Advice to Candidates: “Buy hope; Sell fear.”

by Jim Toes

Republicans are close to nominating their candidate to run for our nation’s highest office.  This candidate, along with President Obama and the hundreds of congressional leaders seeking election, will then embark on a record spending spree delivering campaign messages they feel will gain them public office. If history is a guide, these messages will fall into one of two categories; hope or fear.

As traders, we know fear. We fight it every day. We know the damage it does and the ability of individuals to instill it in others. We also know hope and how when it comes from credible inspirational messages, it leads to confidence and helps overcome dire situations.

 According to recent articles, candidates are estimated to spend $6 billion on their campaigns. Most of this money will be spent in last months leading up to Election Day. For a moment, imagine how much hope could be instilled by spending $6 billion in six months using today’s social media.  The amount of inspirational content could undoubtedly lead to enough hope, and confidence, to help pull our economy out of its current state. It would be a, “perception becomes reality on steroids” scenario.

Unfortunately, not all candidates will share this idea, so here is a more pragmatic version of this message. Fear is overbought. It is in a bubble state. And if it bursts this election season, candidates who chose it as a means to gain a particular response from voters will find it ineffective.

Hope, on the other hand, is oversold. And as is typical with oversold assets, it has been beaten down by too much negativism. Political candidates who embrace a positive and credible message this election season could stand a better chance than those candidates who choose to attempt to instill fear in us. If you choose fear, you’ll be long and wrong, as we say.

Finally, candidates should know that traders have a sixth sense and can recognize hollow messages of doomsday scenarios.  For candidates choosing messages of hope, we encourage you to be confident and intelligent in your message, because that same sixth sense recognizes true leaders who possess character and carry a credible message.

So to every candidate who is pursuing public office, messages of hope will yield better results. It is difficult to maintain such a strategy given the trend of negative onslaughts candidates display towards each other. But trends can be broken. And they often do break when people least expect them to. So, stay positive, buy hope and sell fear. It’s a better investment for your future and our country’s.