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Can a Campaign Based Around Liberal Economics Win?


Biden has surpassed most left-leaning people’s expectations on economic issues. Yes, there are things to critique and lots of work to be done, but honestly, he’s been better on these issues than basically anyone thought he would be. This then leads to a frequently spoken point from the left–that if Democrats ran a class-conscious campaign, they would win.

Well, we are going to find out in 2022 and 2024. Biden and Democrats will obviously be running on bringing the economy back from the pandemic. Meanwhile, Republicans are going all-in on the culture war. Literally all they are going to run is illegal immigration, transgender bathrooms, and that Biden wants to take away your burgers.

So here’s the question–does the leftist talking point about electoral politics ever work? I’d like to think it does. I’m also reasonably skeptical around the point because it’s always had the patina of “If only Democrats would run on my personal issues, they would win” level of analysis. I’m sure that whatever happens, this talking point won’t die because it will be easy enough to paint Biden as the neoliberal of the day or whatever.

But really, this is going to be a big part of the equation in the fall of 2022–what matters more to voters, economic issues or cultural issues? And for the voters most likely to vote in the midterms, it may well be the latter, no matter what kind of stimulus packages Biden fights for.

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