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One Sometimes Feels Like Throwing Up One’s Hands

Greg Sargent, the solid journalist who writes for the Washington Post, reports on a “brutal new poll for Democrats.” I can’t read his article, behind the paywall, but I know that he is on the Democratic side, so he is not trying to mislead. He says that the poll has results wherein Republicans are favored over the Democrats on the issues of Inflation, Rebuilding the Economy, and Economic Growth.

Where does one start in reacting to this? Are we lost in a world where so many people have been duped, misled, or brainwashed, that they cannot discern any reality beyond what they are told by incompetent or biased media people and Far Right web sites?

Every measure of the economy is much better than it was under Trump (or the Republicans who preceded him), except inflation. So of course that is the drumbeat pounded into people by the aforementioned entities. INFLATION! WHAT ABOUT INFLATION???

I was not a fan of Obama’s presidency, but after he took over, the stimulus package did improve the economy which had collapsed under GW Bush; although because he wimped out and did not fight for a greater stimulus, it took a while for the job market to really get better. And there was little inflation. So the Republican machine pounded away at WHERE ARE THE JOBS???

They are ever-adaptable, the Republicans. They find something; maybe they make it up, or it is one statistic, or an outlier, and they just repeat it over and over. And their media allies pick it up so that it becomes the only issue for voters. Sort of like Critical Race Theory became in Virginia last year, even when no one was teaching it there.

That is beside the point for them. The only goal is to find a bogeyman to scare the voters with. “Defund the police,” supported by zero national Democrats, is one that they are still using. Of course QAnon people kept shouting, “Save the children,” part of their literally insane belief that Democrats were killing and eating them. Anything works with obtuse or twisted people.

So everyone is talking about inflation. No credible person whatsoever blames Biden for causing inflation, it is worldwide. It is certainly an issue to be dealt with. A good part of the inflation is due to massive price-gouging by large corporations, which one can read about in all sorts of places. However, the media, as always taking its cues from the Far Right Republicans, does not focus on that at all.

So the people, at least as reflected in those polls, think that Republicans would do a better job in dealing with inflation. How is that? By lowering wages, cutting jobs, rendering the middle class incapable of buying anything?

Under Republicans, there is always low or no wage growth, that is their sweet spot. No social spending, no infrastructure repairs, nothing except immense profits and tax breaks going to the billionaires. We have seen that under Reagan, both Bushes, and Trump. Two recessions under Reagan, one under GHW Bush, an economic crash under GW Bush, and an ignored pandemic under Trump, which combined with typical trickle-down Republican policies, led to 18% unemployment, overwhelming consumer debt, and misery.

And many people’s memories are so incredibly short that they cannot remember any of that? And their logic is so bad that they think that 4% unemployment, a recent 5.7% GDP rise, over 7 million new jobs under the Biden Administration in its first year, is a bad economy, and they cannot wait to put the Republicans back in control again? And if one is a fan of the stock market, which most of the media seemed to be, as they let Trump boast every week about it, it has gone up 40% under Biden.

Every single metric written about by economic publications which are typically biased toward Milton Friedman economics, shows, and is commented on as, a booming economy. But the major broadcast media, and of course the Republican echo-chamber, insistently say that the economy is very bad, and that only Republicans can fix it And somehow that is the message which gets through, as it is intended to do.

I guarantee you that if inflation were low, the media would be all over some other metric; GDP too low, unemployment still high, not enough rise in wages (never mentioned when Republicans are in office). There is never a perfect economy, so there is always something for Republicans to pound away at. And far, far, too many people seem inclined to buy it.

I will also say that Republicans are trying to wreck the economy. Price raising by the corporations is part of it, they want the profits, and they want Republicans back in power. The “trucker’ lawlessness is also intended to damage the economy. Part of the anti-vaccine and mask movement is with the goal of keeping the pandemic going. Republicans want chaos, they want people afraid and angry, because that is how they plan to get elected. Not because of any policies or platforms, they have none, everything is anti-Democrats.

I have almost never seen any economic growth under Republicans. The one exception was around 1983-1985 under Reagan, when immense defense spending boosted the economy. Otherwise, it is always a slog through low growth, low GDP, or the inevitable recessions or worse that occur under their administrations. This is not an opinion of mine, it is reality, which can be looked up.

Republicans wreck the economy; Democrats partially or mostly fix it; people vote the Republicans back in to wreck it some more. This time, it might not be nearly as likely that after they wreck it again, people will be able to vote them out. So much more is at stake than usual. And yet people still do not see it.

This leads Sargent and many others to try to give advice as to what Democrats should do. Keep telling the positive story; point out Republican failures; take credit for the infrastructure bill, etc. The Democrats do some of it, but it doesn’t seem to get through.

People are taught to be angry, and they take it out on Democrats, as they are meant to. The media slavishly follows along. How many headlines or chyrons do you see each day, like, “Inflation could destroy Democrats in midterms.” “Biden has no answer for inflation woes.” “Republicans ready to take major advantage of economic problems.” They should just write them out and then keep recycling the same stories. Maybe that is what they do. Why work hard when there is another cocktail party to go to?

It is a real problem, with perhaps no answer. I would at least suggest that Biden and other Democrats attack Republicans on their economic policies of the last forty years. I would paint them as anti-working class, as people who only want to further lower taxes on the rich. I would pound away at the message that putting Republicans in charge comes with a terrible cost, economically and in many other ways.

Right now, people seem to see this as a reflexive reaction; you don’t like inflation, so put the Republicans back in. Democrats don’t ever seem to fare that well by explaining policies in depth, no one seems to be interested in listening. So I would come up with some slogans, some extremely negative characterizations of Republicans, who are not our friends, and not saveable as a party. At least if we lose that way, we warned people as much as we could. We’ll get criticized for that, too, but at least you’re going down fighting your enemy, who is the “Biggest Bad” there is.