The biggest mystery in American politics right now—and perhaps the most consequential one—is how Joe Biden became so unpopular.
Biden began his presidency moderately popular: At the start, Quinnipiac University’s polling found that 53 percent of Americans approved of him and 36 percent did not. Today’s numbers are the mirror image: In a Quinnipiac poll released yesterday, 36 percent approve, while 53 percent disapprove. FiveThirtyEight’s average of polls finds him doing slightly better—42.8 to 51.7—but still in a consistent slide since the end of July. The numbers are very polarized, but Republicans have always disapproved strongly of Biden; the big difference here is erosion among Democrats and independents.
This reversal could have wide-ranging effects. Biden still hopes to pass a massive social-spending program, for which he needs uniform Democratic support. Depending on their understanding of the causes for the slide, members of Congress might defect. Biden’s unpopularity may already have cost Democrats the Virginia governorship and nearly sunk Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey too. If Biden is this unpopular in a year, congressional Democrats will be entirely swamped in the midterms.
But although the effects are evident, the causes are not. Even in today’s era of heavily quantified politics, some enigmas remain. Here are a few of the theories in play for why the president keeps losing ground, as well as their flaws.
Familiarity, like politics, breeds contempt. Combine the two and you get a toxic result. Although nearly every president (Donald Trump is a notable exception) takes office with good feelings and some approval from the public, they also almost always lose it soon. Campaign promises hit the rough reality of governance, voters forget the happy vibes of the campaign, and they sour on the guy they elected. In recent times, Americans tend to just hate whoever’s in power. If you think Biden’s numbers are bad, look at how Congress is doing, according to Quinnipiac: Democrats are at 31–59, and Republicans are at an even worse 25–62.
This theory is undoubtedly true, but it doesn’t seem to account for all the facets of the Biden slide. In particular, it doesn’t explain what happened in August, when Biden’s numbers flipped and his approval went underwater.
That inversion happened just as the Biden administration was fumbling the withdrawal from Afghanistan. At the time, many tempered observers (including me) guessed that although the withdrawal might be a tactical or moral catastrophe, it would not be a political one—or at least not an enduring political one. Big events like the withdrawal, which drew extensive media coverage, can temporarily depress a president’s standing, but this one seemed unlikely to endure. First, voters don’t really tend to weight foreign policy heavily in their assessments; second, majorities of Americans had supported leaving Afghanistan for years, Trump among them.
[Read: When bipartisanship risks undermining democracy]
With nearly three months’ perspective, we appear to have been wrong. Biden’s numbers never recovered, and have continued to slide—even though Afghanistan has largely disappeared from the headlines once more. Perhaps the effects endured because the withdrawal called Biden’s competence—one of his core campaign selling points—into question, and because the debacle encouraged a general pessimism about the country’s standing overall.
Something else happened right around the time of the Afghanistan withdrawal: COVID staged a distressing comeback, even though vaccines had become widely available. The summer had seemed to be a moment of freedom, but then it became clear that the disease hadn’t gone away. Biden’s approval on COVID handling in an NBC News poll, as high as 69 percent in April, fell to 53 percent. What exactly that means is a little unclear. Some disapproval could be from liberal COVID hawks upset that the disease was on the rise; some could be from conservative doves annoyed about vaccine mandates and other lingering measures. Either way, it seems to have dragged Biden down.
[David A. Graham: The right’s total loss of proportion]
During the campaign, Biden promised to do better than Trump on COVID. His ability to connect to voters through grief seemed matched to the moment, but that moment seems over. The national COVID toll recently passed 750,000 and was met with a shrug. Voters don’t want consolation—they want normalcy, and delivering that is likely beyond the ability of any president. Anger about schools being closed for long stretches of the pandemic seems to have been a major factor in Republican victories in Virginia this month. Since August, COVID has waned—by the end of September, the liberal pollster Navigator found that the portion of Americans who thought the worst of the pandemic was yet to come was shrinking fast—and is now waxing again. Biden’s approval has kept sliding through the waves.
Inflation, Especially Gas Prices
COVID continues to ail the economy too—especially in the form of inflation. By many measures, Americans are better off than they have been in some time (though of course averages elide uneven distribution of gains), and employment is growing quickly. Yet opinions on the economy remain negative. A likely culprit is inflation, which is devouring wage increases. Supply-chain problems, shifts in demand, and the effects of major government stimulus earlier this year all feed rising prices. Biden’s credibility here is also hobbled by the fact that he and his advisers promised that any inflation would be ephemeral, but it has stuck around.
Some progressives have argued, citing historical evidence, that the public’s bleak views of inflation are almost entirely a factor of gas prices. Almost all Americans have to buy gas regularly, and the prices are advertised in large font or LED lights on the street, making rising costs for each gallon very visible. The left-wing firm Data for Progress contends that while the Afghanistan withdrawal hurt Biden, controlling for it produces a clean relationship between gas prices and Biden approval, though it’s not clear whether causation exists here or merely correlation.
Democrats in Disarray
Biden’s campaign was all about likability and light on policy, which makes the current situation all the more unusual: Biden is unpopular, while his policies are in vogue. That’s inconvenient for critics who say the problem is that liberal Democrats have overreached, but it still presents a conundrum of why a president with such well-liked ideas is so disliked. Part of the blame has to fall on the nightmarish process by which his party is attempting to enact those policies. Democrats have been at war with one another for months in Washington, and even if voters like the results, the spectacle is deeply unpleasant. You can’t turn on a cable-news channel these days without hearing a Democrat explaining why his or her least-favorite part of the Biden agenda is bad, which may be more persuasive than the predictable parade of Republicans saying the same thing.
[Read: The bad guys are winning]
If that’s true, it helps explain why Biden’s slide has been particularly driven by eroding support among Democrats and independents. Disaffection could entail several different, conflicting impulses. Some Democrats are upset that the party hasn’t moved fast enough, others that it hasn’t prioritized their personal preferences, and still others that it’s pursuing ideas they dislike. The end result is the same: The party’s a mess, and people who voted for it are annoyed.
Know Your Enemy
One way to keep restive Dems in the fold is to give them something to be opposed to—and that’s sorely missing for Biden. From about two weeks into his presidency, Trump’s approval was low and his disapproval high, but those numbers remained largely stable. That’s because unlike Biden, Trump was good at keeping his base riled up. He always gave them someone to be angry at. Biden isn’t a rabble-rouser, though the same dynamic helped him in 2020. When he was least visible, he was most popular, and many Democrats said they were more energized to beat Trump than elect Biden.
This is an age of affective partisanship, where politics is driven to a dangerous degree by antipathy for the other team. But Biden doesn’t have a convenient villain now. Democrats tried to make the Virginia gubernatorial race about Trump but still lost. Republicans, now on the margins, feel persecuted and riled up, but when a party controls the White House, House, and Senate, its supporters tend to get complacent. If Biden doesn’t turn around his approval quickly, Democrats will soon have plenty of opportunities to feel their own sense of disaster and persecution, though by then, that will be small consolation.
This article was originally published in The Atlantic. Sign up for their newsletter.
Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown is on the horizon and fans of the series will be eager to know when the confirmed release date is.
The upcoming virtual racing sim will be the 21st since the series began back in 2012 and is being developed by KT Racing underneath the Nacon development banner, with the game branching out onto next-gen consoles for the first time.
Players will be able to drive some of the world’s most exotic cars from brands such as Ferrari, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Dodge and many more – set on Hong Kong Island and based in the Far East for the first time.
With Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown set to go head to head with the likes of Forza Horizon 5 and Gran Turismo 7, gamers will be curious when they can get their hands on this all-new driving game.
In what is one of the long-running games currently in the gaming industry, fans are apprehensive to experience driving high-performance cars under the bright lights, last the beautiful Victoria Peak and down the infamous Nathan Road in Kowloon.
Read more: Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown: Release Date, Car List, Map, Platforms, Pre Order, Trailer, UK And More
Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown Release Date
Nacon have confirmed that their luxury virtual driving experience will be available to purchase on 22nd September 2022 for multiple platforms – including PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
The Hong Kong Island environment will vastly differ from the Ibiza setting that was brought to gamers last time out – with the attention of detail as far as visuals are concerned expected to be far greater than any other game that’s come before in the franchise.
As pictured above, the Land Rover SVR is one of several cars that players will be able to get behind the wheel of, thanks to the copyright deal that was attached to the announcement video that featured last year.
It’s an exciting time to be a fan of racing games, with Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown joining what is proving to be a congested sector of the gaming industry.
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Democrats want to avoid a government default on its debt and pass Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.
A bipartisan effort to authorize defense spending is also on the table to pass before the new year.
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Congress is back in session after a Thanksgiving recess, and lawmakers have a hefty agenda on their plates to complete before Christmas.
Two weeks ago, the House passed President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better framework, and while that was a significant step toward advancing Democrats’ social-spending agenda, they still have a ways to go. Not only does that framework face the Senate now, where it will likely see additional cuts and amendments, but Democrats also have to deal with averting a government shutdown, raising the debt ceiling, and passing a defense spending bill — all of which they hope to accomplish in December.
“As you know, the legislative agenda for the remainder of 2021 is considerable,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told lawmakers in a letter before Thanksgiving. “I am confident we can get each of these important items done this year, but it will likely take some long nights and weekends,” he added.
Raise the debt ceiling by Dec. 5 to keep the US funded and avoid a government shutdown
The first matter Democrats must tackle is avoiding a government shutdown. On October 6, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stepped in to help Democrats raise the debt ceiling and keep the government funded an additional two months. That measure expires in just five days, on December 5, meaning Democrats must figure out a way to once again ensure the US can continue paying its bills.
Although in the months leading up to October, Democrats struggled to raise the debt ceiling given the GOP stance that Democrats must do it on their own without Republican assistance, Insider reported last week that this time around may not quite the political standoff. McConnell and Schumer met to discuss the quickly approaching deadline.
“We had a good discussion about several different issues that are all extant here as we move toward the end of the session and we agreed to keep talking and working together to try to get somewhere,” McConnell told HuffPost following the meeting.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that after December 15, she is not confident the Treasury will have the resources to fund the government and stressed the need for the matter to be addressed in a bipartisan way. Democrats like Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar agree.
“You know, if the Republicans want to scrooge out on us, and increase people’s interest rates and make it hard to make car payments — go ahead, make that case,” Klobuchar told ABC News. “We’re going to stop them from doing that.”
Democrats’ sweeping climate and social-welfare package
The vast majority of Democrats have been very clear: Americans need Biden’s Build Back Better agenda signed into law as soon as possible. While the House succeeded in a passing a $2 trillion framework this month, their version is certainly not final as it now rests in the Senate.
As Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported, there are a number of measures that could get cut from the bill due to opposition from centrist Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. For example, Manchin had concerns with the inclusion of four weeks of paid leave, arguing it could grow the national debt, and he has also pushed back against expanding Medicare.
Meanwhile, progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders would like to see the bill “strengthened.” After the House passed the bill, he called for the inclusion of lower prescription drug prices, increased taxes on the wealthy, and more robust climate reform.
Biden previously said he would like to sign this bill into law “as soon as possible.”
A bipartisan task: authorizing key defense programs
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are hoping to finalize the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022, which will likely be the easiest thing lawmakers can pass this month. The NDAA has historically been bipartisan, and as The Washington Post reported, lawmakers are hoping to pass the $768 billion annual measure this week.
However, this measure is being considered far later than it had in previous years and has raised concerns for some lawmakers that Congress could break a 60-year streak and fail to pass the defense policy bill.
“Don’t mess up the one thing that you can count on the Senate to do in a bipartisan way every year,” Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine told Politico. “A Senate that cannot do this hardly deserves the title.”