One of the more reliable truisms is that Americans vote their pocketbook: if their wallets are being thinned (by recession, stock market declines, high inflation/stagnant wages, etc.), they throw the incumbent out, even if they loved him the previous year when their wallets were getting fatter. (Think Bush I, who maintained high approval ratings but ended up losing the 1992 election due to a dismal economic mood.)
As a result, politicians try to time the economy to align with elections. Get any economic pain over with early in the election cycle, then prime the fiscal pump in Year 3 to boost the economy in Year 4 (election year).
The global economy and the credit cycle aren’t always so pliable or predictable. Oil can soar due to geopolitical tensions, or a speculative financial bubble can burst (subprime mortgages in 2008, dot-coms in 2000), torpedoing the economy.
The intuitive strategy is to prop up the economy and stock market by any means available heading into the election cycle: if we can just keep this over-valued pig of a market aloft until November of next year, so the thinking goes, we’ll likely win the election (or at least we won’t lose because stocks and the economy tanked).
But this strategy is a loser when the credit cycle has run past its expiration date: most credit-based expansions last at most seven years, and here we are in Year Ten. Credit exhaustion is setting in, speculative bets are maxed out and the global economy is rolling over.