Biden Less Popular Than Worst President Ever

He's underwater and not going to take it anymore.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on lowering the cost for American families Friday, April 22, 2022, at Green River College in Auburn, Washington. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

POLITICO’s Jonathan Lemire reports, “Biden wants to get out more, seething that his standing is now worse than Trump’s.”

President Joe Biden and his aides have grown increasingly frustrated by their inability to turn the tide against a cascade of challenges threatening to overwhelm the administration.

Soaring global inflation. Rising fuel prices. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A Supreme Court poised to take away a constitutional right. A potentially resurgent pandemic. A Congress too deadlocked to tackle sweeping gun safety legislation even amid an onslaught of mass shootings.

In crisis after crisis, the White House has found itself either limited or helpless in its efforts to combat the forces pummeling them. Morale inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is plummeting amid growing fears that the parallels to Jimmy Carter, another first-term Democrat plagued by soaring prices and a foreign policy morass, will stick.

“It’s something that has bedeviled quite a few previous presidents. Lots of things happen on your watch but it doesn’t mean there is a magic wand to fix it,” said Robert Gibbs, a press secretary under President Barack Obama. “The limits of the presidency are not well grasped. The responsibility of the president is greater than the tools he has to fix it.”

After a bit of the sort of bad political analysis Steven Taylor complained of yesterday, about infighting on the staff, we get to the headline bit:

The president has expressed exasperation that his poll numbers have sunk below those of Donald Trump, whom Biden routinely refers to in private as “the worst president” in history and an existential threat to the nation’s democracy.

Shocking though it might be, Biden’s numbers are indeed worse than Trump’s. Here’s what FiveThirtyEight shows us through June 3:

And here’s what RealClearPolitics shows us:

Biden is almost 14 points underwater. But it seems to me to be pretty obvious why—and it’s not just inflation, gas prices, and the like. Here’s another graphic from the FiveThirtyEight gang:

This is the “500 days” view. Looking back historically, we see that the Presidents of the last few years seldom get much above simple majority support and, indeed, are often underwater and the trend has worsened over time.

The earliest Presidents in the graphic were held in remarkably high esteem by modern standards. This was true not only of Dwight Eisenhower and John Kenedy, who we think of as very popular but even Lyndon Johnson (who didn’t even bother to run for a second full term) and Richard Nixon (who had to resign in disgrace) never got down to the level of Biden at his most popular. Gerald Ford, who was an accidental President (and Vice President) who took over after Watergate and then pardoned Nixon was an anomaly. Jimmy Carter, who we tend to think of as wildly unpopular, was much more popular than Biden except right at the tail end of his first 500 days.

But you see that it starts to get worse after that. Reagan had some low points early before rebounding. Bill Clinton got hit pretty hard before rebounding—and then getting hard some more. George W. Bush, of course, got a huge rebound from the 9/11 attacks before squandering it on the Iraq War.

Let’s span out to the 8-year view:

Biden is polling much worse than Bush 43 at the same period but, as you see, Bush plummeted soon after. Obama was never as unpopular as Bush but, even with the economy booming, he was never really popular, either, except for a very brief honeymoon when the nation was congratulating itself for ending racism. And, of course, Trump was underwater from a week or so into his presidency and never recovered.

Back to RealClearPolitics because I have older graphics:

So, yes, it’s truly bizarre that Biden is polling worse than Trump did at the end of his term. (Although, it should be emphasized, Trump had spikes where he was in the high-50s in disapproval.) He got us out of Afghanistan, albeit messily. He’s done a radially better job of handling COVID. But, again, we also have runaway inflation (by the standards of the last 40 years) and record-high gas prices (if not in inflation-adjusted dollars).

As to the plan to recover from all of this—the other part of the headline—color me skeptical:

The plan is to put Biden on the road to highlight progress being made, even incrementally, in meeting the series of tests, with visits this week to California, where he will preside over a summit of Western Hemisphere allies, as well as New Mexico to push for his climate agenda. The administration will also set aside its reluctance to work with “a pariah” nation with hopes to spur oil production. And it plans to sharpen its attacks on Republicans, aiming to paint the GOP as out-of-touch with mainstream America on issues like gun safety and abortion, all while hoping the upcoming Jan. 6 congressional hearings will further color the party as too extremist and dangerous to return to power.

Look, I like Joe Biden. I think he’s a genuinely decent human being and a marked improvement in almost every way from his predecessor. But he wasn’t the world’s best stump speaker in his 40s and he’s simply terrible by Presidential standards at 79.

FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    The sad truth is America’s children (the adults that make up the citizenry) want Daddy to fix all their problems and give them a pony. Of course the solutions need to be on the child’s terms. Until and unless the children are willing to sacrifice compromise their individualist wants for the good of the community, no future president will be considered successful.

    It’s a given that the 47-48% who voted for TFG will view Biden poorly, so the deficit in his numbers, comes from unrealistic Dems and independents that voted for the guy.

    6
  2. But he wasn’t the world’s best stump speaker in his 40s and he’s simply terrible by Presidential standards at 79.

    I am not going to disagree with this, but I also don’t think it has much, if anything, to do with his approval ratings. He could be the most eloquent president ever and likely have roughly the same numbers.

    13
  3. KM says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    There’s a small but vocal group of liberals furious they haven’t gotten complete student debt forgiveness and are insisting on not voting D this year because of it. Nevermind that voting R or staying home will *definitively* not get them what they want, they are the militant kind who are not willing to accept any compromise in this matter. Debt forgiveness is a huge political issue that quite frankly needs to be done in steps to be successful. We need to do the associated work of reigning in student costs as well or we will just be like Amnesty Part 254646 for undocumented workers, something bitterly fought over but ends up happening rather then just fixing the root cause.

    If we were to have a program that eliminated or had the government assume interest payments and gave credit for what was already paid so all that was left was the principal as it would logically be given past payments, it would be a grand start. Less “moral quandary” as debtors would still have to pay what they agree to but eliminating a lot of the predatory aspects all can agree happened. You’d get more buy-in from those who never attended but are still expected to pay and those drowning in debt would see a significant lighting of the load. It paves the path going forward towards true debt forgiveness as well by getting the public used to the concept.

    ….. it will never fly though as rabid “All of it RIGHT NOW!!!” proponents rage that Biden can’t get them their unicorn. The temper tantrums mean that percentage may stay home or protest vote, swinging tight elections towards the GOP. We’ll lose what little ground we gained because people cannot accept gradual change is really the only kind left in our society.

    8
  4. Mikey says:

    But, again, we also have runaway inflation (by the standards of the last 40 years) and record-high gas prices (if not in inflation-adjusted dollars).

    It puzzles me that so many Americans believe our President is responsible for everything everywhere and no other world leaders have any agency whatsoever. I mean, this stuff is happening everywhere else in the world too. The UK is experiencing 9% inflation, the EU 8.1%, and gas prices are at record highs all over.

    Maybe one day we will learn everything isn’t about who sits in the Oval Office. (I am not directing this at you, James, I know you understand this. But so many Americans apparently do not.)

    6
  5. CSK says:

    @Mikey:
    The president is always the most convenient person to blame. Plus, he provides a convenient focus for all one’s hatreds.

    On the flip side, one can also focus on a president as one’s savior, as the MAGAs did with Trump.

    2
  6. James Joyner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Oh, absolutely. But sending him out on the hustings is apparently the plan to goose his numbers. I simply predict it won’t help.

    @Mikey: Oh, for sure. But, in fairness, Americans aren’t the only ones who blame their elected leaders for global trends not of their making. Justin Trudeau is getting similar flak in Canada, for example.

    4
  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    @KM:

    Student debt forgiveness is one issue that has a sliver of progressives stomping their fieet and holding their breath. There are other areas where other slivers, want what they want and they want it now. Criminal justice and police reform come to mind.

    After reading the OP this morning, I began thinking about the, now defunct, child support credit (don’t remember the official name) that was included in the Covid relief measure. Romney offered an alternative, that wasn’t as generous and suffered from a few other weaknesses, but offered the possibility that the measure could have passed through regular order and most importantly, would have become an entitlement, not simply funded year-to-year. Liberal Dems stiffed Mittens, convinced that they could make it permanent via reconciliation as part of Build Back Better. We all know how that ended and now the expanded child support is dead and will be for a long time.

    A young and stupid, Ted Kennedy, rejected Nixon’s offer on universal health insurance, chasing the Chimera of nationalized healthcare. Teddy later admitted that rejecting Nixon was the most regrettable decision of his career and he never lived to see an arguably less comprehensive plan than Nixon’s become a reality. So it will be, with those pushing student loan forgiveness, police reform, gun control and innumerable other issues, they won’t achieve anything if they hold out for everything.

    And before someone screams BUT REPUBLICANS! Yes they get what they want, which is nothing. They are happy simply with tax cuts, RW judges and starting culture wars.

    Newton’s first law; A body at rest… A body in motion…, also applies to politics, you can create the ideal change, till some change is made.

    2
  8. DK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Romney offered an alternative, that wasn’t as generous and suffered from a few other weaknesses, but offered the possibility that the measure could have passed through regular order and most importantly, would have become an entitlement, not simply funded year-to-year.

    Love the pretense Mitt would have found 9 other Republicans for this. How’s Tim Scott’s “bipartisan” police reform talks going? What about Joe Manchin’s “bipartisan” energy talks? Any word on when John Cornyn’s “bipartisan” gun talks will produce a bill Republicans won’t filibuster?

    Yeah if only Democrats had been more bipartisan and passed things through regular order, Trump-McConnell Republicans would have magically stopped obstructing and filibustering and many good regular order bipartisan bills would have passed and Biden’s approval rating would be fine.

    Anyone who has watched the Senate GOP caucus for the past 10 years and is still selling this kind of Inside the Beltway Chuck Toddesque falderal is…an interesting person.

    5
  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    @DK:

    Build Back Better was never going to happen, that is why the infrastructure bill was separated and advanced on it own, with some R support I might add. So what you have DK is purity, I hope your comforted by that.

    4
  10. DK says:

    @KM:

    We’ll lose what little ground we gained because people cannot accept gradual change is really the only kind left in our society.

    And yet the billions in taxpayer giveaways to rich corporations and churches during the pandemic, to big banks, and to farmers and corporate farms hurt by Drama Queen Donnie’s anti-capitalist China trade war he lost weren’t gradual at all. Those “gimme my unicorns” happened super quick, and with nary a complaint about those who didn’t vote for Trump having to pay to bailout his base for the consequences of their own votes.

    Millennials aren’t the ones whos voting choices and political choices bankrupted the country with unfunded wars, tax cuts for the rich, corporate price gouging, unaffordable housing, climate disaster, and two major recessions, yet here millennials and Zoomers are “having to pay” for Boomers’ Social Security and Medicare.

    Funny how it’s never gradual and “why do we have to pay” when conservative-leaning constituencies are the main beneficiaries of the public dole. Funny how that happens.

    7
  11. DK says:

    @James Joyner: Isn’t Boris Johnson also about to be deposed, in part because of the UK’s “cost-of-living crisis?” That’s what the NY Times says.

    1
  12. DK says:

    @Mikey:

    Maybe one day we will learn everything isn’t about who sits in the Oval Office.

    Inevitable consequence of an increasingly imperial presidency that needs reigning in. And of Americans voting to seat a dysfunctional congress.

    1
  13. DK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    So what you have DK is purity, I hope your comforted by that.

    You’re clearly comforted by your fantasy that any sort of welfare entitlement would get 10 Republican votes from this Senate, bit it doesn’t make it any less delusional.

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  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    And before someone screams BUT REPUBLICANS! Yes they get what they want, which is nothing. They are happy simply with tax cuts, RW judges and starting culture wars.

    Indeed! This is a key difference between the two factions. It’s way easier to do nothing than something–let alone “the right thing.”

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  15. gVOR08 says:

    Re our perpetual ‘messaging” argument, Dan Pfeiffer, who knows a thing of two on the subject, weighs in with an excerpt at Vanity Fair of his book Battling the Big Lie. It’s paywalled unless you’re new there, so I’ll excerpt a fair amount. He talks about hating fund raisers because, as Obama’s comms director, he would always be asked why Dems are bad at messaging,

    When donors, activists, and media folks ask why Democrats suck at messaging, they are really asking why Republicans are so much better at it. … There is no doubt Republicans are winning the messaging war, but are they winning because they are better messengers?

    He tells of working for Tom Daschle in 2003 and trying to come up with a message all the D senators would accept. The red state ones didn’t want to attack Bush, the ones who voted for Iraq didn’t want to attack on the war, the ones who voted for tax cuts didn’t want economic populism.

    After weeks of discussion, the senators eventually lined up behind the thrilling and incisive slogan “Better Together.” In the end, the only thing the party could agree on was something so inoffensive that it meant nothing, the political messaging equivalent of plain yogurt.

    The Democratic Party is more diverse (ideologically, demographically, and geographically) than the Republicans. This diversity is our strength, but it poses a central and seemingly insurmountable challenge to creating positive messages for the party. How does one compose a pithy slogan or a tweet-length narrative to accurately and appealingly describe a coalition so broad that it extends from Joe Manchin to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    Frankly, the messaging and branding task is more challenging for Democrats than it is for Republicans. The geographic disparities in the Senate and the Electoral College mean that Democrats must turn out liberal-base voters and appeal to voters much more conservative than the median Democratic voter. Democrats have to sell a wider array of products to a wider array of people.

    The Republican coalition is narrower. It’s more ideologically homogenous and as white as a field of lilies. The Electoral College is biased toward Republican states, and the Senate gives small rural states like Wyoming the same number of votes as California and New York. To succeed, Republicans need only appeal to their base and little else, which allows for a simpler message.

    He points out that Rs aren’t really that great at messaging. Ds have won the prez popular vote all but once since 1998, as badly as the D party polls, it beats the Rs, D policy positions are very popular.

    These facts help explain why Republicans and their billionaire supporters invest so much time and energy in building a disinformation apparatus that can overcome the opinions of the majority of Americans. Hence, the megaphone problem.

    Imagine two armies doing battle. One of those armies is equipped with tanks and stealth bombers. The other shows up to the battle wielding pocketknives.

    It’s silly after defeat for the pocketknife guys to blame their strategy, they need to get tanks.

    The Republicans have a cable television network whose sole raison d’être is to attack Democrats and promote pro-GOP talking points. The conservative media dwarfs the progressive media in size and scope. And even then, it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison. The bulk of the media on the right is an adjunct of the party apparatus; during the Trump presidency it was state-adjacent propaganda—Pravda, but with plausible deniability.
    Much of the media on the left is focused on holding Democrats accountable and/or moving the party’s agenda in a more progressive direction. This is, of course, an admirable and necessary task, but it doesn’t do much to help Democratic candidates and causes win the messaging battle against Republicans come election time.

    It’s not a messaging problem, it’s a megaphone problem.

    So, how do we build a bigger, better megaphone?

    That, unfortunately, is the end of Vanity Fair’s excerpt. I may be forced to buy his book. (Good job of messaging that.)

    3
  16. Scott F. says:

    @CSK:

    On the flip side, one can also focus on a president as one’s savior, as the MAGAs did with Trump.

    The particularly cool thing with the president as savior model is that the savior’s failings can always be blamed on the forces arrayed against their hero (in the MAGA case that’s the fake news industry, the deep state, the evil liberals, etc.) which not only gets their savior off the hook, but makes them seem especially heroic for at least trying.

    Those who play to the crowd that seeks authoritarianism has a distinct advantage in that regard. The only answer to the failures of authoritarians is more authoritarianism.

  17. CSK says:

    @Scott F.:
    Yes, precisely. I see that all the time. It’s not that Trump failed; it’s that the Deep State foiled him.

    The question then arises: If Trump is so smart, so adroit, so successful, why is he so easily stymied by the Deep State?

    It’s a question that’s never asked by the MAGAs, much less answered.

  18. @gVOR08:

    He points out that Rs aren’t really that great at messaging. Ds have won the prez popular vote all but once since 1998, as badly as the D party polls

    This is at the heart of my point–the argument that Ds have a messaging problem (or that Rs are just great at it) seems rather undercut by the fact that the Rs last won the pop vote for president in 2004 and then, prior to that, it was in 1988 (which I assume is what you meant).

    Plus, if you listen to Rs talk, they are convinced that Ds control all media, all of education, and all of Hollywood.

    So maybe a lot of this is perception.

    1
  19. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK:

    Yes, precisely. I see that all the time. It’s not that Trump failed; it’s that the Deep State foiled him.

    That, and he only hired the best people, who he then had to fire for being incompetent traitors who helped foil him.

    1
  20. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    I know! I often wonder how the Trumpkins managed to reconcile the fact that their incredibly brilliant leader managed to hire such…losers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an explanation of that.

    The fact that nobody halfway competent and decent–now anyway*–would even consider briefly working for Trump is telling.

    * I do think that some people such as Mattis initially thought they could rein in Trump.

    1
  21. KM says:

    @DK:

    Funny how it’s never gradual and “why do we have to pay” when conservative-leaning constituencies are the main beneficiaries of the public dole. Funny how that happens.

    Why yes, it does suck. Thank you for noticing what everyone else has. It’s so nice when everyone is on the same page. This Millennial would like to note you are missing the damn forest for the trees, though.

    What you are refusing to notice is we can’t do anything without conservative-leaning constituencies right now. The system current means we need 50+ Senators, a majority of the House, the WH and SCOTUS so whatever we manage to accomplish won’t be undone next election. We need to build something that will last. Say Biden wipes out student debt with a stroke of a pen and we lose the election in Nov – what happens to all the new freshman starting in Sept? Do they just have to wait till we take everything back or is it SOL for them now that the current complainers got theirs? We do actually need to pay for this so we need to get those taxes back from the rich – if we can’t pass the bill, then we’re just dropping a different kind of debt on Gen Alpha.

    I don’t want an unstable “oh it’s fixed, whoops taken away” seesaw in our lives. Slow and steady gets us where we need to be; uncertainty if you owe a monthly payment or not depending on an election’s outcome isn’t. Because let’s be real here – you ain’t paying off $70K in a year so what you care about is the size of the payment you have to dole out monthly. If it goes from $500 to $100, it still sucks but it’s a much, MUCH more manageable suckage. Like the kind that can make or break someone’s budget. We need to take the win we can get or we’re not getting any wins in the near future at all.

    1
  22. CSK says:

    @DK:
    Johnson narrowly survived the no confidence vote.

  23. Gustopher says:

    @KM:

    Say Biden wipes out student debt with a stroke of a pen and we lose the election in Nov – what happens to all the new freshman starting in Sept? Do they just have to wait till we take everything back or is it SOL for them now that the current complainers got theirs?

    If it gets them to vote Dem to get their handout, is that really that bad?

    More likely there will be a lot of grousing and complaining, and whinges about unfairness, and it might even start people along the path of a fairer, more structural solution.

    Few things motivate better than “but they got more than me!” Meet those complaints with a forceful “and you deserve it too,” and you might get people moving. Particularly if the people who got more aren’t perceived as mostly blacks.

    Or it will all fail and we will only help some people rather than more people. That’s fine. Partial victory.

    1
  24. KM says:

    @Gustopher:
    I was a bit unclear – if POTUS can do it with a pen, it can be undone with a pen. Say Biden signs an order all debt is wiped out on X date and (god forbid) Trump gets re-elected. When he signs an order rescinding or mitigating Biden’s, we’re back to square one. Or what if he signs something saying future POTUS’ cannot clear out debt – we have to wait for the court battle to decide and guess who owns the Court?

    Congress really is the best bet here and that means compromise. It means yes, you’re still gonna have that $$$ figure you owe but it goes down with each victory we achieve. Realistically, it’s not all going away and America needs to come to terms with that. We can’t agree to stop selling killing machines to our murderous youth or stop a preventable plague. We’re not wiping out everyone’s student debt in one go. We need to take the path that gets us what we want, not what gives us instant gratification.

    If you can get 20% of your debt discharged, take it. Don’t whine and complain and throw a fit to get it all right now because you’ll lose what you have – fight to get the next 20% and then the 20% after that. Do it for 5 years (a Presidential cycle and election) and you’re debt free!! We need to stop chasing the unobtainable and start building the foundation. Even if we can only swing 10% a year, that’s a decade rather then the rest of your life.

    3
  25. DK says:

    @KM:

    Thank you for noticing what everyone else has. It’s so nice when everyone is on the same page. This Millennial would like to note you are missing the damn forest for the trees, though.

    With all due respect, I’m not missing a goddam thing.

    If “everyone” notices then why do y’all consistently fail to mention it when you’re smearing and trashing these student debt whiners who allegedly want everybody else to pay for their stuff?

    If “everybody” notices then don’t sell bs like “gradual change is really the only kind left in our society.” Write “gradual change is the only option for America’s increasingly diverse youth — whose future has been mortgaged by the irresponsible policies of older generations — while conservative demographics who want everybody else to pay for their mistakes get handed billions in bailouts and welfare quick, fast, and in a hurry.”

    Don’t move the goalposts to pretend your forest included trees that were left out ot it. I traveled to caucus states in 2016 and 2020 to help make sure Democrats did not nominate a socialist, I don’t need lectures about slow and steady. But let’s not piss on legs and say it’s raining.

    (That said, the Democrats would win far more elections if they cultivated their own base instead of chasing conservative voter mirages. That was the model we used to build out the Democratic Party in Georgia, back when the pundit class was still saying Warnock and Ossoff would lose. Should’ve woken us up, but we still don’t get it.)

    3
  26. Gavin says:

    Note that exactly zero of these conservative voters are actually able to be “flipped” — that’s only a viable strategy within the mind of a K-street insane person who hasn’t talked to let alone visited a person in Scranton, PA or Walla Walla, WA in the last 35 years. Every time you see that Schumer quote where he talks about “picking up 2 moderate Republican voters in the suburbs”.. the only part of Schumer’s scenario that’s actually occurring is losing the blue collar D votes; gaining the moderates never occurs because it never was possible.
    Democrats are going to wake up in 10 years and have no constituency because they’ll never do enough for business and they refuse to do anything for anyone else.
    Politics is tangible benefits for voters — period dot end of story. It’s cute that Democrats think they’re owed something by the very people they refuse to work for.. not cute enough to keep them in power, though.

    4
  27. gVOR08 says:

    @Gavin:

    Politics is tangible benefits for voters — period dot end of story.

    That’s how it should be. I don’t know that’s how it is. What tangible benefit have GOPs delivered to voters? Tax cuts for the rich? Federalist Society judges? GOPs seem to do OK with pandering in lieu of tangible benefits.

    1
  28. Gustopher says:

    @KM:

    Congress really is the best bet here and that means compromise.

    What’s the compromise that gets 10 Republican Senators? What’s the compromise that gets Manchin, Sinema, Tester and the rest of the more conservative Democratic Senators?

    From the current status quo, those who don’t want any action win.

    Better to just go with an executive order that can happen, and if the next guy wants to roll it back, let them take the hit. Elections should have consequences, and yes, that will mean sometimes we get a shit sandwich when voters elect terrible people — maybe after eating some shit, voters will decide not to do that.

    There’s every chance Republicans will win both houses of Congress and the Presidency in the future, and roll back any law. So just do what can be done and don’t worry about it.

    (I’d also bring back earmarks and pork — let the voters of TX-01 decide whether they want the stupidest man in Congress, Louie Gohmert, to rattle off stupid things*, or someone who helps their district. Spectacle or infrastructure.)

    *: This weekend, Louie Gohmert said, “If you’re a Republican, you can’t even lie to Congress or lie to an FBI agent or they’re coming after you.”

    1
  29. DK says:

    @gVOR08: Literally billions of dollars in socialist welfare checks to rural farm communities who voted for Treason Trump to destroy their agriculture market with protectionist “no TPP” trade war economic voodoo. Literally:

    Direct farm aid has climbed each year of Trump’s presidency, from $11.5 billion in 2017 to more than $32 billion this year — an all-time high, with potentially far more funding still to come in 2020, amounting to about two-thirds of the cost of the entire Department of Housing and Urban Development and more than the Agriculture Department’s $24 billion discretionary budget, according to a POLITICO analysis.

    But Democrats can’t cancel student debt for their millennials whose record 2018 and 2020 turnout put them in power, because conservative voters abhor socialism LOLOLOLOL. It is just stunning Democrats fall for this fake, phony Beltway bs.

    Conservative-leaning voters love socialism. Suburban voters routinely for corporate socialism and socialism-for-whites. Stop lying to us that Biden can’t cancel student debt because socialism scares those voters. Come up with some other tired excuse for why the blue cities that fuel the economy can’t invest our tax dollars in our own youth, but have to give everything to greedy billionaires, selfish retirees, and rural trailer trash.

  30. James Joyner says:

    @DK: He’s survived, for now, but yes. Citizens in a democracy blame their leaders for bad times.

  31. wr says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “There are other areas where other slivers, want what they want and they want it now. Criminal justice and police reform come to mind.”

    The nerve of those people! Imagine wanting police officers to stop murdering innocent citizens and demanding it be done now! It’s like they think it’s a matter of life or death or something.

    1
  32. Steve f says:

    Why would Americans think a President is responsible for everything everywhere? Maybe because every candidate for President campaigns that way. A typical campaign demonizes the opponent and then promises to fix everything if elected.

    And sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes when you polls say you are unpopular, it is a reality based on facts on the ground and not some type of messaging disconnect.

    1
  33. Gavin says:

    Biden finally admitted he knew about the baby formula crisis in early April… yet did precisely zero until mid-May. His staff, of course, have admitted earlier that they were fully aware in mid-February.

    He knew and did NOTHING. I wasn’t asked regarding this specific approval metric, but I’d be voting very negatively based on this single issue alone — because it’s unforgivable. You hear about this, you act on it immediately — not tomorrow, not later this week, immediately. Don’t like it? Don’t take the job.

    Government being so behind the curve and not responding in anything resembling a timely fashion to a crisis is something that I fear isn’t a one-off but rather the new normal across both parties.. largely due to the R desires to dismantle the administrative state, but D leadership hasn’t improved things either. Another example was Obama dismantling the pandemic response preparedness by not replenishing the stockpiles when used.
    To me, the Biden administration is showing that his core campaign promise of The Grownups Are Back In Charge was a complete PR lie.
    The answer to Biden’s low numbers therefore isn’t more PR, it’s better actual governance.

    1
  34. DK says:

    @JustAGirl:

    By what standard is Biden’s performance on COVID superior to Trump’s? How’s the murder rate been doing?

    So which drug did you spend all of 2020 using — crack or meth? Had to be a strong one, since you missed thousands a day dying of COVID, record small business failure, and record unemployment due to Trump’s coronavirus lies and incompetence — to add to his record deficits, record gun violence, record police brutality, record farm bankruptcies, Russia collusion, rage tweeting, and nonstop barrage of lies.

    While Trump undermined science, Biden got the country vaccinated enough to end the Trump lockdowns and restore normalcy — leading to record job creation.

    The country is much better now not being mired in and endiess Afghan war and having President Biden, who reuinted NATO, rather than Traitor Trump selling out America and our European alles to Putin, while writing love letters to communist North Korea.

    Homicide and crime rates peaked in 2020 — under Trump. Overall crime is now declining. As are hate crimes, which also spiked under Trump because he is a racist pig who launched his toxic political career with birther lies, tweeted a White Power video on June 28 2020, praised those who marched with tiki torch Nazis in defense of monuments to pro-slavery Confederate traitors, and then incited the Jan 6 terror attack to destroy democracy, assassinate politicians and invalidate black votes.

    The “future generations of political scientists” will start with millennials, Zoomers, and the kids and grandkids raised by us. If you think we’re going to be writing anything about Trumpism except that it is the epitome of American evil — led by a pathological lying asshole, loser, Great Replacement Theory white supremacist, and climate change denying Putin-apologist failure — the center of the worst presidency in history, then you are obviously as delusional and psychotic as you Trumpanzees are thought to be.

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