Biden Still Doesn’t Get It: It’s the Inflation, Stupid.

News & Politics

Joe Biden still doesn’t get it. The president has been touting all his perceived accomplishments: the passage of legislation like the infrastructure bill and the horribly misnamed “Inflation Reduction Act.” 

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Ordinary voters look at Biden and shrug their shoulders. They don’t care how many new roads have been built. They want to know what Biden is doing about the cost of living and the high prices that continue to rise.

“He looks out of touch when he is bragging about how good the economy is,” said Rep. Don Bacon, a Republican who represents a Nebraska district that Biden won in 2020.

Note that Biden’s people are far more apt to blame the voter rather than the president’s inflationary policies.

“This is a confounding problem for the administration and it was when I was at the White House as well,” said Kate Bedingfield, a former Biden White House communications director. “You have all these indicators showing the economy is strong and getting stronger. And yet it remains true that people are not feeling it as intensely in their day-to-day lives as the White House hopes they would.”

That perception of high prices doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Families have to deal with those prices every time they walk into a grocery store, and when Biden brags about the low unemployment rate and the fact that inflation fell from 9% to 3.4% in the last two years, people wonder what the heck he’s so proud of.

“This has been a constant, constant problem. His desire to claim credit is a huge obstacle to connecting with voters on this issue,” said David Axelrod, a top aide to former President Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns. “We learned this in 2011 and 2012. You can cite data until the cows come home, but what counts is how people are perceiving the economy.”

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According to the Wall Street Journal, the perception that Trump can do a better job on the economy is burying Biden.

A new poll from the Cook Political Report, conducted with Democratic and Republican strategy firms, showed Trump leading Biden in six of seven swing states, with the two tied in Wisconsin. The poll showed that 40% of voters in those states thought Biden could get prices under control, compared with 56% who thought Trump could do it.

Within the White House, some aides are pushing for a message that makes empathy toward the economic plight of certain Americans more central. Some noticed a preview of that direction when the president described the April inflation report in a statement, writing, “I know many families are struggling, and that even though we’ve made progress we have a lot more to do.”

Biden’s advisors are at a loss. They think he needs to show “understanding” of people’s difficulties, “but also continue to talk about his economic accomplishments and how they compare with Trump’s approach to the economy.” This includes Trump advocating for a renewal of his tax cuts which Biden claims only benefit the “rich.”

Related: The Great 2024 Democratic Party ‘Total Freakout’

Meanwhile, Trump continues to hammer Biden on inflation.

“Workers and families are literally paying the price for Joe Biden’s failed economic policies, with prices on household essentials like gas, food, rent, and diapers skyrocketing,” said Trump spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt. 

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Biden continues to tout his own accomplishments despite people not seeing what he’s so excited about. A recent Cook Political Report poll showed that 54% of voters think that the cost of living is the best indicator of the health of the economy while only 13% cited unemployment as most important and 6% believed the stock market was the best gauge of economic health.

Biden’s inability to understand the voter’s concerns is fundamental. It’s politics 101, and it shows he is out of touch and insulated in the White House. His “yes men” are telling him he’s doing much better than the polls would suggest and that his biggest problem is in communicating how great a president he is.

Biden is going to lose this election unless he faces the reality that most Americans have to face every day. If he doesn’t, he’s headed for a massive repudiation of his policies and defeat at the polls.

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