This Feels Like 1979 All Over Again as Biden’s Approval Collapses

This Feels Like 1979 All Over Again as Biden's Approval Collapses

( – It’s been a difficult few weeks for President Joe Biden. For decades, the president tried to position himself as a foreign policy expert due to his time on the Senate Foreign Intelligence Committee. Nearly a decade ago, former Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned America that Biden wasn’t the foreign policy guru he claimed to be. Now, Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan is embroiling America, and things aren’t looking good for him if history is any predictor of the future.

Two new polls show Biden’s approval ratings collapsing. It’s not just over Afghanistan; the public is souring on the president’s handling of the economy and COVID-19, as well. For some of us, this may feel like history repeating itself. If so, it could foretell a poor Democratic party midterm performance and foreshadow the presidential election, too.

Biden’s Approval Ratings

On Tuesday, August 24, two new public opinion surveys showed Biden’s approval is collapsing. In a USA Today/Suffolk University national poll, Biden’s ratings collapsed to 41% approval and 55% disapproval. Just a week ago, the president’s average approval ratings were above 50%. Unsurprisingly, Democrats give the president an 87% thumbs up. However, independents dropped like a rock to 32%.

In the critical battleground state of New Hampshire, it’s much the same. A University of New Hampshire survey saw Biden’s approval tank from 50% in July to 44% now.

The trends aren’t good for a president early in his first term. On August 22, An NBC poll saw Biden’s COVID approval drop from 69% in April to 53%. Americans approved of the presidents handling 52% in April to 47% last Sunday regarding the economy.

Combine all the issues, and it’s a disaster in waiting for a president who’s lost credibility.

What Does History Suggest?

In modern US history, only one story comes close to today’s challenges for this president. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter faced his own credibility challenge. Young Islamic extremists overtook Iran. They invaded the US embassy and took 54 Americans captive for 444 straight days. Carter attempted a PR campaign code-named the “Rose Garden Strategy.” Carter refrained from campaigning and hid inside the White House. He signed legislation, made pronouncements, and got free publicity.

The strategy was a trap. It backfired as Carter appeared aloof and out of touch. It personalized the crisis as the media focused the responsibility of the Iranian crisis directly on Carter.

Carter pivoted and tried negotiating with the terrorists. When that didn’t work, the former Commander in Chief attempted a severely botched rescue mission. In addition, the economy at the time was one of the worst since the Great Depression. Inflation was sky-high, gasoline prices were through the roof, and Americans struggled to make ends meet.

Is this sounding familiar? While the circumstances are different, the broad patterns are eerily similar.

For those old enough to remember those days, it may feel like deja vu. Except, Biden’s situation is much worse. In November 1979, Ronald Reagan defeated Carter in a landslide. The president lost all but six states and the District of Columbia.

What does this mean for America today? Like any prediction, yesterday’s results are no guarantee of tomorrow’s outcome. However, it may be extraordinarily difficult for Biden to overcome the reputation he’s earning as the Commander in Chief. Coming back from the botched Afghanistan withdrawal and the myriad other self-inflicted wounds on crucial issues such as the pandemic, economy, and immigration might be difficult. Biden is searing an impression of himself into the American conscience, and it isn’t good.

As it stands today, the GOP is primed to take over at least one, if not both, chambers of Congress. If that happens, Biden will be left out on an island to sink or swim by himself.

The president proved he couldn’t handle things with Congress at his back. He could be in serious trouble without it.

Time will tell.

Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst

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