The 2020 election is still a while away, but while Democrat contenders bicker and fight among themselves over petty issues, President Donald Trump is delivering on the front that really matters — the economy.
A new report states growth in the United States’ GDP (gross domestic product) is much higher than the level economists had predicted at a time when other countries across the developed world are struggling with the same thing.
Trump’s roaring economy is reportedly sparking fears among Democrats as they continue to fail to come up with their own economic message to sell to voters.
It’s hard to sell socialism to the masses in a growing economy.
US ECONOMY GROWS 3.2 PER CENT
The US Commerce Department’s first-quarter report puts GDP growth at 3.2 per cent, well above the 2.3 per cent mark economists predicted and the strongest first-quarter print in four years.
GDP represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a particular time. It’s one of the main tools used to measure how well a country’s economy is going.
By this measurement, therefore, America’s economy has grown 3.2 per cent since last quarter.
Much of this was driven by a sharp jump in American exports, which rose 3.7 per cent between January and March.
It’s especially significant when you compare the US to other major countries. South Korea’s GDP just shrank without warning, Germany’s been struggling ever since its economy contracted in the third quarter of last year and Japan’s growth is sputtering.
Considering Mr Trump made the American economy a huge part of his political agenda, this will no doubt give him something positive to campaign on in the next election.
“GDP is an incredible number. But remember this: Not only that, we have a great growth — which is growth. We have great growth and also very, very low inflation,” the President told reporters. “Our economy is doing great. Number one in the world. We’re number-one economy right now in the world, and it’s not even close.”
Judging by the polls, it’s a message that resonates with voters and reinforces the idea the President delivers on his promises. Mr Trump’s overall approval rating remains weak, but his handling of the economy is well-approved according to numerous polls.
According to The Wall Street Journal’s Washington editor Gerald Seib, we’re still too far out from the election for this quarter’s GDP result to have any significant voter impact.
But he did point to a hidden number within the report that may prove more telling — the low inflation result.
“Inflation was very low. That worries the Federal Reserve Board a little bit, as it may be a sign of hidden weaknesses in the economy. But that’s also likely to prompt the Fed to leave on the shelf any ideas about raising interests any time soon.
“If you’re President Trump and you’ve been complaining that the Fed raising interest rates too far too fast has been the biggest economic threat, the fact that this report suggests the Fed will keep the brakes on interest rate increases is a very good sign (for Trump) heading into 2020.”
FEARS AMONG DEMOCRATS FOR TRUMP 2020
Mr Trump’s good news is reportedly stoking fears among Democrats as they continue to grapple with producing an economic message of their own.
Celinda Lake, a leading Democratic strategist and pollster, told Politico this could prove “disastrous” for the party next year.
“We don’t really have a robust national message right now,” she said. “We will tend to talk about things like paid leave and equal pay — and those things are all very popular policies. But they don’t add up to an economic message that is robust enough to win the presidency and beat Donald Trump who talks about a very robust economic policy.”
She added: “You may agree or not with it, but you know what (Trump’s message) is. And Democrats, you don’t know what it is. And that’s a recipe for disaster in 2020.”
Conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt said the 2020 election “isn’t going to be close”, citing the GDP figures as evidence the Trump economy is getting “stronger and stronger”.
“Last week’s message from a booming economy should have rocked the Democratic field,” he wrote in The Washington Post. “Democrats have to campaign on something else besides a great economy, rising values of savings, low unemployment across every demographic, clarity about allies and enemies abroad, and a rebuilding military.
“Not just tough — it’s practically impossible.”
That said, the economy could still slow down. Last month, a CNBC poll of economists projected lowered expectations of growth at less than 2 per cent by 2020, citing slower global growth and Mr Trump’s trade tariffs.