Memo to GOP: It’s still the economy, stupids

Source: Hot Air

Have Republicans lost momentum over the summer? Or is recent polling part of a “Comeback Kid Joe Biden” media narrative? Either way, the issue may have gotten accelerated by a lack of focus by the GOP in what should be a target-rich economic environment.

Or to put it more simply, Republicans may have forgotten the Ragin’ Cajun — at least momentarily.

Ben Shapiro kicked off this conversation today on Twitter by scolding the GOP for falling into the mythology of the emerging majority-minority that would favor Democrats. That mythology traps them into making Donald Trump the center of Republican politics as the “magical” entity which can withstand the trend, which is precisely what Democrats want:

The mythology of the demographics-as-destiny theory formed one of the larger points in my book Going Red. At the time, I argued that Republicans and conservatives could make significant inroads into growing demographic minority communities by engaging with them more purposefully, and even more by investing themselves more fully by becoming part of those communities. The “magic outsider” phenomenon prevailed in 2016, but that lead to a greater embrace of the engagement strategy by the RNC and conservatives afterward. And those efforts have paid off, especially among Hispanics.

However, the issue of economics has paid off far better, as well as the cultural shifts of wokeness as it gets applied in education and business. Hispanics in particular have moved away from Democrats on both scores, as that demographic takes the assimilation route of becoming far more politically diverse as they advance economically in the US. Even if we didn’t have the kind of historically bad inflation and stratification taking place now, it’s clear that the GOP does best when it follows James Carville’s electoral dictum: It’s the economy, stupid!

But in this cycle more than any other in the last 40-plus years, shifting focus away from the economy is sheer political malpractice. While the FBI and DoJ certainly should get scrutinized for the Mar-a-Lago raid (and not just that raid, either), the FBI is not the daily lived experience of Americans. While it’s worthy to celebrate the end of Roe, abortion really isn’t the daily lived experience of most Americans, either. Neither are the Trumps, whether worthy of defense or not.

This is the daily lived experience of Americans:

And this is the daily lived experience of Americans, where buying power in the metric of real disposable personal income has eroded five quarters in a row:

The less Republicans talk about the economy and the corrosive nature of inflation over the past 16 months, the more they let Democrats off the hook. Donald Trump is not the central concern of the midterm voter; the central concern of the midterm voter is the need to downscale their purchases at Walmart and Target, for cryin’ out loud, because their budgets can’t keep up with massive inflation.

Even to the extent that other issues come up in this cycle, those should similarly focus on the daily lived experience of voters. That would include parental input into education, a non-economic issue that has proven potent for Ron DeSantis. Spiking crime rates and criminal impunity also qualify, as those contribute to the very clear sentiment that America has gone off the rails under Democratic governance:

There’s nothing magical about this. If Republicans stick to the issues that matter to the daily lived experiences of voters, they will stick the landing, too. They don’t need a magical entity to win in this cycle — they just need to keep from falling victim to Democrat and media illusionists attempting to distract the debate away from those issues.

In other words … it’s the economy, stupids. Wise up or lose out.

Addendum: My pal and colleague Stephen Kruiser argues that the raid likely will goose GOP turnout anyway, which may make the “comeback” narrative even more of a fugazi:

Matt mentions the effect of the Mar-a-Lago raid on Republican voters, which most definitely can’t be discounted. Whatever voter apathy may have potentially been a problem for the GOP was almost certainly taken care of by Merrick Garland and the Biden Stasi. Voters who may have been willing to sit this one out are probably nice and fired up now.

It may not just be the GOP-inclined voters who are being prodded to the polls by the FBI. The Mar-a-Lago raid combined with what we’ve learned about the FBI and the 2020 election could be inspiring some independent voters and moderate Democrats to throw the Republicans a vote or two in November.

Democrats can paint all of the pretty pictures that they want to for the next couple of months but none of their efforts will gloss over the enormous damage that President LOLEightyonemillion and the commie cabal running his brain have done to this country.

Perhaps, but it’s the economy that will doom Democrats in this cycle. I also discuss this in my podcast today too.

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Update: My friend Nick Searcy rejects one of the assumptions of the argument:

Fair points. We still need to focus on the economy in this cycle, though.