Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass speaks during a town hall campaign event in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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Democrats see opening on economy, resist cheering recession

16 Comments
By JULIE PACE

Campaigning under the stifling August sun, Joe Biden assailed President Donald Trump's trade war with China, accusing him of squandering a strong economy and putting Americans' financial security at risk.

But he was quick to add that he was not hoping for the worst.

"I never wish for a recession. Period," the former vice president and current Democratic presidential candidate told reporters in Prole, Iowa.

Biden's comments highlight the delicate balance for Democrats as the U.S. economy flashes recession warning signs. In town halls and speeches across the country this week, candidates leveled blame on Trump, arguing that his aggressive and unpredictable tariff policies were prompting gloomy economic forecasts. Yet they also strained to avoid the appearance of cheering for a downturn that would inflict financial pain on millions of Americans, but potentially help their party's political fortunes in 2020.

For more than two years, the combination of solid growth, low unemployment and a rising stock market has been a bulwark for Trump, helping him maintain the support of many independents and moderate Republicans who are turned off by his incendiary statements and pugnacious personality. According to a new Associated Press-NORC poll, a higher percentage of Americans approve of Trump's handling of the economy than his overall job performance.

"If there is a recession and the economy is doing worse, not better, than when Donald Trump started, it is hard to see how the majority of the American people, even those who have looked the other way on so many of his indiscretions, will decide to give him a shot at another four years," said Jennifer Psaki, a former White House and campaign adviser to President Barack Obama.

Trump's advisers privately have the same concern, particularly given that the president's path to victory is already narrow. Well aware that a sitting president almost always gets the credit or the blame for the state of the American economy, Trump and his team have tried to point the finger elsewhere, namely in the direction of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, accusing him of slowing growth by not lowering interest rates.

"Our Federal Reserve does not allow us to do what we must do. They put us at a disadvantage against our competition," Trump said Thursday on Twitter.

Shifting blame to others has been a frequent tactic for Trump, even to those within his own administration. (Trump nominated Powell as Fed chair last year.)

Some Democrats said he shouldn't get away with it this time.

"Do not allow him to escape the accountability that he deserves for what he is doing to this economy," said Beto O'Rourke, a presidential contender and former Texas congressman. "He'll try to blame every other person. The blame rests with Donald Trump. Now it's incumbent on all of us to call this out."

For months, the strong American economy has posed complications for Democrats trying to unseat Trump. Although Trump inherited an economy on the rise from his predecessor, Barack Obama, gains have indisputably continued under his watch. Unemployment is near a 50-year low at 3.7%. Consumer and business confidence has been strong, fueling record highs on Wall Street, even though the most recent signs show that consumer confidence could be ebbing.

Rather than trying to undercut those markers or predict doom ahead, most Democratic candidates have focused on economic inequalities, arguing that the wealthy were reaping the benefits far more than middle- and working-class Americans. In particular, Candidates have hammered Trump's 2018 tax law, which gave large-scale tax cuts to the rich and corporations and more moderate benefits to the middle class. And they've slammed the tariffs for burdening farmers across the heartland.

One exception has been Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has openly warned about the prospect of another economic decline. In July, she wrote an essay predicting that a rise in consumer and corporate debt was imperiling the longest expansion in U.S. history.

"Whether it's this year or next year, the odds of another economic downturn are high — and growing," Warren wrote.

Biden in particular appeared to shift close to Warren's warnings this week, as analysts said that a slowdown, if not a full-blown recession, could hit before next year's election. During a two-day campaign swing through Iowa, Biden reminded voters that the Obama administration handed Trump a strong economy that could quickly come undone.

"Donald Trump inherited a growing economy from the Obama-Biden administration, just like he inherited everything in his life. And now he's squandered it, just like he's squandered everything he inherited in his life," said Biden, making sure to remind voters of his own role in revitalizing the economy during the last administration.

Other Democrats were more cautious, particularly about leaving the impression that the party sees a political benefit from an economic decline.

"I just think it's very important that we be clear as a party that we don't want a recession," said John Delaney, the former Maryland congressman who is mired at the bottom of the pack in the crowded Democratic primary field. "I don't want anything to happen, even if it's good politics, if it hurts workers."

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


16 Comments
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"Donald Trump inherited a growing economy from the Obama-Biden administration, just like he inherited everything in his life.

Zing, zing. LOL

Shifting blame to others has been a frequent tactic for Trump

The other-guy defense used by the pampered and weak. With Trump the bucks only stop in his or his family's pockets.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Trump is like a drug addict: when his high wears off, he ups the stakes. First it was a trillion-dollar tax cut, then a massive spending stimulus, and now he's haranging the Fed for lower interest rates. But every high is followed by a crash, and this the Dems will inherit and be blamed for.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

O'Rourke is still trying?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Trump isn't right about everything, but he is correct in pressuring China to act like a 1st world country and follow WTO rules for 1st world countries.

The US and allies (which Trump has alienated) need to band together to force China into proper, good neighbor, behavior. This should be a time of unity for Europe, America, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Central and SE Asia. Everyone needs to apply pressure on China.

Trump claimed he was the next savior yesterday. Seems like a serious mental issue, perhaps sufficient to have him taken out of office.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Trump can't win without a strong economy. There aren't enough racists to carry him.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Campaign Slogans:

1952: "I like Ike"....

1964: "All the Way With LBJ".....

2020: "Trump; I Don't Want to Go to Prison"....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Trump can't win without a strong economy. There aren't enough racists to carry him

Consumer spending can, silent majority can, low unemployment can, minorities can, so all in all, it looks pretty good.

https://spectator.org/why-trumps-approval-ratings-are-up-among-minorities/

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It doesn't take much to have the US economy grow - just get out of the way and let it grow! 

The supply siders who had Trump cut taxes had a hand in ensuring that story continued by taking the breaks off some. I've seen commentary that says "the effects of the tax cuts will wear off after one year", which strikes me as odd. Tax cuts are permanent, not a one-time stimulus splurge.

The China trade battle is putting a bit of a dent in it all, at the moment. But if that starts to shake out, then things will look brighter for the economy again. 

So, no great credit should go to the guy who sits in the White House signing off on this or that. It's the people and businesses who make the economy grow.

But all and all, the US stock market is well up on where it was on the day after the Trump election. If that helps to get him re-elected, lucky him.

If the Democrats would take a "get out of the way" approach to the economy, and attack Trump on all the stupid stuff he does, they should be able to defeat him easily. I fear they will shoot themselves in the foot by wanting to get in the way of that golden goose...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Democrats see opening on economy, resist cheering recession

Yeah right....

But they and all the trump-haters ARE wishing for a recession in time for the election. It's their last hope to beat Trump.

The quickest way to cause a recession is to kill consumer confidence. So the trump-haters inside and outside the media and the Democrat politicians are running around shouting, "The recession is coming! The recession is coming!" and repeating it often enough so that voters will believe it and shake their confidence in the economy. Without consumers willing to spend, the economy will crap out.....and trigger a recession.

Helping cause a recession just to win the election for the Democrats will backfire on them when the voters realize it was a dirty political tactic. When jobs are lost as a result of the Democrat-caused recession, it will take a long time before the voters will trust the Democrats again.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Trump can't win without a strong economy. There aren't enough racists to carry him

Consumer spending can, silent majority can, low unemployment can, minorities can,

President Trump Job Approval: Approve 36%, Disapprove 62%, Disapprove +26

Direction of Country: Right Direction 37%, Wrong Track 58%, Wrong Track +21

Trump Gun Policy: Approve 35%, Disapprove 61%, Disapprove + 26

Trump Economy: Approve 46%, Disapprove 51%, Disapprove + 5

https://www.apnews.com/1ad13f32984a4480a45738ead2b4c0d8

so all in all, it looks pretty good.

Sure does - for a Dem landslide....

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Biden assailed President Donald Trump's trade war with China, accusing him of squandering a strong economy and putting Americans' financial security at risk.

Good grief. First of all, Trump's policies of lower taxes and rolling back regulations has got the economy going strong, and second, Biden can't even bring himself to acknowledge that China poses an economic threat.

Trump can't win without a strong economy. There aren't enough racists to carry him.

He doesn't need racists to carry him. Get ready for a Trump landslide, SuperLib.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

bass: silent majority can

You've never had a majority. You didn't even win the popular vote. Odd position to use here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

2020: "Trump; I Don't Want to Go to Prison"....

For what, exactly?

Trump can't win without a strong economy

We could have a recession and considering the possible Dem nominees ( Biden, Warren, Sanders and BootyJudge ), Trump would still have to get us into an unnecessary war and take a dump on the debate stage to lose.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

lincolnman - Sure does - for a Dem landslide....

Isn't that the same thing Democrats predicted in 2016?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SuperLib - You've never had a majority. You didn't even win the popular vote. Odd position to use here.

I can see Democrats turning out by the millions to elect Cory Booker as the next POTUS. All for one, one for all. Or maybe it's Bill de Blasio that can rally all of the hate-mongering Democrats?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I can see Democrats turning out by the millions to elect Cory Booker as the next POTUS. 

Gracious! Hee hee!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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