Why Gaza and Ukraine could crush Biden’s hopes of winning the election

It used to be elections were determined by the state of the economy – but Biden is not getting the credit he deserves, writes Jon Sopel. Instead, the conflict in Gaza is roiling American politics and being fully exploited by Donald Trump

Saturday 18 November 2023 15:21
<p>Biden seems to represent to voters an old-fashioned Zionism</p>

Biden seems to represent to voters an old-fashioned Zionism

Come on then. What’s your favourite election aphorism? Is it “oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them”? Or maybe – “the only poll that matters is the one on election day”? If you’re looking at the US, surely the favourite is “it’s the economy, stupid” the phrase coined by James Carville, who himself had the wonderful nickname the “Ragin’ Cajun”, owing to his Louisiana roots.

It’s been a truism in successive elections since he coined it for Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential race. It’s the basic and obvious piece of advice that all elections come down to people’s sense of economic wellbeing. The answer to the question: am I better off now than I was four years ago?

But what if it no longer holds for 2024? Looking at Biden’s poll numbers, he’s getting no credit for the economic upswing that seems to be taking place in the US. Job numbers are ticking up nicely, inflation is falling. The talk is no longer of recession, but of a soft landing for the US economy.

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