The Role of the Economy in Presidential Elections

Last Updated: 25 Mar 2020
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There are many factors that can influence a presidential election in the United States. One of the most important factors is the economy. It is always one of the top debate topics which candidates must pay close attention to. What makes it such an important issue is that it does not matter what state the economy is. Whether it is in good shape or bad shape, it is still going to play a major role. However, if the economy is suffering than is going to be an even bigger talking point.

When the economy is not doing well, voters become more concerned about it, which means that the candidates need to have a good plan on how to fix it. Otherwise, they will lose a lot of support. People are always concerned with money, which is why the state of the economy always plays a role in presidential elections. Although, how big of a role it plays does vary. Even though it does vary, it is always going to be an important issue in presidential elections. Money and our economy are things that voters are always going to be concerned with.That is why in this paper I am going to discuss the role of the economy in presidential elections by comparing and contrasting its role in the 2008, 2004, and 2000 elections.

In doing so I will show that the economy plays a major role in presidential elections, but that that role does vary depending on the state of the economy. The 2008 United States presidential election was a very exciting and ground breaking one. There were many issues that played an important role in this election, but one of the biggest was the economy. It played the biggest role in this election compared to the 2004 and 2000 presidential elections.It was considered one of the central issues of the election. The reason why it was such a big issue is the fact that the economy is in the worst shape it has been in since the Great Depression. This caused it to be a central issue which meant that each candidate was going to have to make sure that they had a solid economic plan.

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Both of their plans needed to appeal to the voters. Each candidates plan on how to help out the economy was one of the first things that people would look at. The United States has the biggest deficit that it has ever had. This played into what plan each candidate came up with.It caused the candidates to change their stance on some issues. For example, Obama has plans to create a national healthcare system for those who cannot afford it (Skarda 2008 1). However, due to the fact that the deficit is so great, this plan would call for increased spending which would only add to the deficit.

He then said that he would wait for the market to begin to stabilize before he would implement his plan. During a time of economic crisis like this, it is important for candidates to not have any plans to raise taxes. This would result in making them unpopular.It is something that they need to pay close attention to. Many people become unsure in times of such economic crisis and are going to look to the candidate who they believe has the best plan and seem the most confident in carrying out that plan. The candidates needed to make this a top priority because the country is in tough times economically it becomes a major issue. Under these circumstances, people continue to grow unsure of the economy and their own future.

They do not know whether or not they are going to lose their job, be able to pay their bills, or even support their family.So when it comes to deciding which candidate to vote for, they are going to look at what each candidate’s plan to fix the economy is. They are going to want to vote for the candidate who seems most concerned about fixing the economy. As a result of all this, the economy played a very big role in the 2008 presidential election as it was one of the top, if not the top issue in the election. Also it played a much bigger role when compared to the 2004 and 2000 elections. Like during the 2008 presidential election, the economy also played a major role in the 2004 election.Although it was not as major as in the 2008 election, it was still very important and not too far behind.

And it played a bigger role in this election, than it did in the 2000 election. It was not as big of an issue due to the fact that the economy was not in as bad of shape as it was in 2008. However, it was still a central issue in the election. Also, it was over shadowed by the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. After the terrorist attacks, people became very concerned with issues of national security, so that became a big issue in the 2004 election.But like always, voters were still very interested in the candidates’ plans to help the economy. The Republicans believed that the improving economy would help President Bush win reelection, while the Democrats believed that there was no economic recovery due to the number of jobs that were lost.

Also they argued that President Bush was leaving a growing national debt for future generations because of his tax cuts. The Bush administration argued back claiming that the tax cuts have spurred the economy and will help boost the government’s income (O’Sullivan 2004 1).As a result, the candidates’ plans for the economy became an important issue. In addition, the candidates needed to have a good plan for how to handle the economy when the “baby boomers” reach retirement age (O’Sullivan 2). That was an important issue to many voters and each candidate needed to be aware of that and have a good plan. But the biggest economic issue was the loss of jobs in recent years. But in the end, economic issues along with all the other issues were trumped by national security issues.

Voters were concerned with the war and the protection against future terrorist attacks first and foremost.As a result, the role of the economy was downsized and was not able to have as big of an impact. So despite not being the main issue of the 2004 election, it was still a major issue, but was not able to play as big of a role due to the war. During the 2000 presidential election the economy played the smallest role when compared to the 2004 and 2008 elections. The reason for this is that during this time the economy was booming and there was low unemployment. Due to the fact that there were few economic problems, issues on the economy were on the back of people’s minds.Also, there was not much either party had to do with economic issues.

The Democrats were just able to point out how good of shape they got the economy in. Since the economy was doing so well, the Republicans could not attack it or come up with any plans to improve it that voters would really care about. Although the economy was in good shape, it still could have been used as a major tool in getting elected for the Democrats. Al Gore did not utilize the good economy in gaining support to its full potential (Cain 2001 2). Had he done this, perhaps it would have helped him gain enough votes to win.While at the same time, this allowed George W. Bush to have one less issue to worry about since people really were no concerned with it.

He was able to focus on other issues and promote his ideas on those issues more than he would have been able to if the economy had played a bigger role. Unlike the other elections, Bush had a better chance of winning election by not talking about the economy. This is opposite of the 2008 election were one of the first issues that voters wanted to know the candidates’ plans for was the economy.And had they not talked about the economy as one of the top issues, they would have had no chance of winning election. The 2004 election is similar to the 2008 election in this aspect. This is one of the few elections where the economy was not one of the top issues at the forefront of the election. While compared to the 2008 and 2004 elections, the economy during the 2000 election had the least important role.

In summation, the economy played the biggest role in the 2008 presidential election. It played the second biggest role in the 2004 election and the smallest in the 2000 election.Even though it played a different sized role in each of these elections, it was a major issue when compared to other issues. The economy always plays a major role in presidential elections. But as I have just shown, it plays a much bigger role when the economy is suffering compared to when it is doing well. By comparing the different roles the economy has played in recent elections, it becomes clear that the economy has played a major role in presidential elections and will continue to in future elections.

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The Role of the Economy in Presidential Elections. (2018, Nov 04). Retrieved from

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