Wednesday , February 1 2023

Less boom, more bust? Economic fears threaten Trump's 2020 message US news


Donald Trump has made the US economy the centerpiece of his re-election campaign, relishing reports of steady job growth and low rates of unemployment.

But now, worrying about the economic downturn, the president's escalating trade wars, have threatened to undermine the core of the White House.

Trump's handling of the economy has earned it in a polarizing position. But since the stock markets plunged nearly 3% on Wednesday – the sharpest declines on Wall Street this year – the president was beset by anxiety over the possible impact of an American recession on his watch.

"The economy is absolutely critical to its re-election," said Michael Steel, a former aide to the retired House speaker John Boehner. "The handling of the economy is, generally speaking, the only issue that positively on polling.

"There's no way to make a job, but it does not really rely heavily on a strong economy."

Since taking office, Trump has routinely touted the expansion of the US economy that began under Barack Obama and has largely continued under his administration. He has championed an economic boom in hundreds of tweets.

"An economic miracle is taking place in the United States," Trump announced in its state of the Union address this year.

All the while, the president has been ignoring warnings from economists about the prospects of a global trade war, and even the traditional US allies such as Canada and the European Union.

Despite Trump's claims to the contrary, those trade practices have injected uncertainty into the markets. The brunt of the impact of the president's tariffs has been a part of the US agricultural industry and American consumers.

If the economy does sour and the trade continues, Republican strategists said, Trump's way to get rougled with challenges.

"A lot of voters are willing to look past the tweets and the chaos, because the economy has been so strong," said Alex Conant, a Republican operative who served as Marco Rubio's 2016 presidential campaign. "But if the economy is weak then they will be less forgiving for their presidency that they do not like."

Polling from earlier this year found that 56% of Americans approved the Trump's handling of the economy. White House advisers clung to the new high as a counterpoint to Trump's broader approval ratings, which is the most recent of history.

"The White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said this year, characterizing Trump's message going into 2020.

"You hate to sound like a cliché, but are you better off than you were four years ago? It's pretty simple, right? It's the economy, stupid. I think that's easy, "he added.

Historically, most US presidential elections have been centered on the economy, with voters consistently ranking issues such as jobs as a top priority.

Democrats, who have already framed the 2020 race as a referendum on Trump, have insisted the economic expansion of its presidency has disproportionately benefited the wealthiest Americans.

Campaigning in New Hampshire on Thursday, Trump maintained he had ushered in unprecedented economic progress.

"You have no choice but to vote for, because your 401 (k), everything is going to be down the tubes," Trump said at a rally in Manchester.

"Whether you love me or hate me, you have to vote for me."

Beneath the optimistic veneer, there are some of the signs that the president is worried about a looming economic slowdown. This week, Trump announced that it was delaying the implementation of tariffs on a wide range of Chinese imports, citing the potential effects of US shoppingpers during the holiday season.

The move came as the Wall Street Journal conservative editorial board published yet another op-ed criticizing the Trump administration's trade policies.

"We've been warning for two years that trade wars have economic consequences, but the wizards of protectionism said Mr Trump not to worry. The economy was fine and the worrywarts were wrong, "the editorial said.

The drop in the markets, they said, were "an omen of the future, not destiny."

"The key to avoiding the worst is to restrain a sense of policy. Stop the trade threats by tweet. Call for tariff negotiations with China, Europe and the rest of the world while negotiations continue, "they added.

"Someone should tell Mr Trump that the president of the presidency who presides over recessions within two years of an election rarely get a second term."

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