Four years ago, the presidential race was one of the most riveting forms of entertainment ever. Suddenly, news outlets like CNN, MSNBC, perhaps even C-SPAN became relevant and interesting. Like my fellow Americans, I stared at the television, unable to comprehend how reality TV star Donald Trump changed every rule in politics. Currently undergoing a repeat performance, it’s time to consider stocks to buy for the 2020 presidential election.
Of course, I’m not sure who is going to win the White House come November 2020. What I can promise, though, are media-driven fireworks.
As former Forbes contributor Brett Edkins noted, Trump wasn’t the only winner in 2016, “The three major cable news networks earned record profits and attracted record audiences as millions of Americans tuned in to watch the dramatic showdown between Trump and Hillary Clinton.”
If you had placed media-related companies on your list of stocks to buy at the time, chances are, your portfolio is doing very well.
For the 2020 presidential election, we have several compelling themes to attract audiences: the response or lack there of to the novel coronavirus pandemic, geopolitical flashpoints and ever-present suspicions about Russian interference in our democratic process. It may not be a bad idea to consider media companies once again for stocks to buy.
At the same time, agility is key. Depending on who wins the White House, your picks for stocks to buy will differ, and quite dramatically. With so much bitterness on both sides of the political aisle, I can’t imagine much overlap in terms of profitable market ideas.
Ultimately, it’s going to be a wild ride. Here are my picks for stocks to buy, depending on who gets the votes.
Stocks to Buy for a Trump Win: Lockheed Martin (LMT)
When I first heard the president mention creating a space force, I thought he was joking. Unfortunately, I made the mistake that everyone else did, and I didn’t take Trump at face value.
Sure enough, in June 2018, the commander-in-chief announced the Space Force as the sixth military branch. If he wins a second term, it’s time to take a long look at Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and LMT stock.
As an aerospace specialist, Lockheed Martin has an extensive space exploration program. Considering that Trump apparently wants to militarize space, LMT stock has obviously positive implications. With its vast defense product portfolio, it wouldn’t take much for Lockheed to ramp up its space game.
Further, because of the many geopolitical flashpoints that we have now, LMT stock and other defense-related stocks to buy simply make sense if Trump wins again.
GEO Group (GEO)
Through his campaign trail in 2016, then real estate mogul Donald Trump declared himself as the “law and order” candidate. Notoriously, he would carry out this theme, encouraging his followers to chant “lock her up.”
That of course referred to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the many controversies dogging her family.
So, it’s fitting that if Trump wins the 2020 presidential election, GEO Group (NYSE:GEO) should rank highly among your stocks to buy.
Euphemistically referred to as a provider of evidence-based rehabilitation programs, GEO stock is really a controversial play on private prisons. I’m sure this investment thesis is offensive to many. Essentially, you’re profiting off other people’s bad decisions.
However, with Trump’s tough sheriff image, GEO stock inherently has clear upside potential.
H&R Block (HRB)
Back in December 2017, Trump finished his first year in office with a massive, though not controversy-free legislative achievement.
He and his fellow Republicans overhauled the tax code. While he earlier promised to do so, it was still a shock when it came.
The next shock, though, resulted when millions of Americans saw their tax refunds. For the lucky ones, this meant smaller-than-expected checks. But many others ended up owing money.
Either way, tax changes represent a net positive for H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) and by logical deduction, HRB stock.
But the refund issue isn’t what makes me bullish on HRB stock. Rather, Trump and most Republicans are business friendly. As such, I would expect his administration to foster the gig economy whose participants often fall under a different taxation category than employees.
New York Times (NYT)
However, the irony is that NYT stock absolutely loves this administration.
Should Trump win a second term, you’ll want to have this iconic newspaper in your list of stocks to buy.
While I’m sure the journalists at the Times would prefer anybody but Trump winning, for the sake of their livelihood, they ought to get an attitude adjustment. For me, I’d rather an administration I detest in power and a great job, as opposed to the other way around.
You only need to look at the charts for NYT stock to understand how vital Trump is to this company. For many years, shares traded in disappointing fashion. But following the 2016 election, the Times have had no shortage of content to distribute. Not surprisingly, shares have also done very well since the election. Since December 2016, shares are up over 150%.
On the promise to make America great again, Trump vowed as a candidate to restore American businesses.
To rally his troops, “The Donald” frequently dropped iconic names like Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT). It’s a good thing too. Prior to Trump singing the company’s praises, CAT stock was hardly on anyone’s radar.
As Trump won the nomination and began making his pitch to the American people in earnest, CAT stock ticked higher. After he took office, shares catapulted from under $100 to nearly $160.
If you want an example of someone talking up a stock, look no further than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
But since the early summer of 2018, CAT stock has lost much of its technical appeal, largely trading sideways. This is a company that could use a repeat performance at the 2020 presidential election.
Stocks to Buy for a Democrat Win: Tesla (TSLA)
These days, it’s rare to see Democrats and Republicans find a consensus on any issue. Obviously, climate change and broader environmental concerns are emblematic of this divide. But because of this contentiousness, an opportunity exists for companies like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) if a Democrat wins the White House.
For one thing, celebrities really dig their Teslas. More often than not, Hollywood folks support Democratic candidates. But that alone isn’t the only reason to consider TSLA stock in case of a blue victory.
Instead, it’s what youth-centric Hollywood represents. Most Democrats place environmental issues as one of their top priorities. And with Tesla EVs, liberals can have their environmentalism and look stylish along the way. That’s a positive for TSLA stock.
Of course, the net environmental impact isn’t nearly as optimistic as people think. But hey, that’s all fake news.
Big-box retailer Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has gotten off to a slow start this year. But as we roll away the months on the calendar, if it appears that a Democrat has a solid chance of winning the 2020 presidential election, do yourself a favor and buy WMT stock.
Why? Composed of liberals and progressives, the Democratic party has traditionally supported the working class. Therefore, you can expect a president from this camp to promote policies such as a robust minimum wage.
Should that happen, more working class people will have access to disposable income. And since Walmart specializes in almost anything you could want, I’d expect revenues to increase noticeably. That should provide an uptick for WMT stock, at least for the next four years.
Realistically, it’s not going to happen. But let’s just say the Democrats grow a brain and let Andrew Yang offer a true counterpoint to Donald Trump.
In that parallel universe, I’d take a long look at CarMax (NYSE:KMX).
As you may know, Yang’s signature policy is his “Freedom Dividend.” Amounting to $1,000 per month for every American over the age of 18, the tech entrepreneur turned presidential candidate believes this safety net is necessary as the U.S. faces an unprecedented economic shift toward automation.
Should he win, millions of families can spend that $1,000 to buy a decent car, which boosts KMX stock. It will also help eliminate the massive car loan default crisis that’s silently plaguing America.
Even if Yang doesn’t win, Democrats will still push initiatives for a living minimum wage, which would be a tailwind for KMX stock.
Cronos Group (CRON)
Ordinarily, a Democratic electoral victory would spell optimism for embattled Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON).
Recently, Cronos has been making inroads to the U.S. cannabis market with cannabidiol (CBD) products. However, full legalization could rapidly expand Cronos’ offerings from just CBD to other, more potent forms of cannabis.
Naturally, this is a huge lift for CRON stock. However, we have one tiny problem. If the most recent polls are any indication, former Vice President Joe Biden might win the Democratic nomination. Contrary to his fellow liberals, Biden is at best lukewarm about the idea of legalization. As president, he probably would be against it.
Then again, botanical liberties have become a major issue for many constituents. In order to steal votes away from Trump, Biden might have to bite the bullet here. If so, you should put CRON stock high on your list of stocks to buy.
HCA Healthcare (HCA)
Even without the drama of the 2020 presidential election, you should consider HCA Healthcare (NYSE:HCA) among your stocks to buy. As a healthcare services provider, HCA is essentially recession-proof. But with the Democrats actively seeking a national healthcare system, HCA stock takes on more urgency.
In 2018, about 87 million American adults were either under-insured or had no coverage. Due to the dire situation in our deeply flawed medical system, many financially challenged individuals defer or avoid necessary care. Supposedly, we’re the greatest nation on earth. Thus, crap like this shouldn’t happen. In principle, I agree with the Democrats on this issue.
However, I’m not entirely sure how we’re going to pay for universal healthcare. But if it gets done, HCA stock should jump higher based on increased demand.
As of this writing, Josh Enomoto did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.