Vulnerable Democrats Brace for Inflation Attacks During August Recess

U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, answers questions during a debate with Republican challenger and former U.S. Representative for Iowa's Third District David Young, on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, at the KCCI studio in Des Moines. 1012 Debate 015 Jpg
Kelsey Kremer/The Register via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Vulnerable Democrats running for reelection or higher office in the midterms are bracing for Republican attacks on rising inflation during the August recess when members are doing district work.

Iowa’s lone Democrat congressional member Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA), has already seen questions on inflation asked by constituents. Last month, as the Real Clear Politics reported, she was asked by a constituent if she was “concerned about the rising gas prices and the rise in the cost of consumer goods here in Iowa and in America?”

In a serious-looking manner, she blamed the inflation on the Chinese coronavirus since the experts are “comparing costs against last year” and says it’s “because we were in the middle of [Chinese coronavirus]. Axne even called inflation “false advertisement.”

Real Clear Politics pointed out that during an interview with a local Iowa TV station, Axne said, “We’re not even remotely close to a point to say that we’re at rising inflation.” In the interview, she also said that everyone needs to wait till “we have an actual, an expert.”

During the July Fourth weekend, the Republican campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), paid for a digital ad campaign that targeted 11 vulnerable Democrats, including Axne.

Watch the NRCC ad targeting Axne:

“This year, your Fourth of July is more expensive because Democrats’ harmful economic policies are making everyday goods cost more,” and the ad’s narrator also said to tell the congressional members, “[Americans] can’t afford this.”

The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), who also happens to be a vulnerable member, has struggled to talk about rising inflation and played it off as a short-term issue.

The report said Maloney, during a town hall, used an analogy about turning on water from a frozen pipe when talking about inflation to constituents. “You turn them back on for the first time — it coughs and spits a little bit,” he apparently said during his town hall.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) reportedly acknowledged the rising inflation by saying in a July town hall, “As a mom of three, I’m pretty sure that shoes, clothes, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch aren’t gonna magically get cheaper next year.” But, she has predicted it stopped would stop rising this year.

In June, President Joe Biden even went as far as to say, “the overwhelming consensus is it’s going to pop up a little bit and then go back down.  No one is talking about, ‘This great, great deal,'” when talking about inflation.

However, as the Democrats are shying away from talking about inflation, last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, when talking about inflation said, “As the reopening continues, other constraints could continue to limit how quickly supply can adjust, raising the possibility that inflation could turn out to be higher and more persistent than we expect.”

“We think that some of it will fall away naturally as the process of reopening the economy moves through. It could take some time,” Powell added. “If inflation expectations were to move up, we would use our tools to guide inflation back down to two percent.”

The vulnerable Democrats are now headed into a seven-week recess to be in their districts and talk and answer constituent questions in town halls and other events.

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