Biden looking down when at a podium. Credit: Gage Skidmore
Dismal poll numbers aren’t the temporary setback Joe Biden’s administration hoped they’d be. Longtime Democrat voters can’t find a single legislative action they’re proud to own. Even liberal media network CNN is having a tough time finding the optimism in Biden’s presidency.
A new CNN poll found that nearly 60% of Americans disapprove of how Biden is handling himself and can’t name a single thing they like that he’s done. CNN interprets the data and overwhelming sense of dread in an analysis of the presidency thus far.
This foul national mood is primarily a disaster in the making for Democrats in November’s midterm elections, but it’s been a long time coming. The first two decades of this century have delivered morale-busting military defeats, a generational economic crisis and an age of political turmoil, including sweeping social and demographic change and an equally intense backlash.
There’s also angst on the left, where people are furious the Covid-19 pandemic was prolonged by vaccine holdouts. And there’s rising alarm among liberals that a conservative Supreme Court, starting to make radical shifts on social, racial and other issues, is set on turning a cosmopolitan nation into an idealized right-wing version of the 1950s.
The psychological impact of the way America is feeling will be for history to describe. But it is having political consequences in real time.
A grungy mood in a nation divided in multiple ways is translating to ever-diminishing confidence in political leaders and the system itself. It also helps to explain why a summer economic spurt, a dip in inflation and more legislative success on Capitol Hill are unlikely to rescue Biden’s presidency.
“We have to keep it going. And I think our best days are ahead of us,” Biden said last month at an event highlighting a push to increase the semiconductor supply. But the President’s attempt to buck up the national psyche and his own political prospects rang rather hollow.
When those who disdain Biden’s overall performance were asked to name a single thing he’d done that they approved of, 56% had nothing positive to say. “I’m hard pressed to think of a single thing he has done that benefits the country,” wrote one respondent. Another answered: “I really like his new cat, Willow Biden.”