In the summer of 2015, either one or both political parties will begin the search for their next presidential candidate (depending on whether Mitt Romney wins the election this fall). By that time, the whole tenor of political positions will have sharply changed.
At least, we can only hope so.
That's because our economy is unlikely to handle three more years of gridlock, which keeps us stuck in a phase of higher government spending and shrinking revenue. Any day now, the ever-rising mountain of debt will need to be addressed. In the face of inaction, the bond market will have spoken by 2015 anyway, as "bond vigilantes" force the government to get a grip on the never-ending deficits.
Right now, we have a pretty clear read on the broadly-staked positions of the Democratic Party. Yet signs are emerging that we'll see a bruising battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. How it plays out will help shape what the U.S. government looks like in 3-4 years.
In recent weeks, we've seen GOP primary victories by tea party candidates for the Senate in Indiana and Texas. In Texas, tea party darling Ted Cruz defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst by a 4-to-3 margin -- and Dewhurst already had pretty deep conservative bonafides. In Indiana, long-time Sen. Richard Lugar is one of a long line of center-right conservatives that has been shown the door.
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