Whelp, it's been 100 days of style since Joe Biden became president. Throughout my lifetime, the press has held the passage of 100 days as a significant milestone after which it is time to reflect on how the new administration is doing so far. So let us do that.
...*shrugs* Fine by me. Reflection over.
Okay, it's not really over, but I think that sums up my feelings, and probably those of most Americans, pretty well right now. If not massively so, Biden is nonetheless a popular president so far. In the current moving average of polls, he's above water by 11 points (53.1% approve, while 42.1% disapprove). He's faring worse than Obama was at this same point in his presidency so far in popularity, but unsurprisingly better than Trump was. (Trump was already underwater by this point.) It kinda makes sense when you watch Fox News try and complain these days. Their gripes are occasionally substantive, but more often strike one as kind of desperate. Like I glimpsed at a Fox program last night where the headline was "Biden's Covid Extremism Killing Small Business" for example. In reality, the economy grew at an annualized rate of 6.4% this last quarter, employers added 916,000 jobs in March alone, the average American's income rose 21.1% in March for the biggest single-month gain since records thereon were first kept in 1959, and even the previous administration's precious, precious stock market has reached all-time highs, all mostly due to the successful vaccine rollout this administration has overseen (we've become a world leader in Covid vaccination, with the majority of our adult population having already received at least one shot) and injection of a new wave of stimulus (which Republicans opposed and voted against!) into the economy. Compare this to where we were at the start of the year, in the waning days of the last administration, facing down the largest and worst Covid surge yet (almost 300,000 new cases being added a day at some points!), with the economy beginning to slow down and stagnate again as a result, a joke of an initial "warp speed" vaccine rollout that saw the virus spread much faster than shots, and the aura of the events of January 6th hanging heavy in the air. You really want to go back to that; to what we had before this administration took over the reins? Really? Anyone? Any sane and sober person? Most people don't. That's probably why the majority of Americans approve not only of Biden's job performance overall, but also more specifically of Biden's handling of the economy according to the aforementioned moving average of polls, and why an even larger 63% majority approve of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
It's tough being a partisan conservative these days. You find yourself tasked with opposing peace (the new administration has set out to bring the last U.S. troops home from Afghanistan this year and restored previously fraying diplomatic ties with our allies), rapidly expanding prosperity, and public health. How to do this in a way that will resonate with the average American? I don't think you really can.
You saw that desperation on full display in Tim Scott's official Republican rebuttal to President Biden's "not" State of the Union address Wednesday evening; that certain grasping at stuff to object to. In reality, every viewer survey has found that Biden's speech, with its heavy focus on bread-and-butter, kitchen table issues, was overwhelmingly popular. (71% of CNN viewers approved of the overall contents, for example, as did 85% of those surveyed by CBS and YouGov, and so on and so on). Frankly, of course they did! Biden had shit to boast about and proposed to the American people $4 trillion in more stuff and told them they won't have to pay for it! What other public response was to be expected, outrage? It's tough being a Republican these days. Which is probably why not so many people still are. Seriously, the Democrats now enjoy a 9-point advantage in voter identification over the GOP, which is notably a wider advantage than the more usual 4 to 6 point gap.
Biden is hardly without his faults though. Only a minority of the public approves of his immigration policies, for example, and I particularly object to the White House's attempts to conceal the squalid conditions in our migrant holding facilities; the absolutely packed cages for children and so forth. And people here know about some of my other policy concerns around women's rights and what I feel was a missed best opportunity to raise the federal minimum wage. These are important issues to me as a woman who has had the misfortune of landing in spaces like a shelter for battered women and a women's jail before (for example) and is tasked with living on $9.40 an hour. If not for stimulus checks I've received since the onset of Covid, I'd still be living well below the poverty line right now, and will likely wind up back in that place by next year. These concerns pale though compared to the benefits of living under the current administration so far. For example, the main issue women's shelters have faced in the last year is an increased backlog from the lockdown period that saw a major increase in domestic violence result from people being stuck at home with abusive partners. Likewise, the unchecked spread of Covid-19 in the prison system has been by far the biggest safety concern for inmates. Therefore, defeating the coronavirus -- which is something that wasn't exactly going to happen under Trump -- is the paramount priority in my mind even for women-specific spaces.
Is it possible for the Republicans to stage a comeback from where they are now and win back one or both chambers of Congress next year? Yup! The GOP came back from a deeper hole in party affiliation at this same point in 2009 to win what became known as the tea party wave election in the fall of 2010, for instance, and also came back from a deeper hole in party affiliation at this same point in 1993 to win the 1994 midterm elections by a considerable margin. The party out of power, matter-of-factly, almost always at least makes gains in midterm election cycles. I can think of lots of ways that same thing could happen this time around as well. The easiest way I can think of would be for the Democrats not to pass either the Jobs Plan or the Families Plan in any form between now and the fall of next year (since all of the provisions in the Rescue Plan, the recent Covid relief package, are temporary and expire in time for the 2022 midterms (unlike the minimum wage provision that got stripped from the bill, which was a permanent provision they could've actually run on)!) and also take what's really started to become their natural anti-free speech side of this upcoming, high profile case -- the biggest student speech case in half a century -- to land before the Supreme Court in the meanwhile; the side that tries to draw a straight line from swearing on the internet to crime and illegal activity. Just as an example of what the path to a Democratic defeat might look like. It would be historically unusual if the Republicans didn't at least gain a few Congressional seats next year. But then it's also historically unusual for a sitting president to be defeated in a re-election bid and that happened last year. (Yes, it did Republicans; quit denying it!) Unusual things happen too. And from where things are sitting right now, at this moment, there's just not that much to complain about. I'm pretty contented with the current administration overall so far. It's been a good start.
Last edited by Jaicee - on 01 May 2021