I’ve said it many times before, and I have to say it again. The presidential election is going to be primarily about pocketbook issues and the economy, kitchen table issues. The soft underbelly of the Biden economy for two and a half years is a decline in real take-home pay, after inflation and taxes.
In the last quarter alone, real hourly compensation dropped nearly 5%. In manufacturing, it dropped 5.5%. For the past nearly 2.5 years, middle class blue collar real wages under Biden have fallen 2.1%. Compare that to the Trump years, when real wages for working folks increased 7.3%. That is a very big difference. That is the kind of difference that can determine elections. Folks were working under both presidents. Unemployment was low under both presidents.
The people were making good money during the Trump years. They’ve been losing money under Biden. Groceries up almost 20% under Biden. Energy up over one-third under Biden. That’s why this is going to be a pocketbook election.
Here’s a recent poll from The Democracy Institute. 1,500 registered voters, weighted 35% Republican and 37% Democrat. Most important issue: 31% inflation, 19% economy/jobs. That’s 50% on pocketbook issues. Next down: crime 15%, immigration 11%, abortion 3%, Ukraine 3%, transgender and woke 3%, but there’s more.
CHICAGO WALGREENS REDESIGNED WITH ONLY 2 AISLES AVAILABLE FOR BROWSING, THE REST BEHIND COUNTERS: REPORT
“Joe Biden’s handling of the economy” – 26% approve, 63% disapprove.
“Is Joe Biden a better President than Donald Trump?” – 38% better, 57% worse.
Finally, “is America in recession?” – 61% yes, 25% no.
Hate to bore you with all these numbers, but it’s a credible poll taking an important snapshot of today’s voter thinking. Let me go a step further. There are a lot of Republicans throwing their hats into the presidential ring. Good for them. Bunch of smart people, but Donald Trump has an enormous lead today.
I’ll bet that three months ago, none of the newer candidates ever expected to face a Trump lead like this, probably amounting to 30 or 40 points, depending on the poll. So, you’ll ask, “why?” I’ll say, there’s a bunch of reasons, including an unfair double-standard weaponization of the legal judicial system against Trump. Republicans are furious and know that this politicization could someday be aimed at themselves, but there’s more.
Trump is the only candidate who has consistently spoken out on the economy and the pocketbook issues. Drill, baby, drill, tax cuts, deregulation, curb spending, keep King Dollar at the center of the world’s monetary system and people know that he’s succeeded once on the economy, actually twice, with the V-shaped post-COVID recovery and they believe he can do it again.
One final point: folks know he’s a fighter. Even those that don’t like him know he’s a tough fighter. Taking on the Washington D.C. swamp, entrenched bureaucracies, corruption in the FBI and the CIA, appointing judges, restoring law and order on the border and throughout the country, in the schools, all that requires a tough fighter.
I’m going to coin a new word: “fightingness.” I’m not saying the other candidates aren’t principled. I’m not saying they won’t stand up and fight, but, at this point, no one has the fightingness that Donald Trump has and that fightingness is what it’s going to take to make America great again, again. That’s my riff.
This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow’s opening commentary on the June 7, 2023, edition of “Kudlow.”
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