Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
US President Joe Biden has now been in office for two and a half years, which gives us enough time to examine his progress on major domestic and foreign policy issues. Biden has already announced that he will be running for reelection in 2024. The success or failure of his administration’s domestic and foreign policies will play a crucial role in his bid for reelection.
Biden’s approval rating this month dipped to one of its lowest points so far. In general, a majority of Americans disapprove of the job he is doing as president, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll. Biden’s approval rating lingered at 40 percent in early July, which is slightly lower than the previous month’s approval rating and is lower than the approval ratings of many of his predecessors, including Barack Obama and George W. Bush, at this point in their respective presidencies.
On the domestic level, the key issues for the American public include employment, inflation, immigration, the healthcare system and the crime rate. But the single most important concern for the American people is most likely related to the economy. The rising cost of living, along with the cost of basic needs and commodities, high interest rates, supply chain issues, a dwindling workforce and high inflation are putting a lot of pressure on the working class and on small businesses. It was reported in December last year that the average American family had lost about $7,100 in purchasing power due to inflation and higher interest rates during Biden’s presidency.
For example, Ashley Bachman, a mother of three and restaurant owner from West Virginia, stated: “Unfortunately, after COVID we have been hit with another crisis. The crisis of rising costs of everything … Our little restaurant has been bleeding money due to all the increased costs and I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to continue with the prices the way they are.” And Chuck Mills, the owner and operator of his family’s manufacturing company in Oklahoma, said: “The lack of workforce and supply chain issues, combined with inflationary pressures, have made this economy the most difficult economy I have dealt with in over four decades.” Another key issue is the national debt, which increased by almost $4 trillion in the first two years of the Biden administration. Some people also disapprove of the White House’s approach to immigration, as there have been about 6 million illegal border crossings since Biden assumed office. There has also been an increase in the number of drug trafficking and human trafficking offenses.
On the other hand, the president’s most noticeable domestic accomplishments include passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, aka the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Biden signed this $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law. According to the White House, it will rebuild “America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind.” The Biden administration also launched a historic $20 billion program in grant competitions for investment in clean energy. In addition, the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act provides $369 billion for climate-related investments and offers tax breaks.
When it comes to Biden’s foreign policy, a majority of Americans disapprove of the way the president is handling America’s affairs. This is most likely due to the administration’s approach to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. His approval rating for the way he handled Russia in the buildup to its invasion last year was just 36 percent, according to a Gallup poll. Although some people believe that the president’s cautious foreign policy has kept the US from being dragged into a full-fledged war with Moscow, many believe the administration has failed to adequately handle the situation. This is likely because the Biden administration does not appear to have an articulate and clear agenda or an endgame for resolving the conflict. In other words, the administration’s policy seems to be anchored in only providing weapons, ammunition and financial assistance to Ukraine. For example, Biden in February announced nearly half a billion dollars of additional assistance for Kyiv, including “the delivery of artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars to help protect the Ukrainian people from aerial bombardments.” However, National Public Radio reported: “After Congress appropriated more than $112 billion in military and economic support in the space of a single year – and with no signs of an end to the conflict – polls show a growing number of Americans feel the United States is giving Ukraine too much.” Another foreign policy issue affecting Biden’s approval rating is the August 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan, which many people viewed as being poorly planned.
On the other hand, the Biden administration has fulfilled the president’s promise of repairing the damaged ties between the US and its European allies. Under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, relations between the transatlantic partners appeared to have been undermined beyond simple disagreements. The Biden administration has pursued a more conventional foreign policy with the EU by reaffirming American support for NATO. This has allowed Biden to restore normality in transatlantic ties. Nevertheless, challenges remain when it comes to trade and subsidy concerns. In a nutshell, Biden’s overall approval rating is low due to his administration’s handling of key issues, including the economy and foreign affairs. In order to increase his odds of winning the 2024 presidential election, the president needs to gain more support and improve his popularity by employing more informed domestic and foreign policies.