Democrats, GOP have distinct priorities for 2023 - GulfToday

Democrats, GOP have distinct priorities for 2023

Donald Trump, Joe Biden

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Eva Guzman’s expenses have swelled, but she feels comfortable financially thanks to the savings she and her late husband stockpiled for a rainy day. Nevertheless, the 80-year-old retired library clerk in San Antonio limits trips to the grocery store, adjusts the thermostat to save on utilities and tries to help her grandchildren and great-grandchildren get what they need. It was difficult to raise her own four children, Guzman said, but she and her husband were able to manage. She doesn’t know how young families today stay financially afloat with such high prices for groceries and clothes.

“It’s really gotten worse in this age for a lot of people,” said Guzman, who identifies as a conservative and blames President Joe Biden for inflation and economic instability. “It’s really getting out of hand.”

Like Guzman, 30% of people in the United States consider inflation a high priority for the country, named in an open-ended question as one of up to five issues for the government to work on in 2023, according to a December poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That’s roughly twice the percentage as a year ago, though down from 40% in June, with inflation easing somewhat despite remaining high.

Overall, the economy in general remains a bipartisan issue, mentioned by most US adults across party lines. But the poll finds Republicans and Democrats have sharply distinct views of priorities for the country in the new year. More Republicans than Democrats name inflation, gas and food prices, energy and immigration, while Democrats focus on health care, climate change, poverty, racism, abortion and women’s rights.

Elizabeth Stephens, a 41-year-old Democratic-leaning independent in Houston, recognizes that inflation is an issue right now. But she thinks there are other problems that the government should focus on addressing.

“Inflation comes and goes,” said Stephens, a manager working in learning and development. But issues such as poverty and health care disparities, she said, “are always there.”

“Even if the economy is great, there are still people who are suffering,” Stephens added.

There is broad skepticism from members of both parties that progress will be made on the issues about which the public most cares. In the poll results and in interviews with the AP, many people cite hostile political divisions as part of the problem. Stephens said the country is so divided that “it seems close to impossible” to imagine there would be progress this year.

Glenn Murray, a 59-year-old in Little Mountain, South Carolina, also called out the distance between the left and the right, wishing that politicians would recognize the “truth in the middle.” But his priorities are different from Stephens’.

Murray, a moderate Republican, thinks inflation and the economy are critical issues and he worries that the US will soon face a recession. But he is also concerned about energy policy, suggesting the nation’s reliance on foreign oil is driving up gas prices, and he describes the surge of migrants at the US-Mexico border as “unsustainable.”

“I definitely understand that immigration is what helped build this country ... but you have to have guardrails,” said Murray, who works for a university’s audit services. “You just can’t open the gates and let everyone in that wants to come in.”

Named by 45% of Republicans, immigration is one of the GOP’s leading priorities. The Supreme Court recently extended Trump-era pandemic restrictions on people seeking asylum, as thousands of migrants gathered on the Mexico side of the border seeking to the enter the United States.

Roughly 2 in 10 Republicans also name crime, foreign policy issues, energy and health care. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to specifically name inflation, 37% vs. 26%, and gas prices, 22% vs. 7%.

Associated Press

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