Sree Iyer: Hello and welcome to PGurus Channel, today is Election Day in the United States, already 100 million or 73% of those who cast their votes in 2016 have already mailed in their votes. So this is going to be a record election in terms of turnout. We don’t even know at this point of time, how many will end up casting their votes in the midst of all these you have Corona, you have all these attacks on In Europe. So, nobody really knows how each one of these things is going to impact this general election, because these days everybody’s talking about everything across the world. To make a little bit of sense of where things are which the decisive states are that are going to decide this election. Let’s join Shri Sridhar ChityalaJi, Namaskar and welcome to PGurus Channel.
Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar and good morning to all in the east and west coast and good evening to those in India and good afternoon to those who are in Europe. I think, we have reached the most decisive day in the United States most decisive in elected politics, 100 million people have voted. It looks like based on all the data that we see, everything is now hovering around about three to five states. Originally the battleground was 12 came down to 9, it’s now probably boiled down to about five states, which is Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Wisconsin is small overall it makes up the number but it could be quite decisive at the same time. Should both sides are claiming an edge, there was a report last night, all these poll numbers seem a little absurd and manipulated or miscalculated. This is coming even from the NBC which is historically considered pro-democratic. So, the on-ground reports, of each of the political party seem to be much more reflective of what’s happening to the graph is close the reality. If you use that as a basis Republican party believes that North Carolina and Florida is well in their camp along with Texas, Georgia, Arizona etc., these were all kind of borderline or part of the battleground states, so, there is again in Pennsylvania. You can see the last campaign was in Pennsylvania both Trump as well as Biden spent a lot of time in Pennsylvania. So, it may boil down to Pennsylvania, it is the anchor just as last time as the most decisive State. So, that brings to the next question, which is namely would we know the results tonight. The answer seems to be moving towards No. They have not commenced counting the votes of what has already been received, all would start later. So this could be three four-five days away in terms of actually getting an outcome as to who is going to be the President of the United States.
Sree Iyer: Well, we saw now a slew of incidents in France and yesterday in Austria, where depending on who you read, between four to seven people dead and this was a bombing attack on Synagogue and so, all these things will also have some sort of an effect on the people who are going in to vote today. How do you think these things affect the Republicans or the Democrats, do you have any sense of which way things are headed, sir?
Sridhar Chityala: Well, you make a great point, which is the most recent incidents, if you take the incident in a few months just a couple of months old, which is three incidents in France and the Synagogue incident which is actually shooting incident and last night, they’re still trying to locate some of the accomplices. So, how does it play in? It probably has a factor that would go in, having experienced it not along the same lines, but in a different way, here in the United States in quite a few States, particularly in West Coast, Midwest, a few parts East Coast as well. In New York, you have seen incidents of violence and incidents are burning, looting all kinds of things that occurred during this particular phase. So, security is one of the elements that at least to our external observers that we seem to a factor, but, the Gallup poll seems to indicate something different contrary to the Democratic theories, which is economy. No economy was not, enemy people seem to be giving very low because they feel things are going but, jobs and more around the uncertainty about when and how this pandemic is going to end seems to be weighing highly in their minds and whether Security in itself weighs as a factor was not validated in the Poll. So, we can only go by people preferring more stability rather than the kind of violence that one saw.
Sree Iyer: Well, let’s move on to other geopolitical conflicts and so on. Yesterday, the ministry of external Affairs of India gave is a clear-cut message to Pakistan, clear out of Gilgit-Baltistan. This is the strongest message that I have seen come out of the MEA in a long time. What do you make of it sir? And what are the overall implications of India making such a strong stand, I am by the way very happy that the MEA starting to play on the front foot.
Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think there seems to be a coordinated mechanism between what’s happening in the North around the Ladakh-Leh areas and to what has happened in Gilgit-Baltistan part of the POK. So, Ministry of External Affairs has made it extremely explicit in its statement, get out, the word that is used his ‘get out’ of Gilgit-Baltistan and the entire Kashmir belongs to India. Therefore, please get out. Now, that’s a very explicit statement, coming from MEA as you rightly point out. Now, what could be the reason? There could be with election uncertainty whether people are entertaining some aspirations as close coordination between the Chinese and the Pakistanis, especially, the Gilgit-Baltistan area is the conduit for the CPEC – China Pakistan Economic Corridor. So, it would be, what you call a game-changer for China if that area is taking. India made a point very clear which is to say that CPEC corridor is illegal.
Sree Iyer: Well, viewers might have noticed that we had a couple of videos that we had shown on PGurus Channel wherein you had representatives from Gilgit-Baltistan, Pak occupied Kashmir, even the European Union representatives who are saying that there is a lot of atrocities being committed by the Pakistani government in Pakistan and all these Balochistan, exit Balochistan is also being been given a call. So, a lot of pressure building up within Pakistan. We don’t know whether that’s going to lead to it breaking up under its own weight. But, certainly, there is a lot of pressure and what we have to see next is how this thing is going to play out with a clear-cut message from India that Pakistan needs to clear out of Gilgit-Baltistan, we have to see how that’s going to play out. Next questions sir are we are taking a look at economy because we have already spent a fair amount on politics, the unemployed who are not getting any benefits now and they were waiting for Stimulus version 2 to kick in to continue at least some amount of benefit that there are drawing upon. Now, appear to be quite upset, again whose fault do you think they will think that the stimulus version 2 is not signed. Who are they going to punish?
Sridhar Chityala: Well, first and foremost, the stimulus only extended the benefits not curtailed the current benefits. There was additional $500 he’s offered as part of the FED package and then the states topped it up with an additional $200. So basically stimulus was an extension to the existing package because of the lack of jobs and so on. Anyway, who they can blame? It depends on your political mindset, right, so they can blame the Republicans because the Republicans did not toe the line of Nancy Pelosi. Republicans say that there was a targeted program which included which is very responsible, those are Republicans words, responsible and the stimulus package, which is aimed at the targeted sectors which include unemployed, the extension of the PPP program, extension, for extension of medical facilities, medical aid to the hospital’s additional testing including some element of money that was given to the local administration and schools more specifically because the schools are reopening. And where the breakage point was around bailing out, this is the view of the Republican Steve Mnuchin and Trump bailing out some of the local administrations which are under the custody of or under the management of the democratic party. That fiscal stimulus is not about bailing mismanaged States and mismanaged councils. I think that’s why it broke down.
Sree Iyer: The overarching question that is going to be in the minds of voters is, okay, so it doesn’t matter who is winning and who is losing this perception battle, At the end of the day I am not finding any money coming down to me and I am still digging deeper into my savings. So this is the mindset of people. We have to find out how that reflects itself at the ballot. Sir, yesterday we had a little bit of discussion about which way the Congress is going to go which way the Senate’s going to go and which way the presidency is going to go, what are your thoughts? Do you think the race is tightened up in the last 24 hours? It appears to be so because I’m looking at fivethirtyeight.com, Trafalgar group’s website and these were the two diametrically opposite views and I’m seeing that 538 is predicting a much tighter contest. What do you say, sir? Congress?
Sridhar Chityala: Congress, I think in my view not only may not be starting the fight. I believe that the Democratic party probably have an edge in the house just because of the number of seats that they have to flip over. Whereas the Senate, while the Democrats have any chance to flip I think Republicans have really put the effort in ensuring that there is enough kind of own ground effort to retain and also to retrieve some marginal seats if feasible. For example, Iowa is going in Republican’s way. That’s just an example on the Senate side. So I think the Senate with Republicans will retain a thin hairline margin may retain. As I mentioned last time, the presidential narrowing is more in favour of Trump rather than in favour of Biden. NBC poll last night said most of the numbers don’t seem to be correct. It is exactly the same problem that we had in the 2016 elections. So one of the mysteries that came over from 2016 to 2020 is the political activism in managing these numbers. So we don’t know whether it is, what you’re saying represents the right reflection of the sample. One thing is clear all of the Republicans have come to the party and voted and that has reflected in the size of the number of people who voted early and did we mention it’s a very big number. I think we’re going to have very extensive participation by the United States, the people of the United States to make sure that they’re owed is rightly cast and monetized in line with their political aspirations.
Sree Iyer: And I agree with you that there is an increased awareness that they must cast their ballots. In fact, in my family, all of us are voted already and we are just sitting back now to see how the elections unfold. Sir, lastly, the retail sales in the United States have seen an uptick. In fact, a considerable uptick as the third-quarter earnings have come in. So does this mean that the United States has seen the worst of the recession caused by the Coronavirus?
Sridhar Chityala: I would say that this is not something that is very well understood, but I think we touched on this in one of the shows. The integration of the fiscal monetary and the stimulus which is more market and consumer-related has been one of the most outstanding features of the Trump presidency relative to any other presidency in the past. The stimulus of 2.2 trillion dollars is almost like, you put a nuclear weapon so that you can have a maximum impact. So the retail sales came back to normalcy almost to pre-pandemic levels in less than six months from between March and September, they came back to the normalcy. The employment numbers which went up to 14-16% has now come back to less than about 7%. People claiming unemployment benefits for the past six weeks has been coming down quite steadily. When you validate the consumer survey and backed by the numbers, they say they will be spending this Christmas season, holiday season, probably average spend maybe less than $50, but they’re going to spend. It’s a reflection that the stimulus has had an effect. The PPP program has to some extent preserve the continuity of employment which plays into the emotions and sentiments. Even the stimulus money they have very well-calibrated how they would allocate between savings, spend and discretionary activities. Spend is for their consumptive patterns and discretionary is what you spent for the holiday season. So there seems to be a finely calibrated model propagated by the stimulus program and they know the stimulus is imminent irrespective of which party comes to power. That’s what is giving them the confidence to go to the market and spend money.
Sree Iyer: Sir, before we sign off on today’s segment, can you cap the top three things that are happening in the next 24 hours that will be looking at tomorrow?
Sridhar Chityala: Top three things are obviously, number one is the election results which is going to move which way the world is going. Number two is how the markets behave relative to what the election results are going to unleash. Number three is how does the Global Security Theater, which is, you mentioned a couple of features, now how does that play out? Because there are problems in the North, there are problems in the Indo-Pacific, there are problems in the South China Sea, there are problems near the south. How long that is going to play out and domestically whether there are going to be any disturbances and violence has in the United States or those are the three main headlines that we will see. One is the outcome, second is the markets, and it’s perception and third is the potential uncertainties that can be created and whether people are going to exploit it.
Sree Iyer: The market futures today seem to be a slight uptick there and we will leave it at that. Thank you very much. Sridharji and we’ll be back tomorrow, same time, same channels and please do subscribe to PGurus channel. Thank you once again and Namaskar.
Sridhar Chityala: Thank you. Namaskar.
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