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Cascade PBS Ideas Festival

Journalists, politicians, authors and newsmakers from around the world come together.

The Journal: Economy Anxiety and the Election

The actual numbers, and how they differ from voters’ perceptions, may determine the next president. Kate Linebaugh, Ryan Knutson and Molly Ball explain.

There’s a striking disconnect between how Americans feel about the economy and the direction the economy is going. How will those feelings shape the 2024 election?  

As part of the Cascade PBS Ideas Festival, Kate Linebaugh and Ryan Knutson, co-hosts of podcast The Journal, sit down with The Wall Street Journal’s senior political correspondent Molly Ball for a robust discussion of the key issue that many voters rank at the top of their list when making decisions at the ballot box. 

The economy has historically taken a sizable role in determining political winners and losers, sometimes due to factors largely beyond the control of elected officials, with incumbents largely taking the blame for economic downturns. Knutson, Linebaugh and Ball examine unique economic drivers of the modern era such as unemployment, wages, inflation and recovery from the pandemic. They decode these economic metrics, adding historical context and trying to predict how they will affect the Biden vs. Trump rematch as well as races down the ballot. They debate the role of the economy in swinging elections compared to social issues, foreign policy and increasingly polarized party platforms.  

This conversation was recorded in Seattle on May 4, 2024.   

Listen to full uncut episodes on the Cascade PBS Ideas Festival podcast at