The man whose mother called him François-Marie Arouet–but who is called Voltaire by the rest of us–was asked on his deathbed if he would renounce the Devil and all his works. Voltaire declined on the grounds that “This is no time to be making new enemies.”
Donald Trump is, to be sure, no Voltaire. The once and perhaps future President of the United States unleashed withering mockery at the news that Elon Musk has announced he will from now on be voting for the Republican ticket.
“Gee, Elon Musk never told me that until now he only voted for Democrats,” Trump tweeted “Actually, it was quite the contrary, but now it seems, with all of his problems with a probably illegal purchase of a crummy phony account loaded company, Fake Twitter, he wants to be a Republican because the Dems are ‘a Party of hate.’ I could have told him that a long time ago, but actually they are a Party of sickness, greed, corruption & absolutely horrible policy. Good luck Elon, have fun!!!”
Far from being afraid of making new enemies, Trump revels in it.
Ironically, Trump is actually supporting Musk’s central complaint about Twitter’s accounting for the number of fake accounts on its platform. Keep in mind that if Truth Social ever really gets rolling and if Musk ever ends up buying Twitter, these two will own rival social media platforms. So a bit of competitive chiding is to be expected.
Fascinatingly, Musk—usually not shy about firing back at critics—has so far declined to respond. Maybe he’s decided, like Voltaire, that now is not a moment to make enemies.
Into the Bear Cave—And Out!
The market swung wildly on Friday. After opening to the upside following an overnight of mostly positive futures, stocks tumbled later in the morning. The S&P 500 entered bear market territory, defined as 20 percent below its recent highwater mark. Then things turned around again, and stocks ended mostly flat. The S&P is down by only just under 19 percent from its January closing high, so we officially climbed our way out of the bear’s cave.
The S&P has been down seven weeks in a row. The Nasdaq Composite as well. Those are the longest losing streaks since 2001, according to data from Dow Jones. But the really impressive track record is the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has been down eight weeks in a row. That’s something the market hasn’t managed since 1932, when the country was mired in the Great Depression.
Democrats Catch the Bidenflation Blues
President Joe Biden’s approval rating fell to the lowest point of his presidency in May, a new poll from the Associated Press shows. What’s truly extraordinary is what the AP called that “deepening pessimism emerging among members of his own Democratic Party.” Sixty-two percent of Democrats say Biden’s policies have either hurt the economy or made no difference whatsoever. Sixty-five percent of Democrats rate the economy as poor, up from 50 percent in March.
Not surprisingly, including Republicans and Independents in the mix makes the numbers even bleaker. Overall, two-thirds of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy, which is largely unchanged over the last few months. Only 18 percent of Americans say Biden’s policies have done more to help than hurt the economy, down from the already miserable 24 percent in March.
We’re almost tempted to say that things could not get much worse for the Democrats as we hurtle toward the midterms, but then we glance back over at the stock market returns and remember that until you get to zero, you can always drop another 20 percent.