The GOP’s Best Shot in 2016? It Could Be This…

Photo credit: blogdnd via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit: blogdnd via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

FiveThirtyEight has put together a fantastic summary of how each issue should impact the 2016 campaign. Check it out here.

On economics, Ben Casselman writes:

Americans remain uneasy about the economy, even if they have become more sanguine in recent years. In a recent Wall Street Journal poll, just 47 percent of Democrats — and only 4 percent of Republicans — reported being “cautiously optimistic” about the economy. That dissatisfaction is driven by a harsh reality: Six-plus years after the recession officially ended, there has been no meaningful recovery in household income.

Republicans clearly see an opening. At last month’s CNBC debate, which focused on economic issues, candidate after candidate blamed Obama and the Democrats for stagnant wages, persistent inequality and lackluster economic growth. Marco Rubio said the American dream is “slipping away.” John Kasich promised to “get this economy moving again.” And Bush, who has based his campaign in part on a pledge to return the country to 4 percent annual growth, asked viewers to “imagine a country where people are lifted out of poverty again.”

But Republicans face their own delicate dance. The middle class didn’t exactly thrive under the last Republican president; median household income rose sharply in the 1990s but was stagnant in the 2000s, when George W. Bush was in office.

Republicans are finally starting to get it on economics and monetary policy. Ted Cruz has openly discussed tying our currency to gold, and others have followed suit. More and more candidates are speaking straight to working people about how household incomes have stagnated amidst rising prices.

The eventual GOP nominee needs to successfully communicate the connection between poor monetary policy at the Federal Reserve and stagnant wages — and address how they would solve that problem. If he or she can do that, Republicans should be able to fare much better on the question of “Who cares about people like me the most?” — a question Mitt Romney lost in exit polls to Barack Obama by an 81-18 margin in 2012.

Jon Schweppe is Deputy Director of Communications for the American Principles Project.