This Labor Day marked the unofficial end of the summer holiday season, and it was also the beginning of the two-month campaign sprint till the midterm elections.
Democrats are making it clear that their campaign will be about agitating the liberal base to get out and vote — which to some extent has to involve getting voters to forget they’ve owned the White House for six years. Vice President Biden spoke at a labor rally in Detroit and told union members, “It’s time to take back America” to ensure “you get an equal share.”
Take back America from whom?
President Obama cast his net for votes wider at a Laborfest in Milwaukee by declaring: “Hope is what gives young people the strength to march for women’s rights and workers’ rights and civil rights and voting rights and gay rights and immigration rights,” he said. “Cynicism is a bad choice. Hope is a better choice.”
I know that hope springs eternal, but many voters are fatigued that after six years of Obama they’re still waiting for change in the economy. That’s one reason why neither Biden nor Obama emphasized their economic record yesterday.
Thirty-four percent of the top third of income earners now report they gave made net gains in income, but wages for the bottom two-thirds of income earners are completely flat or have fallen. Even Benton Strong, associate director of communications for the left-wing Center for American Progress Action Fund, admits that many Democrats are “running on the reality that a lot of Americans aren’t benefitting from the recovery yet.”
Indeed, even though broad economic indicators have edged upward, the mood of voters is indeed sour. The Hill newspaper has this summary of recent polls:
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released earlier this month found 71 percent of people blamed Washington for the economy’s woes, and dissatisfaction mainly fell on incumbents overall, rather than on a particular party.
That poll found roughly half of voters believe the economy is still in a recession, even though the economic decline ended in June 2009.
Similarly, Gallup’s index of economic confidence has remained unchanged for all of 2014. People are actually less confident about the economy now than they were in January, when the unemployment rate was nearly half a percentage point higher.
So just two months before the election, Democrats are pinning their hopes on holding the Senate on the fact that both political parties are unpopular and distrusted. That’s why both Biden and Obama did all they could on Labor Day to pretend they haven’t been in charge for the last six years.