The Democratic Party, with all its grand promises of a better future under Biden, now finds itself in quite the pickle. Things have deteriorated under the current administration, and now the outlook for Democrats in 2024 just got a whole lot worse.
A majority of economists predict that the United States will face a recession this year and high inflation well into 2024. This is according to a semiannual survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). The survey was conducted between March 2 and March 10.
Joe Biden has often shrugged off concerns about the economy on his watch. In his first year in office, he infamously stated that “There’s nobody suggesting there’s unchecked inflation is on the way. No serious economist.” However, inflation most certainly arrived, reaching historically high levels. And more than two-thirds of the 217 NABE members surveyed predicted that inflation will remain above four percent by year-end — in addition to a looming recession.
The largest share of respondents (24%) anticipate that the recession will begin in the third quarter of this year. Sixteen percent of the respondents believe the recession will start in the second quarter, which is just around the corner. Another 13% predict it will commence in the fourth quarter of this year. Interestingly, only 5% of respondents believe that the economy is already in a recession. Twelve percent of respondents anticipate a recession will begin in the first half of next year, and 22% do not expect a recession until the second half of next year or later.
The NABE Policy Survey’s predictions of a likely recession in the United States and high inflation well into 2024 are a huge problem for the Democrats, as such conditions could have severe implications for the upcoming election in 2024.
Democrats have significantly more Senate seats to defend in 2024 than Republicans, and an economic downturn could make a difference. There are potential Republican pick-up opportunities in several Senate races, including West Virginia, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Arizona. Voters tend to hold the party in power accountable for the state of the economy, and if the economic outlook is bleak, it will make it much easier for the GOP to flip seats.
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If the United States experiences a recession in 2023, it could potentially force President Biden to sit out the 2024 election, as it would be more difficult for him to win a second term if the economy is struggling.
This scenario is not unprecedented. In the 1980 presidential election, the struggling economy under President Jimmy Carter played a significant role in his loss to Ronald Reagan. Similarly, in the 1992 election, Bill Clinton was able to defeat incumbent George H.W. Bush in part due to the recession that the country was experiencing.
If the gross domestic product were to suffer a prolonged contraction, it might be in the best interests of the Democratic Party to nominate a new presidential candidate to minimize voter backlash. But that may not be enough to help them, as history shows that the party in power is often associated with economic downturns, even in an open presidential race. The 2008 financial crisis had a devastating impact on John McCain’s presidential campaign, even though McCain led in the polls prior to the recession. As such, while a different candidate may help mitigate the consequences of an economic downturn, it may not guarantee electoral success for the Democratic Party.
No matter how you slice it, an economic recession in 2023 or 2024 could carry grave political implications for the Democratic Party, as it may result in them losing the presidency, losing more seats in the House, and helping the GOP win a bigger majority in the Senate.