Biden and Democrats should be explaining to the public that, “The economy is starting to turn around.”
Polling vs The Reality
Polling shows that people feel “the economy” is doing really poorly right now. Every poll. “Grim” numbers.
Lots of top Democrats are reacting to this by saying that all the “numbers” show that the economy is actually doing really, really well. It seems like these voices are declaring that the voters are wrong, which is politically a terrible approach.
What To Say?
Telling the voters they are wrong is a recipe for electoral disaster. What should Democrats be telling the public when the numbers are great but the public says they’re feeling terrible about the economy? Here is how this was successfully handled in the past.
When Obama was running for reelection people were in a sour mood and a “businessman” (Mitt Romney) was running against him. Republicans were telling the public that government should be “run like a business” (Strip the government and harvest the public for profit?) and this meant they should elect a businessman.
The “Explainer-in-Chief” Speaks
Along came Bill Clinton to speak at the 2012 Democratic Convention. Whatever you might think of his policies, Clinton had amazing spot-on political instincts. He said Obama feels the country’s pain. He said things have been bleak for a long time. He said we’ve taken hit after hit, faced problem after problem. But now we’re turning the corner. Everything is in place thanks to Obama and things are starting to get better. You will feel it, just give it a little more time.
He explained things so well he was labelled “Explainer-in-Chief.”
He inherited a deeply damaged economy. He put a floor under the crash. He began the long, hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses and lots of new wealth for innovators. (Cheers, applause.)
Now, are we where we want to be today? No.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Is the president satisfied? Of course not.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!
PRESIDENT CLINTON: But are we better off than we were when he took office? (Cheers, applause.)
And listen to this. Listen to this. Everybody — (inaudible) — when President Barack Obama took office, the economy was in free fall. It had just shrunk 9 full percent of GDP. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month.
Are we doing better than that today?
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Yes! (Applause.)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: The answer is yes.
Now, look. Here’s the challenge he faces and the challenge all of you who support him face. I get it. I know it. I’ve been there. A lot of Americans are still angry and frustrated about this economy. If you look at the numbers, you know employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend again. And in a lot of places, housing prices are even beginning to pick up.
But too many people do not feel it yet.
Read the rest here. It’s actually a fun read.
Clinton single-handedly reelected Obama with that speech. My point is, Biden & Dems need to be saying, “We understand how hard it has been and we’ve been working on it. It is starting to turn around.” Not what they’ve been saying, “Shut up stupid voters, things are great, stop whining about the economy.”
I have spoken.