The Smart Strategy Behind "Bidenomics"
Using the term "Bidenomics" makes political sense as the President heads into a reelection where the economy will be a dominant issue
A couple of weeks ago, President Biden kicked off a major messaging push on the economy with a speech in Chicago. The pivot was not controversial — everyone agrees that Biden needs to improve his polling on economic matters. Nor was the substance of the speech controversial — the President’s economic agenda is broadly popular. The controversy on cable and Twitter, as it often is, was over something much less serious. Pundits and reporters obsessed over branding the President’s economic policies “Bidenomics.”
Some thought it was a mistake for the White House to associate the President so closely with an economy with which two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied. Others found the term a little cringe or cheesy. Online/cable conversation seemed to miss this point. (Shocker!)
I endured more internal and external debates about using the term Obamacare to refer to the Affordable Care Act than I can remember; and I thought it would be helpful to lay out why adopting “Bidenomics” makes strategic sense.
1. Force the Press to Pay Attention
Over the last couple of years, there has been this sense that Joe Biden has shied away from his economic accomplishments. After pledging to avoid the mistakes of previous presidents and aggressively sell the benefits of the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure law, and other bills, the Biden White House found themselves in the same position as Barack Obama. Poll after poll showed that the vast majority of the public — including some of the President’s most engaged supporters — had no idea what he had done to improve the economy. Not for lack of trying. Biden and his team talk about the economy way more than they get credit for — as Obama did. And you can quibble with how and when they do it, but the problem is bigger than communications strategy.
The media does not want to cover the economy on Biden’s terms. Modern media is optimized for controversy, bad news, and what comes next (as opposed to what already happened). The President touting good news about past accomplishments will not break through. Put another way, the press covers the bumps, not the road.
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