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The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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Dear Democrats: Take Trump seriously

Sia DeyKoontz
Jacob Hamm

With the presidential primaries effectively over, the general election has begun. Both major party candidates have started their campaigns, with Trump and Biden both holding rallies and amping up political rhetoric.

Trump, both on the campaign trail and on Truth Social, is making claims such as “our country is in hell” and that we’re being “invaded” by illegal immigrants. Biden, by contrast, is offering a Reagan-esque optimistic vision of America, saying how the economy and the country have never been better.

Democrats, consider this your warning. That approach will not work. Only 28 percent of Americans rate the economy as “excellent” or “good,” according to findings from the Pew Research Center from January. While this is still a slight improvement from their findings in 2023, it should still be setting off alarm bells in Democrats’ strategy circles.

Pew Research also broke down the data across demographic lines. Black, Hispanic, those under 30, and lower-income voters who identify as Democrats were more likely to rank the economy as “poor” or “fair.” By contrast, white and wealthier Democrats were more likely to rate the economy as “good” or “excellent.” Black voters, Hispanic voters, and younger people are key constituencies of the Democratic Party.

Saying that the economy has never been better is directly ignoring their concerns. The messaging from Biden’s campaign and Democrats on this issue is reinforcing the notion that Democrats are becoming the party of white, wealthy coastal liberals while ignoring the concerns of working-class voters in the Midwest and Great Plains.

There is evidence that this messaging is alienating key demographic groups for the Democrats. According to Statista, Biden only has a two-point lead among voters aged 18 to 34, taking a mere 35 percent to Trump’s 33 percent.

The remaining 31 percent of this group backed a third-party candidate, 16 percent of whom backed Robert F. Kennedy Jr in the poll. Biden won the 18 to 29 year old demographic in 2020 with 59 percent of the vote.

Among Black Americans, Biden is hemorrhaging support as well. Biden won 87 percent of Black voters in 2020. Fast forward to today, Biden only stands at 63 percent among Black voters. Trump stands consistently with Black voters in the high teens, with some polls showing his support at 20 percent. This statistic should not only set off an alarm in Democrats circles but break the handle for the alarm.

So, what should Democrats do?

First, acknowledge the economy is still not perfect. Address how you will bring down consumer prices and put more money in Americans’ pockets. Second, discuss what you have already done. Tout measures that have been taken, such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS Act, and explain, in a non-condescending way, how these laws will help the economy. Third, hammer away at proposals made by some in the Republican Party looking to cut or privatize entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. These programs serve as a vital lifeline for a decent amount of working-class voters.

As a life-long, working class Democrat who is a white male, I have seen firsthand how working-class voters have run away from the Democratic Party. I know plenty of people who proudly voted for Barack Obama both times to turn around and vote for Trump in 2016. It’s a more common phenomenon than people may think.

The saying by Bill Clinton’s 1992 strategist, James Carville, “it’s the economy, stupid,” is more relevant than ever before.

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About the Contributor
Jacob Hamm
Jacob Hamm, Reporter
Jacob Hamm is a junior journalism major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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