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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Economic Interests and the Democratic Party: A Reply

By Alan Abramowitz
The problem with the Rose argument is that it is based on the assumption that it is primarily if not exclusively the disadvantaged who benefit from Democratic economic policies. But this assumption is patently false. In the first place, the Democratic Party has long championed government programs that benefit the middle class such as Social Security and Medicare. But even more fundamentally, the vast majority of Americans, probably all except the very, very wealthy, benefit from Democratic economic policies. This can be seen by comparing the performance of the economy under Democratic and Republican presidents over the past 60+ years. By almost every conceivable economic measure–real GDP growth, unemployment, real disposable income, and even the performance of the stock market–the economy does better, in fact substantially better, under Democratic leadership than under Republican leadership (for some evidence along these lines, see Michael Kinsley’s excellent column on this subject). And this remains true even if you correct for the delayed effect of economic policies by subtracting the performance of the economy during the first year of a new administration.
The facts demonstrate that the vast majority of Americans are better off when Democrats are in power than when Republicans are in power. The major problem that Democrats fact today is driving this point home as forcefully as possible–something that both Al Gore and John Kerry unfortunately failed to do.