Does This Feel Like Peace and Prosperity to You?

What's a voter to think about whether we are experiencing peace and prosperity? It's not exactly a clear-cut answer on either front.


Paul Marotta/Sipa USA/Newscom

If a political party can deliver peace and prosperity, it usually means it can win re-election.

That idea is simple enough. Applying it to the upcoming election, though, is not so easy. Giving it a try may help illuminate some of the issues involved.

Start with the basic matter of who deserves credit for the peace and prosperity, or blame for the lack of it. Is it the Democrats and President Obama, who control the White House? Or is it the Republicans, who control Congress?

Democrats clearly want to take credit for whatever prosperity there is, and their allies in the press are happy to assist. The other day The New York Times went so far as to publish an entire article headlined "The Obama Years: The Best of Times to Be a Stock Investor," accompanied by a climbing chart of "The Dow Under Obama"—without any mention at all of the Republicans who have controlled a majority in the House of Representatives since the 2010 election and in the Senate since the 2014 election.

Republicans in Congress want to claim enough credit for peace and prosperity to deserve re-election. The Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, on the other hand, says that the lack of peace and prosperity are great enough to justify throwing out the incumbents in Washington and replacing them with a relative newcomer such as Trump himself. That puts Trump's campaign on a collision course with the Republican leadership in Congress, or at least in tension with it.

Getting past the question of who gets credit or blame, what's a voter to think about whether we are experiencing peace and prosperity?

It's not exactly a clear-cut answer on either the peace or the prosperity front.

Start with "peace." American troops aren't returning from overseas in flag-draped coffins by the thousands the way they did from Iraq or Vietnam. On the other hand, bombing and shooting attacks in American cities—Orlando, Boston, San Bernardino—make it clear that there is an ongoing violent conflict between militant Islamism and American civilians. The photographs and video footage of ISIS beheadings and additional terrorist attacks on European targets—Nice, Paris, Brussels—suggest that there is an ongoing war, notwithstanding Congress' refusal to declare it. So too do the death toll and refugee flow from Syria, though the "peace" advocates can argue that America has avoided its consequences, at least so far. American planes or drones or other assets are participating in or supporting airstrikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Syria. Is that "peace"? Or something else?

The "prosperity" picture is similarly clouded. By some measures, things are great. The stock market has set new records (though some of the gains are simply the erosion of the value of the dollars in which the stocks are priced). The unemployment rate, as reported by the Bureau of Labor statistics, stands at a mere 4.9 percent. Yet growth in the Gross Domestic Product has been anemic, and the labor force participation rate has not recovered to pre-Obama levels.

Some parts of America—Silicon Valley, New York City, Washington, Boston—are booming. Other parts—smaller cities and rural counties, places like Detroit or coal country, where nothing has replaced the lost manufacturing jobs—aren't doing nearly as well.

Donald Trump has a reasonable shot at portraying himself as a "change" candidate and Hillary Clinton, who served in the Obama administration and before that in the Senate, as a representative of the status quo. The election will turn on the question of whether the electorate is fed up enough to want him, or satisfied enough to want her.

NEXT: This Comedian Was Fined $42,000 for Telling a Joke. His Response Was Perfect.

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  1. We are obviously entering a new age of peace and prosperity. Trump has been attacking that fact relentlessly with his ‘law and order’ message. Not that some people are buying it – more like they want to turn back and tear everything down. Peace is so boring! Fortunately the majority of the country isn’t feeling so suicidal. His only hope at this point is to stage a terrorist attack just before the election. And I don’t put that below him for a second.

    1. Obviously. Let me guess – you live in one of the areas that benefits mightily from Fed subsidies and you have no relatives serving in the military.

      1. I have several relatives who are battling the scourge of ISIS as we speak, and several others who are in training. Because “We must teach our children to kill ISIS because they train their children to kill themselves!” Put in 5 years or so then go on disability for ‘PTSD’. It’s actually nice work if you can get it.

        1. Hey, don’t try to pin this on me.

  2. All your base are belong to us!

  3. No. No.

  4. We do not have prosperity. It isn’t even really clouded. Growth below 2% is not prosperity. The unemployment rate “down” because people are leaving the labor force is not prosperity. Falling corporate profits is not prosperity. Near-zero interest rates (the thing driving up stock prices) are not prosperity. Local real estate markets (NY, Boston, SF, DC) propped up by overseas buying is not prosperity. HY default in excess of 5% isn’t prosperity.

    This is not a good economy. Not by a long shot. And the signs aren’t particularly promising. About that, Trump is right, even if the solution he’s offering to it is a lousy one.

  5. Stupid motherfuckers elect a socialist at the beginning of a recession and 8 years later wonder if they are experiencing prosperity.


  6. Politics is all being driven by culture war issues now. Politics is about who is and who isn’t a racist, misogynist, homophobe, etc. Concentrating on peace and prosperity just makes you seem suspect.

    How can you concentrate on such trivial matters as peace and prosperity when transexuals still don’t know which bathrooms to use and blacks are being arrested for committing crimes?

    Don’t you know what’s really important?

    Even an apparent peace issue, like Trump wanting to bomb ISIS (even if there are civilian casualties, oh my!) is really about Trump’s bigotry against Muslims, doncha know, or the progressives being hypocrites for supporting Muslims who want to throw LGBT off of rooftops.

    Meanwhile, prosperity discussions are about how much women should or shouldn’t get paid because they’re women or whether paying fast food workers $15 an hour makes up for white privilege.

    Peace and prosperity?!

    What does that have to do with anything?

    1. I hate to say it, but Kultur War issues dominate peace and prosperity because, even with how bad things are, people can afford to be frivolous. We’re eating the seed corn. But, there’s a lot of seed corn to be eaten. My major concern is that the frivolity won’t end until the seed corn runs out. Then it will be too late. And a lot of people are going to wake up very angry. They’ve been taught all their lives that they’re special. That all these good things were their due. And any faults in the world owe to that other tribe.

      Not a good recipe. Not a good recipe at all.

  7. RE: Does This Feel Like Peace and Prosperity to You?
    What’s a voter to think about whether we are experiencing peace and prosperity? It’s not exactly a clear-cut answer on either front.

    Peace and prosperity is what our socialist sociopaths say it is.
    It is the duty of all us little people to believe whatever they say and do whatever they say whenever they say it.
    Life is simple in a socialist state.

  8. The fact this question is even being asked indicates the answer is yes and yes. This nation is populated primarily by lazy fatties sitting around watching TV and surfing the web, even when they’re purportedly working. The only reason they can enjoy this lifestyle is because they 1) are not waging gun battles in the street, and 2) have too much disposable income and time. One visit to a part of the world where there is no peace and prosperity will show you how silly these questions are. You think folks in South Sudan are debating one another about this? Now, are there pockets of dystopia in America? Sure, but they are the exception that prove the rule — that we’re overwhelmingly a bunch of fat fucks who bother to come up for air only when our daily drip of high fructose corn syrup is (very rarely) jeopardized. And the trend is that we’re getting fattier and fuckier over time.

    1. “And the trend is that we’re getting fattier and fuckier over time.”

      I am stealing this. Good day, sir.

  9. “The election will turn on the question of whether the electorate is fed up enough to want him, or satisfied enough to want her.” Neither. I will vote Libertarian and encourage other to do the same. Obama promised change and we didn’t get it.
    Trump, if elected, would face a Democrat majority in both houses for his entire term in office and a republican minority that would do much the same. Hillary will walk in and face a Republican minority powerful enough to stall her from doing much of her agenda.
    Thus I work to elect a real outsider with experience dealing with hostile legislative groups. Do I agree with him 100%? no of course not but he stand out from the others as someone who will work to give us what the constitution promises. Life, liberty, and the pursuit (not guarantee) of happiness.

  10. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. Im using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I do,


    1. Nice going kid keep hardworking. God Bless you.

  11. Will the Democratic shill The New York Times also publish “Obama: Responsible for the Currency and Economic Collapse of America” later on, when all the Fed’s QE catches up to us?

    i doubt it. They’ll blame it on Trump if Trump wins, or on W. Booooooosh if Hillary wins.

  12. People are fed up and know things are going in the wrong direction, but big government trump is not the candidate of change.

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