With the 2020 U.S. Presidential election less than three weeks away, an economist says that he believes Mitch McConnell expects Donald Trump to lose. Ian Shepherdson, Pantheon Macroeconomics' chief economist, laid out his reasoning for coming to this conclusion, per Business Insider. He states that, based on his opinion, McConnell is setting himself up to hopefully retain his position so that if Trump loses the current Senate Majority Leader will remain a top GOP lawmaker.
"I think McConnell expects Trump to lose, and therefore, for him to spend political capital to support Trump by forcing through a bill which would put his own leadership position at risk after the election, to me, doesn't make any sense," Shepherdson said. "It's always wise to do things from McConnell's personal perspective, because that's how things operate in the Senate. He has enormous personal power, and he wants to be leader again, even if he has to be a leader in the minority." This implies that Shepherdson also thinks Democrats could win a majority of the Senate in November.
McConnell has been opposed to Democrat-led stimulus bills for months, and has even rejected a proposal from the White House for a bill that exceeds $1 trillion. "My members think what we laid out — a half a trillion dollars, highly targeted — is the best way to go," he recently said, referring to a bill he plans to propose. "So that's what I'm going to put on the floor." Shepherdson says that he thinks McConnell is not pushing for a more expensive bill because he doesn't want to divide his party and cause political damage to himself, because "splitting the party is death to the leader."
"There will be no bill of any size until after the inauguration," Shepherdson continued. "Here we are, in mid-October, looking at money not flowing until mid-February. That means a real void for the economy. It means potentially some very nasty growth numbers."
As for when he thinks a bill is likely to happen, Shepherdson says citizens should start looking toward early 2021. "The bill that I think will pass in February will be enormous. It will be $2 trillion-plus. It might even be the $3.3 trillion that the Democratic majority passed in May which was then ignored by the Senate." He added, "That means leaving something positive for Biden to start with, and that's not the mindset of Republicans in the Senate."