Joe Biden defied low expectations early in his presidency. Faced with the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, he passed $ 1.9 trillion incentive account almost double the amount introduced by Barack Obama in 2009. The Biden administration delivered 100 million Covid-19 vaccines in just 60 days. And the United States joined the Paris Climate Agreement, promising to halve emissions by 2030 and eliminate them by 2050.
But a year after Biden won the election, his advance was halted. On November 2, the Democrats ceded the governor of Virginia to the Republicans, were defeated in local elections in New York, and only barely retained the governor of New Jersey. Biden’s own approval rating is at an all-time low of 38 percent – no post-war president has experienced a faster drop in support. In the absence of change, Democrats are likely to lose control of Congress in next year’s midterm elections, leaving Biden largely powerless. What went wrong with the man who got more votes than any presidential candidate in history?
Biden’s economic performance is undeniably impressive. Unemployment is now just 4.6 percent (up from 6.3 percent when he took office) and the US is projected to have the strongest recovery from coronavirus of any G7 country. Thanks to the introduction of more generous tax breaks since July, child poverty has dropped by a quarter. The President’s decision to counter the fiscal hawks for his part and to pursue Keynesian incentives has been reaffirmed.
On November 5, the Senate finally passed a $ 1.2 trillion bill to overhaul dilapidated U.S. infrastructure, including $ 110 billion for roads and bridges, $ 39 billion for public transport, and $ 65 billion for broadband. A second $ 1.75 trillion bill, if approved, will lay some of the foundations for a European-style welfare state, including universal preschool education, further expansion of health care coverage, and paid family and sick leave. But such is the lightning bolt of Mr Biden’s spending that Democrats have struggled to communicate the administration’s accomplishments to voters (who, like in Britain and Europe, are under pressure from inflation).
However, economic recovery alone does not guarantee success. Mr. Biden’s troubles began on the global stage with the disastrous US withdrawal from Afghanistan… While most American voters supported the US withdrawal, they were shocked by the humiliation of their country when the Taliban returned to power. Mr. Biden, who offered himself as a competent and experienced alternative to Donald Trump, has since struggled to rebuild trust.
The US president is also hindered by divisions among the Democrats. Although he positions himself as moderate, his party’s image is increasingly defined by its more radical wing. As Democratic strategist David Shore observed in a recent interview with New statesman, “If you told me in 2012 that a large part of the democratic field would accept [slavery] reparations and decriminalization of border crossing, I would think it was a joke. “
Democrats also face increasingly serious structural obstacles. By rigging congressional districts, Republicans have ensured that they can get the majority of seats in the House of Representatives with even fewer voters. Meanwhile, in the Senate, large states such as Democratic California (population: 39.5 million) continue to receive the same representation as small states such as Republican Wyoming (population: 580,000). If Democrats are not ready to pursue radical constitutional reform, they will need to build a broader electoral coalition that can overcome these obstacles.
Following Mr. Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, we warned that “Democrats would be pleased to assume that a more diverse electorate created a permanent” progressive majority. ” The victory of the Republicans in Virginia is another confirmation of this.
It would be foolish of Democrats to assume that the Trump candidate or even Mr. Trump himself, could not win in 2024. In the last election, Trump retained the majority of white voters without college degrees, which he won in 2016 – a group among which Republicans have long fought – and received growing support from Hispanic and black voters. Demography, contrary to the assumptions of the liberals, is not destiny. If they want to win again, Democrats need to see the US as it is, not as it would like to be.