Headlines this morning: Biden's poll numbers continue to fall despite surging economy!
What are we gonna do!
CNN has a whole panel of earnest looking talking heads enthusiastically opining on the subject. Dire! Woe! Terrible! The End is Near!
It's the same over on Fox, except the talking heads are all gleeful and showing a lot of cleavage.
My social media feeds are clogged with MAGAs (or foreign intelligence assets pretending to be MAGAs), all pushing the same message:
See the common theme?
Cleavage sells ... okay, that's probably not the point here, but anyway.
It's not about the economy. Not this election, not really.
"The Economy" is just a convenient narrative the press and politicians use when they don't want to do any actual work. It's an easy fiction that no one bothers to dispute.
Gotta be the economy, Stupid.
No kidding, right?
But it's bullshit. Voters don't show up because gas prices are high. And they don't show up because prices are low and there are plenty of jobs. They'll bitch and complain about inflation and the cost of milk, but they don't show up either way.
They do show up, however, because they're mad about something.
Or they're afraid of something.
Or they hate something.
Rage, fear, anger are all far more powerful motivators than the economy. That's why the press and the politicians spend so much time making you mad and afraid -- and the easiest way to do that is "The Economy" because America is a capitalist society and Americans are all driven by money.
You mention money, Americans get very, very afraid very quickly.
That's the entire basis of supply-side economics: fear. What's good for business is good for us. What's bad for business is bad for us. If business doesn't have to pay taxes, isn't hobbled by pesky regulation, isn't constrained by antitrust laws or any concern for the environment or the health and safety of consumers, then we all profit. Now, it's true that some profit a lot more than others, but that's the American way, isn't it? We gotta make the rich richer so some of it trickles down to the rest of us. That's what they tell us -- they being the rich. If business fails, we all fail. Be afraid. Be afraid of anyone who might put constraints on profit.
That is the entire message of our economic system.
Americans were afraid of inflation, but business boomed. Profits are way up. The stock market is riding an all time high. Because Americans paid more for goods and blamed the White House, but it wasn't actually inflation at all was it? It was that business blamed the economy while conspiring to raise prices and pocket the difference.
See the price of eggs and gasoline et al. That wasn't inflation. That's the rich raising the price of goods to make themselves richer.
Americans were afraid of COVID, but business got bailed out on the backs of Americans who'd lost their jobs, and not a single wealthy CEO lost even a penny's worth of income.
That's the lesson the rich learned from the Great Depression: never gamble with your own money.
A rising tide lifts all boats, which is great if you've got a boat. When things are good, the poor and middle class sacrifice to make the richer richer on the idea that some of that largess will trickle down to them. And when things go bad, the poor and recently unemployed lose their homes, college funds, and retirements and pay for bailouts to those same failed businesses while the rich pocket bonuses and then declare bankruptcy and leave the government they so utterly despise to clean up the economic, social, and environmental wreckage left in their wake which is also paid for by the middle class and the poor.
That's how it works in America. Profits are personal, but the risks all public.
Republicans hate "socialism," but they sure do love socializing failure.
Profit is a privilege of the wealthy, failure is the responsibility of the poor, and you don't have to look any further than Donald Trump's business record to see it. And that is what republicans love about him, right there. And that is the thing the rich are terrified you'll figure out -- because the guillotines typically follow that social epiphany in short order. So they push fear, fear of economic failure. What's bad for them is bad for you. Fear of losing your job, your income, your retirement, your home, your healthcare...
That's what actually trickles down, you know. Fear. That fear. That fear the rich will lose everything and we'll have to pay for it.
But you know what? Hope is a hell of a motivator too.
Yes it is. Remember that guy? The one who talked about hope and change? He pushed hope instead of fear and he won, won big. Twice. That's a lesson everyone seems to have forgotten. Because hate, rage, and fear are all a hell of a lot easier.
You gotta be a hell of a leader to win on hope instead of fear.
And those sorts of leaders are in short supply these days.
My point here is: those polls? Yeah, polls are like the Bible, they tell you whatever you want to hear. Polls are absolute evidence of whatever narrative the shouty guy up front wants you to believe today. Tomorrow they'll be absolute evidence of exactly the opposite and no one will even notice the switcheroo.
Don't listen to the polls, they're trying to manipulate you, trying to make you confidently hopeful so you'll stay home because you believe the job is done, or trying to make you depressed and defeated so you'll stay home because the job isn't worth doing.
Don't listen. Don't listen to the talking heads, their only interest is rage, fear, and anger because that's what sells advertising copy. That's what makes them rich. The more terrible the world, the richer they get, so they have an interest in making the world seem a worse place.
Steady on, Folks. Be hopeful instead.
Show up and you'll win.
You want a better nation, be a better citizen.