Rising financial markets – which mirror the improving economy – have long symbolized prosperity even for Americans who own no shares. Bumping up against 13,000 this past week, the Dow average was seen as still another portent of recovery, for President Obama’s electoral prospects as well as for the nation.
What the president might consider explaining is that the latest market surge (and its rise over recent months) are unsurprising to anyone familiar with America’s financial history. The rule that stretches back over the past century is clear: Stocks rise under Democrats and decline under Republicans. And that simple statistic is matched by a broad set of economic data that follow the same partisan vector. Republicans have often succeeded in persuading voters that their party is “good for the economy” – a persistent myth that the president ought to debunk.