Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Biden is fighting against unrealistic memories of Trump

A recent CBS poll gives a good idea of just what Joe Biden is up against when he tees off against Donald Trump later this year.

65% of respondents remember the economy under Trump as being good, while only 38% consider it good now, under Biden. In the same way, 59% think the economy today is bad, compared to just 28% under Trump.

So, this is nothing to do with anything that Trump has actually done or said. This is all about people's faulty perceptions and memories. Of course, Trump had the advantage of not having to deal with a pandemic for most of his time, nor the rampant inflation due to global geopolitics (and the lingering after-effects of the pandemic), all of which Biden has had to deal with. Plus, Trump was riding on the coattails of Obama's strong economy, while Biden inherited Trump's weaker one.

One other thing the poll says is that many more people think that prices will miraculously go down under a Trump administration. Wake-up call, guys: prices will not go down under ANY administration, that's not the way inflation works. 

There's some other stuff in there, like 83% of people leaning towards Trump believe (or say they believe) that he tried to stay in power legally, and Trump supporters are much less critical of Trump than Biden supporters are of Biden. No real news there - Democrats are always going to be more critical and analytical, and less driven by sheer emotion and sentiment and wishful thinking, than Republicans.

But the perceptions of the economy under Trump are key. In actual fact, the US economy is showing surprising resilience under Joe Biden, considering the challenges it has been presented with, challenges that, for the most part were wholly outside of Biden's control. It is showing a stronger-than-expected GDP, low unemployment, and falling inflation. God only knows how it would have fared under Trump.

But the other element is: presidents actually have a pretty limited influence on the country's economy. They tend to get credit when the economy is good, and get blamed when it tanks, but the boom and bust cycles actually don't have much to do with who's actually in the White House at the time. 

For what it's worth, a Forbes analysis of historical stock markets shows that, since the Second World War, they do MUCH better under Democratic presidents than under Republican ones, with Clinton and Obama being particularly big winners, and G.W. Bush and Nixon being big losers. Trump comes middle of the pack.

As for what Nikki Haley is up against in the Republican primaries, you could do worse than to hear what this Trump supporter says out loud in an interview: "A woman is not going to be a good president. She don't have no balls to scratch. She's just gonna scratch her head. All a woman is good for in my book is having babies and taking care of the house ... Don't get me wrong: females know what they're doing, but they still got to have a little bit of guidance."


There's not much you can do against that kind of ignorance, is there? And this guy is probably a not untypical Trump supporter. I wonder what his wife is like?

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