WASHINGTON (CNN) - If the economy is weak in November, the Democrats will have a great chance of winning the White House and increasing their majorities in the House and Senate.
That’s the prevailing view among many political insiders of both parties. They say voters will tend to blame eight years of Republican leadership in the White House under President Bush for their fears of losing their jobs, homes and health insurance. If voters are worried about recession and inflation, they will want to see change in Washington. That, these insiders say, would be the major factor in the election.
They remember what happened in 1992. The economy was the dominant issue in that campaign when Bill Clinton challenged then-President George H.W. Bush. Bush was coming off the heels of a major win in the first Gulf War when he ordered half a million troops to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s occupation. At the end of 1991, we saw the collapse of the Soviet Union, ending more than 70 years of Communist rule in Russia and the other Soviet Republics. The president had enormous national security and foreign policy experience. But it was all for naught.
By mid-1992, there were serious fears of recession. People were worried about the bread-and-butter issues and they wanted change. Bill Clinton may have been a governor from Arkansas with limited foreign policy experience, but voters flocked to him and he won. With serious concern over the economy right now, Democrats are hoping to see the same scenario played out this year irrespective of whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is the party’s nominee.
There is, of course, a huge wild card out there – the war in Iraq and the overall war on terror. We don’t know what is going to happen over the coming months on either front. If Americans come to fear a major terror threat, or if there is another major terror strike against the United States, all bets might be off. Voters could rally behind John McCain, who has lots of national security experience.
Just some thoughts to consider as this hectic campaign season continues.
–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer