It's Still the Economy
Democrats need an economic message as the GOP doubles down on trickle-down.
It’s Still the Economy
A Democrat canvasser was in my neighborhood last week and we got to talking. I shared this gut-feeling: if Pennsylvania goes red (if Oz and/or Mastriano win), it’s going to be because Democrats did not congeal around a compelling economic narrative. Republicans are deftly doing so, regardless of what you think of their messaging or tactics.
A few days later, Gavin Newsom said the same thing.
The canvasser told me people on the ground have been trying to send this message up the chain. The closing argument has to be economic. I haven’t noticed any new ads or narratives, have you? John Fetterman wants donations for more last-minute ad buys, and I don’t blame him. But those ads need to say something. Oz’s latest ads cast him as positively (what passes for) moderate. Throw in Fetterman’s understandably shaky debate performance and you’re within the margin of error or worse.
If Republicans win, will there be any reckoning on lost opportunities? On messaging? On losing touch with kitchen table issues?
Incumbent parties almost always suffer in bad economies, so maybe none of it would have mattered. The president’s party almost always loses seats in the midterms. It’s easy for Republicans to hammer away at “the Biden economy” and “Biden inflation” without having to say anything specific about how they’d fix it (they won’t). Maybe a specific, cohesive plan from Democrats wouldn’t have made a difference. But the burden of proof is always on the party in power.
And maybe this pre-mortem will end up being much ado about nothing. But if Dems lose big, you can bet critiques like Newsom’s will escalate (I’ll stop short of hoping they make it into the party’s official election night talking points).
Doubling Down on Trickle Down
I said above that Republicans don’t need to worry about specifics. In general, that’s true. But they also can’t help themselves. The one weapon they’ve named in their putative fight against inflation? Tax cuts.
Historically, Republicans have touted tax cuts as a way to get money to trickle down into the hands of people who need it. In other words, tax cuts put more money into circulation. Which is not how you fight inflation. So, which part are they lying about? The claim that tax cuts on the wealthy actually trickle down, or the claim that having more money in circulation will somehow stop being the textbook definition of inflation? At least Biden is specifically threatening oil companies with windfall taxes.
Stopping Short of Wanting to Watch it All Burn
Christine Todd Whitman “almost wants the crazies to win.” A rather important almost.
Mark Zuckerberg has lost $100 billion in personal wealth this year, and he doesn’t even have clean water to show for it. Say what you will about Musk caring more about Mars than Earth, but at least Mars is, like, a real place.
Speaking of Elon. Will people really leave Twitter? Are you? Interesting that Substack launched a chat function this week.
Thank You For Being a Friend
The Phillies lost in terrible fashion last night. I had to watch The Golden Girls until 2:30 this morning to fully recover. Better luck tonight, boys.
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