The Great Realignment in American politics, working people and their families leaving the Democrats for Republicans, got another boost with the announcement that GDP in the first quarter of 2019 grew by 3.2 percent. That was an increase of more than 50 percent in GDP growth of the less than 2 percent on average for the entire eight years of the Obama administration.
Europe may be sliding into recession as you read this. China may already be there, with the rest of Asia not far behind. South America is swirling in turmoil. Only Donald Trump’s America is still growing smartly, with the Blue Collar Boom that began on Election Day 2016, as voters definitively retired the consistently anti-growth economic policies of former President Obama.
Mr. Obama thought he was helping Hillary Clinton when he said at the 2016 Democratic Convention that the only way to have a third term of the Obama administration was to vote for Hillary. Hillary herself seconded that, pledging to continue Mr. Obama’s economic policies. Blue collar voters from Pennsylvania to Michigan to Wisconsin to Missouri, with call-ins from West Virginia to Indiana to Iowa, said they had enough of that already thank you.
The backbone of the Democratic Party was long-working people, especially unionized industrial workers. The realignment actually began with Richard Nixon, reinvigorated even more powerfully by Ronald Reagan. But it was first seen again in more modern times in 2010, with a New Deal-size Republican gain of 63 seats in the House in Mr. Obama’s first midterm. It was reflected again in Republicans taking the Senate majority in Mr. Obama’s second midterm in 2014.
It was Milton Friedman who first recognized that America’s historical record is the worse the recession, the stronger the recovery. Democrats don’t know it yet, but the rest of America recognized Mr. Obama’s economic policies as a dismal failure by that metric.
Mr. Obama’s apologists tried to tell America that Mr. Obama’s dismal, less-than 2 percent economic growth on average for his entire two terms was the New Normal. America could no longer do better than that. Get used to it, America, they imperiously proclaimed. 2016 was America’s way of responding, in the refrain of Vietnam War protestors, “Hell no, We won’t go.”
Hillary Clinton, not to mention the rest of the party, have not figured it out yet. Instead, they have overreacted to the typical results of Mr. Trump’s first midterm, which were overinflated by some brazen Democratic “ballot harvesting.” That reaction reflects Democratic overconfidence in the political success of Mr. Obama’s so-called Rainbow Coalition. Which altogether has led Democrats down the blind alley of outright socialism, which has been a Democratic weakness since the so-called Progressive Era over 100 years ago.
Mr. Trump’s economic policies of tax rate cuts, deregulation and stable dollar monetary policies have worked to produce booming economic growth four times in the last 100 years. From the Roaring Twenties, to President Kennedy’s Booming ‘60s (which proved these policies can and should be bipartisan), to President Reagan’s 25-year economic boom from late 1982 to late 2007, to Mr. Trump’s now Blue Collar Boom.
That has produced the lowest African-American unemployment, the lowest Hispanic-American unemployment, the lowest Asian-American unemployment, the lowest teen unemployment, and soon the lowest female unemployment, in American history. That adds up to the most inclusive economic recovery in American history.
The most salient point of this recovery is that it is raising wages the most for the least-skilled American workers at the bottom of the economic ladder. That is actually reducing inequality, exactly the opposite of Mr. Obama’s rhetoric and policies.
That is because booming economic growth is the root of prosperity for working people, the opposite of socialism, which produces only poverty, most for the least-skilled workers. These have been the disparate effects of both capitalism and socialism worldwide for the last 150 years now. You can read all about it in Frank Buckley’s new book, “The Republican Workers Party.”
The greatest threat to Mr. Trump’s Blue Collar Boom is the tax increases supported by Mr. Trump’s 2020 Democratic opponent, whichever shade of socialist that turns out to be. Because those tax increases would push America back into recession, joining the rest of the world.
So go ahead Democrats. Run the 1984 election all over again. Run Walter Mondale against Ronald Reagan. Only this time let the candidate openly espouse socialism. After all, that is working out so well before our very eyes this very day, in formerly prosperous Venezuela.
• Lewis K. Uhler is president and founder of the National Tax Limitation Committee and Foundation. Peter J. Ferrara is a senior policy adviser for the Foundation and teaches economics at Kings College in New York.