President Donald Trump is bragging about improving America’s economy by positioning himself for the 2018 midterm elections and his own 2020 re-election bid. It may seem early, but it’s a wise move — and , typical of Trump, imbued with audacity.
Even if a president’s ability to shape the economy is limited, Trump takes credit for all sorts of improvements, an acknowledgment that this issue will most likely be the nation’s top political theme for the foreseeable future. Asked during his current trip to Asia why Chinese President Xi Jinping is expanding his influence, Trump spoke for himself. “Excuse me, me too,” he said. “Highest stock market in history, lowest unemployment rate in 17 years.” Trump added: “[T]Because of the success of our scholarship, it’s thanks to me. I’ve always been good with money. I’ve always been good at jobs. That’s what I do, and I did it well. Government studies indicate unemployment is at 4.1% and growth over the past two quarters was 3%. These are solid numbers.
Trump, a billionaire property developer, also took advantage of the strength of the US economy to steer Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Tokyo. During a joint press conference, Trump compared the Japanese and American economies and explained, “The Japanese people are thriving. Your cities are vibrant and you have built one of the strongest economies in the world. I don’t know if it’s as good as ours. I don’t think… And we’ll try to keep it that way but you’ll be second.” (In fact, Trump got the facts wrong. China is the world’s second largest economy after the United States, and Japan is a distant second.)
And Trump told business leaders in Tokyo: ‘The numbers have been phenomenal lately – since November 8, election day. Our unemployment rate is at its lowest in 17 years. We have recruited nearly 2 million more people in the workforce in just that short period of time. I’ve significantly reduced regulation, frankly, if I say so myself.
The problem for Trump is that the American public doesn’t give him the credit they seek, with only 44% of them rating Trump positively on handling the economy while 53% say he hasn’t. not doing well in this area, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. Overall, 37% of Americans approve of Trump’s performance and 59% disapprove. It is the lowest approval rating of any president at nine months in 70 years.
Both parties seem to understand that whichever politician or party takes on the economic issue will win. This is generally the case in American politics. Political pros remember the internal underdog mantra but Democrat Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Focusing on the economy proved to be a winning approach then, and it is the same today.
Democrats, seeing that Republican Trump is trying to outsmart them, strongly dispute Trump’s claims. They argue the economy is improving in some ways, but that’s because of the policies Democratic President Barack Obama put in place in the eight years before Trump took office.
And Democrats are eager to point out that many sectors of the economy are still doing poorly under Trump. “A series of powerful and entrenched factors have ended the American dream,” former Clinton adviser Roger Altman, an investment banker, recently wrote in the Washington Post. “Economists typically cite globalization, accelerating technology, rising income inequality, and the decline of unions. What’s remarkable is that these are long-term pressures that don’t show No signs of easing sociologists as to whether these income pressures or cultural factors such as a rebellion against the establishment contributed more to Trump’s anger (in the 2016 election). the two factors are interdependent. Household financial problems are increasing cultural resentment and the feeling that there are two Americas. Especially with the share of national income going to the bottom 80% at its lowest level in 100 year.
Furthermore, political scientists say claiming full responsibility for the economy is a politically dangerous gamble for any president. An incumbent making such claims would pay a high price for any slowdown.
But Trump evidently concluded that he needed to create as many positive perceptions as possible. Overall, his employment ratings are terrible in many categories. Sixty-five percent of Americans say Trump has accomplished little in his first nine months in office, an increase from such a negative assessment from 56 percent last spring, according to the Washington Post poll. -ABC News. And 43% of Americans give it the lowest rating possible, saying it has accomplished “little or nothing”. Fifty-five percent say he doesn’t keep most of his campaign promises and only 35% say he does.
Trump seems to realize he is in perilous territory. And he is trying to use the recent good news about the economy to pull himself out of the dip. He will likely fight a battle of economic perceptions with Democrats for the rest of his presidency.