
Leftist organizers, including a group called Choose Democracy, are encouraging a general strike as recourse for what they call a Trump “coup” this year. The group is instructing activists to pressure elected officials, conduct mass street protests, and implement various strikes. Specifically, they call for a general strike, “rolling strikes,” and consumer strikes to ensure all votes are counted or to disrupt . (AC: A scenario where Trump loses the election, but refuses to leave office, is a popular belief on the Left, and much of the post-election planning is centered around disrupting this scenario. A successful general strike would likely lead to national- or regional-level disruption. Last year, Leftists disseminated a pamphlet describing the vulnerability of ports and commercial transportation, in preparation for a general strike. This is one possible course of action. – S.C.)
Oregon anti-fascists plan “Week of Action”
Several antifascist groups are planning a “Week of Action” from 04-11 November in Salem and Portland, Oregon. Popular Mobilization, Symbiosis PDX, Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front (PNWYLF), Revolutionary Abolitionist Group, Willamette Action Collective, Portland Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Rural Organizing Project, Direct Action Alliance, Portland Rising Tide, Rose City Antifa, and Never Again Action have pledged support so far.
Amazon workers threaten strike
Amazon workers in Washington are reportedly planning to strike at distribution warehouses on 31 October, if not granted Election Day off to vote. More than 6,500 employees have reportedly backed an internal request for a paid day off. (AC: We continue to observe Leftists preparing for post-Election Day disruptions. – M.B.)
Activists post maps, prepare for upcoming protests
Ahead of planned protests, Seattle-area Black Lives Matter and antifascist activists posted maps that identified police locations and other government facilities. The maps also provided locations suitable for “de-blocking,” areas with fixed surveillance systems to avoid, and recommended that participants drive home in vehicles different from the ones they used to arrive.
Phoenix-area Leftists doxx law enforcement officers
Leftists in Phoenix, Arizona launched a website to provide personal information on area police officers. The site lists officers’ names, badge numbers, salary, rank, photos, and alleged crimes they have committed. Most officers listed are accused of murder, according to the site. (AC: Far Left intelligence support groups continue to develop their capabilities to more effectively evade surveillance and potential arrest. – M.B.)
Upcoming Event Calendar
26 October: 150 Days of Unrest march (BLM/Antifa) (Seattle, WA)
31 October: The Modern Revolution (Insurgence USA) (Salt Lake City, UT)
03 November: Free the People, Fight the Power (Insurgence USA) (Washington, D.C.)
04-11 November: Week of Action (DSA/Antifa) (Salem & Portland, OR)
— END REPORT
S.C. indicates analyst commentary from Samuel Culper
M.B. indicates analyst commentary from Max Baer
F.C. indicates commentary from Fox Company reporter