Later today or tomorrow I’ll give you my thoughts on how President Trump can use both the economic news and its burial by both Democrats and media to his advantage: Me, yesterday.
OK, here it is.
First, a quick reminder about the state of the economy. During Donald Trump’s presidency:
-The Dow Jones, S&P and NASDAQ averages have risen to all-time highs;
-Unemployment has dropped to a 50 year low – near its all-time low;
-Black unemployment has dropped to an all-time low;
-Latino unemployment has dropped to an all-time low;
-Female unemployment has dropped to an all-time low;
-Wages have risen far faster than in the previous two administrations (Sentier Research puts the average household gain at about $5,000);
-Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) continues to rise, while most of the rest of the world is moving in the opposite direction.
And another reminder:
-Other than in time of war, the economy is almost always the single most important issue to voters…thus, in all likelihood, the single most important component of how “swingometric” voters (i.e. non-partisan voters who are not committed to one side regardless of what happens) move on election day.
With the above in mind, what can President Trump do to “lock in” credit for this excellent economic news, and protect against the possibility that it will not last through the 2020 election season? Is there a way to do this now, a year before the election?
In a word, yes.
The first thing President Trump can do is the most obvious: use his campaign funding for advertising that etches the economic news detailed above into voters’ minds.
The next thing he can do is tell voters the excellent economy has occurred in spite of Democrat opposition to what has caused it occur. To do so, he can cite Democrat opposition to his policies, such as the tax cut and lessening the regulation burdens on businesses. In other words, Trump can establish that he, and Republicans in general, have sole ownership of the current state of our economy.
Then he can further buttress this point by reminding voters that, in the year since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, they have done little or nothing to maintain/advance the economy. All they have done is work to remove the President whose policies caused it to get to where it is.
In that connection, he can dare Democrats to name any legislation they have advanced that has had anything to do with current economic strength – which is a winner, since the Democrat House has done little to advance anything this year.
And then – this is the key – Trump can remind voters that, politically, it is in Democrats’ interest for the economy to falter in 2020. He can argue that their inactivity on the economic front is an effort to stall the economy so that people like them will be damaged, but the Democrat candidate wins in 2020.
To that end, he can remind voters, over and over again, that the USMCA agreement – which would give us a major economic advantage versus the NAFTA agreement it would replace – has been stalled in the House of Representatives all year…and, if it had been passed,would have made our already-strong economy that much stronger.
He can, very publicly, demand immediate passage of USMCA….which would put Democrats in the position of either continuing to hold it off, thus “proving” they are trying to damage the economy for political reasons, or pass it and be seen as only doing so because Trump shamed them into it – either way, a winner for Trump. (USMCA is an excellent vehicle for this strategy, because it is well publicized and easy to understand.)
If Trump does these things, he will a) have staked out ownership of the current strong economy and b) established Democrat blame if it does anything but continue its strength next year. In other words, if the economy stays good it’s Trump’s fault, and if it heads south it’s the Democrats’ fault.
That, to me, is a winning strategy – not just because it is likely to resonate with voters, but because there is a credible argument that every component of this strategy is true/not just political blather.
Will he do it? I don’t know. But I sure will be interested to find out one way or the other.