Elections in America over the past 50 or so years have been fairly predictable based on factors like the economy. There is a widespread belief that the economy, jobs, etc. determines the Presidency. If the economy is good, the President keeps his job, if it is bad – he or his party is out.
For example, in 1991, fresh off of his strong leadership showing in the Gulf War, President George H.W. Bush seemed pretty unbeatable.
Along comes several Democratic contenders including a former governor of Arkansas that beats Daddy Bush in the 1992 general election. So does that mean Bush had done a terrible job in his first term?
No, that certainly was not the case. In the now infamous words of Bill Clinton chief campaign strategist James Carville, “It’s the economy stupid.” The country had fallen into a recession so it didn’t matter what Bush had done in his first term – people were hurting financially and were looking for change.
The Clinton campaign did an excellent job of painting a strong contrast between their candidate and President Bush. Who do you trust to better turn this economy around – the guy who helped cause the problems or this smart guy outsider with good looks and charm?
So it was the economy right? Not so much. It was also the unique personality of Bill Clinton.
Fast forward to modern day politics or should I say, fast forward to Bizarro World, and things are quite different.
We have ushered in a new age of politics in America.
No the economy is no longer the biggest determination of a presidency or voter trends – now fear, bigotry and flat out misdirection are the new tools of the day.
But despite this change in American voter behavior, it is hard to argue that under President Obama’s watch the economy has not improved.
Some might not agree, especially many conservatives, but Obama has done an exceptional job of being the President under one of the most difficult eras in American history. While he doesn’t get much credit for it, the economy is strong and unemployment is down significantly.
And the President has the numbers to prove it. The Dept. of Labor reported last week that the country added another 178,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate sank to 4.6 percent. This is the lowest it has been in 9 years.
Again, the fact that Democrats haven’t been able to capitalize on the strong economy is almost unbelievable. It’s also implausible that The Donald or should I say, the President-elect, was able to gain so much support from white, working-class voters who were fearful of job losses, especially in blue-collar industries like manufacturing and mining.
Of course, Mr. Fix It has pledged to restore good-paying manufacturing jobs to the United States, which could be almost impossible given the continuing trend toward automation and decades-long shift of the economy away from manufacturing and toward the service sector as some economist have noted.
Trump also stoked the racial fears of many white Americans, but that’s another story for another day.
But who cares about facts and truth – the people have spoken.
I remember back in 2009 when the pundits or critics or as Spiro Agnew once said, “Nattering Nabobs of Negativism,” were decrying that Obama’s stimulus efforts are not working.
As he enters the last few weeks of his time as President, Barack Obama can sleep well at night knowing that he didn’t do a perfect job, but he did exceptionally well. I have a feeling that in a few years his greatness will be much more appreciated.
The President’s favorite song on his iPod has to be Kool Moe Dee’s, “How you like me now.”
Signing off from the Northeast Florida CareerSource,