Economic Recovery Not Helping Democratic Base Voters

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 09:00 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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Democrats running in November’s midterm elections are being advised to avoid using the economic recovery as a selling point since their core constituency – including women, blacks and Hispanics – are not really feeling the uptick, according to The New York Times.

"As a start, Democrats should bury any mention of 'the recovery,'" said an April memo from Democratic polling firm Democracy Corps, which includes President Bill Clinton’s political strategists, James Carville and Stanley B. Greenberg.

The memo instead encouraged Democrats to zero in on a "populist message comparing the fortunes of the top 1 percent with the struggles of everyone else," according to the Times.

During President Barack Obama’s first term, mean income declined 4.5 percent for black households, 4.2 percent for Hispanic households, and 2.2 percent for white ones, according to the Times. At the same time, pretax income for the top 1 percent skyrocketed by 31 percent, compared with just 0.4 percent income growth for the remaining 99 percent.

While the economy has seen a decline in unemployment figures and promising stock market activity, the effects have been mostly felt by those with means, who tend to vote Republican.

"There’s a recovery for some people, you know, and other people, not so much," Carville told the Times. He compared today’s economic climate to 1994, when the GOP walloped Democrats at the polls even though the economy was "clearly in recovery."

Though the unemployment rate for women has declined from 8.1 percent in the 2010 midterms to 5.7 percent today, that progress is a "mirage," according the Times, noting that the number of women with jobs compared with the total female population is worse than it was in 2010. The reason? A "disappearing work force: people giving up and dropping out."

The Associated Press last month reported on a National Urban League annual report that noted blacks are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed. In February, the black unemployment rate stood at 12 percent, compared to 5.8 percent for whites.

Underemployment – those who are unemployed or working part-time jobs while desiring full-time work – is 20.5 percent for blacks, 18.4 percent for Hispanics, and 11.8 percent for whites, according to the AP.

The Times notes that more than 7 million Americans report holding more than one job, up from 6.7 million in 2010.

Support for Democratic congressional candidates has plummeted – from 93 percent to 77 percent – among black voters since the 2012 presidential election, according to the newspaper.

"Many Americans are being left behind, and that includes African Americans and Latinos who are being disproportionately left behind by the job creation that we see," National Urban League President Marc Morial told the AP.

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