A Washington Post columnist shredded President Biden’s economic messaging strategy in a recent piece, claiming that the president can’t just rely on telling people the economy is "better than you think it is."
The Washington Post’s contributing columnist Matt Bai advised the White House on Monday to adopt a new strategy for securing voters skeptical about his economic policies instead of touting "Bidenomics."
Bai argued Biden’s team should start talking about the economy’s "long-term trajectory" rather than push "comforting statistics from last quarter."
Recent Fox News polling shows that only 25% of Americans believe Biden’s policies have made the economy better.
Bai began his column with criticism of a recent strategy memo former Obama re-election campaign advisor Jim Messina sent to what he called "bedwetters" in the party worried about Biden’s economic approval numbers.
The columnist described Messina’s strategy, saying, "To be fair, the point of Messina’s much-emailed slide show wasn’t so much the substance as the hopeful tone. The message is that a respected party strategist thinks Biden is in pretty good shape, so everyone should just chill. Biden, Messina promises us, is ‘in a better position than most people realize.’"
He added, "’No worries here! ‘The economy is strong,’ the memo blares, ‘and the Biden team is working to ensure voters feel that way.’ How? By trotting out all kinds of data to prove that they really should feel that way."
Adding a sarcastic line about Biden’s "Bidenomics" tagline, Bai wrote, "Also by pushing ‘Bidenomics,’ because when lots of data points don’t convince people of how good they have it, slogans usually do the trick."
He then skewered the Biden strategy, stating, "All of this gets to a problem with Democratic campaigns generally, which is the eggheaded idea that people will be happy with your policies if you just keep telling them how happy they ought to be. I’ve sometimes referred to this as the ‘turn up the volume’ theory of campaigning. If you don’t like my music, I must not be playing it loud enough."
The columnist asserted that "the general insecurity people feel about the postindustrial economy is now a permanent feature of the political terrain. There’s probably not much any president can do to allay it."
Thus, the president needs to change his tune, rather than convince voters it’s in a "better" place than people realize.
Bai said, "But it seems to me Biden’s best bet isn’t to keep insisting that the economy is better than you think it is. Instead, he should talk more about the country’s long-term trajectory than about comforting statistics from the last quarter."
Elaborating, he continued, "Voters don’t really believe the economic realities in their lives will change much in the short term, anyway — they’re more interested in how your policies are going to change reality for their kids and grandkids."
Bia concluded, saying, "Biden can absolutely win, if he insists on running again. But you won’t get there by being that irritating guy at the office who goes around on Monday morning telling everyone to smile more."
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