Biden’s Economic Messaging Divides Dems Ahead of 2024 Election


Democrats are not fully aligned on President Joe Biden’s economic messaging as the economy is set to be the top issue in the 2024 election.

There is a debate among Democrats on how intensely Biden should critique businesses for driving up consumer prices without appearing anti-business or against economic growth, as polls suggest voter dissatisfaction with the economy.

Figures like Colin Seeberger, a senior adviser for communications at the Center for American Progress Action, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), are urging Biden to confront corporations, call them greedy, and argue that former President Donald Trump would increase costs for families if reelected.

“Just as he has in taking on insulin manufacturers, he should call out by name companies like W.K. Kellogg or Kimberly-Clark who, respectively, continue to increase the price of groceries like cereal or diapers while at the same time citing increasing profits in quarterly earnings calls,” Seeberger told Truth Voices of the food manufacturer and the producer of Huggies disposable diapers.

Biden should also back lawsuits filed by state attorneys general, such as Arizona’s Kris Mayes, who is suing property management software company RealPage for allegedly conspiring with landlords to hike rent costs, according to Seeberger.

“By picking these fights, he can show working-class and blue-collar voters that he understands the affordability challenges they’re grappling with every single day,” Seeberger said. “One of the best examples of this working in the president’s favor was when he became the first president in American history to stand on a picket line and demand the Big Three cut autoworkers in on the massive profits they helped generate.”

The White House defended Biden’s economic stance, asserting that the president recognizes “the American people are tired of being taken advantage of and being played for suckers” as Schumer and other Democrats push for the prosecution of oil conglomerates for price gouging.

“That’s why he has remained focused on taking action against corporate greed, price gouging, and hidden junk fees to lower prices and give families more breathing room,” White House spokesman Jeremy Edwards told Truth Voices. “While special interests are trying to stop these efforts and keep prices high, often with the support of congressional Republicans, major companies are already answering the president’s call to lower prices.”

At the same time, Third Way economic program Senior Vice President Gabriel Horwitz advised Biden to target businesses that price gouge but cautioned against the “far too many” Democrats who want the party to appear anti-business.

“We need to make sure that rules and regulations and courts and everything are thrown at them to get them to stop, but Democrats are vulnerable on the economy because voters believe we don’t care about economic growth, we don’t value hard work, and they don’t think we understand business,” Horwitz told Truth Voices. “There’s really a lane there for all Democrats, but really President Biden, when he talks about this, you know, talking about giving workers the opportunity to earn a good life and making sure that our businesses are competitive and successful here because when American businesses are successful, American workers are successful.”

“He talks about that, but there’s many in the party that like to sway a little bit more left,” he said. “A Democrat can be both pro-business and pro-worker. We fundamentally think that, and voters want that, especially these swing voters we need to win. I think if Democrats are overweighted on just the Left, populist, anti-business, it doesn’t necessarily serve them in the places that they need to win.”

Republicans traditionally have a polling edge over Democrats on the economy. But former President Barack Obama, for instance, was able to overcome an economic polling deficit during his reelection campaign due to being more likable than 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to Gallup data.

To that end, Seeberger, of the Center for American Progress Action, is encouraging Biden to draw a “sharper contrast” with Trump, especially concerning his tax cut proposals for the wealthy and businesses. However, for Brookings Institution Center for Technology Innovation senior fellow Darrell West, Biden should exhibit greater empathy “so voters know he cares and will fight for them.”

“If people believe he is indifferent or not caring, he will lose the election,” West told Truth Voices. “He doesn’t have to have a great economy to win, but he must show voters he understands their pain.”

A White House official added Biden’s economic policies are “about building a stronger middle class, and we will continue [to] meet people where they are to share that vision, emphasizing the president’s fight against corporate greed, historic record of economic and job growth, and his forward-looking agenda, specifically because he recognizes many Americans are still struggling to pay their bills.”

On the campaign side, Biden spokesman Charles Lutvak highlighted the president’s trip to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, in April to discuss the economy and their team’s ads carrying a similar message.

“Voters want a president who fights for them and takes on corporate greed — Joe Biden is doing that relentlessly and effectively, while Donald Trump has consistently put his billionaire donors and big corporations ahead of the middle class,” Lutvak told Truth Voices. “Voters are better off than they were four years ago, and they will be better off four years from now under President Biden, who will continue to tackle junk fees instead of selling out working families, supercharging inflation, and shipping jobs to China like Donald Trump will if he’s elected.”

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is working on its own contrast, claiming that “inflation was nonexistent, gasoline was cheap, groceries were affordable, and the American dream was alive and well” under Trump.

“Due to Joe Biden’s out-of-control spending, prices are still nearly 20% higher than they were four years ago, gas prices have hit record highs, and wages are not keeping up with the increasing pace of inflation,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt told Truth Voices. “Americans trust President Trump on the issue of the economy because they know his pro-growth, pro-energy, low-tax agenda will reduce inflation and put more money in their pockets, and that’s why President Trump is crushing Joe Biden in nearly every single poll.”

Naomi Lim
Naomi Lim
White House Reporter.

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