When Joe Biden first ran for office in 2020, a common saying amongst left-leaning voters was, “We’re settling for Biden.” Although he managed to rally enough support to win him the election, Democrats were overwhelmingly hesitant about their candidate. His main, and sometimes only, appeal to some was that he simply was not Donald Trump. With expectations and enthusiasm already low, one would think it difficult for Biden’s presidential performance to underwhelm the population.
However, it is doing exactly that.
More than half (roughly 57%) of a sample of 1,500 likely voters disapprove of Biden, according to a recent poll by Rasmussen Reports.
Comparatively, during his presidency, Donald Trump’s average disapproval rating was 59%, with a peak of 66% disapproval and a trough of 51% disapproval, according to an article by Gallup News.
The two presidents seem to have surprisingly similar ratings given how differently they operate as presidents. Considering Biden’s main appeal to voters was being nothing if not an improvement from the former POTUS, these statistics are extremely telling of the current president’s performance thus far.
When asked if her opinion of Biden had improved or worsened since his election, Walton High School Student and VOX teen contributor Alexis Muoka, who began the election as a Biden supporter, said, “My opinion is definitely more negative. He has not fulfilled any promises outside of COVID.”
The President is steadily losing the faith of his already slim group of supporters as he consistently fails to deliver on a variety of his campaign promises.
Muoka elaborated on her statement by explaining how one of Biden’s main campaign promises was to have 100 million vaccines administered by his first 100 days in office. He not only followed through on that promise, but far exceeded it, reaching 200 million vaccines administered by day 92, according to NPR.
The number of total reported COVID cases are constantly in flux; however, they are currently in a slow, steady decline.
The Delta variant is still the dominant strain in the U.S., despite Biden’s efforts, which has led to doubts on the effectiveness of COVID vaccines. No universal mask or vaccine requirements and a plethora of conflicting information being released at a rapid pace has only caused more questioning of Biden’s trustworthiness, and somehow neither Republicans nor Democrats are getting their way.
Economic Issues and Recovery
One of many important areas the president has failed to deliver in is the economy. According to the University of Michigan, “Expected annual gains in household incomes were just 1.5% in September, well below the expected 4.6% inflation rate; even for those under 45, expected income gains (3.3%) were below the anticipated inflation rate. Real income gains were expected by just 18% of all households in September, the lowest reading since February 2015.”
It is not unreasonable to believe that the steadily declining stability of the economy is closely tied to Biden’s overall drop in approval. While this may be the aftermath of the way COVID was handled by former President Trump, Biden is receiving almost an equal amount — if not more — of the blame for the issue.
In an effort to improve his economic image, Biden introduced a new $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which the Senate passed in early November. “The vote, 69 to 30, was uncommonly bipartisan. The yes votes included Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, and 18 others from his party,” according to The New York Times.
“With $550 billion in new federal spending, the measure would provide $65 billion to expand high-speed internet access; $110 billion for roads, bridges and other projects; $25 billion for airports; and the most funding for Amtrak since the passenger rail service was founded in 1971. It would also renew and revamp existing infrastructure and transportation programs set to expire at the end of September,” The New York Times wrote.
While the bill seems to have been met with overwhelming positivity, it is unlikely that it will be enough to completely change America’s mind on the controversial figure that is Joe Biden.
The Harsh Divide
While it is concerning just how much of America does not like their own president, the criticisms and pressures people are willing to place on Biden do have one silver lining: One cannot compare the Democrats of today to the cult-like following Republicans formed for Trump just a term ago.
While in office, Donald Trump was supported by his voters in a way no president ever had been, or ever should be, supported. The juxtaposition between the way Republicans defended every move Trump made and the way Democrats are willing to critique Biden for every mistake is startling.
Many conservatives seemed to worship the ground their President walked on, never allowing anyone to express a negative opinion of him. America was split straight down the middle. One’s political party became a personality trait, and patriotism became a hate symbol. This was seen through the attempted Capital Coup of January 6th, a date that infamously demonstrates Republicans’ blind support for Trump.
“Biden is still a step up from Trump; I just feel more comfortable with him in office because he does not incite violence and encourage hate groups,” Muoka said.
Whether it be an extreme antipathy or extreme reverence, a relationship between citizens and the POTUS that leans too far to one side of the spectrum can bring to light vastly different issues.
Seeming only to work in extremes, Joe Biden makes big promises that either lead to startling successes or shocking failure. He cannot seem to find the healthy middle ground necessary to maintain the trust of his voters.
I see this distrust even in my own mindset, especially with monumental things supposedly on the horizon. While I am in support of the new infrastructure bill, I cannot help but keep my expectations low in regards to what it can do, given the President’s track record for underperformance. The same seems to be the case with many citizens, regardless of party.
When it is no longer just the opposing party that feels the President is letting them down, but also his should-be-supporters, one must wonder if America can ever thrive under such conditions.