Democrats Focus on Economic Pain While GOP Celebrates Jobs Data

(Bloomberg) -- Democrats and their presidential nominee, Joe Biden, plan to counter President Donald Trump’s claims that the economy is back on track by highlighting Americans’ lingering pain from the coronavirus shutdown along with more deeply rooted inequalities, party and campaign officials say.

The national party and its state affiliates are launching a campaign to attack Trump’s response to the pandemic as inadequate in appearances starting Monday, arguing that a lack of more forceful federal action made economic conditions worse, Democratic officials tell Bloomberg News. Polls conducted by the party and released Monday from a half-dozen key states showed majorities disapprove of Trump’s handling of the crisis.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez will appear at virtual events in Michigan on Monday with Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist and Representative Andy Levin, and in Wisconsin and Nevada later in the week. State parties will hold additional events. The party’s aim is draw attention to Trump’s “broken promises” on the economy and “tone-deaf response” to struggling Americans, said David Bergstein, the DNC’s director of battleground state communications.

Biden himself has promised to unveil new economic policy proposals in the coming weeks. He plans to describe the investments and strategies he would adopt if elected to create new jobs and encourage sustainable growth, said campaign spokesman Andrew Bates.

Trump’s “incompetence didn’t only contribute to a death toll of over 109,000 Americans, but it also made him accountable for the loss of millions of jobs that didn’t have to be lost,” Bates said. Biden’s proposals will “generate a surge of new jobs in office, rebuilding the American middle class and bringing everyone along so we build back better.”

Democrats Focus on Economic Pain While GOP Celebrates Jobs Data

Trump last week presented the unexpected drop in the May unemployment rate to 13.3%, from 14.7% in April, as evidence the economy was soaring like a “rocket ship.” Democrats emphasize that 21 million Americans remain unemployed with a jobless rate higher than any time since 1940, and that African-Americans are among the hardest-hit.

With the country convulsed by nationwide protests over racial inequity spurred by the death of a black man in police custody, Biden has promised to offer plans that will ensure people of color get access to economic aid.

Republicans say that Biden and other Democrats are rooting for Americans to suffer economic hardship to improve his chances against Trump in the November elections. Democrats say the president is focusing on gains in the stock market while doing little for millions of Americans who remain out of work.

In a tweet Sunday, Trump repeated a vow to rebuild an economy as strong as the one before the coronavirus, which he has frequently said benefited all Americans.

Biden said in a speech Friday that he was “disturbed” to see Trump “basically hanging a ‘mission accomplished’ banner when there is so much work to be done and so many Americans are still hurting.”

Polling conducted for the DNC released Monday found that 56% of voters in half a dozen battleground states believe that Trump’s response to the coronavirus threat cost lives and jobs while 44% said he took swift and decisive action that’s protected lives and jobs. Those numbers track with his approval rating of 45% and disapproval rating of 55% in the poll, which reached voters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In the poll, which surveyed 1,828 likely voters online, voters gave poor marks on a range of economic metrics, with 88% saying the unemployment rate was not so good or poor and 70% saying that about the national economy. One-third of those surveyed said someone in their household had lost a job because of the pandemic, while 46% reported lost income and 49% expressed concern about being able to afford food and housing if current conditions persist.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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