Gross: Strong Economy Could Help Dems In Midterm Elections

Many republicans are looking forward to November as a repeat of 1994, when popular anger against an overreaching, reformist Democratic Party enabled the GOP to pick up 56 seats in the House of Representatives.  But Republicans might be well advised to look at an earlier midterm election as a precedent: 1934.

When elected in 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt swept into office along with a Democratic Congress just after the economy fell apart.  They quickly stabilized the system, injected deficit-fueled stimulus into the economy, and passed far-reaching reforms.  Then, as now, Republicans and talk-radio demagogues accused the president of being an un-American, currency-debasing socialist.  They promised that all of Roosevelt’s efforts—from the Civilian Conservation Corps to the Securities and Exchange Commission—would fail.

But the recession ended in March 1933, and the economy grew by 16.9 percent and 11 percent in 1933 and 1934, respectively.  The unemployment rate started to come down from sickeningly high levels.  In October 1934, the Dow Jones industrial average stood at 95—up nearly 90 percent from February 1933.  And in November 1934, the Democrats increased their already-large majorities, picking up nine seats in both the House and Senate.

– Dan Gross, “It’s The Economy, Stupid: How Growth Could Change The Midterms”, Newsweek, March 25

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