Disapproval from Within: Biden vs. Trump
Red flags, troubling polls, and in-party tension. Can Biden rebound from his low approval rating and make amends with voters who have fallen out with him...or is it all indicative of an impending second term for Trump?
A year ago, if one had inquired about the likeliness of President Biden being re-elected next year, the feedback and forecasts would have been swift, positive, and certain. Especially in contrast to his predecessor. Now...with a low approval rating, it appears his re-election bid will be an uphill battle.
Following the outcome of the tumultuous 2020 election, the conservative pushback against Biden was expected, especially from the MAGA crowd who Trump had become a luminary figure to and who rallied around the notion that the election itself was rigged and stolen. What wasn't expected was the eventual pushback from within Biden's own base. And as disatisfaction with democratic voters began to amplify this past year, many leaders, strategists, and analysts for the party itself have become increasingly concerned.
Biden's low approval rating isn't even the worst of it: many democrats also want to primary him not far out from a presidential election.
This, of course, is to the delight of republican opposition, who see it as an opportunity to lure undecided and swing voters to their end.
It's unlikely that Biden will be challenged in this way. However, the possibility of deterring voters from within the base and outside of it is a red flag that Biden and democratic officials need to resolve before it's too late.
Recent polling shows Trump ahead in crucial swing states. And it isn't just highlighting a nostaglic (or new) preference for him. It's the fact that more and more voter demographics--many he was once at odds with--seem to be opening up to the idea of him being elected to a second term. Their reasoning? It varies, but a common answer has a lot to do with the current and fluctuating economy. Gas, groceries, interest rates, housing...necessities that were once reasonably affordable have somehow fallen out of reach for most Americans. And they aren't happy about it. At the moment, American's--regardless of race, gender, class, and political affiliation--are currently on the same consensus that Biden just isn't doing enough. While his key campaign promises were bold and exciting, there hasn't been any significant effort on his part to bring a great deal of them to fruition, and because of that Biden suffers from a lackluster presidency. This unusual agreement between conservatives and liberals is a lethal mix that could limit the president to one term if it manifests into pure and total anger on both sides. And if Biden doesn't pick up the slack, a different Donald Trump will come into play, one that voters from all sides will feel compelled to listen to and look at differently this time around.
Sure, Trump is still the same unfiltered businessman, but an unfiltered businessman who will be more likely to sell a nostalgic America to voters.
The America before COVID-19.
The America before inflation.
The America before Biden.
The America that now seems like a fever dream of a reality long extinct.
As if inflation wasn't agony enough for both sides, the recent conflicts overseas such as Ukraine and Russia or Israel and Gaza have many American's on edge. And all agree: no more pointless wars! Especially with problems becoming more and more complex here at home.
On these particular issues (and all issues), however, Biden is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Any president would be, but the president is not in a great position compared to his predecessors. He's an incumbent that is struggling to appeal to the entire country. This includes democrats, independents, and republicans. There has never been a more unfortunate distinction...but that's the reality.
Following an off-year election in early November, which democrats performed well in, notable pundits from both sides appeared on television and on social media to caution against any optimism, citing the president's low approval rating and the current trends revealed in recent polls.
Young voters and Latinos, two groups considered to be the backbone of the democratic party, are simply not impressed with Biden or a bulk of liberal positions in regards to domestic and foreign policy. As such, most who were polled admitted that a third party vote was more suitable if their two-party options were strictly limited to Biden and Trump. And there were many others, particularly Latino men and women of all ages, willing to give Trump a chance. Though these polls have been constantly mentioned and discussed, they don't mean much...at least not until after election day, where it will become clear which groups and issues helped propel or doom a candidate.
Biden's re-election bid isn't threatened by Trump or bad press. It's threatened by the in-party animosity towards him, making Trump's odds considerably better this time around. This is damning considering that election cycles of the past have shown that it only takes a small but significant amount of voters to swing the results or initiate a political trend towards a blue, purple, or red electoral makeup.
It is still several months away from the nominations being formally given by both parties, but that doesn't alter the fact that Trump has a majority of the republican party behind him. His campaigning was completed almost a decade ago; he's already arranged to be the nominee once more despite the futile pushback he will experience again. He doesn't need to engage in debates and interviews--he's made it very clear what he stands for, what his intentions are for the country, and how he will conduct himself as president.
Though numerous issues are at the heart of campaigns and elections, it is always the economy voters cast their ballots on. 2020 was an unusual election given that many people simply voted against Trump or against Biden. Now, with an economy still having yet to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and a president currently under water, it appears Trump is in better shape to make one hell of a distinction between him and Biden on everything from policy to demeanor.
And if he argues this case successfully, he might just win another term.