While it might not always be the case, I learned in my decade in Washington is that elites in power believe one thing when it comes to elections and winning elections more than anything else: Americans vote with their wallets and how the economy is perceived to be doing.
And if that is true, anyone in the GOP field who wants to run against Joe Biden must worry about the latest inflation numbers.
While my fellow Republicans might want not want to admit it, their number one talking point, that inflation is out of control, is about to be taken away from them.
Or, well, maybe it already has?
Joe Biden Wins If He Tames Inflation?
Looking at all of the metrics out there, almost across the entire economy, inflation is way, way down.
Inflation, in my view, is far worse than a recession or a normal economic downturn, as it robs the American consumer of their buying power.
If your money is worth less over time, and that inflation rate is higher than your salary increase rate, you are in serious trouble. You are literally taking a pay cut with each passing second.
I would argue high inflation is one of the key reasons that President Biden’s poll numbers have been so bad for so long – Americans feel they just can’t get ahead economically.
Taking the longview, events like 9/11, the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic all did tremendous damage to the economic vitality of the nation. America racked up large bills to try and fight these issues, but still, wages have been stagnant for decades.
Add inflation to that, and the American dream seems like it is dying a slow death.
But the good news for Joe Biden is that inflation now seems to be hovering around 3 percent, right around the Federal Reserve’s goal of 2 percent inflation before the pandemic chaos began.
If the American economy does not come in for a hard landing due to constant fed interest rate hikes and the American consumer feels more confident, 2024 could be Joe Biden’s to win.
Now, my GOP colleagues will go right to the argument that Joe Biden is in so-called ‘cognitive decline‘ and that Americans fear what a Kamala Harris presidency would look like if, say, Biden had to step down or even pass away.
Maybe. But Americans don’t have time to weigh every political factor into their daily lives – they don’t care about politics like the DC elites or the pundit class on TV. They want stable prices, a growing economy, and the chance to raise a family at a time when the world does not seem like it is coming to an end, like 2020.
That might mean they could give Joe Biden another chance – instead of Donald Trump.
Harry J. Kazianis (@Grecianformula) is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive and serves as President and CEO of Rogue States Project, a bipartisan national security think tank. He has held senior positions at the Center for the National Interest, the Heritage Foundation, the Potomac Foundation, and many other think tanks and academic institutions focused on defense issues. He served on the Russia task force for U.S. Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz, and in a similar role in the John Hay Initiative. His ideas have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNN, CNBC, and many other outlets across the political spectrum.