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History Explains Why Trump Wants To Reopen The Economy Sooner Than Later

History Explains Why Trump Wants To Reopen The Economy Sooner Than Later

As the nation was grappling with an exponential rise of COVID-19 cases and deaths towards the end of March, President Trump was talking about getting the economy opened again around this time. Thankfully enough, the narcissistic psychopath ultimately sided with health officials on keeping business shut down throughout April.

But for a president who has largely run on all the economic gains made during the Obama years and a robust stock market, he’s clearly itching to get the economy going again.

However, with unemployment now exceeding 16 million and jobless claims growing due to coronavirus and the health risks its poses, history shows us why unemployment is so vital to an incumbent’s reelection chances.

In the past, it has been difficult for incumbent presidents to win reelection when unemployment is around 8 percent. Per reporting from Marketplace:

Most winning incumbents ran on a record of having kept unemployment significantly lower than that. Lyndon Johnson (1964), Richard Nixon (1972), Bill Clinton (1996), and George W. Bush (2004) all won with unemployment around 5.5 percent in the final month before the election. President George H.W. Bush (1992) lost with unemployment at 7.3 percent. It was 2 percent lower when he took office, according to FiveThirtyEight.

FDR, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama all happened to win reelection when unemployment was higher than 7 percent. But that Trump came into office amid a strong economy and rode on the wave of a bull market with record low unemployment numbers, only to see a dramatic shock to the stock market and abruptly high unemployment numbers, makes his situation all the more challenging.

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“Unemployment reached 25 percent at the depth of the Great Depression. We are in for a depression greater than in the 1930s,” Michael Reich, an economics professor specializing in labor and politics at the University of California at Berkeley, told Newsweek. “I expect that unemployment, now already above 10 million, could increase to 40 million in the next several months.”

Those are some soul-crushing numbers that not even Trump can manipulate. In short, when you combine the current unprecedented situation in terms of potential job losses with their history of an incumbent’s chances of securing reelection, you’ll fully understand why Trump is ignoring health officials in his mad dash to get the economy open again.

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