Biden job numbers nine months into Joe Biden’s presidency, and an air of urgency has gripped the White House, which is now plagued on all sides by a growing vein of crises on multiple fronts. The President is currently dealing with a poor employment report and a gridlocked agenda.
The coronavirus pandemic that President Biden felt he had contained in spring continues to impede Americans a return to normal living and is hampering the economic recovery by stifling job creation, even as it fuels higher-than-expected inflation. The catastrophic departure from Afghanistan has also cast doubt on Biden’s international leadership during rising tensions with China.
All of this has worsened the President’s public standing, impacted the progress of his domestic program in Congress, and cast the 78-year-old President impotent. Capitol Hill leaders claim they can rally the party behind Biden’s infrastructure, social policy, and climate change targets by the end of the month. Still, nervous Biden aides want a speedier outcome.
According to a senior administration official, they plan to tie it up this week or adopt a new strategy” to getting things done.
Biden job numbers the Democratic Party’s specter
The White House’s frustration is spurred by the possibility of losing its capacity to accomplish its agenda for the balance of Biden’s tenure. Democratic political analysts warn that if Biden’s legislative agenda fails, the party’s arduous showdown to retain its razor-thin House and Senate majorities in next year’s midterm elections would be over. The President’s closest advisors are well aware that time is not on their side.
According to a CNN poll released Wednesday afternoon, two months of setbacks have dragged Biden’s public popularity ratings back to the 50% level he consistently surpassed above during his first months in office. By historical measures, the decline has been minor.
However, the party division that defines contemporary politics hardly ever results in massive polling swings. If Biden’s slide continues into next year — from the low 50s to the mid-40s — it might spell the difference between a presidential gust and a mooring for Democratic contenders facing intense Republican assault.
When questioned about how Biden viewed the array of issues plaguing his administration, White House press secretary Jen Psaki brushed aside concerns within the White House.
“We don’t get sad around here, even when times are rough. Our view, as well as President, is to continue pressing forward and addressing the challenges confronting the American people,” Psaki added.
Neither a temporary dip in approval ratings nor even the defeat of Congress guarantees the downfall of a president. Bill Clinton won reelection in 1996, two years after Republicans swept both chambers of Congress. Barack Obama, whom Biden served as vice president, won a second term in 2010 following a Republican landslide powered by the Tea Party.
The disappointing Biden job numbers portend a politically consequential outlook.
However, gaining his footing is hinged on Biden reclaiming public confidence in his capacity to do the job. Even more than passing his economic agenda, it means restoring his core conviction: his consistent focus on economic relief and Covid-19 vaccinations restored tranquility, stability, and normalcy in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s presidency.
The deterioration of that capacity highlights the importance of a critical call that may prove more politically consequential than any other Biden has made this year, from legislative strategy to the Afghanistan withdrawal: The choice to take a cautious approach to vaccination mandates to forestall stoking Republican detractors.
By the time stuck resistance to voluntary vaccinations forced the White House toward mandatory vaccinations in mid-summer, the Delta variant had begun obliterating the light at the end of the pandemic’s dark tunnel.
“The Biden administration should have mandated proof of vaccination from the start,” former Baltimore public health commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said. “Right now, we would be in a different position.”
The focus now for Biden and his party is for inflection points on both of his major challenges.
Biden’s stricter stance on vaccinations for government and private enterprise has begun to bear fruit in recent weeks. Reduced infections, hospitalizations, and deaths indicate that the Delta variant may be taking the same decline pattern as previous Covid spikes.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, has even projected that the “pandemic phase” may end by year’s end.
A waning pandemic, approval of two “transformative” bills, are at the center of Biden job numbers.
Meanwhile, the realization that Democrats will sink or swim together has prompted momentum behind-the-scenes legislative negotiations, even while Congress was on recess. The focus now is on a $2 trillion price tag for the Democrats-only economic proposal that Biden has tied with the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that passed the Senate earlier this summer.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s letter surfaced publicly on Monday intimated at resolving one critical decision — to focus on adequately funding fewer objectives rather than chucking money across more of them as the Democrats-only package’s ambitions shrink.
Negotiators are lauding positive signals from Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, the two outspoken Democratic senators who continue to be the major hassle for Biden and party leaders.
“Those working on this are optimistic,” a spokesman for the Democratic leadership in the House stated. “Both privately express an interest in supporting the second bill.”
“We will have a bill,” a Democrat senator added, though a compromise may take longer than the White House wishes. “I don’t believe the end of the week is a possibility or a necessity.”
Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia, shares the Biden team’s urgency to depict governance competence. Three weeks from now, Terry’s hard-fought off-year campaign against Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin will draw to a conclusion.
“I want to send a message to everyone in Washington: Pass this infrastructure bill. “In the states, we are desperate,” McAuliffe said on Sunday’s “State of the Union.“
“These roads and bridges need to be reworked. Take a seat; here’s what we’re going to need and how much it will cost. This should not be so hectic.”
Democrat political strategists do not view this week as a watershed moment in the campaign for 2022. What matters, they argue, is victory by the time midterm elections begins in earnest.
“Things do not appear to be going well at the moment,” confessed Mark Mellman, a prominent Democratic strategist. “However, things change. Suppose the pandemic has abated by next year. In that case, Democrats appear to be legislative geniuses for passing two transformative bills with razor-thin margins, and money is flowing freely through the economy, the picture will be much brighter.”
Yet, change cannot occur fast enough for a White House under dynamic loading conditions. That is what is stimulating Biden aides to look for a potential Plan B.
When asked what would happen if Democrats could not resolve this week, the senior administration official answered, “Let’s see what happens next.”