‘It’s the Economy, Stupid’

Member Group : Jerry Shenk

In 1992, James Carville, then advisor to candidate Bill Clinton, coined a phrase that became central to Clinton’s campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Clinton campaign volunteers in corporate media sold that theme even though America was already emerging from a relatively mild, cyclical recession. As president, Clinton took credit for a normal recovery before risking it by signing a massive tax increase.

Today, with good reason, public attention is fully-focused on economic matters.

In anticipation of the November midterm elections, a Long Island University Horstein Center national poll tracked Democrats’, Republicans’ and Independents’ top issues.

All three groups listed “the economy” as number one or two. Overall, by a significant margin, “the economy” was the number one issue ahead of “coronavirus.”

Respondents who identified as Republicans overwhelmingly said the economy will be most influential in determining their midterm votes, followed by “national security.” “Immigration” finished third.

Democrats listed “Coronavirus” as their number one issue, with the economy a close second. “Immigration” was barely mentioned.

Although not affiliated with either major party, most “Independent” registered voters lean toward one or the other. In the Holstein Center poll, respondents who identified as Independent (or “other non-affiliated”) listed the economy as their number one issue, trailed by “coronavirus.”

“The economy” covers a rather broad range of topics, including a subset of practical “kitchen table” issues that influence public opinion at a personal level, among them the cost of living, inflation, unemployment/jobs, fuel/oil prices, wages and benefits, taxes, and the “wealth” gap between rich and poor.

Today, there’s also greater public awareness of macro issues that affect the overall American economy, then trickle down to a personal level – the federal budget deficit, the national debt, and foreign trade/trade deficits, all of which are headed in the wrong direction.

The national debt ballooned by more than $2 trillion last year, accelerating inflation, and the trade deficit exceeded $1 trillion for the first time in history.

The near-unanimity among Democrats, Republicans and Independents in the Horstein Center poll is important, especially considering how profoundly coronavirus policies have negatively affected America’s economy.

Ironically, Democrat respondents overall appear slightly more concerned about the virus itself than they are about the wreckage dozens of failed, often-contradictory, brutally-restrictive coronavirus policies inflicted on millions of lives, and on the larger economy about which they also claim to be concerned.

Similarly, illegal immigration has adverse economic impact on American social services, jobs and wages, but, today, especially, it should also alarm every Democrat who is primarily worried about coronavirus.

After promising to “shut down the virus,” President(ish) Joe Biden’s open border policies spread COVID-19, because his administration wasn’t infection-testing illegal border crossers.

In fact, last September, while Americans were dealing with oppressive COVID restrictions/mandates, House Democrats blocked mandatory testing requirements for hundreds of thousands of illegals who were released into the nation’s interior, some resettled at American taxpayers’ expense.

Wary news consumers, generally, distrust polls, because most national pollsters lean left and tend to oversample Democrats. That’s why the results of national polls that reflect poorly on Democrats attract attention, especially those sponsored by media who ordinarily serve as public relations arms of the Democratic Party.

On January 23, NBC News released a poll containing a shocking number: 72 percent(!) of Americans think the country is heading in the wrong direction. NBC reported that the “wrong direction” number has exceeded 70 percent only six times since polling began. Every time it happened in an election year, the party in power suffered significant losses.

An ABC/Ipsos poll reported that substantial American majorities disapprove of Mr. Biden’s records on inflation, economic recovery, violent crime, immigration, and foreign policy. Public opinion was split only on “coronavirus response.”

“We are not going to win the elections in 2022 unless our base is energized and ordinary people understand what we are fighting for, and how we are different than the Republicans,” Sen. Bernie Sanders told the New York Times. “Clearly, the current strategy is failing and we need a major course correction.”

Translation: “OMG, we’re gonna lose!”

Washington Democrats have a lot of “wrong direction” problems, but “messaging” isn’t one of them.

Every one of Joe Biden’s failures will hurt Democrats, but most will prove ancillary. 2023 congressional majorities will be determined primarily by “kitchen table” issues.

“It’s the economy, stupid.”