Pictured: President Joe Biden. Photo by ©palinchak/123RF.COM

by Paul Moomjean

It has been just a shade over a year since the 2020 presidential election. Since then we’ve had one insurrection and a ton of court battles and conspiracy theories thrown against the wall to see what sticks. Regardless, Joe Biden is the elected president of the United States. He ran a quiet campaign, allowing then-President Donald Trump to ramble on about how COVID-19 would magically disappear, only to see the government become the Achilles heel of effective change.

Despite my personal antagonism toward Trump, in all honesty, no one was going to survive re-election after a year of lockdowns, mask wars, a failed economy, protests and impeachment hearings. Yet here we are. A nation at the crossroads, with a 79-year-old man (Biden’s birthday is Nov. 20) literally asleep at the wheel as his party took a beating in the recent elections. It’s only been a year, with three to go, and with the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill being passed, what happens next will shape the future of this country in ways no other president could.  

USA Today reported last week, “A year before the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans hold a clear lead on the congressional ballot as President Joe Biden’s approval rating sinks to a new low of 38%.” Some reports later argued that once the recent infrastructure passed, he went up to 42%. Still, those are dismal numbers. Only Trump was lower. While one could argue he’s faced a pandemic and vaccine culture war, he asked to be president, knowing full well this was the game he had to play and cards he was dealt. 

Vice President Kamala Harris has been even less effective in inspiring others. Harris, brought on for being fiery and outspoken, has been absent from the media and public life. The LA Times reported, “as of Nov. 9, 41% of registered voters had a favorable opinion of Harris and 51% had an unfavorable opinion — a net rating of -10 percentage points.” 

While Harris is her own woman, she is a political choice of Biden, showing that once the fog of Trump is removed and decisions and personalities are standing alone and not comparable, the American people seem disappointed. Those who defend Biden are just simply Democrats who point at the other guy. But with Trump gone, the party has no real villain or real mission. We saw that play out in the recent elections where Virginia went red all over and New Jersey’s most powerful state senator, Steve Sweeney, lost to a truck driver named Edward Durr. Durr spent approximately $2,000 on the campaign. 

In the middle of all this political chaos is Biden, facing the fire for not focusing on the economy, not creating effective vaccine branding, and trying to play the woke card with his base. In his promise to unite, like all presidents before him, he has failed. 

CNN reported the top concerns of the country based on party lines: “The nation’s top concerns — like its views on many things — are sharply divided by party. Among Republicans, roughly half (51%) choose the economy as their top concern, with immigration (23%) and national security (13%) far behind. Just 4% of Republicans call coronavirus the nation’s most important problem. Independents likewise rate the economy tops (38%), followed by coronavirus (18%), immigration (13%) and climate (11%). Among Democrats, though, 34% name coronavirus as the top problem, followed by the economy at 20%, about even with the climate at 18%. Another 8% say immigration is their top issue. Just 3% of Democrats cite national security as their top issue, with Republicans similarly unlikely to be focused on climate change, racial injustice or education.”

If we have learned anything, the unpopularity of Biden stems from the same “let’s bring us all together” mumbo jumbo that never will happen. A country divided is now the norm and should be addressed as such from now on. If Biden wants to regain strength and increase his ability to lead, he needs better messaging and a backbone. One thing we learned with the great presidents is that they said what they meant and moved forward. And his enemies will respect him for being upfront and forthright. 

There’s another three years to go, and if we are going to get through all these pandemic, social justice, and vaccine issues, we’ll need a president who isn’t afraid to become popular by doing the unpopular when called upon.