NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global banks are preparing for the possibility that there will be no clear victor on the night of the U.S. presidential election, a scenario that could spark days or weeks of chaos in global equities and fixed income markets, several bankers said.

Over the past two weeks, major banks have run simulations to ensure they could cope with a spike in market, liquidity and credit risks, and have been advising clients on precautionary hedges and capital raising strategies if a contested election result on Nov. 3 leads funding markets to dry up.

Reuters/Ipsos polls show the contest tightening, with Democratic candidate Joe Biden holding a slim lead over President Donald Trump in three highly competitive states, while three other battlegrounds show a dead heat. A surge in postal ballots driven by pandemic fears is expected to delay some results.

“We’re starting to talk not just to clients, but also to our staff, about the potential that you might see a longer than expected period (with no clear result) because of the large number of mail-in votes,” said Itay Tuchman, Citigroup’s

global head of FX. “We’re getting prepared for that.”

If the winner is too close to call, a legal battle and even a constitutional crisis could ensue, say bank strategists. Trump last week said he expects the result to be settled by the Supreme Court. Tuesday’s unruly first televised presidential debate has added to the uncertainty.

“If there is a constitutional crisis, we believe that the loss of political credibility and standing of the United States as a stable country could threaten its status as a safe haven with unfathomable consequences for the economy and for markets,” BNP Paribas’

Head of Macro Strategy Daniel Ahn said.


and Goldman Sachs

also flagged the risk of a

CLEVELAND (AP) — Marked by angry interruptions and bitter accusations, the first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden erupted in contentious exchanges Tuesday night over the coronavirus pandemic, city violence, job losses and how the Supreme Court will shape the future of the nation’s health care.

In what was the most chaotic presidential debate in recent years, somehow fitting for what has been an extraordinarily ugly campaign, the two men frequently talked over each other with Trump interrupting, nearly shouting, so often that Biden eventually snapped at him, “Will you shut up, man?”

“The fact is that everything he’s said so far is simply a lie,” Biden said. “I’m not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he’s a liar.”

Trump and Biden arrived in Cleveland hoping the debate would energize their bases of support, even as they competed for the slim slice of undecided voters who could decide the election. It has been generations since two men asked to lead a nation facing such tumult, with Americans both fearful and impatient about the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 of their fellow citizens and cost millions of jobs.

Over and over, Trump tried to control the conversation, interrupting Biden and repeatedly talking over the moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News. The president tried to deflect tough lines of questioning — whether on his taxes or the pandemic — to deliver broadsides against Biden.

The president drew a lecture from Wallace, who pleaded with both men to stop interrupting. Biden tried to push back against Trump, sometimes looking right at the camera to directly address viewers rather than the president and snapping, “It’s hard to get a word in with this clown.”

The vitriol exploded into the open when Biden attacked Trump’s handling

Successful countries are characterized by a fidelity to long-lasting traditions and institutions, including the rule of law. Jurisdictions characterized by few constructive traditions, weak institutions and failures to maintain the rule of law are prone to chaos. The U.S. is threatened at the moment by calls to undermine a key institution the U.S. Supreme Court and by certain state and local authorities who are failing to maintain the rule of law. There are a couple of non-complex and very doable solutions for these two problems.

The American Founders were keenly aware that parliamentary democracies tend to evolve into corrupt majoritarian tyrannies, so they designed a republican form of government with three branches of government to checkmate each other. The Founders understood that the U.S. Constitution they created was not perfect and from time to time would need to be amended in an orderly and defined way. It took a century-and-a-half to grant full rights to former slaves and women, but it was accomplished.

George Washington established the tradition of a president only serving two terms, which was observed by all American presidents up to Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt was elected to four terms but only served a few months into his fourth term before dying. Both Republicans and Democrats quickly understood that more than two terms was not a good idea, and so the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting a president to two terms (codifying the tradition), was ratified in 1951.

The tradition of nine judges on the U.S. Supreme Court has been in effect since 1869, even though Congress could have changed it. The Constitution is silent on the number. Roosevelt proposed increasing the number to obtain a court more to his liking, but even many members of his own party rejected the idea, and it was never