President Trump’s roaring economy may be an insurmountable wall to any Democratic bid for the White House in 2020.
So says, Howard Kurtz, a columnist with Fox News. “The economy is on fire right now,” Kurtz recently wrote, “and that, more than anything, could be a major boost to President Trump’s reelection chances.” In his column, Kurtz went on to say that the Democrats are having a hard time figuring out how to run against this steamroller at a time of 4 percent unemployment and soaring gains on Wall Street.
Of course, it is still a long way till Election Day, and anything can happen, but, the S&P and the Nasdaq have recently hit all-time highs, and the newly announced rebound in first-quarter growth, to 3.2 percent, trounced the market’s all-important expectations.
While we do face a hot-bed of other issues that have been dominating the news cycles such as, immigration, healthcare, and the Mueller report, the old adage of “it’s the economy stupid” still applies when it comes to elections, particularly of an incumbent president.
A President Trump coming into 2020 with a still strong economy will be very tough to beat, and the Democrats are feeling that as they struggle to come up with any kind of messaging that could overshadow Trump’s unprecedented economic successes.
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However, before you count your chickens, or in this case elephants, Kutz goes on to remind readers that a strong or rebounding economy is not always enough to garner reelection. He writes, “The flip side is that strong economic anxieties can derail a reelection campaign, even if the economy is recovering from a recession, as happened when George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992. And the Wall Street meltdown in the fall of 2008 helped put Barack Obama in the White House.”
However, if most people are doing well economically speaking, this still presents real challenges for Dems on how to face-off against Trump. And they know it.
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, recently told Politico, “We really don’t have a robust national message right now [on the economy]. “We will tend to talk about things like paid leave and equal pay, which are popular, but don’t add up to an economic message that is robust enough to win the presidency.”
Lake also said that people may not agree with Trump, but they know what his message is. “And Democrats, you don’t know what it is. And that’s a recipe for disaster in 2020.”
For now, most of the bloated field of Democratic hopefuls have done little but take broad shots at the Trump economy, with their usual messaging of “it’s not helping everyone.” But no one on the left is articulating any kind of definitive economic platform.
One of the reasons that no economic message is breaking through is that there are 20 Democratic candidates, each vying for a share of the spotlight. That would matter less in hard times, but the Democrats don’t have that luxury.
If “it’s the economy, stupid” is as true today as when James Carville coined it a quarter-century ago, beating Trump will be harder than many Democrats think.