A New Low | Liam Rosenberg
So much for “Settling for Biden.” According to several recent polls, Joe Biden has garnered one of the lowest presidential approval ratings ever, just a few percentage points above his predecessor. The president is taking the heat right now as Americans see his formative moments in office with fear and disdain. In the midst of a tumultuous tug-of-war between Democrats and Republicans in government, where an evenly-split Congress cannot enact new legislation, the Supreme Court is getting dragged onto party lines, and we’re still in the throes of the pandemic, the president’s image is not faring too well.
Biden’s confluence with Trump in this regard shows the disastrous effect that splitting the liberal camp has had on his administration. As you may remember, during the 2020 presidential election, left-wingers dispersed among many different candidates. Shelved party loyalty bolstered the Republican opposition while voters inharmoniously conceded to Biden. To this day, Biden has been viewed by those same individuals with suspicion and distrust — in their eyes, a neoliberal speaking for the masses is increasingly unrealistic. Even if it is not in the nature of the Democratic Party itself to unequivocally support one candidate, it was objectively a major factor in his low approval ratings.
Another event that was so unseemly was the Fall of Kabul, as American troops left Afghan soil for the last time in August. With tension building between the Taliban and Afghan government, and the region’s shallow peace unraveling by the day, this event was absolutely inevitable. As early as 2011, President Obama announced plans to withdraw from Afghanistan, and President Trump agreed last year to finally put these words into action. Due to the pandemic, this responsibility ultimately fell on Biden’s shoulders, and the timing could not have been worse for his presidency. As Taliban insurgents seized American arsenals and with an enormous refugee crisis prompted, all eyes were on the president.
Biden’s age and health have also been discussed at great length by the media. Whether it is stumbling up the stairway to Air Force One or allegedly falling asleep during press conferences, Americans are unhappy to see this kind of demeanor. A lot of it comes down to his portrayal on social media, which has certainly been affected by conservative bias from Candace Owens and Donald Trump Jr., as well as digital manipulation. But media outlets like Newsweek have captured unsettling footage of Biden practicing these exact behaviors. This most recently (and perhaps disturbingly) occurred at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21).
With Biden’s one-year mark in office fast approaching, there is still much to accomplish for the fledgling president. But if he ignores counsel like Trump, domestic appeal could decline past the threshold for peace. “Building Back Better” seems to have come with a second objective: building back trust in the president.