February 27th, 2008
03:21 PM ET
12 years ago

Blitzer: If the economy is weak, will Democrats benefit?

 The economy issue could help the Democrats.

The economy issue could help the Democrats.

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

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Julian

    If Obama wins at least we will have good relations with muslim countries(if that is the change he is refering about),after all he comes from muslim family

    February 27, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. andrew of california

    Dear Alice,

    I think most of his supporters are people, probably ordinary people that you would be surrounded by in a grocery store. They just have this thing...they like Obama. We do, as much as you might think not.

    February 27, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. Barack Oprah

    No benefit if Obama get nomination.
    What can he do?
    Keep telling us "CHANGE" and "HOPE"?
    It doesn't help US at all. But it would make Obama supporters happy.
    It is already depression, but not resession.

    February 27, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  4. Carolyn Rose

    Although money is very important, so are values, morals, and ethics.
    We cannot afford to have Bill Clinton taking up any space in our beautiful American Palace, The White House. He corrupts, deteriorates, contaminates, lies, deceives, and much more. Our young people have to have a better, stronger, smarter, ethical role model.

    We have to look to someone who has a strong moral and ethical
    value and who is also very intelligent, wise, skillful, and calm.
    And so enters Barack Obama. We are so lucky in this country
    that he is who he is, and that he is willing to work so hard for our benefit.

    Barack Obama will be the next President of The United States.
    We are so lucky. No one can stop him now.

    February 27, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. nmt

    if hilary wins, she is so so divisive, i really wonder whether it is good for the american image...???she cant even manage her own campaign...

    February 27, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. Jack, CA

    If it is the economy and Obama is the nominee, I do not think he stands a chance against John McCain, just as the recent polls have shown. Clinton would do much better if it is the economy.

    February 27, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  7. Craig

    I am a little flabbergasted at the ease with which the people who propel the growth or decline of an economy dispel themselves and attribute economic gains solely to politicians.

    Politicians provide us with one VERY REAL economic tool "HOPE".

    We drive the economy with our circular flow of money, if we have hope we buy, we invest, we enrich our fellowman and cause the economy in turn to thrive. If we are scared worried or concerned about potential we deter each other from driving the economy and in turn we see recession.

    Here is Bill Clinton's legacy "(think about it) He was president when we "WANTED" to make money, "WE" not "HE" bought AOL share bought Enron started new companies founded new ideas and spent like crazy because he brought hope.

    Dubya inherited the bursting of the .com bubble and instead of bringing hope which would have turned us around brought war.

    Think about it folks if we are driven we can and will get out of a recession the gov't wont come handing us checks to get out of it we will get innovative and create and in so doing propel ourselves forward. Lets not have Washington tell us we cant because based on our history we know we can.

    The figurehead is at the front of the ship not swabbing the deck charting the maps or keeping the ship "Ship Shape".

    February 27, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. Obama is the one

    I am tired of democrats saying "I will vote for McCain if Hillary isn't the nominee". Obama and Hillary overlap on majority of their issues. And do you even know McCain's agenda?? Bombing Iran, staying 100 years in Iraq, no knowledge of the economy so a sure recession, wishing leaders of other countries die and I could go on and on – Is that what you want?

    I think both Hillary and Obama have a clear view of strengthening the economy and they'd do a terrific job in the White House.

    February 27, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. Christina

    If ya'll would listen carefully to what clinton said about her promisong 5 millions new jobs instead 30,000 jobs were lost last night at the debate than you would know that Clinton blame Al Gore for it. She always blame on people so she wont take the blame. A real leader will always take the blame no matter what.

    February 27, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. frank2k79

    The only way Hillary can prove her point is by gaining the votes.She was far ahead in all the polls with double digits. If she couldn´t run a campaign to keep her lead then she can´t run this country ,period!!. All your waling here doens´´t help. She would lose because she can´t unite a majority of americans behind a common purpose. We all know that the best barometer for measuring a good leader is his/her ability to take the best decision. We all know that all this candidates have a company of advisers who normally propose and the president makes the ultimate judgment. So Hillary you have blown of your chance of leading this country by underestimating your opponent and you have to pay the price.But you might pay a bigger price if you don´t withdraw with dignity.

    February 27, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  11. lessBS

    It's more like a STACKED DECK than a WILD CARD after declaring a perpetual "War on Terror". A terrorist attack somewhere, sometime, is inevitable...


    9/11 happened on their watch. And if something happens again, that will make two. What is it? Three strikes and THEN you're out?

    And how do you take credit for National Security when you cherry-pick intel to make Iraq look responsible, switch to WMD scare tactics, and proceed with pre-emptive war based on lies?


    February 27, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  12. Sandy in New Mexico

    If you are a dedicated Democrat, you should vote for your party's candidate. If you do not have the loyalty to your party, no amount of excuses you give will rectify your voting for a Republican if you believe in what the Democraic party stands for. McCain is old and withered. He is willing to keep this country in Iraq for the next hundred years. I do not want to see my grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great -grandchildren, and great-great-great grandchiden 'serving their country' in Iraq. They are going to have to be working their butts off as it is – paying off the trillion of dollars of debt the current adminstration has burdened them with and the Bush policies McCain has already said he supports. I am an Obama supporter, but if Clinton should win the nomination, I would vote for her. I would not abandon the party because the candidate I favored did not get the nomination. That is just plain narrow-mindedness and pity-playing.

    February 27, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. Erika

    How come CNN and especially Wolf Blitzer are less critical of Obama und more about Hillary.
    Shame on CNN and Shame on your Reporters
    is it, because she is a WOMEN?

    February 27, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. California Independent

    No. Could you imagine if Obama's spending plans were put into effect on top of his lack of knowledge about the economy as a whole?

    The cycle of boom and bust would need to be flattened but that would limit the ability to make profits on these cycles. Never happen.

    February 27, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. Bob

    McCain currently wins among voters who consider the economy the most important, even though he admits he doesn't really understand it.

    Of course, neither does Obama, and neither one's stated policies are likely to have a significant effect on it anyway, so it's pretty much a crap shoot.

    And so the fiddling continues as the national debt continues to increase and the coal continues to burn.

    February 27, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  16. JUDY


    February 27, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  17. Macey

    I agree with Joe-yes, the Democrats will benefit if Clinton is the nominee, but MANY moderate democrats will shift if Obama is the nominee–who knows...maybe they will hope that John McCain can do something for the economy since he has more experience.

    February 27, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  18. Linda Montgomery

    Big slant for Clinton here. Funny how my comments NEVER make it, even though I don't include anything inappropriate. I am starting to look at CNN as an entertainment channel instead of news, because things are not neutral. The headlines in the Political Ticker are frequently misleading. If Clinton is raking in $1 million a day, why did she have to ask for donations and give her web site DURING THE DEBATE? That sounds really desperate to me.

    February 27, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. Scott

    The reality is that if Obama is the Democratic nominee, then McCain wins in November regardless of the state of the economy. If Clinton is the Democratic nominee, then she wins ... since she is the only one with any real ideas and solutions for fixing the economy. Of course, neither you nor the other folks at CNN would recognize that, since you are too busy swooning over Obama and slamming Clinton.

    February 27, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. Patrick

    Give me a break, McCain NEVER said he doesn't understand economics. He said it's not his strongest area as opposed to his national security credentials. It's called honest talk...as opposed to those candidates who pretend to know it all, to gain votes from the public who blindly support their candidate without researching their positions or qualifications.

    February 27, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |

    it will just make them rasie taxes more, so what else in new?

    February 27, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. SAM - CommonSense

    I wonder if people donnot realize how seamless and profitable Obama's campaign has been? Both Clinton and McCain at a point went broke owing to missappropriation of funds and had to change campaign managers to save their face. The economy is in turmoil now and we can always bet on the smartest amongst our three choices to deliver. Both Hillary and McCain were unable to achieve what Obama has been able to achieve at his age (even with such glarring obstacles). What more can you ask of a man?

    Go Obama 08!

    February 27, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. S. Wright

    I have to ask about the banner on this ticker: "If the Economy is Weak Will Democrats Benefit?", why would the Democrats benefit if the economy is weaker?

    Does taxing businesses which results in higher prices for goods and services, more layoffs, tightening cashflow and the like really help this country's economy?

    A better question Wolf would be why you and CNN by extension be concerned with what is only good for the Democrats who have shown time and again that they are incompetent in our present Congress, and have left this country in worse shape than when they entered the White House?

    You know, Wolf, there is reason why the public's approval of Congress is lower than the President's...

    February 27, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  24. SAM - CommonSense

    I wonder if people donnot realize how seamless and profitable Obama's campaign has been? Both Clinton and McCain at a point went broke owing to missappropriation of funds and had to change campaign managers to save their face. The economy is in turmoil now and we can always bet on the smartest amongst our three choices to deliver. Both Hillary and McCain were unable to achieve what Obama has been able to achieve at his age (even with such glarring obstacles). What more can you ask of a man?

    Go Obama 08!

    February 27, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. TIM

    Being from Arizona I know that McCain only represents Arizona becuase the other republican choice were worse. He has done nothing for Arizona and speaking of slick the public needs to get to know him, you can not trust him. I'm sad to say I kept voting for him. America doesn't need McCain it would be a mistake. McCain knows nothing about the economy he says so himself.

    February 27, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
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