When President Joe Biden launched a final four-state campaign sprint on Thursday to boost struggling Democrats ahead of the midterm elections, he fired back at a major GOP critique that the economy has lagged under his oversight.
“Here’s the deal: Economic growth has risen, price inflation has fallen, real incomes have risen, gas prices have fallen,” Biden said at a rally near San Diego in support of Democratic Representative Mike Levin, who said he was a member of the Democratic Party. is in an exciting race to hang. up to his seat.
Certain narrow measures may make Biden’s claims true — gas prices and inflation, for example, have bounced back slightly from the historic highs they reached over the summer.
But both are well above the January 2021 levels when he first took office, and to voters struggling with rising prices, the claims may sound hollow.
The consumer price index rose 8.2 percent in September from a year ago, up from 1.4 percent at the start of Biden’s term. The average price for a gallon of gasoline nationwide is around $3.75, compared to about $2.30 at its inauguration.
When Biden launched a final campaign sprint on Thursday to boost Democrats ahead of the midterm elections, he fired back at a major GOP critique that the economy has lagged under his watch.
Inflation has eased slightly from historic summer highs, but remains near the 40-year high and has risen well since Biden took office
In the third quarter, which just ended in September, real salaries rose 0.8 percent, the first quarterly increase after two consecutive years of decline or stagnation.
And real gross domestic product, the measure of all economic output in the country, returned to growth in the quarter after half a year of contraction, rising 2.6 percent year-on-year in a preliminary estimate.
It followed two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP, which is an informal definition of a recession, although Biden denied that a recession had begun. Most economists agreed, but many believe a real recession is inevitable next year.
Ultimately, voters will decide whether they feel more economically secure now than they did at the start of Biden’s tenure, a turbulent period with still painfully high unemployment at 6.4 percent.
Unemployment has fallen far and remains low at 3.5 percent for nearly six decades, and Biden has often touted the strong job market as evidence of his successful economic stewardship.
But economic fears, particularly around inflation, emerged as a major voter concern during the midterm elections, and Republicans have hammered the issue as they try to regain majority in the House and Senate.
“Joe Biden is completely disconnected from reality,” Republican National Committee chairman Ronna McDaniel said last month. “Americans live paycheck to paycheck, they can’t afford rising gas and grocery prices, and real wages have fallen.”
Real gross domestic product, the measure of all economic output in the country, returned to growth in the last quarter after half a year of contraction, rising 2.6% in the advance estimate
The average price for a gallon of gasoline nationwide is around $3.75, up from about $2.30 at Biden’s inauguration, but below the record high of $5 reached in June.
Biden’s California rally was his second of the day, following a previous event in New Mexico, and marked the start of a four-state, three-day campaign sprint, with stops also planned in Illinois and Pennsylvania.
The tour kicked off in Albuquerque, where he spoke about his cancellation of billions of dollars in student debt and criticized record oil company profits while trying to fend off criticism of gas prices.
Biden urged voters in New Mexico to defeat “reckless and irresponsible” Republicans and re-elected New Mexico Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
New Mexico is normally safe democratic territory, but Lujan Grisham faces a determined challenge from her Republican opponent, former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti.
“Your generation will not be ignored, you will not be shunned, you will not be silenced,” Biden told students at Central New Mexico Community College, where he also said people should not be locked up for marijuana possession. and promised another effort to ban assault weapons.
Biden’s tour kicked off in Albuquerque, where he spoke about his cancellation of billions of dollars in student debt and criticized record oil company profits.
Biden urged New Mexico voters to defeat ‘reckless and irresponsible’ Republicans and re-elect New Mexico Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (with him above)
Biden repeated many of the same points at his second rally at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, California, where Rep. Levin is fighting to hold onto a seat historically held by Republicans.
Levin is up against Republican businessman Brian Maryott, and the Cook Political Report is now calling the race a “tossup.”
“Democracy is on the agenda,” Biden told the crowd in California. “The truth is that… these elections will determine the direction of the country for at least a decade or more.”
Polls show Republicans can regain control of the House of Representatives and perhaps the Senate.
The decision to only field Biden in areas where he won handily in 2020 was made in part out of concerns about voters’ energy in races Democrats consider a must-win.
Party officials are also concerned about some candidates who have seen their races tighten up in the closing days of the campaign.
President Joe Biden takes the stage with Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif., and his wife Chrissy, after Biden spoke at a campaign rally Thursday
Projections from Real Clear Politics show Republicans will win the House and Senate next Tuesday
Biden’s route in the final days of the campaign illustrates the limited political clout of a president kept at bay by some Democrats who face tough races this cycle.
It also suggests that the president, whose approval ratings remain submerged, has come to the conclusion that he can be most effective by using waning poll days that bolster support for Democratic candidates in areas he easily won in 2020.
“Democrats are clearly on the defensive and that will become apparent as the campaign draws to a close,” said Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.
“Their winning chances don’t look realistic, so now see what you can keep.”
A president’s party typically suffers significant losses during midterm elections. Since 1934, only Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934, Bill Clinton in 1998, and George W. Bush in 2002 saw their parties win seats in the midterm elections.
Some recent presidents saw big losses in their first intermediate races. Republicans under Donald Trump lost 40 seats in the House but won two seats in the Senate in 2018; Democrats under Barack Obama lost 63 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate in 2010, and Democrats under Clinton lost 52 seats in the House and eight seats in the Senate in 1994.