by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
When we look back at the first year of Joe Biden’s presidency, will August of 2021 stand out as the time the wheels came off?
Despite the Senate passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, a substantial legislative accomplishment, red flags and troubling new polls are popping up across the political landscape.
First is Afghanistan.
Most people agree that the war has gone on too long. To that extent, Biden’s goal to disengage from Afghanistan was a popular one. But the actual handling of the United States’s pullout has been a catastrophe. Even Democratic officials and liberal pundits say the administration has mismanaged it. It’s hard to believe the president’s credibility remains unscathed.
Second is the pandemic.
In the early months of his tenure, Biden’s handling of the coronavirus seemed capable and steady. It was a welcome contrast to the chaos of the previous administration for many voters. But perceptions are now changing.
According to the YouGov/ Economist poll , Biden’s approval rating for his handling of the pandemic has dipped below 50%. Since early July, his rating has fallen 9 percentage points among all voters, 8 percentage points among Democrats, and 9 percentage points among independents. While the latest Fox News poll continues to show a majority of voters support Biden’s handling of the pandemic, it also shows his approval rating has dropped 10 percentage points since late June.
With the emergence of the delta variant and the upswing in hospitalizations and deaths, voters perceive an increasingly befuddled administration. And they have become more pessimistic about where this nightmare is going.
The third problem for Biden is the far-left flank of his party.
Think about what’s going on in Congress and how it looks to centrist Democrats and cross-pressured independents who cast votes for Biden last year: Progressives in the House, endorsed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are holding hostage their own president’s prized infrastructure bill.