President Joe Biden: 365 days in

President+Joe+Biden+listens+to+a+question+during+a+news+conference+in+the+East+Room+of+the+White+House+in+Washington%2C+Wednesday%2C+Jan.+19%2C+2022.

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden listens to a question during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.

Patrick Kane, World News Editor

Last Thursday marked yet another important milestone for President Joe Biden: his first full year in office. With a quarter of his first term gone by already, it is important to examine his term to judge how the commander-in-chief is holding up.

Back in May, I wrote a similar column highlighting Biden’s accomplishments of his first hundred days, as well as areas he could do better in. It was a fairly positive assessment, as I determined that outside of immigration, Biden was sticking to his guns and working towards the moderately progressive agenda he campaigned and won on. So, nine months later, does Biden’s performance still hold up?

No.

Joe Biden’s first year as President has not been good.

As of the time of this writing, Biden’s approval rating sits at 41.5%, with his disapproval at 53.9%, almost a complete reversal from May. Much of the goodwill Biden built up early in his administration has for the most part evaporated, with mainly partisanship being what is keeping him afloat. This is due to a series of roadblocks and blunders he has gone through throughout this past year, in many different areas.

Student Loans

The first of which is the topic of student loan forgiveness. As of 2021, American student borrowers owe a collective $1.57 trillion in total student debt. During the 2020 campaign, Biden promised to eliminate $10,000 of student debt from every borrower in the country. Recently, the Biden Administration touted $15 billion in student loan forgiveness. This certainly sounds impressive, except it would take $42.9 billion to fulfill his promise to wipe $10,000. Additionally, most of this money will be funneled through pre-existing programs, which will severely limit its availability. It’s relieving to see Biden continue on the proud Democratic tradition of campaigning on a good thing and then shooting themselves in the foot later on. And while Biden did extend the COVID-19 pandemic student loan repayment pause through May 1, that still does not address Biden’s disappointing performance in the area of student loan forgiveness.

COVID-19

On the topic, his administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has also been an abysmal failure thus far. As I noted in my original column, his initial response to the pandemic early on was a highlight. But as time has gone on, his performance has led to the pandemic entering its third calendar year. As a matter of fact, there have been more total COVID cases and deaths under Biden than there was under previous President Donald Trump. In addition, vaccination numbers have stagnated (though I put more of the blame on misinformation and contrarianism than I do Biden). Not helping matters is the Supreme Court striking down Biden’s vaccination mandate for large companies. And while the Biden Administration recently began a program to allow households to apply to receive four free COVID tests per household. Four. So good luck if you got more people than that. That doesn’t even begin to get into the original stimulus. Biden promised a $2,000 stimulus check to every American. It’s what won the Senate for the Democrats. So what happened? We got $1,400. But if you add it to the $600 dollar stimulus we got in December 2020, then technically that’s $2,000! We voted him in to receive needed economic relief, and instead, we got condescending math lessons. Despite a strong start, Biden has done very little since to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, especially amidst the rise of the Omicron variant.

Foreign Policy

The last main point of contention is foreign policy. The big story over the summer was the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and subsequent Taliban takeover. Now, I previously argued that, warts and all, the Afghan withdrawal was one of the smartest foregin policy moves of the last 20 years, and I stand by that statement still. That was a good move one Biden’s part. Unfortunately, it was undermined by the drone strike that killed 10 civilians (including 7 children) in Kabul during the withdrawal itself, inheriting a proud tradition from Trump and Barack Obama. Worst still, we might be on the verge of yet another conflict, as Russia threatens the sovereignty of the Ukraine. The West, including the United States, has no clear idea of whether or not we will have to take military action. If Biden gets us involved in a war with Russia (in winter, no less. Because historically that has always gone swimmingly.), that has the potential to once again, like wars typically do, divert attention away from important internal problems and back onto the American imperial project.

Miscellaneous

There are also a handful of other areas where Biden has failed. As previously mentioned, I have attacked Biden many times on his failures concerning immigration. Inflation is at the highest it’s been in years, and is being seen with food and gas prices. Vice President Kamala Harris has been an overall failure thus far. In a personal pet issue, Biden hasn’t even tossed a few crumbs towards the idea of marijuana legalization, despite its soaring popularity. And that’s not even mentioning the failure thus far of his Build Back Better agenda; in fairness, this is more due to the dilution and sabotage of the bill at the hands of conservative Democrats like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema.

Overall, Joe Biden’s presidency thus far has not been good. He has failed to keep promises, and that might cost him. Generic midterm polling has the Republicans in the lead by an average of 7%. Same with 2024, which is particularly frightening, as Trump seems almost certain to reenter the presidential fray, or possibly other Trump-adjacent candidates like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley. Either way, Biden’s failures thus far do not bode well for Democrats. While his presidency hasn’t been all bad, Biden has not met expectations he set during the 2020 campaign. While he still has at least three more years to straighten things out, the ball needs to get rolling now, or else the U.S. will end up at the exact same place Biden claimed he’d save us from.

Patrick Kane is a junior from Lakewood, Ohio and is the World News Editor. He can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter at @pkdonuts_5 or on Instagram at pkdonuts5.