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The President is popular. You Biden Believe It!



Who would have ever thought it…Joe Biden continues to be one of the most historic presidents in the history of the United States of America.


The man who turns 80 years old in a matter of weeks, who forgets large parts of his stump speeches and who was essentially locked in a cupboard and not allowed to campaign for most of this election, is in fact still loved by 92% of people who voted for him 24 months ago. That is the reality of exit polling across key states in Arizona, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Georgia.


Two years ago, Biden won the presidency with more votes cast for the former Senator from Delaware, than has even been cast for a single person in the history of American politics.


Now, two years on and two years out from the next Presidential election and Biden has once again made history.


On Tuesday in the midterm elections, the Democrats were supposed to be annihilated in a “Red Wave”. Just as happened to Presidents Obama and Clinton halfway through their first terms. In fact, every President dating back to Ronald Reagan in 1982 has suffered major setbacks at the ballot box in their first term, with the exception of President George W Bush in the wake of 9/11.


Biden has seemingly and somehow avoided the inevitable backlash. That is not to say the Republicans won’t take control of the House of Representatives or even the Senate. They might. But not by much.


Going into Tuesday, many pundits predicted a bloodbath. They expected a majority in the House of Representatives of over sixty and they believed several Democratic Senate seats were either vulnerable or a guaranteed Republican win, such as in Georgia or Nevada where the Democratic incumbent is doing much better than anticipated.


The red wave hasn’t come to pass.


So why did Biden’s Democrats do so well? I’d argue it was for three reasons; organisation, legislation and polarisation.


Let me take each in turn.


Firstly, the 2020 Presidential Election was conducted in the height of the covid pandemic’s ‘second wave’. Who could forget that just days before the election, President Donald J Trump himself was rushed to hospital with breathing difficulties after contracting the virus.


Steroids, rather than bleach, seemed to help him muster the strength to close out his campaign, but he lost and lost big. The reason was because of how well the Democrats had organised ‘mail in ballots’. In British political terms, this means postal votes.


In 2020, 8 in 10 postal votes were Democratic. Trump couldn’t believe the level of organisation that Democrat state parties had managed to achieve, so he called it fraud.


What is clear is that Democrats have managed to keep many of those postal voters engaged and voting once again. Record turnout for a midterm election has seen the Democrats fare more competitively and win many seats that they simply should and would have lost if the postal vote count wasn’t so high.


It is a level of organisation that Republicans simply cannot match. If they fail to match the Democratic Party’s machine in 2024, then they can forget about winning the White House. The election will be over before polling day even starts.


Second is legislation. If ever there was a President who understands how Congress works, it is Biden. He spent 36 years in Congress as a Senator. He was the President of the Senate when he served as Obama’s Vice President. He understands nuance and compromise.


In just two years Biden has already racked up an impressive suite of legislative successes. On climate change, he passed a bill with record investment that paved the way for new environmentally friendly manufacturing schemes. His Infrastructure Bill is already building roads, bridges and railways and expanding access to clean water and high-speed internet as well as, dare I say it, “levelling up” the forgotten communities of America. In response to the swathe of school shootings, he passed modest gun reform – the first time a gun reform bill has passed through Congress since he led the 1994 bill banning semi-automatic weapons. And he has acted to lower prescription drug prices and cancel millions of poorer students’ college debt. Meanwhile, gas prices are falling and despite the tough economic climate, people in the US genuinely believe Biden cares and has empathy for them.


It is a policy record that didn’t go unnoticed by voters.


Third and perhaps most newsworthy, is the quasi-rejection of polarisation.


Trump kept stumping in this election and made it clear over the weekend that he plans to use a 15th November speech to announce he is running for President in 2024. The problem was, everywhere he went, local candidates for congress ran away from him. That is because he is a deeply unpopular figure in American politics, who had far too big a stranglehold on the Republican party. After this election, that chokehold on the Republican party will be over. He won’t win the Republican nomination for President, and he knows it.


After the January 6th riots, far too many moderate Republicans still feared that a vote for a Republican candidate for the House or Senate was in fact a vote for Trump. Without his interference in this election, it is likely that the GOP would have fared much better in some of these states.


The crucial point I am trying to make here, is that just like in the UK, decency is on the rise in politics. Boris was rejected by the Tory MPs in October, Trump was rejected by the voters in November. The clowns may still roam the streets, but the circus has moved out of town.

The commentary of Joe Biden is always, it seems, negative. “He’s too old” or “He’s a fool” or “They need someone else”. Common refrains when talking about Biden, but it misses the point. Biden did the world a favour in 2020 but he has been hard at work ever since and he is delivering on many of his election promises. Biden is forever, unfairly, underestimated.


In a winter which will be tougher than many can remember, people are looking for certainty and compassion at the top of their government, not chaos and narcissism. In Joe they trust.


As we move into the second half of Biden’s first term, many people are asking whether Biden will run for a second term. Discussions have, we are told, already started amongst senior White House officials and party donors. Those discussions will take on a new dynamic after these midterms because, whilst this election spells the end for Trump, it may prove that despite his age, Biden is in fact, just getting started.



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