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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At Marketwatch, Rex Nutting reports that “Inflation inequality is hitting the working class harder than at any other time on record:Families that rely on wage income from certain occupations, such as clerical work, sales and construction, are paying more as gas, food and vehicle prices surge,” and writes: “America’s working class is getting clobbered by inflation because wage earners spend a larger share of their income on the things that are going up in price the most, especially necessities such as food, gasoline, and cars and trucks….The CPI-W — an inflation gauge that corresponds with the consumption habits of working people — has risen 9.4% in the past 12 months, compared with an 8.5% increase in the CPI-U, an inflation measure that considers the habits of a broader swath of American households, including retirees, investors and working people who earn salaries….The difference between an inflation rate of 9.4% and one of 8.5% can be explained entirely by the fact that the working class spends relatively more on food, gas and used car and trucks. Spending on those three categories accounts for less than 25% of the working family budget, but 51% of the inflation they’ve experienced over the past year….The disparity between working-class inflation and average inflation is the highest on record — and it’s been getting wider in recent months. Over the past six months, inflation for the working class has risen at an 11.1% annual rate compared with 10.1% for the general consumer price index….There’s one mitigating factor that is benefiting working-class families: The strong labor market. Employment is up by 6.5 million in the past year. Working-class weekly paychecks have risen faster than others’ earnings have, but the higher inflation rate for workers has eaten away at those gains and then some. Real average weekly wages have fallen 3.3% for the working class in the past year, the biggest decline in more than 30 years.”

If you were wondering “Why Inflation Is Sparking Economic Pessimism,” FiveThirtyEight has a panel discussion adressing the question. The introductory remarks note these nuggets: “Americans aren’t happy with the economy and it’s perhaps no wonder why when you look at the latest inflation numbers out this week. Prices have risen 8.5 percent since last March, and wages haven’t kept pace, rising 6 percent in the past year. Economists are debating whether there are silver linings in March’s inflation numbers, but regardless 8.5 percent inflation is the highest rate in four decades….Americans have taken note. According to Gallup, 17 percent of Americans say the high cost of living is the most important issue facing the country – the most since 1985. In the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers, more households reported they expected worsening finances over the coming year than at any point in the history of the survey, which began in the 1940s. And only 30-35 percent of Americans approve of President Biden’s handling of the economy.”

Chris Cillizza warns that “Joe Biden’s numbers are collapsing among a group you really wouldn’t expect” at CNN Politics: “Young Americans have turned on Joe Biden. That’s the shocking finding of a Gallup analysis of its polling over the breadth of Biden’s term released this week…In the early days of Biden’s presidency (from January 2021 to June 2021), an average of 6 in 10 adult members of Generation Z — those born between 1997 and 2004 — approved of the job Biden was doing. During the period spanning September 2021 to March 2022, that number had plummeted to an average of just 39%….Among millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996 — the collapse is similarly stark. Biden’s approval rating among that group stood at 60% in aggregated Gallup numbers in the first half of 2021, compared with 41% more recently….That loss in confidence among young people was, interestingly, not as steep among older age groups. Over that same period, Biden’s approval ratings among baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — dipped by only 7 points. Among “traditionalists” — those born before 1946 — his approval rating was unchanged….Now, some of the discrepancy is because younger Americans were far more positive about Biden at the start of his presidency than older Americans. So there was just more room to fall….At the same time, it’s clear in other surveys that there has been a significant lessening of enthusiasm for Biden among younger Americans. A Quinnipiac poll released this week showed that just 21% of those aged 18 to 34 said they approved of the way the President was handling his job, while 58% disapproved….By comparison, 36% of Americans aged 35 to 49 and 35% of Americans aged 50 to 64 approved of Biden’s job performance. Among Americans 65 and over, 48% said the same….Regardless of the reason, the fade in youth support for Biden is a major problem for Democrats. Especially when you consider that he won 60% of the youth vote — those aged 18 to 34 — in the 2020 presidential election, according to exit polls. It was, by far, his best performance among any age cohort.”

At Daily Kos, Bethesda 1971 urges “Dems: Use the 2002 GOP Model to win the 2022 Midterms (but in a Good and Truthful way,” and writes, “2002 was a rare year when the party holding the Presidency took control of both houses of Congress. How did it happen?….Exploiting post-9/11 trauma, Republicans built a phony case for war against Iraq by falsely linking 9/11 to Saddam Hussein, falsely claiming Saddam had WMD and tarring war opponents (and all Democrats) as traitors….It worked: By the first anniversary of 9/11, a majority of Americans thought Saddam was responsible for the attacks. Democrats who voted against the Iraq War Resolution were branded as traitors or part of a “fifth column.” War heroes like Max Cleland were tied to bin Laden. And the President’s party gained seats in both houses, and control of Congress, for the first time since 1970.” This year, however, “Democrats do not have to lie to make the case this year that Republicans are anti-democracy and unpatriotic by acting and voting against American interests. Why?

  • Republicans in Congress have repeatedly voted to cover up the worst insurrection in the country since the Civil War. They voted against a bipartisan January 6 commission, they voted repeatedly against holding in contempt those who blatantly defied subpoenas, they called the January 6 cop-killers “tourists,” they relentlessly attack the only two Republicans to support the Committee.

In 2002, Republicans successfully convinced voters that Democrats were “Objectively pro-Saddam” for opposing what is now acknowledged by all as a horrible mistake….There is no reason why in 2022, Democrats can’t convince voters that Republicans are Pro-Insurrection, Pro-Putin and Anti-Democracy….”We have the advantage of having the truth on our side.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    The reasons for the fall of Biden’s approval among the young are very well known. There are also many examples from other countries that point to stark generational differences.

    Younger generations are more polarized, radicalized, impatient and have less loyalty to traditional institutions.


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