The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Democrats’ mistake: Running away from Obama or staying home

President Obama speaks at a Democratic campaign rally in Michigan on Nov. 1. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

What happens when Democrats run away from President Obama? They completely ignore the flood of good news that should help them make the case for themselves and the president’s administration. Holding Obama at arm’s length might rub key members of the Obama coalition (read, black voters) the wrong way. That said, if those voters use such political expediency by scared Democrats as an excuse to punish them by staying home they will be doing exactly what Republicans want them to do.

The unemployment rate is down. When Obama took office in January 2009, the rate was 7.9 percent. At the time, cnnmoney.com said that was the worst jobless rate since 1974. Unemployment would spike to 10 percent in Oct. 2009. The most recent unemployment rate (September) was 5.9 percent, which is the first time since July 2008 that the jobless rate dropped below 6 percent.

Gas prices are down. Fortune.com had the best headline on this last week: “Gas prices to drop below $3 for the first time in, like, forever.” According to the American Automobile Association, “After a streak of 1,409 consecutive days of a national average above $3 per gallon, the price for regular unleaded gasoline fell to $2.99 per gallon on Saturday, which marked the first time the AAA indicator had fallen below that mark since December 22, 2010.”

The stock market is up — way up. Hours after Obama took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 330 points to close at 7,949.09. On the eve of the 2014 midterm elections, the Dow closed at 17,366.

The economy is growing. The commerce department reported that the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annualized rate of 3.5 percent between July and September. According to The Post, this “slightly exceeded analyst predictions and caps America’s strongest six-month period of expansion since 2003.”

The deficit is shrinking. According to a September analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, “The federal government ran a budget deficit of $486 billion in fiscal year 2014, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates—$195 billion less than the shortfall recorded in fiscal year 2013, and the smallest deficit recorded since 2008.”

As Obama has said to the chagrin of his fellow Democrats, his policies are on the ballot. And it’s a shame folks seem to content to ignore all the good they have done.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

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