On a hot day in May 2022, then-President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, found himself among the joyful crowd at Tufts University’s commencement ceremony and he was furious. “Why don’t we get any credit for making this possible? He believes, according to “The Last Statesman,” a new book about the Biden administration by Franklin Foer. The pandemic is finally on hold: Students are gathering with their families and, as Klein sees it, “the whole country can rush to see it.” Top Gun: Maverick It’s getting a theatrical release thanks to the White House. But Biden’s approval rating is about 40 percent, about the same as Donald Trump’s. Kline finds it “darkly humorous” that the public is so excited about issues like infant formula shortages, but when the government There was no applause when he “dropped everything” to solve these problems. To him, it seemed very unfair.
Yet months later, as voters went to the polls for midterm elections expected to be a brutal rebuke of the administration, Democrats retained the Senate and only narrowly lost the House. Foer’s book ends with the midterm elections and is therefore imbued with a sense of vindication. It argued that Biden proved the doubters wrong.
Maybe so, but the midterm elections are starting to feel like a long time ago. Unemployment is low and inflation has eased, but it would be dangerous to think this is Biden’s rise, or confidence in the 2024 election. Fall wrote, praising the president’s political instincts that he is “desperate to avoid a referendum on his performance” in the 2022 midterm elections given his unpopularity and encouraging Democrats to focus on “extremism.” “superior.MagaRepublicans. In a presidential election, such dodging is much more difficult, even though his opponents are likely to be extremely extreme.Maga The Republican himself, Trump. After Trump’s fourth criminal indictment, Biden’s approval ratings are now about the same as a year ago.
Surveys released last week show more reasons for Democrats to worry.analyze era/The Siena College poll found a sharp decline in support for the president among black and Hispanic voters, especially young voters. Meanwhile, a CNN poll shows Biden not only trailing Trump among registered voters, but also trailing or competing with Vivek Ramaswamy ) tied with all other major Republican contenders. What’s more, only 36% of Biden supporters said they were more “for Joe Biden” than “against Donald Trump.” Trump supporters had mixed answers: 62% “support” him, which may reflect varying levels of commitment.
The poll numbers are a reminder that Biden’s supporters may be missing something. There are obvious sources of discontent: the lack of affordable housing; problems managing the influx of immigrants; a surge in fentanyl use that will lead to more than 100,000 overdose deaths in 2021; fear of crime; economic stress; youth Human mental health crisis. (Infant formula shortages, for that matter, persist to some degree.) When Democrats in a CNN poll were asked about their biggest concerns about Biden “as a candidate,” half cited his Age – He is eighty-one years old this year. In 2017, a further 20% cited related issues such as mental capacity and health.
These results are consistent with wall street journal Polls show that 73% of registered voters say Biden is too old to run again. Only 47% said the same about Trump, even though he is only three years younger than Biden. More than 60% doubt Biden is “mentally suitable” for the job; Trump’s approval rating is 46%. Both men’s ages add two somewhat contradictory factors to the political equation: a sense that the country is stuck in a cycle (the same actors vying for the same positions) and that our institutions are unstable (it’s possible that the unrest is just a medical problem). event disappears).
There’s also the issue of Hunter Biden, the president’s son. Polls show the Republican focus on him is starting to win over some voters. The problem is not imaginary: David Weiss, a special prosecutor assigned to the case, said in court documents that he expects to bring at least one case against Hunter Biden in the coming weeks. An indictment related to the purchase of a property. He may have taken the shot while he was addicted to crack cocaine, and more tax charges may follow, with more to come later, possibly related to foreign lobbying. The plea deal fell apart after a judge found problems with it. Republicans have claimed Hunter was subject to political interference, a claim the Justice Department has publicly denied. Last month, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called the impeachment inquiry a “natural step.” It doesn’t help that Hunter Biden is not a candidate and his legal problems remain minor compared to Trump’s.
Fall calls Biden “the last statesman,” relying on a narrow definition of politics that is decidedly Washingtonian, involving mediation, tolerance, rules and acceptance of failure. This was reflected in the kind of behind-the-scenes negotiations that ultimately produced the Inflation Reduction Act. Politics, in this sense, is Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo serving a dinner of eggplant, roast pork and cannoli to Sens. Joe Manchin and Klain , helping him get back to the negotiating table. (Manchin loves Italian food.) But the anecdote is also a reminder of what has changed since the midterm elections: Manchin is now openly considering a third-party presidential bid.
Still, the Inflation Cut Act includes unprecedented support for green energy and the climate transition. Once these investments pay off, they may give Biden more campaign opportunities. After all, he has no shortage of ways to differentiate himself from Trump. A key factor in the surprise midterm election results was female voters’ anger at the Supreme Court’s June 2022 Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. That anger is still there.
Biden is not the last politician, although he may be one of the last of some kind. Trump is also a politician—his rallies and appeals to the masses are the original tools of political bargaining—and a deeply dangerous one. Politics can be at its most dramatic, and ugliest, when people feel left out. Ultimately, politics in America is about gaining power at the polls. Winning bureaucratic, legislative or even legal battles is not the same as winning the state. Biden still has a real battle ahead of him. ❖