Why Republicans have less to fear from high unemployment

“Republican and Democratic voters seem to have different expectations of officeholders. The economist Douglas Hibbs has found that, historically, Democratic voters were more likely to punish incumbents for presiding over periods of high unemployment, while Republican voters were likely to punish incumbents for presiding over periods of high inflation. And a study of gubernatorial elections found that Democrats who presided over increases in taxes and spending were rewarded by voters, while Republicans who did the same were punished. Voters, it seems, don’t expect Republicans to do much about jobs, so they’re not penalized as much for inaction. Uncooperative Republicans are really just delivering what their constituencies expect.”--James Surowiecki’s New Yorker column this week explains why obstructionism is a perfectly viable political strategy for the GOP.

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