Biden’s Approval Ratings Crumble: Is He Really “Building Back” America?


Biden’s approval ratings are sinking, due in part to his withdrawal of troops. (Courtesy of Facebook)

America, along with the rest of the world, was a different place a year ago as the nation’s most contentious presidential election in history kept Americans and world leaders on the edge of their seats. On Nov. 7, Biden’s win was enough to send many Americans jumping from their seats in celebration of the end of the Trump era. After more than eight months in office, it is clear just how much voters’ stance on the Biden administration has changed.

During the 2020 presidential election, a sentiment many Americans held was “anyone but Trump,” which led to support behind Democratic candidate Joe Biden. However, when Americans’ honeymoon phase with Biden ended, individuals still found themselves faced with the COVID-19 pandemic running rampant. The Biden administration remained determined to tackle COVID-19 with stringent mandates and to revive what was left of the economy in the wake of the pandemic. As if COVID-19 was not already enough of a defining challenge for the Biden administration, the world had yet to witness Biden’s disastrous withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

The decision alone was enough to draw disapproval from Republicans. Senator Lindsey Graham called it “a disaster in the making.” Biden’s sinking approval ratings paint a larger picture of national ire. Following the botched withdrawal of American troops and Afghan allies, Biden’s rating plummeted to a meager 50.7%, down 10% since early August. Biden’s approval rating seems to have fallen alongside Afghanistan. World powers remain shaken at the resurgence of the Taliban, which has effectively been given free reign in Afghanistan due to America’s withdrawal. 

As if this was not harrowing enough, 13 U.S. service members were killed due to the violence at the Kabul airport as American troops and Afghan allies desperately tried to flee the now Taliban-run country. The tragedy that unfurled in Afghanistan was so catastrophic for Biden’s presidency that a new survey by Rasmussen Reports suggests Trump would defeat Biden by a six-point margin if the election were held today.

An election rematch between Biden and Trump seems increasingly likely, as Trump continues to comment on the cumbersome Afghanistan troop withdrawal, insisting he would have done a better job. Truthfully, there are areas where the former president particularly excelled over Biden, one of which being the handling of Middle Eastern relations. Specifically, Trump was able to continue the Obama administration’s trend of scaling back the presence of ISIS in the Middle East. In a historic feat, Trump successfully had ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi executed in Syria. This sent the message that Americans would not be intimidated by acts of foreign terrorism.

While President Biden is improving America’s fragmented economy, Trump oversaw a flourishing economy before the arrival of the pandemic, with record-breaking GDP and substantial job growth. Trump also focused on cultivating a stronger military presence. Even if the move was a rhetorical one, Trump effectively communicated the might of the American military so opposing world powers were made aware of its strength and power. President Biden is currently failing at maintaining this power move with the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

President Biden has superseded Trump by leaps and bounds in several other key areas, the most notable being his pandemic response. Where Trump reprehensibly downplayed the severity of the pandemic, Biden worked swiftly to make vaccines widely available to the public, and more than half of Americans are now fully vaccinated

President Biden is also navigating the partisan divide better than his predecessor. Biden managed to garner the support of 19 Republicans for his $1 trillion infrastructure deal, highlighting the possibilities of bipartisanship. Infrastructure is another area where Biden holds the high ground over Trump. Not only is Biden focusing on passing a massive infrastructure bill, but he is dedicated to rebuilding areas ravaged by crises such as Hurricane Ida.

It is understandable that some Biden voters are expressing a sort of  “buyer’s remorse” following his troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, but to suddenly hail Trump as the answer to America’s problems is questionable and asinine.

The fall of Afghanistan exposed the Biden administration’s weak point in foreign affairs. This was already made apparent when swarms of immigrant caravans forced their way through the southern border with a feeble response from Vice President Kamala Harris. 

Immigration was the foundation of Trump’s campaign in 2016. In 2021, it is destroying Biden’s reputation and may be what reignites Trumpism in 2024.

Noah Osborne, FCRH ’23, is a journalism major from Harlem, N.Y.