This might not be the message Democrats want getting out, but here we are.
For a while, I’ve been positing that what we are seeing now in relation to the polls and the economy is meaningless. The situation we are now in will not be the situation we are in when the election arrives. In fact, reality promises to produce a sharp contrast which makes current predictions foolhardy.
Some on the left are realizing that, and per a new article in Politico, are saying the quiet part out loud.
“The general election scenario that Democrats are dreading: ‘We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,’ says a top former economic adviser to Obama.”https://t.co/2bGNLdTTNM
— JERRY DUNLEAVY (@JerryDunleavy) May 26, 2020
Furman, tapped to give the opening presentation, looked into his screen of poorly lit boxes of frightened wonks and made a startling claim.
“We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” he said.
The former Cabinet secretaries and Federal Reserve chairs in the Zoom boxes were confused, though some of the Republicans may have been newly relieved and some of the Democrats suddenly concerned.
Everyone looked puzzled and thought I had misspoken, Furman said in an interview. Instead of forecasting a prolonged Depression-level economic catastrophe, Furman laid out a detailed case for why the months preceding the November election could offer Trump the chance to brag “truthfully” about the most explosive monthly employment numbers and gross domestic product growth ever.
This is such common sense that it amazes me it was controversial to speak of just a few weeks ago. The possibilities stemming from coronavirus were always fairly focused. Either we were going to have this virus linger and get worse into November, whereby Trump would almost certainly lose, or the virus was going to recede in the summer allowing a massive economic recovery that gains steam heading into November.
We now look set up for the latter, as the DOW crosses 25,000 again this morning and businesses are beginning to hire. Unless there’s a second wave coming (unlikely to hit hard before the election), there’s absolutely no reason to believe the economy won’t hold a V-shaped recovery by default.
Some are trying to put on a good face for Democrats in relation to this, but I don’t buy it.
It's true that a partial recovery to 9% would be better for Trump than getting stuck at 15%. But 9% is still quite high, and voters could also compare to 3.5% or wherever it had been before. The literature on what time horizon voters use to evaluate the economy is not very clear.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) May 26, 2020
Current polling shows that a majority of Americans 1) don’t blame Trump for the current economic issues and 2) trust Trump more to handle the economy than Biden. That’s during the pandemic. Why would that attitude change as we begin to see a strong surge upward over the next several months? I think the answer is that it won’t change. In fact, there’s no reason to believe things don’t get worse for Biden on the economic question.
Silver predicts that people would have a negative view of the economy if we only reach 9% UE by November, but that would actually be a huge turnaround compared to past predictions that would undoubtedly go noticed by the electorate. Further, if the stock market continues to climb, that’s another very visible indicator that often sways public opinion.
From what I can see, there’s no scenario by which the economy recovers nearly 50% by the election and Trump doesn’t get credit for that. Further, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that hiring could accelerate even faster than the 9% UE rate predicted here. We are in the summer months and the businesses that have survived will be hiring as a rush of new consumers hit the streets. This is especially true for corporate America, where those laid off from places like the airlines will be brought back as demand skyrockets again.
Democrats have every right to be fearful of a massive recovery going into November. They are making hay right now, but none of it matters and they know it. This is also why it’s right to be highly skeptical of Democrat governors looking to stay locked down (to some extent) well into the summer when there’s no scientific reason to do so.
In short, we need to wait and see here. Those predicting doom for Trump may end up with egg on their face.