Tuesday’s midterm elections are a referendum on US President Joe Biden, 79: Voters want to use the so-called midterms, halfway through the president’s term, to settle scores with the ruling party.
Biden, who will be in office since early 2021, has suffered from poor approval ratings for more than a year. In polls, only about 40 percent of voters are satisfied with his job. Summary of his tenure so far:
The multi-billion aid package launched in spring 2021 has made a significant contribution to mitigating the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and getting the economy moving again. Unemployment fell rapidly, with the unemployment rate now back to 3.5 percent, the lowest level in 50 years.
However, consumer prices also rose faster than in many other countries as the economy recovered from the impact of the pandemic and faced international supply chain problems. Growth has received a new impetus from Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, particularly rising gasoline prices.
Meanwhile, US inflation hit a 40-year low of 9.1 percent. Although it has recently come down to 8.2 percent, this has not assuaged the discontent of many. Inflation is a top issue for voters, according to polls — and it’s weighing heavily on Biden’s Democrats ahead of the election.
Foreign Correspondent Schumacher: “Disappointment is especially high among Trump supporters.”(03:17)
Biden, who came out with an ambitious reform agenda, had a tough time from the start: As opposition Republicans block a minority in the Senate, they can block most legislative texts in Congress. Despite several setbacks, Biden has managed to achieve some successes: a year ago, Congress approved a major infrastructure package and in August, after a long delay, a major climate protection and social package that was significantly diluted compared to the original plans.
Biden failed in other areas: Reform to combat police violence against blacks stalled in the Senate, as did election law reform. Despite the shocking spate of gun attacks, Congress only tightened minimum gun laws in June. Biden also had to watch helplessly as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a nearly 50-year-old nationwide right to abortion in June.
Foreign and Security Policy
After Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, 76, went it alone during his tenure and repeatedly alienated his Western allies, Biden has begun to return to a more traditional foreign policy. He relied on international cooperation and began to re-strengthen transatlantic ties.
But with the chaotic Afghan withdrawal and the return to power of the radical Islamist Taliban in Kabul in August 2021, Biden suffered a severe setback. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has led to the biggest crisis in Europe since World War II. The United States warned like no other country of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine — now one of the most important supporters of the government in Kiev.
Biden has focused on increasingly powerful rival China, but so far there have been no concrete results. It is mired in difficult efforts to renew the international nuclear deal with Iran.
A determined fight against the coronavirus pandemic was one of Biden’s key campaign promises. Rapid progress in the vaccination campaign raised hopes that the epidemic would soon end – but these were quickly dashed: the US was hit by the delta variant in the summer of 2021 and the omicron variant in the winter, leading to recorded infections.
Meanwhile, most US citizens are at peace with the coronavirus. Although hundreds of people continue to die every day as a result of the infection, there are almost no corona restrictions. Unlike the 2020 election campaign, the pandemic played no role this time.
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