Economic turmoil threatens Clinton

A nine-hundred point drop in the stock market and signs of more economic turbulence to come is a troubling sign for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future Popping the progressive bubble MORE, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee effectively running for President Obama’s third term.

The United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union has shocked global markets while inserting new doubts about the global economy’s stability.

It’s a troubling development for Democrats who have touted President Obama’s economic record.


“Absolutely it’s a problem for the Democrats independent of who’s running that they’re running for a third term and they’re running with an economy that is at best weakly positive,” said Bruce Cain, a political science professor at Stanford University.

Clinton is ahead of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE, the presumptive Republican nominee, in the polls but a new survey published Monday by Morning Consult shows the economy is a potential vulnerability.

The poll of nearly 2,000 voters nationwide shows Clinton with a five-point lead generally.

But Trump leads Clinton by 45 percent to 38 percent when respondents were asked, “Which presidential candidate do you think will do more to grow the U.S. economy?”

Voters felt more confident, by five points, that Trump would create more jobs.  

Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill believe that if Trump focuses on the economy and avoids entangling himself in destructive arguments over identity politics, he could have a chance of winning in November.


While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (R-Ky.) has voiced criticism of Trump, it’s also become his mantra to point out the country is in the midst of the weakest economic recovery since World War II.

Goldman Sachs wrote in a memo to clients Sunday that the so-called Brexit will likely push Britain into a mild recession and knock a quarter of a percentage point of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the United States.

Wall Street number crunchers don’t expect the economy will slip into recession but experts warn that new uncertainty created by Brexit could have a corrosive effect.

“I happen to think it’s more of a headwind than a quarter of a percentage point,” said Axel Merk, president and chief investment officer of Merk Investments, an investment advisor based in Silicon Valley. “How much confidence are you going to erode and how much investment is going to be held back?

“The ripple effects of this, the lack of leadership that’s coming out of the EU and UK to address the issues moving forward are going to hold investment back and it’s going much more than a quarter percentage point,” he added.

Cain said political scientists will issue models later this year forecasting the impact of the economy on the presidential race and the data will likely predict a tight race.  

“The state of the economy puts this election within the margin of campaigning, meaning it’s not decidedly good, it’s not decidedly bad. It’s right at the level that every strategic decision will matter,” he said.

Clinton on Monday opted to tackle the threat head on by challenging Trump’s credentials to handle the economy during a join campaign appearance with Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPoll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Biden eyes new path for Fed despite Powell pick Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Storms a growing danger for East Coast MORE (D-Mass.) in Ohio, one of the battlegrounds of the fall election.

Clinton raised questions about whether Trump was primarily interested in guiding the national economy or benefiting his own business empire, noting his praise of Britain leaving the EU as something that could benefit his new luxury golf course in Scotland.

“When the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry,” Trump told reporters on Friday.

Clinton and her allies have pounced on the comment.

“Donald Trump proves every day he’s not in it for the American people, he’s in it only for himself,” Clinton said at the event in Cincinnati. “We want to make the point together that we must have an economy that works for everyone again, not just those at the top.”


Clinton’s rhetoric was an acknowledgement that voters are tired of years of tepid growth that has given the economy a broadly recessionary feel even though the GDP has plodded along at 2 percent or less in the last three quarters.

Cain, however, warned it won’t be easy for Democrats to diminish Trump’s authority on the economy with voters who like his business record.

“You have to penetrate into the consciousness of a lot of independent and indifferent voters that works for a [real estate] developer doesn’t work for a country and that’s not an easy thing to do,” he said.

Democratic strategists say Clinton will focus on Trump’s business record, his past bankruptcies and his outsourcing practices to raise fresh doubts about his economic credentials.

“As people focus on Trump and his success business comes into more focus, and the media and various research organs start looking at his actual business record, while he is a wonderful and talented self-promoter, in the businesses where he’s made money, everyone around him has lost money,” said Todd Webster, a Democratic strategist and former Senate Democratic aide. 

Republican strategists say the weakness of the economy is a powerful argument against Clinton. But they say it’s up to Trump to show voters that he has the maturity and discipline to deal with future crises.


“The larger question is to what extent people are so disgusted with the status quo that they’re willing to take some real chances on a major change in the type of person they elect as president,” said Whit Ayres, a GOP pollster.

He noted Trump’s lack of political experience and penchant for making inflammatory statements.

“Dissatisfaction certainly works in Trump’s experience but that’s only one of many factors that voters have to consider in the choice for president,” he said.