This week: The Briefing, Vol. X, Issue 31
- Biden’s recession is here
- Democrats will vote to raise taxes anyway
- Abortion fans actually less likely to vote
Biden-cession: Ten out of the last ten times the economy shrank for two consecutive quarters, an official recession was the result. If Joe Biden’s economic contraction is not considered a recession, then it will be the first time in the history of modern economic statistics.
As much as the liberal media try to cover for President Joe Biden with semantic games about whether this is a recession or not, most Americans already believed that the nation’s economy is in recession before the new data came out,
The fig-leaf supposedly justifying hesitation about the question is the fact that the employment market has not significantly deteriorated. But just because jobs are still being recovered post-COVID, that doesn’t necessarily mean the economy is healthy. Overall, Labor Department statistics show that the U.S. still had not fully recovered the number of jobs that existed in February 2020 as of June 30. Although low labor participation is helping keep the unemployment rate down, that still doesn’t mean the economy isn’t receding — which, again, helps explain why people already think the U.S. is in recession. That means it’s a lost cause for the media to convince them otherwise.
Biden-Manchin deal: Last week, Sen. Joe Manchin and Biden struck a surprise deal to revive a $740 billion sliver of Biden’s Build Back Better plan. Not only does the deal remain uncertain, but there’s also practically no way it will help Biden or Democrats politically.
So far, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has not given her imprimatur. Without all 50 Democratic senators, no bill can succeed. So far, Sinema has indicated that she opposes the bill’s tax increase on investment managers’ income that is currently considered “carried interest.” That alone may kill the deal.
Meanwhile, the proposal in question, although conservatives are right to oppose it, contains a handful of provisions that will likewise enrage the environmental Left — the restoration of oil and gas leases, for example.
But the bigger picture here is that Manchin is about to make Democrats vote on a tax increase during a recession in a midterm election year. That isn’t a promising prospect — it actually sounds like the sort of thing Republicans would like to make Democrats do.
Abortion politics update: Tomorrow, Kansas voters will decide on a state constitutional amendment that says abortion is not a right in the Kansas constitution. Of course, abortion is not in the Kansas constitution at all, but voters have been forced to do this because the state Supreme Court declared in 2019 that it is. The amendment is favored to pass narrowly.
Meanwhile, the assumption about abortion, up to now, has been that the Dobbs Supreme Court decision would engender an electoral backlash. The abortion issue was supposed to help Democrats avoid the shellacking the appear to be headed toward this fall. But it appears that may not actually be the case.
A new poll commissioned by the Washington Post suggests that voters who are distressed by the overturn of Roe are significantly less likely to vote than those who believable abortion should always be illegal.
Unlike other polls, this one found that abortion was a relatiely high priority, with 31% believing it is “one of the single most important issues.” But the key difference is that, of those who believe Dobbs is not a curtailment of women’s rights, 70% say they are certain to vote. Of those who believe it is a loss of women’s rights only 52% say they are certain to vote.
What does this mean? Perhaps less than it appears. Democrats in general are less likely to vote this year because they are demoralized by the Biden administration. That fact may skew the results of any poll that focuses specifically on abortion and the Dobbs decision as its issue. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation.
However, the results contrast most sharply on the abortion issue, not on party identification — for example, 62% of Democrats say they are “certain” to vote, in contrast to just 55% of those who believe “abortion should be legal” and 52% of thoe who believe Dobbs is “a major loss for woment’s rights.
Either way, the main point is that there remains no evidence at all that Dobbs is going to produce the backlash Democrats have been hoping for. So far, all indications are that voters are not terribly alarmed at the prospect that state legislators will decide the abortion question instead of judges. Or at least, they’re not so distressed that they view the next election as some kind of crisis.
Perhaps the most telling result from the poll was that most voters don’t trust either party on the abortion issue. Only 26% trust Republicans, but only 34% trust Democrats. Fully 39% trust neither. This makes it a poor partisan issue.
Even now, this could change. But so far, even and outlet as supportive of legal abortion is the Washington Post is finding a dead end when it comes to evidence that abortion politics are going to rescue Democrats from their trouble.
Arizona: Trump-backed former news broadcaster Kari Lake is the big story in this primary, and the narrow favorite to win. Although her opponent, Karrin Taylor-Robson, has significant conservative support, Lake’s larger-than-life personality has focused all attention on her. Lake is almost Trump-like in her personal style — it is clear she has learned a lot from his successes. This has made her the narrow favorite in tomorrow’s race, even though Taylor-Robson has the backing of such conservatives as Mike Pence and former Rep. Matt Salmon, who dropped out of this race to endorse her.
Arizona: Although Arizona’s establishment Republican Party still has a chance in and a grip on the governor’s race, it completely lost control in the Senate contest. Blake Masters, an acolyte of libertarian tech mogul Peter Thiel who is backed by President Donald Trump, is the favorite. The other candidate with a chance, albeit a smaller one, is businessman Jim Lamon.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich fell out of favor with Trump for his insufficient dedication to overturning the 2020 election result. Despite his establishment support and his conservative bona fides, he is not expected to win.
Missouri: There has been little consistency in how this race looks. But in its late stages, there have been many signs that it has broken against disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens. Attorney General Eric Schmitt appears to be the beneficiary of President Donald Trump’s high-profile diss of Rep. Vicky Hartzler, whom he specifically un-endorsed. Trump’s extreme popularity in Missouri is a huge factor, and yet (as of Sunday) he did not end up endorsing in this race.
Wisconsin: The stars have aligned. With all the other serious contenders dropping out of the race, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) has a clear shot to take on Sen. Ron Johnson. This will be a crucial election for control of the U. S Senate, but also a crucial test for the Republican machine built up last decade by Johnson and Scott Walker.