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Republicans highlight Democrats’ role in keeping economy locked down

David Drucker of the Washington Examiner reports on Republicans’ efforts to tie Democrats to costly economic shutdowns.

Republicans say Democrats fighting to keep tight pandemic lockdowns are cratering the economy. The GOP strategy is to prevent President Trump shouldering the blame if there is now turnaround before Election Day.

Concern has soared within the previously confident Republican establishment about Trump’s prospects against Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Fears are tracking unemployment that skyrocketed from 3.5% to 14.7% in just six weeks. It is likely to go higher this month. Democrats, trying to frame debate in the run-up to voting, talk of a “Trump depression,” and the free fall is because of the president’s mishandling of the pandemic.

Ironically, it is most commonly Democratic officials who oppose Trump’s efforts to reopen the economy and revive the jobs market. The Left is prioritizing preventing the spread of the coronavirus instead. Democrats are thus caught in a 180-degree contradiction, holding Trump responsible for recession but refusing to open the economy.

Republicans say this opens Democrats to the wrath of voters increasingly worried about their finances.

“It’s a disconnect,” said Brad Todd, a veteran Republican strategist. “Democrats are arguing that the economy is bad and that we should keep it shut down. That’s not going to be lost on voters.”

A fresh poll of Wisconsin voters from Marquette University Law School suggests political trends could favor Republicans as the election draws near. In this closely divided Midwest battleground, critical to Trump’s reelection, only 49% of Republicans say business and schools should stay closed, down from 83% in March. Among independents, there is 69% support in Wisconsin, down from 79% last month.

But other data shows voters more worried about health than economic recovery, which makes Democrats confident that making Trump responsible for the recession is a vote winner.

Follow Carolina Journal Online’s continuing coverage of 2020 election issues here.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...