If there is one message that Republicans in Congress – and President Donald Trump – can agree on in the campaign for the 2018 mid-term elections, it is to remind voters at every opportunity about economic gains made under the Trump Administration, paired with talk about the big GOP tax cut approved at the end of 2017.
“The hope and the optimism has returned,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who faces a tougher than expected challenge in November, as she and other GOP leaders have spent much of the year touting economic gains for regular working Americans.
“They are seeing some of the biggest pay increases right now,” Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters last week. “We expect this trend to continue.”
For President Trump, taking credit for a better economy has been a constant theme since his early months in office, arguing that his support for lower taxes and less government regulation would put economic growth into a higher gear.
There are some pure metrics which give the President and GOP candidates of all stripes a variety of different statistics to rattle off to voters:
+ Jobless rate – 4.8 percent when President Trump came into office, now at 3.9 percent.
+ The U6 rate, considered the broadest measure of unemployment, was 9.4 percent when President Trump was sworn in – that rate is now 7.4 percent, the lowest point in 17 years.
+ GDP growth in the second quarter was 4.2 percent on an annual basis up from 2.2 percent in the first quarter.
+ Monthly job gains are trending up, averaging 207,000 for the first 9 months of this year, up from 189,000 a year ago, and higher than 2016 as well.
For a party being buffeted by daily stories about President Trump, the economic gains have offered political shelter in an election year storm, as GOP leaders also pound home the President’s tax cut.
“It’s exciting to see people’s attitudes, to see their personal benefits,” said House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA).
“We’re on track,” Speaker Ryan told reporters last week. “Tax reform is working, families are better off, businesses are hiring, businesses are expanding.
Last week, the Labor Department reported that U.S. businesses created 201,000 jobs in the month of August, continuing a streak of 95 straight months of job growth, which has accelerated since the President took office.
But will those gains – real and/or perceived – allow the GOP to stay in charge in the House? Some polls in recent days show Republicans are under pressure in a number of races across the nation.
The latest generic ballot polls for voters when it comes to control of Congress have not held good news for the GOP, one reason that the President has promised to help GOP candidates as much as he can.
President Trump will be on the road for campaign rallies two days this week – he will be in Missouri on Thursday and Mississippi on Friday.
Election Day is just eight weeks from Tuesday.