Another conceptual error was to assume that inflation could not be tamed before Election Day. Instead, average gas prices are $1.25 less than they were in June, and other indicators are stable. Partly as a result, consumer sentiment has jumped sharply, even though it is still low by historic standards.
The political mood is usually shaped by the direction of the economy rather than aggregate numbers. When Ronald Reagan won his landslide “Morning in America” election in 1984, the unemployment rate was still over 7 percent. But the economy had grown at a nearly unprecedented pace in 1984, creating a sense of buoyant optimism.
A third wrong-headed factor was to underestimate how impervious the Trump-created Supreme Court would be to political reality.
Had Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. prevailed, the court would have written an abortion decision further eviscerating Roe v. Wade but keeping its structure. Abortion rights groups would have grumbled, but the issue would have faded by now.
Even after a draft of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s earth-shaking opinion was leaked in early May, many political analysts failed to grasp the degree to which abortion would become the dominant campaign issue. And now, in Michigan, the issue will be on the November ballot, almost certainly galvanizing Democratic turnout in that swing state.
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