Look at the bright side! Sure, a recession could throw millions of Americans out of work, and shrink retirement portfolios. But an economic downturn would also hurt President Trump in 2020!
That was CNN's theme this morning. The 6 am New Day hour led with co-host John Berman trumpeting yesterday's stock market drop. CNN economic analyst Rana Foroohar then said of a recession: "it's here."
Things quickly turned political. Berman read a tweet claiming that Trump's economic team consists of "a guy who plays an economist on TV, a nutcase the entire real economic profession has disowned, and the producer of Lego Batman." And it turned out that the author of the tweet was none other than . . . a member of the panel: Catherine Rampell, a CNN commentator and Washington Post columnist.
John Avlon then weighed in to crow: "if the economy goes south, [Trump] is in a world of hurt."
Alisyn Camerota then referred to a recent CNN panel of swing Trump voters, in which they indicated that if the economy crashed, their support for Trump would be "done." Rampell concurred: "he could lose a lot of those supporters."
Foroohar then chimed in to say the economy was "not looking good" for 2020, "which I think is going to hurt his prospects." She predicted "a lot of big crashes."
Berman ended the segment by gleefully suggesting that an economic downturn could cause congressional Republicans to turn against Trump.
Here's the transcript.
6:03 am EDT
JOHN BERMAN: Questions about the economy that haven't been asked in about a decade. Warning signs that haven't been flashing this bright in more than a decade. And clouds that some analysts say haven't been this dark in a decade . . . Rana, you look at this, and you say, it's here.
RANA FOROOHAR: It's here. And in fact, I said that on Sunday in a column. And I'm not sure whether to be happy that I was right, or really devastated that my retirement savings have gone down.
. . .
BERMAN: I want to read a quote that I read on Twitter yesterday. It says: "the real economic risk if things go wrong: White House doesn't have a plan and doesn't have any competent personnel to come up with one. Trump's economic brain trust consists of a guy who plays an economist on TV, a nutcase the entire real economic profession has disowned, and the producer of Lego Batman." Who wrote that?
CATHERINE RAMPELL: I did.
. . .
JOHN AVLON: And just to put a finer point on the politics of all this, because obviously we are now heading into the election season. The President has been underwater for his entire presidency in terms of job approval. The one are where he's been above is the economy. People have given him credit for the economy. And if the economy goes south, he is in a world of hurt.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: And to your point, just very quickly, we had one of our panels of Trump supporters on. These were swing voters in Michigan, who had become big fans of the President. They had voted for Obama and then voted for Donald Trump and had become big fans because of the economy. I just want to take one little trip down memory lane to a month or two ago to what they said could turn them, turn their ardent support.
. . .
BERMAN: Want me to read it? I'll do a dramatic reading. Alisyn Camerota asked, is there anything --
CAMEROTA: You're playing Alisyn?
BERMAN: You want to play Alisyn?
CAMEROTA: No, you play Alisyn.
BERMAN: All right. Alisyn asks, is there anything he could do that would lose you?
CAMEROTA: And Darryl, his most ardent supporter, says: start losing money. And then, the other ardent supporter says: the economy crashing. And then they say, the economy starts going backwards: if that happens, we're done.
. . .
RAMPELL: He was able to convince the public that what was actually luck, was in fact skill. And now that his luck is turning, partly because of his own actions, he could lose a lot of those supporters.
. . .
FOROOHAR: And the markets are panicked. So I think we're going to see this sort of trendline going down--maybe a few relief rallies like we've seen this week. But not looking good for 2020, which I think is going to hurt his prospects . . . I think you're going to see a lot of big crashes. One the psychology of the market cottons onto the fact that this president isn't going to make a deal with China, things are as bad as we think, then you're going to see big crashes.
. . .
BERMAN: And further, also interesting, among the Republican support in Congress, one of the things that I've often thought is, when will the Republican congress stand up to the President on some of the offensive things he says? When the economy turns south!
AVLON: May be the one thing that gets their attention.