Democratic members of Congress made no attempts to hide their distain during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address last week. It is one thing to refrain from applauding policy or proposals they oppose, but Democrats in the chamber refused to applaud when the president mentioned positive achievements, such as improvements in the national economy.
Americans watching may not have understood why Democrats were so unresponsive. Not only do 68% of Americans say the state of the economy is good (17% very; 51% fairly), according to a Jan. CBS News poll, but almost half also approve of the job the president is doing on the economy. A Feb. CNN poll found that 48% of Americans approve of the president’s job on the economy compared to 45% who disapprove. He has consistently received positive reviews on the economy, hovering close to 50% approval for most of his time in office. More positive news, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released this week showing job openings have hit an historic high, are only likely to help the president’s standing on this issue.
Opposition for opposition’s sake will fail Democrats in 2020, just as it failed them in 2016 and 2018, especially when it pits them not only against Mr. Trump, but against benefits for the American people as well. If lurching far to the left, showing bitterness towards positive economic news, and doubling down on fantasy proposals like their Green New Deal are signs of the strategy to come, Democrats may overplay their hand. Republicans cannot be complacent and rely solely on the economy, however. Education, health care, and other issues increase in importance when voters are content with the economy. Republicans must be ready with answers and proposals to show they can be relied on to address all of Americans’ concerns.