How do Donald Trump’s opponents, both in Congress and in the presidential election, beat him on the economy? “Democrats are going to have to take him on directly,” Tom Steyer told Martha Raddatz yesterday on ABC’s This Week, but Steyer tried nothing but misdirection in attempting to answer Raddatz’ actual question. When Raddatz caught him at it, Steyer’s stumbles showed just how hard it will be to sell an economic crisis in 2020:
ABC News’ Martha Raddatz shuts down Tom Steyer on President Trump's strong economy: 70% rate the “economy as excellent or good” pic.twitter.com/X4bYcO1IMQ
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 16, 2020
RADDATZ: Mr. Steyer, you say that you can take on Donald Trump on the economy. But the latest Quinnipiac national poll again released just this week says 70 percent of voters describe the nation’s economy as excellent or good. So how do you convince them that a change is needed when they think they’re doing so well under Donald Trump?
STEYER: I think if you take a look at what he says, everything he says superficially sounds right but is actually a lie. So when he says the economy is growing, I can show that, in fact, all the money’s going to rich people. When he says unemployment is low, which is true, I can show that the wages people are getting don’t support a family. And when he says the stock market is up, these are his three big statistics, it’s largely because of the huge tax break he gave to big corporations, but it also is — doesn’t matter that much because most of the stocks — 85 percent of the stocks are held by the top 10 percent of — 10 — ten percent of the richest Americans.
Does Donald Trump lie about the economy? He certainly brags about it a lot, sometimes hyperbolically, but Americans overwhelmingly see their own economic situation as not just good but getting better too. And that was the actual question, Raddatz reminded Steyer — how do you convince 70% of Americans who feel that the status quo works for them to change horses in midstream?
Steyer, refusing to answer the question, accuses Raddatz of covering for Trump. Huh?
RADDATZ: But — but I want to go back to that 70 percent number.
STEYER: So it’s — this has been —
RADDATZ: You talk — you talk about the wealthy. They’re not all wealthy people. Seventy percent say the economy is good and they’re doing well.
STEYER: Well, I’m just saying to you, here we are on a show and you’re standing up for Mr. Trump’s version of the economy. And I’m telling you, what he’s saying is not true. And so —
RADDATZ: I’m telling you about a national poll. I’m not standing up for anybody. I’m telling — I’m telling you about a national poll.
It’s not just Quinnipiac, either. Gallup released two polls over the last two weeks that have a similar result. When asked about their economic position since Trump won the presidency, 61% say they are better off than in 2016. That’s a record high in an incumbent re-elect cycle — eleven points higher than the previous record. The Gallup poll from the previous week showed 59% felt better about their own personal economy than a year ago, and 74% expected to do even better in 2020 — both new record highs in the 41-year series.
Steyer says that Democrats need to tell “a different story of this economy,” which should be an interesting exercise in cognitive dissonance:
STEYER: And what I’m saying is this, there is a different story of this economy and this country that has to be told. Mr. Trump has to be faced down about what he’s saying on the economy because he is running on the economy. That’s exactly what he’s going to say. He’s going to say, I’m great on the economy and Democrats stink.
RADDATZ: So how do you —
STEYER: I can take him on, on that because it has to be shown that this economy actually isn’t working for the vast bulk of Americans and this president is dangerous to them in terms of money and in terms of health care and in terms of retirement. That’s not being told. Democrats are going to have to take him on directly.
And you thought I was kidding when I called this Operation Us Or Your Own Lying Eyes!
Steyer never does answer Raddatz’ question, nor will Democrats be able to answer it in 2020 absent an actual economic crisis. If this status quo extends to November, they won’t have an economic case to make. They’ll be selling socialism to capitalists, and that won’t work anywhere except within the progressive echo chamber.