In the world of the rational, that being the world outside of Washington D.C., context is important. Typically political context is very much driven by the state of the economy and of any number of polling vehicles that purport to give us a snapshot of public opinion.
The Atlanta Fed is projecting a GDP growth rate of 4.8% in the fourth quarter. That is a far cry from the 1.5% average growth rate during the Obama years which we were told was the new normal and just get used to it. Unemployment claims have hit their lowest level in 45 years. Wages are on the uptick as is always the case in an aggressively growing economy, in our current case 2.7% in the first quarter. Unemployment has fallen to 3.8% and as we know that’s not an empirically correct number but it is an appropriate standard for analysis and comparison to prior periods reported under the same methodology. Household income has hit an all-time high, over the past 15 months household income has risen about 3% reflecting the overall growth in the economy. Unemployment is at all-time lows, especially in minority communities, job creation overall is robust. It must be as even the Washington Post reports that Trump’s first year job numbers were “very, very good.” And they just got better with nearly a quarter of a million new jobs created last month.
Economists not named Paul Krugman will tell you that there is a psychology to a strong, growing economy and we’re seeing it wherever we look. The psychology here is based on generalized optimism and a view that the future looks bright.
Senator Schumer claims we should thank Obama for the good economy; it’s another one of those talking points that folks in Washington think are appropriate when the rest of us chortle and wonder which of the possible caves the Senator’s head is caught in; or can we get some of what he’s smoking?
Leader Pelosi calls the recent job numbers “meaningless, and bad for the middle class!” What? More jobs, more people with more money in their pocket, more people working; presumably mostly from the economic classes far down the ladder from Chuck and Nancy is a bad thing. She’s not saying crumbs anymore but she might as well be because the message is the same, as is the negative perceptions of people who hear her say that.
So leaving the context where it is the Democrats have a serious problem; Chuck and Nancy are not viewed as leaders of the Democratic Party. Someone called “leaderless” garnered the top spot!
45% of those polled said the Democratic Party was leaderless. 16% said Senator Schumer was the leader of the Party, 15% said Nancy Pelosi was its leader and 13% said Bernie Sanders, who is not even a Democrat, was the leader of the Party. Chardonnay addicts said Hillary was the leader.
Chuck and Nancy have had a year and a half to establish leadership chops within the party and it does not seem to be working. One has to wonder if the lurch to the hard left, by the party in general, makes coming to a perception of who the leader is exceptionally difficult. DNC Chairman Perez hasn’t made it any easier with his reeling from internal crisis to internal crisis and doing so in an inconsistent sometimes incoherent manner.
Perhaps ‘leaderless’ is the shape of things to come for Democrats, perhaps a bit of anarchy will be their final motivation for getting it together. But there are issues for them to address and those issues are easy to identify. You simply can’t support hard left groups and initiatives, denigrate economic success and at the same time convince the hard working, put upon middle class that you’re in it for them. It’s really just that simple.
Chuck, Nancy; I’m begging you, keep it up. The show must go on!