The coronavirus plunged a knife in the heart of our raging bull market last week. So did Sen. Bernie Sanders.
That’s what some top investors are saying, suggesting the stock sell-off reflected anxieties about the spreading disease, to be sure, but also real alarm that the socialist ideologue could actually become our next president. That possible outcome to the chaotic Democratic primary season was viewed as a “black swan” event; few took the Vermont senator’s candidacy seriously.
That has changed.
Investors worry that the coronavirus could slow growth in the U.S and trash earnings for a quarter or two; of course, everyone is alarmed at the possible loss of life. But some market-makers are much more anxious that a President Bernie Sanders could impose massive taxes and new regulations which would undermine our long-term prospects and even our free enterprise system.
Consider the timing. In the lead-up to the market’s crash, two important things happened. First, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, considered by many the Democrat establishment’s best hope for derailing Sanders’ nomination, flopped big time in his first-ever debate.
The billionaire New Yorker entered the contest last fall when progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren was surging in the polls. Bloomberg feared that a weak former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner at the time, was not going to beat her. He proposed himself as the moderate who could best defeat Donald Trump.
The Nevada debate on Feb. 19 was Bloomberg’s first at-bat, a chance to be seen on nationwide TV and to mix it up with his rival candidates. Hopes were high that the pragmatic, smart businessman would emerge as the credible alternative to the fellow President Trump calls Crazy Bernie.
It was not to be. Ratings surged for the debate as millions tuned in to see Bloomberg in action, only to witness a major face plant. In the two days after the debate, the market started to slide.
On Saturday, Feb. 22, the aging socialist from Vermont scored a shocking knock-out in the Nevada caucuses. Not only did Sanders win, but he won with 46.8 percent of the vote, a much higher tally than expected. The outcome stunned political analysts.
The Monday after the Nevada caucuses, the Dow lost more than one thousand points, kicking off the worst week since the financial crisis.
To be sure, the spread of the coronavirus also played a major role in the market tumble. Markets hate uncertainty; in a vacuum of information about the disease, the most calamitous projections gained headlines.
The coronavirus will work its way across our country, which will survive thanks to the best medical apparatus in the world and the likelihood that therapies will become available to treat the sickest patients.
Unhappily, there is no known cure for Sanders.
Liz Peek is a Fox News contributor and a columnist for The Hill and FoxNews.com.