Media fixation on a possible recession hit a fever pitch over the last week, with "recession fears" dominating news coverage following a volatile few days on Wall Street.
While the likelihood of one hitting before next year's election still appears unlikely, that didn't prevent plenty of obvious conventional wisdom being peddled: If the economy hits a major downturn before next year's election, President Donald Trump is probably finished.
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Trump claimed media members are hoping for a recession to occur to damage his re-election hopes, leading to plenty of defensive posturing in the pundit and journalist class.
"No one wants to see a recession," said former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D.).
"I do not want there to be a recession," said ex-White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.
"We are due—not celebrating it—but due for a recession," said MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle.
"I just don't think we should be rooting for a Constitution, because that's not good for America," said former Obama State Department official Richard Stengel.
That isn't true for everyone, however. Liberal comedian Bill Maher has repeatedly said on his HBO program that a recession would be worth it to get rid of Trump. NBC News reporter Richard Engel agreed, saying short-term economic damage ridding the country of Trump was worth the long-term goal of preserving the Constitution.
Conservative writer Mollie Hemingway noted a CBS News ticker seemingly indicating a recession was already underway.
No the media aren't openly rooting for a recession or inventing fake stories to manipulate public opinion and meddle in elections, why do you ask? pic.twitter.com/Gfsj8vh0Mo
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) August 21, 2019
The constant recession talk seemed to have gotten to the White House, too. Trump floated the idea of a payroll or capital gains tax cut this week to juice the economy before abruptly reversing himself.
Following a decade of economic expansion, a recession at some point is inevitable, but one hitting at the most politically damaging time for Trump, for the moment, is not a foregone conclusion.