Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Democrats Are Telling Biden That He Needs to Tell Voters He is Feeling Their Pain

Bill Clinton was a master at telling people that he was feeling their pain. Was he really feeling it? We doubt it, but he was very good at convincing people that he was. Joe Biden hasn't gone there yet, even though the economy is one of his weak spots. Instead, he has been telling the voters the actual truth: The economy is very good. Nearly anyone who wants a job can find one, the stock market is roaring, inflation is down, and wages are up. But it is not working. People are thinking: "Milk costs more now than it did 3 years ago and it is Biden's fault." Simply telling the voters the truth doesn't work.

Democratic strategists like Brad Bannon are urging Biden to stop trying to teach Economics 101 to the voters and simply say: "I know you're suffering, but we're making progress, and we will continue to make progress if I have a second term." Biden hasn't done this because he (rightly) believes the economy is in good shape—and nonpartisan economists agree with him—and he doesn't want to suddenly start apologizing for a (nonexistent) bad economy. He wants to take credit for the economy actually being so good (although the credit belongs much more to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell).

As with so much in politics, reality doesn't matter (and never has). It is the perception of reality that matters, and the popular perception is that the country is in a recession and inflation is roaring. We can understand Biden's reluctance to agree that things are awful when they are not, but that is what it might take. Historian Michael Eric Dyson said: "He's got to become a preacher, an evangelist to tell that story. He's got the money, but money can't buy perception and speak the language of the people he's trying to reach." (V)

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