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Bernie Sanders is the new Ronald Reagan and Why Traders Should Care
Those of you old enough to remember, I want you to go back with me to the late 1970’s. The country was much more liberal then. Abortion was basically on demand. Environmental regulations weren’t just issued but were welcomed as a necessity and there was even talk of passing the Equal Rights Amendment for women. Oh and the NRA actually believed in responsible, restrictive gun ownership that required training and certification.
Along came a man who everyone said was too old -- way too conservative -- and whose ideas were far out of the mainstream. Also he was genial, charming and never said a bad word about his opponents.
Remind you of anyone? Of course. Bernie Sanders is the new Ronald Reagan and before you blow your red state gasket on my blasphemy, allow me to explain. Of course politically Sanders is the exact opposite of Reagan on almost every issue with perhaps the exception of immigration and guns but as a politician Sanders is the best reincarnation of St. Ronnie that I have seen in a very long time.
There is a reason why Reagan was able to get life long Democrats to pull the lever for the elephant and why Sanders in turn is able to draw massive enthusiastic crowds in the reddest of red states. Both politicians understood the power and discipline of a simple message. Reagan promised to cut your taxes and make America grow. Sanders promises universal healthcare, free secondary education and a $15 minimum wage that would allow workers to earn enough money to pay for food and shelter.
But here is what make both politicians unique and so successful. They don’t focus on anything else. Reagan and Sanders are both highly skilled and disciplined politicians who never waver in their message. No name calling of their opponents. No poll tested flavor of the day soundbites. Not even a moment’s thought to their appearance. Reagan -- the studio actor -- was perfectly comfortable in his all American suits and neatly cut jet black dyed hair. Sanders on the other hand has never met a rumpled shirt he didn’t like and a comb passes through his hair less frequently than through my daughter’s kinky curls. Reagan never tried to be a policy intellectual and Sanders never tries to be a debonair politician. Both men were supremely comfortable with themselves.
Which finally brings me to trading. You have a system. It works generally well. You follow its rules and more days than not it rewards you with a profit. So what do you do? Everything in your power to change it. Oh look one day it cost me 300 pips! I can’t possibly trade that again!
There is no greater sabotage in the market than self sabotage. And I along with everyone else am very guilty of that sin. The markets are constantly changing, so of course we feel that we need to change with them. But do we? Ultimately there are really only two ways to trade -- momentum or mean reversion. Every single strategy is simply a variation of those two ideas. Instead of looking for the latest and the greatest indicator that would help us to never-ever-ever-ever-lose-again we should should stick to and refine what’s working.
If there is anything that Ronald Reagan and Bernie Sanders have taught us it’s that simplicity works and that perhaps the greatest challenge to success is remembering to do the same thing day and day out.