Date: 10/11/2023 Time: 12:15
By James Piereson
Biden is in trouble with voters as he looks ahead to next year’s election
Many Americans heaved a sigh of relief in 2020 when Joseph Biden won the presidential election, thus ending four years of drama, investigations, and scandals during the Trump presidency. Biden, they thought, would restore a degree of calm and stability after the upheavals of the Trump years.
Think again. Those voters are beginning to look back with nostalgia on the peace and prosperity that prevailed during the years Trump was in the White House.
After three years of Biden’s presidency, the world is on fire with wars raging in Europe and the Middle East and China plotting to take advantage of the situation, while inflation, federal debt, rising crime, and a porous southern border are turning the United States into a third world country. Americans voted for calm in 2020 but got disorder instead. Sadly, things are unlikely to improve over the next year under the direction of President Chaos.
The first thing Biden did upon entering office was to reverse President Trump’s immigration policies at the southern border. Trump adopted a “remain in Mexico” policy which required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their applications to enter the United States were reviewed. That policy slowed the flow of migrants into the country, and went a long distance toward solving the problem. But Biden threw out that policy so that migrants could cross the border and melt into the country while their asylum claims were being processed. At the same time, he invited would-be migrants from around the world to enter the country via the southern border. Many accepted the invitation. As a result, an astounding 4 million migrants have entered the United States since 2021 under Biden’s asylum protocols.
Many of those migrants eventually moved into New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other large cities, with predictable results: housing shortages, rising crime, and budget shortfalls. Mayors of those cities once boasted of their status as “sanctuary cities,” but now complain that they lack the resources to care for the migrants descending on their jurisdictions. Naturally, they are calling on President Biden to send more federal money to address the crisis that he caused.
To add to these problems, Biden went on a spending spree when he took office, adding a record $3.4 trillion in new spending in 2021 and 2022 and increasing the federal debt to more than $33 trillion. These were payoffs to interest groups and voting blocs that supported him in 2020. But his policies soon led to inflation, reaching 9 percent in 2022, along with rising interest rates, which were close to zero in 2021. Mortgage rates increased from 3 percent when Trump left office to 8 percent today, imposing new burdens on home buyers and effectively killing off the housing market. In the meantime, the stock market, which advanced by 60 percent during Trump’s term in office, reached a peak in 2021, and has declined by more than 10 percent since that time. Those losses will cause pain for millions of seniors who have invested their savings in stocks and pension funds, and depend upon generous returns to support their retirement.
The economic and financial troubles have not run their course. In the face of growing deficits, bond buyers will demand higher interest payments on U.S. bonds, forcing the federal government to spend and borrow even more to cover those rising interest charges. In addition, those rising interest rates have created the conditions for a recession next year, with more unemployment and more declines in stocks to follow. American workers, looking at their take home pay, are not happy with their situation.
On the international scene, President Biden set the stage for more troubles through a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, which allowed the Taliban to regain control over the country. U.S. military forces left behind $7 billion in military equipment in the rapid exit, which the Taliban seized and distributed to terrorist groups in the region. On top of that, thirteen U.S. service members were killed by a suicide bomb in the midst of the confused and disorderly exit. Biden declared afterwards that the withdrawal was justified and necessary, then blamed it on Donald Trump.
Vladimir Putin undoubtedly took notice of this sign of American weakness, though some suggest that he had already decided to invade Ukraine after Biden entered the White House. In any case, he sent his troops into Ukraine in early 2022, with the goal of seizing control of the country, much as he had annexed Crimea (part of Ukraine) during Barack Obama’s presidency. The U.S. responded, along with her NATO allies, by sending arms to Ukraine, which Ukrainians used to block Russia’s advance but without restoring pre-invasion borders.
The war has caused immense destruction in Ukraine, with hundreds of thousands of casualties in the country, along with significant damage to Russia’s military operation, but with no end to the conflict yet in sight. Meanwhile, Americans are increasingly divided about further expenditures in support of the conflict. How does it end? The United States, along with NATO allies and leaders in Ukraine, is resisting a negotiated settlement because it will be seen as a victory for Putin and a defeat for NATO because it will allow Putin to keep the territorial fruits of his invasion. Yet that may be the only way the stalemate can be resolved. In the meantime, the war will continue.
In the midst of this, Palestinian leaders in Gaza planned a savage attack on Israel, which they carried out on October 7 in the southern part of the country, leaving more than 1,400 Israelis dead, hundreds more wounded, and more than 200 taken as hostages. President Biden visited the country, and (appropriately) promised support for Israel in its expected attack on Hamas strongholds in the Gaza strip. The war will probably conclude with a military victory for Israel, but at a high cost in terms of international opinion.
Biden, now seeing the blowback from his support for Israel among progressive and pro-Palestinian groups within the Democratic Party, is now looking for a way out that will satisfy both the pro- and anti-Israel segments of his party. One approach is to pressure Israel for a humanitarian “pause” in the fighting – which Israel’s leaders have rejected. Arab and Moslem voters, who did not like Trump the last time around, are reconsidering their options. In this situation, Biden is beginning to look like a man driving an automobile with his feet on the brake and gas pedals at the same time.
China is watching these developments at a distance, and may be planning its own operations in the region, whether against Taiwan or another target. Any such moves would pose difficult challenges to the United States already tied down by two wars and ill prepared for still another encounter in the Far East. Chinese leaders are well aware of America’s difficulties, and are keeping their own counsel. It is a good question whether they will take advantage of Biden’s troubles, or perhaps follow the ancient rule that there is no point in taking on an adversary already in the process of committing suicide.
For all of these reasons, Biden is in trouble with the voters as he looks ahead to next year’s election. It is no surprise that recent polls find him trailing Trump in the battleground states, notwithstanding his administration’s efforts to sideline Trump with courtroom prosecutions. Some Democrats, fearing that Biden will lose next year, have asked him to step aside in favor of another candidate. They fear that he is sinking because voters see that he is too old for the job, but in fact he is in trouble because voters see that he is sowing chaos wherever he steps, both at home and abroad.
No one knows who will win the presidential contest next year, but it is now clear that it is unlikely to be “President Chaos.”
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