You cannot go anywhere without hearing someone talking about inflation and its impact on the economy and the American home. Families are struggling from a vicious economic cycle where inflation, shortages, and a decreasing labor force are making even buying the essentials tough.
As expected, none of this looks good in the polls for the party in power, the Democrats.
Joe Biden’s job approval on the economy is around 35-36 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. The economy is one of the issues, if not the issue, voters are most concerned about right now, and inflation plays a major role in that. Which makes the strategy of at least one Democrat kind of strange.
The campaign website of Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto does not mention the word “inflation.” Voters will not find it on her Twitter feed, or in any of her ads as she faces a tough re-election battle for her U.S. Senate seat in Nevada, a contest that could determine which party controls Congress.
In an election year when opinion polls show inflation as the top concern for voters, Cortez Masto is gambling that tiptoeing around the subject, while playing up her role in delivering COVID relief to Nevadans, will allow her to survive a brutal political environment.
Analysts say her playbook, which also involves attacking her likely Republican opponent over his support for curbing abortion rights, is probably the best hope a Democratic candidate has of surviving at a time when U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has low approval ratings and inflation is at a 40-year high.
Imagine pinning all your hopes on abortion rights, when the issue is barely registering in the public space. Sure, the politicians and the pundits are discussing it quite a bit, but if you actually look into the homes of Americans, everyone’s concern is how much it costs to buy things like groceries, gas, and paying for basic needs. Abortion is not an issue that seems to be motivating many except for those it was already the top issue for.
Even the Biden administration seems to get it, going so far as to pen an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal detailing how his administration plans on tackling the issue of inflation. The plan, however, will fall short.
Biden also wants Congress to help by “passing clean energy tax credits and investments that I have proposed.”
Those struggling to find baby formula or fill their gas tanks will doubtless be confused as to how this will help ease their plight. And Joe, did you think the recent canceling of one of the most high-profile oil and gas leases in the country would really help?
Biden then goes on to issue a laundry list of goals: fix broken supply chains, improve infrastructure, crack down on high foreign ocean freight fees, make housing more affordable by building more than a million more units, reduce the price of prescription drugs, and lower the cost of child and elder care to help parents get back to work.
Whoa, that’s a lot of goals. Unfortunately, he doesn’t provide much in the way of specifics on how he intends to accomplish all of this.
But at least they wrote an op-ed, so people know he wants to do something. Clearly, though, that doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in Democrats like Catherine Cortez Masto, who will continue to just ignore the issue of inflation.
This is why November is looking so good for the Republicans, by the way. It’s not that the Republicans have or even need to have a plan ahead of taking back the House and the Senate. They just need to not be the ones seen as actively contributing to it. And you can absolutely have the argument over whether or not it’s fair to blame the Democrats (though it seems pretty clear that Biden’s administration played a major role by being passive about the actual needs of the country), but you can’t deny that when you say “I’m in charge now” and then things turn to ash under your watch, you have opened yourself up for that blame.
Ignoring the issue of inflation, though, isn’t a winning strategy. At best, it’s a weak attempt at a mitigation strategy. But it does provide us an interesting experiment: Can Democrats win on social issues alone?