As President Trump and the rest of the country grapple with an economic downturn and sky-high unemployment rates amid the coronavirus crisis, some Democrats reportedly worry that an explosive economic recovery in the fall could revive Trump’s lagging political fortunes — and boost his chance at reelection.
Politico reports that Jason Furman, a top economist in the Obama administration and now a Harvard professor, told a bipartisan group of policymakers last month that “We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country.”
The claims may seem counterintuitive amid the bleak economic picture right now. But it’s premised on assumptions that as lockdowns ease, a recovery could follow more quickly than after past economic crises. Since his earlier prediction, Furman has reportedly also been making the case to Democrats, including top members of presumptive nominee Joe Biden’s campaign.
“This is my big worry,” a former Obama White House official told the outlet, who said of the concern about top members of the party: “It’s high — high, high, high, high.”
Polls have shown Trump trailing Biden nationally, which can in part be attributed to the considerable economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown response in large parts of the country. A recent Fox News poll showed Biden with an 8-point lead.
But while an economy with an unemployment rate above 14 percent and rising could normally be expected to doom an incumbent in a general election, there are signs that the economy could begin to dramatically swing back as the election approaches and lockdown measures subside.