Future GOP Debates Should Focus on Economic Concerns of Average Voters. Bob Donley Explains

During the 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton’s aide James Carville famously coined the phrase “The economy, stupid” to underscore the importance of economic issues to American voters. That slogan helped Clinton win the election. LBN’s Bob Donley thinks it is time for future Republican debates to adopt a similar theme and focus on economic issues that are more important than ever to average Americans.

Donley points out that the three GOP debates so far have produced more heat than light, more theater than enlightening debate. During the latest debate, moderated by CNBC, Senator Ted Cruz was moved to comment that “This is not a cage match.” “How about,” Cruz continued, “talking about the substantive issues people care about.” And, as voter polling reveals, people care very much about one issue in particular: economics.


Rasmussen Reports carried an October 28, 2015 report that “most voters think the economy now frowns on those who work hard in this country.” That report also noted that 51% of likely voters believe that the economy is unfair to people who are willing to work hard. Rasmussen Reports notes that voters have considered the U.S. economy to be unfair since 2013. A Rasmussen poll also found that 11% of employed Americans consider themselves to be poor. As Donley says, “having a steady job was once seen in this country as being synonymous with success."

The Rasmussen Reports also finds that only one consumer in three has a positive view of the economy. The polling company also found that 56% of likely U.S. voters believe the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Only 40% believe that Americans benefit as economic conditions improve.

All of this, says Donley, is a guide to what voters want to hear about in debates. They want to hear what can be done to restore the sense of value to being employed. They want to know that they will earn more next year, not less. They want to know that their pensions and Social Security and Medicare benefits will be safe, as they once were promised. They want to know that their children and grandchildren can have better lives than they presently do.

Talk about these issues, Donley says, and you’ll have a great presidential debate.

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