US President Joe Biden is even less popular with voters than his embattled predecessor, Donald Trump, at the same point in his term in office. With the midterm elections later this year and the 2024 presidential election (with the potential for another fight against Trump) looming, that puts Biden and his Democratic Party in a precarious position.
In most polls, only about 40 percent of Americans polled say Biden is doing a good job and 56 percent believe he is performing poorly as president.
With that, the Democrat dives below Trump’s popularity figures after a tight year and a half in the Oval Office. Biden is thus approaching the absolute low point for Trump, who at the end of his four-year term in office could count on the active disapproval of almost 58 percent of the respondents.
It’s the economy, stupid
Why is Biden so unpopular? You could say that he is simply unlucky in the economic field. The US is suffering from rising inflation like much of the rest of the world, caused by the aftermath of the corona pandemic and the effects of the Ukraine war. Interest rate hikes to contain inflation, supply problems due to the pandemic and disappointing performance on the stock markets could well lead to a recession (economic contraction) in the US next year, economists say.
Such a possible recession would probably be less protracted and drastic than the one surrounding the economic crisis of 2008 and the corona recession of 2020. Yet such a recession will be painful for Biden because a sitting president is mainly judged by the voter on the position of the economy.
That voter already calls the inflation-driven cost of living as the most important problem of the moment in polls. The direct influence a president has on inflation is virtually nil. The US central bank, the Fed, which controls interest rates, is not under its authority. “But the public expects the president to solve the problem,” economist Jason Furman, a former adviser to Barack Obama, told CNN.
In a car country like the US, rising fuel prices are particularly noticeable in the wallet of the citizen. Republicans know that too. “The appalling price you are now paying at the pump is thanks to President Biden and his Democrats,” is the message they spread as widely as possible.
The Biden administration’s successes, such as economic recovery from the corona epidemic and low unemployment, have been overshadowed by the major challenges the country faces, frustrated White House officials conclude. Economist Furman: “They’ve made sure the situation isn’t worse, but that doesn’t make it right.”
But not just the economy
Biden cannot really be blamed for the economic problems. In other areas, however, his government underperformed. He had unprecedented ambitious plans, for example with regard to the climate. Thanks to the very thin majority of Democrats in the Senate, these turned out to be too ambitious.
Critics also believe that the Biden administration remarkably often turns its head towards the activist left wing of the Democratic Party. Much to the chagrin of more moderate Democrats. At the same time, his policies that left wing often do not go far enough. Politicians such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Elizabeth Warren are currently bawling Biden’s ears because he hasn’t made a decision on student loan forgiveness yet.
It is also noticeable that the president is almost eighty. Biden isn’t the demented old man right-wing commentators think he is, but he also doesn’t have the sharpness and energy he had when he was younger. For example, he goes out remarkably little to point out the successes of his policy.
People who speak to him behind closed doors say the president still seems knowledgeable and alert. His public appearances leave more to be desired. Biden has never been the most gifted speaker and often slipped, but today his associates worry that he rarely has to answer questions off-the-cuff. Bold statements by the president (“Putin cannot remain in power”) are regularly hastily whistled back by the White House.
Midterms are just around the corner
Most experts think that the Democrats will lose their majority in the House of Representatives in the midterm elections on November 8. Maintaining their majority in the Senate will also be a battle.
Losing one majority would make it much more difficult for the Biden administration to come up with new policies. If they both lose, the president will get little done politically for the remaining two years.
A resounding Democratic defeat in the midterms wouldn’t just make things difficult for Biden on the legislative front. It is possible that the Republicans will start impeachment proceedings against him, which have little chance of success, but will cost a lot of energy. In addition, they will almost certainly launch investigations into Biden’s son Hunter, controversial for his playboy lifestyle and lobbying.
So far, Democrats have pinned their hopes on one possible development: that the recent Supreme Court decision to repeal the nationwide abortion right, which some three-quarters of voters disagree with, will outweigh high inflation politically. .