There’s just nothing like a candidate who hopes to become America’s next commander in chief rooting for calamity to beset the nation in order to seal his victory.
And perhaps the only candidate sociopathic enough to state such a hope out loud is Donald Trump. In a Monday interview on the right-wing outlet Lindell TV, which is owned by My Pillow guy Mike Lindell, Trump predicted an economy that’s currently on the move would hit a wall. The only question was when.
“When there’s a crash—I hope it’s going to be during this next 12 months because I don’t want to be Herbert Hoover,” Trump said, referring to the stock market crash that rocked then-President Hoover’s first year in office and ushered in the Great Depression.
Trump hoping for tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs, lose their retirement savings, and end up in soup kitchen lines across America in 2024 isn’t just a bad look, it’s a tell.
Trump desperately needs to run on the promise of economic improvement because it’s the only reason that anyone outside of his diehard cultists—who make up roughly a third of Republican voters—will tolerate voting for him.
If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times from Trump voters: hey don’t love his delusional tweeting and his juvenile demeanor, but boy oh boy is he good for the economy. Except for the fact that he absolutely gutted the economy in his final year in office and left Biden with a shambles. In fact, Trump doesn’t need to fret about becoming Hoover—he already is Hoover. During his tenure, Trump became the first president since Hoover and the Great Depression to leave office with fewer jobs than when he entered.
Facts, however, have never been Trump’s strength. He’s a vibe guy and so are most of his fervent supporters. But Trump will need more than just his fervent supporters to win the 2024 election. In order to push Trump over the hump, the remaining swing voters will have to believe that holding their nose and voting for the greatest chaos candidate of all time—and a possible felon by then—will be worth it because the economy, stupid.
But what if Joe Biden’s economy is actually humming in the spring and summer of 2024, when voters start to cement their views about the upcoming election? What if voters continue to experience lower gas prices, falling inflation, improved consumer buying power, potentially falling interest rates, declining housing costs, low unemployment rates, and increasing consumer confidence?
That last part is key: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, despite an economy that has bounded back from an post-pandemic slump, consumers held a consistently dour view of the economy most of last year. Right up until the closing month of ’23, when consumer sentiment soared in the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.
“Consumers are increasingly confident that inflation slowdown will continue, which has led them to upgrade their outlook over the economy. The data showed a remarkable level of consensus across the country over the improvements this month,” said U of M economist Joanne Hsu, director of the Surveys of Consumers.
It’s the type of potential sea change in voters’ outlook on the economy that surely strikes fear in the heart of a four-time indictee who’s looking for a way to beat his rap.
But Hsu’s next words are where Trump still hopes to create an opening: “While consumers see the economy more favorably than they did the last few months, the strength of their views remain tentative.”
That tentativeness is where Trump’s salvation lies if he can convince a big enough group of voters that economic chaos and calamity is just around the corner.
As Biden noted last week during his address on the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol: “Donald Trump’s campaign is about him, not America, not you.”
Biden called it, Trump delivered.