ANALYSIS | Shaken by the crisis, Biden’s presidency will only get tougher as the six-month mark passes.

Mariana toro

CNN will hold a forum with President Joe Biden at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday in Cincinnati, Ohio, which will air live on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Espanol, will air on and CNNgo, and will be available at order for subscribers via cable / satellite systems, CNNgo platforms and CNN mobile applications.

(CNN) – President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the vaccination push in the US feels like a “constant uphill road.” He could have said the same of his entire crisis-shaken presidency as he passes the six-month mark.

After taking office at a time of darkness, with more than 3,000 Americans dying from COVID-19 every day and the country reeling from his predecessor’s assault on democracy, Biden faced the harshest initiation of any modern president.

And it’s not going to get any easier. A revitalized pandemic, a politically fractured nation and uncertainty about the fate of its agenda at home and abroad have left senior officials aware that the Biden administration faces defining days and a fast-paced political clock, CNN reported Tuesday. .

As crises have unfolded, it has often been felt that Biden faces a tipping point every week or month, only for the storms ravaging his White House to intensify.

One-eighth his term in office, Biden called for vital progress against the virus, toward reviving the economy and restoring America’s global leadership, at a cabinet meeting, calling most Americans backing him. He has grounds for such an argument, as his approval ratings have held steady at around 50%, higher than former President Donald Trump achieved, and they are even better at handling the health emergency than their predecessor is often. denied.

“I think we are showing that there is nothing America cannot do when we do it together,” Biden said, in a typically optimistic tone that nonetheless represented a misleading analysis of the politics of a divided nation.

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Biden, who will headline a CNN forum on Wednesday, passed a bold covid-19 bailout bill worth nearly $ 2 trillion, and has taken important steps against child poverty and reshaping the economy to benefit the poorest citizens. Its deployment of vaccines has 160 million people fully protected. Millions of people have emerged from isolation, taken to the skies and highways, and experienced joyful family reunions. And while vaccinations, mostly in Republican-run states, and the raging delta variant have given the virus another chance, the country is undoubtedly much better off than when he took office.

The president has also restored democracy as the centerpiece of the presidency at home and in US foreign policy. And it ended the tsunami of self-interest, corruption and demagoguery that gushed out of the Oval Office every day and kept the nation on edge for four grueling years under Trump. The fact that these last two achievements are noteworthy is a comment on the corruption and extremism of the 45th president’s administration and the continuing efforts to destroy the fundamental political foundations of the country.

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Biden has vacated for Republicans

But the fact that Biden apparently felt the need to establish the narrative of his first six months on Tuesday, in a way that seemed a bit defensive, speaks to the extraordinary obstacles that lie in his way this summer and beyond.

He may be about to hit a brick wall in Congress that could put to the sword the predictions of liberal commentators that he was the next Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson. The bipartisan infrastructure plan that is a pillar of his presidency’s central message, that Americans must unite, is in grave jeopardy right now. Biden’s chances of passing a supplemental $ 3 trillion “human infrastructure” bill are held hostage by a 50-50 Senate and centrist Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Meanwhile, Republicans across the country are enacting new state laws that make it harder for Democrats to win future elections and easier for Republican incumbents to manipulate the results.

Abroad, the intransigence – not to mention cyber-hacking – of Russia and China shows that it is one thing to declare that “America is back” and another is to change the world. And the prospect of Afghanistan falling into the hands of the Taliban after Biden ordered a total US withdrawal could tarnish his foreign policy record, although millions of Americans agree on the need to end the longest war in the world. country.

There are credible cases Republicans can ride on foreign policy: on the threat of inflation, Biden’s failure to stop migrant flows across the border, and the stop / start nature of job growth as the economy pandemic. reopens. These arguments are already fueling a fledgling midterm election campaign that history, and the redistribution of seats in Congress, suggests that they should favor the Republican Party.

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In many ways, Biden’s first six months in office are a lesson in the limitations of the modern presidency. His clear victory in last year’s election does not give him the power to alter the stifling 50-50 dynamic in the Senate and a slim Democratic majority in the House. It cannot simply change the epidemiological reality of a pernicious and adaptable virus, or magically reverse months of politicization of the pandemic by Republicans that is helping fuel skepticism about vaccines.

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Biden also has little ability to stifle Trump’s undemocratic ravings, or the continuing propaganda from the conservative media that has falsely convinced millions of voters that the last election was stolen. And political factors make it impossible for him to reverse a national gun culture that has seen the scourge of random gun violence and mass killings rise once again as the pandemic waned.

Biden’s tone is the key to his presidency

In many ways, the story of the Biden presidency thus far can be told in the demeanor and conduct of the 78-year-old commander-in-chief.

Biden presents himself as moderate in tone and political preference, but, in an intriguing political stunt, also more radical and more progressive than his recent Democratic predecessors.

That duality has made him a difficult target for Republicans, who instead have turned their fire on his possible successor, Vice President Kamala Harris, who has endured a difficult first half that has raised questions about his political prowess. She is tackling two issues without clear victories: stopping the exodus of migrants and refugees from Central America and countering the wave of restrictive voting laws that are protected by the countermeasures of Republican obstructionists in the Senate.

Biden has explained that he believes he was chosen not only to end the pandemic, but to act as a solver of America’s problems. He has chosen not to constantly insert himself in all national conversations. Where his predecessor tried to destroy the decorum of the presidency, Biden has restored it. The president’s approach represents a gamble that most Americans are paying little attention to Trump’s cacophony, even as the media gets over the scandalous aftermath of the former president’s January 6 insurrection and his refusal to peacefully transfer the can.

How to watch the CNN forum with Joe Biden

But his claim that there is room for Democrats and Republicans to work together in some areas, even though much of the latter party has given up on democracy, will be put to the test in the days ahead as the fate of his plan infrastructure is at stake.

Following their boss’s lead, and aside from some whispering to the media by Harris staff, Biden’s team has become the most unified and orderly West Wing on the message for some time – making even the President Barack Obama’s buttoned outfit seems undisciplined by comparison.

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But there is a downside to such a narrow focus that it seems arrogant at times. Biden’s promises to always be transparent with Americans were challenged Tuesday by late news of recent infections in vaccinated members of the president’s staff. For weeks, the White House also insisted that there was no “crisis” on the southern border, wanting not to give political oxygen to the Republican attacks, despite the fact that it was actually a serious situation: US border authorities arrested or rejected the highest monthly number of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in a decade in June, according to a Department of Homeland Security official.

And Biden’s unwillingness to tackle the problem harder hasn’t deactivated his potency for Republicans; it’s fueling an even more intense assault of the midterm election year that Harris’s struggles on the issue have only exacerbated.

Few of Biden’s predecessors could have understood the limitations of the presidency and constant testing as well as he, given his decades of experience in Washington. But even he might pale at the incessant and grueling walk his administration has become. Even the euphoria of the Independence Day fireworks at the White House, once considered to represent freedom from the pandemic, was followed by the disappointing advances of the virus and a deepening political impasse.

At times, the signs of pressure have been shown, which have been masked by Biden’s constant encouragement of Americans to stick together and aim for better days. Last week, he accused Facebook of “killing” people with misinformation about vaccines. Biden nearly torpedoed his own infrastructure pledge to Republicans hours after he announced it, apparently threatening to veto the measure if it didn’t pass alongside a massive multi-trillion dollar budget bill demanded by more liberal members of his. own party. And Biden also criticized CNN’s Kaitlan Collins at the end of a press conference after his tough showdown in Geneva with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Each time, however, the White House press operation sprang into action and Biden quickly backed off on his comments, preserving the simplified demeanor that is now his trademark, and which contrasts with his earlier verbosity in his political career. .

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In his January 20 inaugural address, the president told Americans that “few periods in our nation’s history have been more challenging or difficult than the one we are in now.”

Your words may be even more appropriate six months later.

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