Joe Biden’s Presidency Is Failing Just About Everyone

Joe Biden is entering his second year of presidency. It is evident that he struggles, and even fails, to achieve his goals with the stalled agenda at Congress. Approval ratings are falling, collapsing supportDemocrats feel a sense of sadness about the economic situation, the nation’s health, and the pandemic. overall directionIt is permeating national sentiment. It’s important to look back on Biden’s presidency campaign to understand why this is happening, and how difficult it will be for Biden in trying to reverse it. 

Two parallel stories can be told about Biden and his approach. He was more of a senator with an extensive record and relationships in Washington, who wanted to lower the national political temperature relative to Donald Trump’s years. And to work across the aisle to restore a country that is suffering from a pandemic. 

Biden probably told this story to himself. To His belief that he is an antidote was evident, and he also seemed to be genuinely believing it. Responding to the criticisms that Trump was in fact a puppet of the party’s socialist-curious progressive group, he stated, “Ich bin the Democratic Party.” Joe Biden, the president, seemed to have declared that the party could go as far as it wanted. And thus this was the story that many voters—especially the ones who only tuned in for a snippet of a speech or part of a primary debate or a few minutes of nightly news coverage—heard. 

There was another tale you could also tell, though, about the Biden campaign and all the left-leaning policies it brought with it. Biden’s various plans for health care, climate, education, and so forth didn’t lean as far to the left as the plans from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.However, multiple sources claim that they were the most progressive agenda of history. They included trillions of new expenditures aimed at increasing government’s influence in virtually every area of our daily lives and in the economy. 

Biden’s twin identities were a success on the campaign trail. They allowed him to appeal to both less partisan and less politically involved voters who are tired of Trump-era White House drama and the virus-driven economic and social upheaval. On the other, they also gave Biden the opportunity to appeal to more committed Democratic partisans, who have been increasingly inclined to the left and believe that radical change is required in the post-Trump era. Biden was able to appeal both to angered leftists and the more partisan wing. AndThe committed partisans, the tired center AndThe people who simply wanted someone they could ignore. 

These twin identities were able to create a gap once Biden was elected. Biden’s campaign had implied that he was both a progressive warrior and an activist for change. AndA moderate and affable person who just wanted things back to how they were. Both promises could not be fulfilled and neither group was happy. 

And, to make matters worse, Biden’s presidency descended into intra-party battles over longstanding activist priorities that had little or nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic or the very real economic travails—particularly inflation—the American economy was facing, problems that voters understood Biden’s own policies to be exacerbating. 

It is easy to see why. The political parties, which are strong organizing forces and have more power over the President’s priorities than those who are more casually involved normie voters. The voices of the various activists, congressional staffers and party organizers are louder than those who spend more time or mental energy outside politics.

That’s especially true when the person at the top is someone like Biden—a “rusty weathervane,” in Matt Welch’s memorable coinage, who has always been at the forefront of the Democratic Party’s priorities. From court appointments to tough-on-crime laws to tracking stimulus spending, Biden has always served as a point-person, a figurehead for the Democratic Party’s agenda-item-of-the-moment, but he’s rarely acted as an independent leader who sets that agenda himself. 

It’s clear that Biden can be considered the Democratic Party in some way, but the reverse also holds true. Joe Biden is the Democratic Party, and that it’s the Democratic Party—with all of its internal conflicts and obsessions and activist-driven agenda items—that is acting through the White House right now. 

This is true, to some extent, in modern administrations. The president functions as de facto leader of a party. The effect can be stronger with Biden as a figurehead politician, who has less responsibility for leading the party and more to manage the competing parties. 

It explains why the Biden Administration has so far been unable to prioritize the components of his spending bill in a meaningful way. Instead, he prefers to donate a small amount to each party’s activists. That helps to explain Biden’s quixotic support for a doomed voter rights bill as well as divisive Senate procedure reforms that aren’t going into effect. That helps also explain why Democrats behave as though they possess a commanding majority in the House, Senate and Senate and why Democratic party defections are sometimes treated as rebellion against a majority. Biden regards himself as moderate. However, he can be better described as moderate. Within the Democratic Party, and his lifelong inability to distinguish between the party and the country means that he is mostly focused on trying to unite the party—but not the country as a whole. 

And this, in turn, sheds light on why Biden has so far been unable to serve the voters who went for him in 2020 because they wanted a return to normalcy and all that entailed—primarily a tolerable economy and a pandemic that no longer disrupted everyday life, but also less apocalypticism in Washington and less political rancor.

Those less partisan, less engaged voters—the kind who supported Biden mostly because he Trump was not there—are the sort of voters who, by and large, determine the success or failure of a presidency. For them, Biden is failing to live up to the campaign promises. Ironically, Biden’s failure to implement the kind of major-ticket policy reform demanded by progressive base is also failing. It won’t take long for Biden’s presidency to change from being “is failing” into “has failed” based on its current course.