As I’ve said many times before, and must say again, the presidential election is going to be primarily about pocketbooks and the economy — so-called kitchen table issues.
The soft underbelly of the Biden economy for two and a half years is a decline in real take-home pay, after inflation and taxes. In the last quarter alone, real hourly compensation dropped nearly 5 percent. In manufacturing, it dropped 5.5 percent.
For the past nearly 2.5 years, middle class blue collar real wages under President Biden have fallen 2.1 percent. Compare that to the Trump years — when real wages for working people increased 7.3 percent.
That is a big difference. That is the kind of difference that can determine elections.
People were working under both presidents. Unemployment was low under both presidents. People were making good money during the Trump years. They’ve been losing money under Mr. Biden.
Grocery prices are up almost 20 percent under Mr. Biden. Energy costs are up by more than one-third under Mr. Biden. That’s why this is going to be a pocketbook election.
The Democracy Institute released a poll of 1,500 registered voters, weighted 35 percent Republican and 37 percent Democrat. The most important issues: 31 percent said inflation, 19 percent said economy/jobs. That’s 50 percent on pocketbook issues. Next came crime at 15 percent; immigration at 11 percent; and abortion, Ukraine, and transgender and woke issues, all at 3 percent.
There’s more: On “Joe Biden’s handling of the economy” — 26 percent approve, 63 percent disapprove.
Asked whether Mr. Biden is “a better President than Donald Trump,” 38 agreed and 57 percent said he’s worse.
Finally, in answer to the question of whether America is in recession, 61 percent said yes and 25 percent said no.
Hate to bore you with all these numbers, but it’s a credible poll taking an important snapshot of the thinking among today’s voters.
Let me go a step further. There are a lot of Republicans throwing their hats into the presidential ring. Good for them. Bunch of smart people. But Mr. Trump has an enormous lead today.
I’ll bet that three months ago, none of the newer candidates ever expected to face a Trump lead like this. Probably amounting to 30 or 40 points, depending on the poll. So, you’ll ask, “Why?”
My answer: There are a bunch of reasons, including an unfair double-standard weaponization of the legal judicial system against Mr. Trump. Republicans are furious, and know that this politicization could someday be aimed at themselves.
There’s even more.
Mr. Trump is the only candidate who has consistently spoken out on the economy, and the pocketbook issues, what with his “Drill, baby, drill,” plus his talk of tax cuts, deregulation, spending curbs, and keeping King Dollar at the center of the world’s monetary system.
Also, people know that he’s succeeded once on the economy — actually twice, with the V-shaped post-Covid recovery. They believe he can do it again.
One final point: Voters know he’s a fighter. Even those who don’t like him know he’s a tough fighter. Taking on the Washington, D.C., swamp, entrenched bureaucracies, corruption in the FBI and the CIA, appointing judges, restoring law and order on the border and throughout the country, in the schools: All that requires a tough fighter.
I’m going to coin a new word: “fightingness.” I’m not saying the other candidates aren’t principled. I’m not saying they won’t stand up and fight. But, at this point, no one has the fightingness that Donald Trump has.
That fightingness is what it’s going to take to make America great again, again.
From Mr. Kudlow’s broadcast on Fox Business News.
Larry Kudlow was the Director of the National Economic Council under President Trump from 2018-2021. His Fox Business show "Kudlow" airs at 4 p.m &. and his radio show airs on 770 ABC from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.