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Can Joe Biden save America? The first 365 days of the post Trump era

Biden

On January 20th, 2021, Joe Biden was named the 46th president of the United States of America. It was a day filled with hope, not only for the US but for the entire world. Shortly after the violent invasion of the US Capitol on January 6th, the nation needed a new glimpse of hope. The Trump era had finally ended-at least for the next four years-and most did not even seem to care too much about who Biden actually was, as long as he wasn’t Trump. During his electoral campaign, Biden made many hopeful promises which helped him win over the majority of American voters.

One year later, one might start to wonder: Can Joe Biden bring his strained nation back together? And did he keep his electoral promises?

 The achievements 

 Rejoining Paris Climate Agreement

 One of the first promises Biden kept was rejoining the Paris climate agreement – one of the most important contracts in the battle against climate change – after Trump had left the agreement during his presidency. Biden furthermore pledged to cut down greenhouse gases by 30% until 2030. 

A more diverse judiciary

One significant step rarely mentioned by the media is Joe Biden’s appointment of 40 federal judges – 80% of which are women and 53% of which are people of colour. This decision has the potential to influence future nominations to the Supreme Court. Additionally, Biden put an end to Trump’s ban on transgender people in the US military. 

Under Biden, authorities have started to reunite families although

Zero tolerance policy

Under Trump’s zero tolerance policy, thousands of children were separated from their families whose parents were not allowed to cross the border. Adult migrants without documents were separated from their children, detained, and criminally prosecuted. Under Biden, authorities have started to reunite families although, due to the high number of cases and the high administrative effort, only about 100 children reunited with their families again.

Investments

Biden introduced a $1.9 trillion package to financially aid families during the pandemic. Additionally, his $1.2 trillion bill approved by the Republicans to improve America’s infrastructure including, for example, roads and airports, was the biggest investment in public work since the 1950s.

 The setbacks 

 Afghanistan

As Trump left the office, politicians from all over the world felt newly won optimism towards America’s foreign policy. Yet, Biden’s withdrawal of the US troops in Afghanistan in August 2021 constitutes a major failure. Even though Trump may have signed the initial agreement to withdraw the US troops, it was still Biden who executed his plan. Like Biden admitted himself his assumption that “the Afghan government would be able to hold on for a period of time beyond military drawdown” turned out not to be accurate. ​​Not only was the country left to the terrorist group the Taliban, but many innocent lives – both Afghans and Americans- were lost. Up until this day, the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates with every passing second. 

Gun violence

Despite  stricter gun control being one of Biden’s campaign promises including, for example, regulations on gun sales and purchases, such legislations remain to be seen. While many had hoped for Biden’s first year as president to elicit progress in the battle against gun violence, his legislative agenda remains unclear. His efforts to stop gun violence are clearly insufficient as nearly 20.000 people are reported to have been shot to death since Biden took over the White House. 

While Biden declared America’s independence from Covid in July, the virus now accounts for more than 800.000 deaths in the US

 The pandemic

 The effects of Biden’s fast vaccination strategy last spring seem to be wearing off now that the cases are once again rising due to the new omicron variant. While Biden declared America’s independence from Covid in July, the virus now accounts for more than 800.000 deaths in the US. Seems like Biden acted a little too fast… 

 Build back better

Biden failed to get approval from the republican party to issue his $3tn “build back better” bill he had advertised prior to his inauguration which included topics such as parental leave, health care, child support, and clean energy. 

 Economy

As expected, promises regarding the state of the economy play a major role in deciding which political candidate voters will favour. Americans are now experiencing the highest inflation rates of the 21st century. Opinion polls show that 69% of American voters disagree with Biden’s handling of inflation. It will be hard to persuade them that the US economy is blooming before this year’s midterm elections. However, as much as some voters may criticize Biden, unemployment rates decreased steadily to 4.2 % in November 2021, the lowest in 21 months. 

 The future?

 So, what is the future of Joe Biden’s presidency? This year’s  November midterm elections will give direct feedback to Biden’s first year in office. At the moment, Democrats have slim majorities in Congress, but Republicans hope to take over as Biden’s approval ratings fall. 

A fear of many, which casts a shadow on the future of America, is Trump’s potential comeback in 2024. Will he, once again, try to take over the US? Trump and his allies have scheduled multiple events for his donors and candidates, further distributing Trump’s political convictions and collecting money to “Make America Great Again, Again!”. 

Will Biden, whose nation’s disappointment is becoming stronger every day, hold a chance against Trump? Or is his rather fragile composure a direct reflection of his political perseverance?

Cover: Andrew Neel

Lea Teigelkötter
Lea is a 20-year-old Communication Science student living in Amsterdam. Next to her passion for all things starting with the letter F: Food, Fitness, Fashion, Feminism and the TV show Friends, as a writer, she loves to get serious and discuss contemporary issues in our society. Working for Medium Magazine finally allows her to channel her inner Carrie Bradshaw.

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