The Slatest

Why the Economy Motivated Angry Voters … in a Recovering Economy

The burlap sack of the 1 percent.

Photo by Givaga/Shutterstock

According to exit polling, the top issue motivating voters in Tuesday’s Republican-wave midterm election was the economy.

Courtesy of Wall Street Journal

The economy, though, is recovering, as measured both by GDP …

Courtesy of Trading Economics

… and employment.

Courtesy of Bureau of Labor Statistics

What’s the deal, then? As President Obama alluded to in Wednesday’s press conference and the Washington Post’s Matt O’Brien explained Tuesday on Wonkblog, the recovery of the economy as a whole has not created wage or income gains for most people. In fact, those gains have gone almost exclusively to the “1 percent” folks you might have heard about.

Courtesy of Washington Post

Indeed, Slate’s William Saletan noted that income inequality was one of the typically liberal themes that Republican candidates emphasized in their 2014 campaigns.

Voting for a party whose representatives in Congress are proud of opposing every Obama proposal to increase public-service spending or raise taxes on high-income individuals isn’t necessarily the obvious way to address this issue. But we also know that Americans tend to blame presidents for things presidents can’t control and don’t generally know what’s going on in Congress. Add all that together and it kind of starts making sense why the Kenyan socialist in the White House is suffering because the rich are getting richer.