About this Episode

The economy is what voters consistently rank as their top issue. And despite the fact the Democratic administrations routinely deliver far better economic outcomes, voters credit Republicans with better handling of the economy over Democrats.

Democrats have long attempted to reckon with the frustrating – and damaging – gap between their economic accomplishments and voters’ tepid – if not hostile – responses to them. But, in this, they’ve unwittingly agreed to fight on the opposition’s turf – debating what is best for “the economy” when, in fact, what voters care more about is who is best for their own economic well being. And Democrats frequently fail to tap into present-day populist anger, picking clear fights with greedy corporations and the wealthiest few who hold down wages, gouge prices and refuse to pay what they owe in taxes.

In this episode, we delve into what it means to manage the economy well, what’s behind voters’ distrust of Democrats on economic matters, and research-backed solutions to reframe this debate on our terms and win over voters.

Read From the Kitchen Table to the Whole House: Economic Messaging that Moves and Mobilizes

Additional Resources: Sum of Us by Heather McGhee & Dog Whistle Politics by Ian Haney López

Read the Transcript

Meet Our Interviewees

Brad DeLong

Brad DeLong

Brad DeLong is a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he teaches economic history, political economy, macroeconomies, and occasional other topics.  He was a deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the U.S. Treasury during the Clinton Administration. He is the New York Times instant bestselling author of . And he has been too online since 1995 after leaving the Treasury and starting his own website.

Celinda Lake

Celinda Lake

Celinda Lake was one of two main pollsters for the Biden campaign, is the only Democratic pollster to play a major role in defeating two incumbent presidents, and is a prominent pollster and political strategist for progressives. Celinda currently serves as President of Lake Research Partners. Lake’s polling and strategic advice has helped candidates such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Jon Tester, Senator Debbie Stabenow, and former Governor Bob Wise to groundbreaking wins, and her expertise guided former Senator Mark Begich to victory, making him the first Senate candidate in Alaska to oust an incumbent in 50 years. Celinda has focused especially on women’s concerns and women candidates, including Speaker Pelosi, former Governor Janet Napolitano, Senator Debbie Stabenow, former Senator Barbara Mikulski, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, former Mayor Annise Parker, and over a dozen women in the House and Senate. Celinda worked on behalf of the largest independent expenditure to take back the House in 2006 and has been a key player in campaigns launched by progressive groups such as the AFL-CIO, SEIU, NRDC, ecoAmerica, Planned Parenthood, Vote Vets, HRC, and EMILY’s List. Lake co-authored the book What Women Really Want with Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway. Celinda works with innovative messaging projects that help redefine language on the economy, inequality, big money in politics, climate change, public schools, teachers, criminal justice reform, and has worked in depth on the Race Class Narrative work with Anat Shenker-Osorio.  She also coauthored a book “A Question of Respect” with Ed Goeas, that was released in November of ‘22.

“Better Life” Way to Win, ASO Communications and Moira Studios