US President Joe Biden began his term under the long shadow of the January 6 Capitol riots, a grinding pandemic and an increasingly divided America.
Now that he crosses the one-year mark, he faces the same challenges—all as he tries to push through a broad and costly legislative agenda.
The difficulty of ruling through the triple threat of a seemingly never-ending pandemic, rising consumer prices and political polarization from Congress to America’s city hall is neatly reflected in Biden’s approval ratings, which are almost is 45%. Since he took office on January 20, his approval rating has weakened, with 50% of Americans now disapproving of his performance, according to a recent Ipsos poll.
That comes with the territory, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
“Every challenge is at your feet — laid at your feet, whether it’s global or domestic,” she said this month, as Biden’s proposed voting rights legislation stalled in Congress.
“And we can certainly propose legislation to see if people support rabbit and ice cream, but it won’t be very beneficial to the American people. So, the president’s view is that we’re going to have to do the hard stuff.” Will keep pushing, and we will keep pushing boulders up the hill to get it done,” she said.
It’s the economy – and the pandemic
There are two main drivers of this discontent, said Mallory Newall, vice president of public voting at Ipsos: the economy and the pandemic.
Biden has campaigned on a platform to address the pandemic and heal the injured economy. As inflation recently hit a 39-year high, the economy has taken a lead, Newal said.
“The economy – and of course inflation as part of that, is starting to grow as a core issue,” she said. “We see that in our Ipsos core political data. We see this as the top issue for the American public right now. And the president’s approval ratings on the economy are underwater, which means the work he’s doing, To disapprove more than to approve.
And then there is the pandemic, which has long carried its welcome with humanity.
“The longer the pandemic lasts, the more uncertainty and the more despair the American public in general, but they are starting to see the top,” she said. “Especially given that President Biden campaigned so strongly on COVID-19 and his handling of the coronavirus once in office.”
In the midst of those challenges, Biden has tried – so far, without success – to take advantage of his party’s thin congressional majority to support a trillion-dollar legislation that, he says, is good for America along with the rest of the world. It is necessary to have coordination. It includes a nearly $2 billion stalled spending plan that aims to address everything from care for children and the elderly to environmental justice, affordable housing and paid family leave.
do that, don’t
Biden’s critics say he should focus more on fixing the ailing economy.
“The Biden administration is acting as if it can forever ignore fundamental economic problems,” Andrew Puzder, a visiting fellow in Business and Economic Freedom at the Conservative Heritage Foundation, wrote on the organization’s website. “News flash – it can’t be. The longer we wait to seriously address inflation, labor shortages and supply chain problems, the worse the risk of an inevitable and deep recession.”
While conservative columnist Jarrett Stepman on the Daily Signal website described Biden’s vaccination mandate as “draconian COVID-19 policies of increasingly questionable effectiveness,” critics disliked Biden’s handling of the pandemic.
think of puppies
Kevin Koser, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said the White House’s own message is also to blame. He noted that the Biden administration has missed opportunities to tout successful legislation, such as a new bill — passed within five months, with little fanfare — that gives injured veterans access to emotional support puppies.
“A lot of the conversations that have come out of the White House and in coordination with Democratic leadership in both houses have been focused on things they haven’t been able to do,” Koser said.
“And a lot of it is like a circular firing squad, where they’re pointing at, you know, their own senators, and complaining that these guys won’t come on board, and why are they holding things? And then trampling Republicans in the process. And for the most part, Americans don’t respond well to that. They don’t like hearing partisan talk, or hearing excuses,” he said.
New Year Reset?
As Biden begins his second year in office, and the pandemic begins his third year, “the mood in the country is tough,” Newell said.
“It’s a mass pause, and with that pause comes despair. And with it comes questions and uncertainty. And especially when it was the number one issue the president campaigned on, you know, on COVID for him Losing ground, doesn’t necessarily bode well for other issues as well, because the collective mood is one of questioning and desperation,” she said.
She continued: “And I think it has spread to issues related to the economy, getting back to work, curbing inflation, dealing with other domestic policies. As we enter this collective pause, that will spread.” And will have a ripple effect.”
Both Biden’s critics and supporters have suggested a reset, but Psaki said the White House remains committed to its current path.
“We are still continuing to work with members to determine the way forward on Build Back Better; that in the Senate we have the vast majority of Democrats who support voting rights,” she said. “That’s the way forward for us. And our endeavor is to do the hard things, try the hard things, and stick to it.”
Patsi Vidkuswara contributed to this report.