Washington Focuses on the Wrong Crisis
Author: Greg Valliere
June 10, 2022
VOTERS WILL INCREASINGLY ASK: Is Washington more interested in these hearings than $6 per gallon gasoline? Prices could actually rise further in coming weeks as crude oil prices climb.
INTERVIEWS WITH ANGRY AMERICANS frequently elicit comments that gasoline prices weren’t remotely this high under Trump. While the ex-president is not personally popular, most people simply aren’t interested in re-litigating the complicated Jan. 6 narrative.
WE TALKED THIS WEEK with mainstream Washington Republicans, generally anti-Trump, who think they have a “two-fer” — first, voters have gotten another reminder of the enormous baggage Trump carries because of Jan. 6; second, hearings for the rest of this month will look like overkill by the Democrats. What voters want is action on inflation, but none is forthcoming.
WITH A WAR RAGING IN UKRAINE, elevated prices are likely to persist well into the fall for food, energy, raw materials, etc. The markets care far more about this morning’s inflation data than the congressional theater.
SO OUR CONCLUSION AFTER THE FIRST DAY of hearings is that they probably won’t move the needle for this November’s elections. As this week began, the Democrats were likely to lose the House and possibly the Senate, and as the week ends that outcome looks just as likely.
THE REPUBLICANS HAVE A POTENT list of issues to exploit — gasoline, urban violence, illegal immigration, Hunter Biden, etc. — so the hearings may not make much of a dent. For Trump, however, his loss of altitude persists as most Republicans in this city conclude — privately — that he’s more trouble than he’s worth. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to create a buzz.
BOTTOM LINE: These hearings probably will generate bombshells but they also may generate low ratings from a public that is deeply anxious over runaway inflation and the impact on their finances — as still higher gasoline prices loom this summer. A GOP landslide is likely in November; the hearings won’t change that conclusion.
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