No, It’s Not the Economy, Stupid—Not if Donald Trump is On the Ticket: There’s an old belief in American politics that says the party of power stands to win big in an election if the economy is doing poorly. This has proven true many times throughout history.
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Yet, we are living in strange times. We are living in an age of mass media manipulation and state-sanctioned lies. Political animosities drive all things in America today; it is our single dividing—and uniting—issue.
The country could be on fire everywhere and the current president might have been the one light that inferno, but at least half the country wouldn’t care or even acknowledge this because it’s “their man” in the White House.
So, when Republicans think that they’ll win just because Biden is “just like Jimmy Carter”, it starts to make my skin crawl. Times have changed. The electorate has shifted.
The 2012 Example
This was precisely the thinking that led Republicans in 2012 to haughtily assume that they could just show up on the debate stage that year and walk away with a win because the economy wasn’t doing well (compared to previous years) under Obama. Republican political consultants rarely understand the extent and depth that ideology and culture play into national elections. The Democrats often have a firmer grasp on these issues and how to manipulate them for immediate electoral gain.
In 2012, Obama didn’t run on his economy. He ran as an economic populist and social liberal. Obama made it a race between his character (as the media represented it) and that of Mitt Romney (viewed as a heartless businessman who fired employees who’d gotten sick on the job rather than pay their benefits. An executive who had who shut factories down and shipped those jobs overseas to save some money).
Obama weaponized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against conservative activist groups in the run-up to the 2012 election.
Further, President Obama had presided over a debacle in Benghazi that resulted in four Americans being murdered by al Qaeda (on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, no less), and the Republicans couldn’t break through the lies and obfuscations of the Democratic Party on the matter.
That did not matter either. What mattered was that Romney was such a chauvinist that he kept “binders full of women” on his desk. It was all absurd. It didn’t matter, though, because the Democrats had a better read on the voters than the Republicans did. They also had a better PR machine that could smother the Republicans.
Thus, the GOP “strategists” who are again assuming the Republicans can field any candidate in 2024 and that’ll be enough to defeat the Democrats don’t get it. Look at the way the lies and manipulations have already shaped the public consciousness.
Yes, President Joe Biden is performing badly in the approval polls. But historically, he’s doing no worse than any of his predecessors. Just look around the world, though, and you’ll see the pain that his policies are causing. In a sane and fair world—a world in which we had some semblance of an honest, independent media—most voters would see Biden for the abject failure that he is.
This is not how Biden is viewed. And just when people might start seeing Biden for the miserable disaster that he is (likely the worst US president since James Buchanan lost the Union in the run-up to the Civil War), the GOP enters the chat by shoving Donald J. Trump down everyone’s throat again.
The only problem for the GOP is that Donald Trump is the most divisive candidate who has run in years. He alienates moderates and fence-sitting Republicans; militating them against his campaign on the sheer notion that he is morally unacceptable to their sensibilities (most of which has been informed by Pop Culture, the Liberal news media, and Woke academia).
They’re Covering Up a Recession for Biden
What’s more, the Biden Administration, along with their allies in the media, have managed to insulate themselves from the economic downturn the country is currently enduring. Despite what all the masters of the universe types insist upon, this country is undergoing what some have referred to as a “masked recession.”
As the name suggests, economic data that would ordinarily prove an economic downturn has been hidden away or redefined by the compliant media and bureaucracy in order to better shield President Biden and the Democrats in the run-up to the 2024 Presidential Election.
Two months after the GDP growth numbers were released for Quarter Four of 2022, the US government quietly downgraded those numbers. On multiple occasions over the last few years, the government has been made to revise their jobs numbers down, long after they released higher numbers to the public.
No one is reporting the fact that there are now more cars being built in China than in the United States. Everywhere one looks in America today, economic tightening can be seen and felt. And let’s not even start talking about inflation and interest rates.
Any other president—notably a Republican one—would be eviscerated in the press and likely stand little chance at reelection.
This is not so for Biden.
If the GOP moves ahead with its plan to force a default on America’s debt by refusing to raise the debt ceiling this summer, that will only be another nail-in-the-coffin for the GOP. An extraordinary number of ordinary Americans will be disproportionately hurt by the default that the House Republicans appear intent on creating.
Many Republicans clearly believe that driving the national economy off the cliff by refusing to raise the debt ceiling will somehow prompt Americans to—finally—see the error in supporting Democrats and their massive deficit spending policies. At last, voters will blame the president rather than the House GOP, who drove the economy off the cliff. Donald Trump will be able to win reelection easily.
Sorry, that isn’t how this is going to work.
For Voters, Voting for Donald Trump is a Statement (as is Voting Against Him)
Donald Trump has become a cultural phenomenon and he will skew the “normal” way things should play out politically during an economic downturn. With the aforementioned successful cover-ups and manipulations of the voters by the Democrats and their allies in the media, Republicans should not expect anything predictable happening in 2024.
Now, if Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis is the nominee, things might become somewhat more predictable because he’s not as much of a cultural icon of division as Trump is. Even then, however, the Democrats have totally captured the hearts-and-minds of the voters through obscene lies and egregious manipulations. Should Trump be the nominee, though, it’ll be more confusing.
Consider this: Trump’s favorability ratings are horrible. He does poorly among college-educated women and other minorities. He also performs terribly with educated, upper-middle-class, white suburban voters. And don’t even get started on how women voters resent Trump. Pair this with what I’ve written above and any GOP consultant or leader who thinks another recession can save Trump’s chances of becoming the president again should be encouraged to seek therapy for delusional thinking.
The economy could be in another Great Depression and enough people will galvanize to vote against Trump rather than to vote for whoever is the Democratic Party’s nominee. If Trump is the nominee in 2024, everything will be upside-down. Most Americans will not support Trump as president, regardless of what’s going on with the economy.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.