Biden is on track to beat inflation and lose the presidency

“there are three reasons for Democrats to fear that slowing inflation will prove too little, too late.
For one thing, voters’ distrust of Biden’s economic management appears unshakeable. In a recent Gallup poll, just 38 percent of Americans expressed confidence in Biden to “do the right thing for the economy.” That is up a smidgen from Biden’s 35 percent mark in 2023, but it is still the worst economic approval that any modern president has suffered in Gallup’s polling, with the exception of George W. Bush immediately after the financial crisis. By contrast, 46 percent of voters have confidence in Trump’s economic management.

In RealClearPolitics’s average of recent surveys, Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy by a 17.6 point margin. And voters’ appraisal of Biden’s economic acumen has not substantially improved in recent months, even as inflation has declined. By the end of Trump’s term, on the other hand, voters approved of his economic management by a 7.8 percent margin.

Thus, the idea that Biden is personally responsible for the surge of inflation in 2022 — and that he cannot be trusted to effectively manage the economy for that reason — appears deeply rooted in voters’ minds. The fact that wages have been rising much faster than prices for more than a year has left no dent on this impression. Another few months of falling inflation could move the needle a bit, but there’s little reason to assume that such a development will dramatically change public opinion.

Second, relatedly, historical precedent suggests that the economy’s performance up to this point in Biden’s term will matter more than its performance from now until November. According to Democratic data scientist David Shor, when you examine the relationship between GDP growth and past incumbent presidents’ electoral outcomes, their economic records between inauguration and April of their reelection year count for much more than economic conditions in their campaigns’ final months.

Finally, if inflation has truly been defeated, victory has come too late to yield substantial interest rate cuts before November. The Federal Reserve declined to reduce rates after its meeting this week and forecast a single, quarter-percentage-point cut by year’s end. Investors predict that such a cut will come in September at the earliest. Even if the rate cut comes before Election Day, it would still leave Americans with dramatically higher borrowing costs than they faced when Biden was inaugurated.

It is conceivable that a small September cut may help the president a bit at the margins. Another possibility is that Biden will effectively shepherd the nation out of an economic crisis and deliver it into a low-inflation, high-employment economy and then promptly hand the White House back to Donald Trump, who will proceed to receive the lion’s share of the credit when the Fed slashes interest rates next year.”

Trump Blames Biden for Never Removing the Tariffs Trump Imposed

“The really frustrating thing about this is that Trump is fundamentally wrong about how tariffs work. He has been for a long time. Taxes on Americans are not going to change China’s behavior. That’s not theoretical. We have six years of real evidence. Tariffs are not saving American manufacturing. The trade deficit didn’t fall like Trump promised it would. China didn’t buy the larger share of American imports that were part of Trump’s supposed “phase one” deal. In the middle of Thursday’s debate, Trump even managed to confuse the trade deficit with the federal budget deficit (a mistake he’s been making for years).
If only Biden were in a position to highlight Trump’s clearly misguided views on trade and tariffs. But that would have required different choices over the past three-plus years (and a stronger debate performance from the president, who struggled at times on Thursday to be articulate).

Biden chose this outcome, and now we’re left with a choice between a candidate who doesn’t understand the fundamentals of trade policy and one who has foolishly gone along with that fantasy for political gain.”

Biden’s path to winning the Electoral College runs through the Midwest

“Seven states are generally considered to be competitive this fall, and when you look at our polling averages of each of them, six of them fall into two clean categories: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Biden trails Trump by less than 2 points; and Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina, where Trump leads by a more comfortable 6- or 7-point margin. (Arizona, at Trump+3.5, is somewhere in the middle.)”

“Obviously, if those turn out to be the final margins in November, Trump would win every swing state and the presidency. But the numbers also point to a narrow but feasible path for Biden to win. If he carries Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, plus every other state and district* that he won by at least 6 points in 2020, he would finish with exactly 270 electoral votes”

“Winning Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin will require Biden to proactively improve in the polls (or hope that they are wrong — and generally you don’t want to leave your campaign up to fate!), something he has struggled to do so far this year. This path also leaves the campaign no margin for error: If Biden loses just one of those three states, he’d need to carry one or more of the more challenging Sun Belt states to make up for it.”

“there’s one further wrinkle: Getting to 270 electoral votes via Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin would also require Biden to win the electoral vote from Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, which Biden won by only 6 points in 2020, according to Daily Kos Elections. Polls of Nebraska’s 2nd District are scarce, but the one we do have suggests that Trump is leading there right now.”

“if Trump wins Nebraska’s 2nd while Biden wins Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the Electoral College would be tied 269-269. Under the Constitution, that would throw the election to the House of Representatives, where each state’s delegation (not each representative) would get one vote, with 26 out of 50 votes needed to elect the president. Trump would very likely win under such a scenario because Republicans will probably control a majority of congressional delegations after the election, even if they don’t have an overall House majority.
The House hasn’t needed to step in to decide the presidential election since 1824, but the way the electoral map is shaping up, there is a nonzero chance it could happen this year.”

Biden Decries a ‘Failed Approach to Marijuana’ but Sticks With It

“The proposed rule, which will be subject to 60 days of public comment before it is finalized, would move marijuana to Schedule III, which includes prescription drugs such as ketamine, Tylenol with codeine, and anabolic steroids. But that does not mean marijuana will be legally available as a medicine, which would require regulatory approval of specific cannabis-based products.
With marijuana in Schedule III, state-licensed cannabis suppliers will remain criminal enterprises under federal law, albeit subject to less severe penalties. Although an annually renewed congressional spending rider bars the DOJ from interfering with state medical marijuana programs, prosecutorial discretion is the only protection for businesses that serve recreational consumers.

The federally illegal status of state-approved marijuana businesses discourages financial institutions from serving them, since doing so could invite potentially devastating criminal, civil, and regulatory consequences. Moving marijuana to Schedule III will not solve that problem either.”

“The president, citing old-timey “gateway drug” concerns, has steadfastly resisted attempts to resolve this conflict by repealing the federal ban on marijuana. Even while condemning the injustice inflicted by a “failed approach to marijuana,” he is sticking with it.”

Biden’s big bet hits reality

“Less than 17 percent of the $1.1 trillion those laws provided for direct investments on climate, energy and infrastructure has been spent as of April, nearly two years after Biden signed the last of the statutes.”

“Trump has said he should have the power to refuse to spend congressionally appropriated money he considers wasteful, despite a 1974 law that says otherwise. This raises the prospect that he could attempt to pare Biden-era funding even if it’s at an advanced stage of distribution.”

Biden border crackdown could snip economy

“The new policy — which would allow federal officials to suspend asylum claims between designated ports of entry if crossings exceed an average of 2,500 per day over a week — is aimed at deterring large numbers of people from trying to enter the United States and give the government additional tools to more swiftly remove certain migrants from the country.”