Biden enters a politically perilous phase

By Damon Linker, The Week

How low will he go?

That’s the question those watching President Biden’s aggregate approval rating have been pondering since early August.

For the entirety of Biden’s first several months in office, from January through early June, he remained above 52 percent. Then, in mid-June, he bottomed out to around 51 percent before rebounding. There was a similar trough in mid-July followed by an identical recovery. But then, at the end of July, came the cliff. First 51 percent. Then 50 percent. Then, just as the Afghan government and military collapsed in mid-August, came 49, 48, 47, 46, and his current approval rating of 45 percent.

How worried should Democrats be? If the midterm elections of 2022 were coming up later this month, panic would be perfectly reasonable. But of course the midterms are more than a year away — several eternities in today’s hyper-accelerated news cycle. For all we know, Biden could bounce back, collapse, and recover several more times by then.

Yet there are other reasons for Democratic concern — reasons deeply embedded in the structure of our polarized politics and the legislative choices the president has made in the first six months of his presidency.


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