The following chart surveys industrial production in the United States. It was produced by the Federal Bank of St. Louis.
The gray vertical bars mark recessions
Below, I list those recessions that took place in, or shortly before, Presidential election years. As you will see, except for the 1980 Presidential election, recessions since 1945 have led to a Presidential defeat for Republicans when they hit in an election year or shortly before.
1945: this took place immediately after Roosevelt died. Truman was President. He removed price and wage controls in October 1946. The economy boomed. It was over by 1948. Truman defeated Dewey in 1948.
1953: This recession hit just after Eisenhower was elected. The Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, 1953-55. That had not been the case since 1931. In 1954, as the recession ended, the Republicans lost the Senate in the Congressional elections. In 1955, the Democrats controlled the Senate by one vote, 48 to 47. There was one independent: Oregon’s Wayne Morse. He switched to the Democrats in February 1955 — almost as soon as Congress began operating.
1960: Kennedy defeated Nixon.
1973-January 75: no election. Carter defeated Ford in 1976. This may not have been the result of the recession.
1980: Reagan defeated Carter.
1990-91: no election. James Carville’s slogan in 1992: “It’s the economy, stupid.” The recession was technically over, but it did not feel this way. Clinton defeated Bush.
2008: Obama defeated McCain.
This pattern has been the single most important factor in the Democrats’ control of Washington ever since the death of FDR.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)