People who have real things to worry about don’t spend their time worry about unimportant issues. Living in the United States in 2018 is a blessing, when compared to the rest of world and the rest of human history. We have full employment, a growing economy, and technology is making life easier every day. But human beings aren’t used to having it so good, and there’s something that won’t let us just enjoy it. This lack of real problems is both a blessing and a curse for Republicans heading into November.
When the economy is tanking, or even simply limping along like it did in the 8 years of the Obama presidency, what to campaign on is pretty easy – it’s the economy, stupid. But what do candidates campaign on when things are going well?
People tend to take good times for granted. There is no doubt that President Trump’s tax cuts and regulatory repeal efforts have super-charged the economy, only the most partisan of economists who swore his election would bring about an economic calamity would argue otherwise. But a larger paycheck starting in January is long forgotten by November. Even $100 more per pay period is now just what someone makes, in the minds of people cashing those checks.
Elections are rarely about rewarding politicians for what they have done for people, they’re about what they’re promising to do in the future. Were they about past good deeds, Winston Churchill would have won reelection in a landslide soon after the defeat of Germany. But the man whose will almost singlehandedly ensured Great Britain’s survival was unceremoniously tossed aside by voters for, sadly enough, watered-down socialism. He’d led them through their worst days and they wanted something else when the dust settled.
Republicans looking to voters for love for the economic recovery are going to have to sell something else, something next, if they expect to remain in office. When people have it good, promising to make it better doesn’t carry the weight promising to turn bad times around does.
When people are out of problems, real problems, they have a tendency to create them in their heads. We can’t just accept that things are good, we’re afraid it’s a temporary state.
This part of human nature currently favors Democrats. When people aren’t worrying about their jobs going away or making their mortgage payments, they can focus on other things. And Democrats are really good at finding other things to rile up their base over, just look at the news.
But what are Republicans offering for the future? For that matter, what are Democrats offering?
Republicans are promising more of the same, which will be enough for some but isn’t really a rallying cry that will excite voters. The way Democrats attempted to destroy Justice Brett Kavanaugh will motivate a lot of people to vote against Democrats, if they’re still angry enough about those smears a month after they’ve faded from the headlines. (It will for me, and likely you, but if you’re reading this you’re significantly more involved in politics than the average American.)
Democrats can’t run on the economy, as soon as their hands were completely removed from the levers of power was when it finally turned around. Trying to convince people they don’t know how bad they have it takes a lot of effort and rings hollow when people have it pretty good.
So Democrats are doing what has been their electoral strategy for the last decade – telling people they’re victims, that Republicans are out to get them, and they’ll make things “fair” by punishing people who have it better than they do, etc., etc. The politics of envy definitely has a constituency, but its teeth are dulled when people are working.
With rare exception, mostly Democrats in districts gerrymandered so blue they’d elected Fidel Castro’s rotting corpse, they aren’t trying to sell voters their vision for America because they know it’d be rejected. Higher taxes, socialized medicine, government interference in everyday lives while angry mobs shout down and attack people for existing wrong isn’t really a winning message. This leaves them to run against Donald Trump, the man not the president.
This is an incredibly important election that will determine whether or not we continue to move forward into a more prosperous and free future or we will take a turn toward a leftist Hell where individual liberty is curtailed in the name of the “collective good,” and neither side is making their case.
This is a luxury of people who are truly out of real problems. As I wrote in my book, for most of human history, until recently, “(w)ith the exception of nobles, daily life consisted of waking up, tending farms, hoping to have enough food to feed your family, hoping you aren’t killed by a random stranger, fear of getting sick and dying, even from something as simple as a cut, and getting to bed early enough so you can sleep and do it all over again the next day.”
Thankfully, we don’t live like that anymore in the US. But because we don’t, we can spend a week fretting over stupid things like Elizabeth Warren’s bogus claims of Native American heritage (Honestly, she’s so white that in a snow storm her perfect camouflage is nudity), the president calling a porn star “horseface,” or the murder of a writer most people have never heard of by a despotic regime on the other side of the planet.
None of that stuff matters, and it never will. We elevate it because we’re looking for something to be upset about because we really are out of major problems. If we vote to return Democrats to power in three weeks, we won’t have this issue anymore, we will have elected real problems to replace our imagined ones.
Derek Hunter is a husband, father, and author of the book, “Outrage, INC.: How the Liberal Mob Ruined Science, Journalism, and Hollywood,” which examines the ways, both obvious and subtle, liberals use emotional manipulation to override rational thought and influence the American people. He’s also host of the Daily Daily Caller Podcast, which you can (and should) subscribe to for free on iTunes, Soundcloud, and Stitcher.