December 7, 2021

The World Stock Markets Tips & Targets, News, Views & Updates

The World Stock Markets Tips & Targets, News, Views & Updates

View: The accumulation of domestic problems is certainly a big challenge for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

There’s major evidence of trouble in paradise. Joe Biden celebrated his 79th birthday last Saturday quietly as he might. The swirl of problems around him is thick – poor approval ratings, poorer still for his vice-president, inflation at a 30-year high, an explosive border situation, recent Democratic losses in Virginia and elsewhere, the Afghanistan debacle and a persistent pandemic.

There is more. Some White House officials can’t get along with some on Kamala Harris‘ staff, and they are losing patience. Leaks about the infighting have increased, as have controversies involving the vice-president. Harris is a relative novice in Washington and saddled with no-win issues – immigration and voting rights.

Add to the long list, the deep fissures between moderates and leftists within the Democratic Party. Both camps are convinced of their righteousness, and will keep pulling in opposite directions. It dims the party’s prospects for the 2022 mid-term elections, especially after the recent shocks. Democrats could lose their razor-thin majorities in both the House and the Senate.

Biden’s job approval ratings are between a lousy 36% and a pretty bad 42%, despite all the lavish spending bills he pushed to stimulate the economy. He finally signed the much-hyped $1.3 trillion infrastructure bill into law, but after painfully long displays of Democratic Party’s factional feuds. Republicans watched in glee. They are confident they will take over Capitol Hill next year.

Interestingly, Biden’s ratings started diving around August after the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. His political managers had claimed the decision wouldn’t hurt him domestically because most Americans wanted out. Apparently, it did. The chaotic withdrawal, the thousands of Afghans left behind and the anger among US veterans raised questions about Biden’s overall competence and judgement.

Voters, especially ‘independents’ who switch easily, began to focus. Expert Republican exploitation of the Afghan crisis hurt Biden, to say nothing of the next foreign policy misstep – French anger at the US-Britain-Australia (Aukus) security alliance. Biden sent Harris to make up. But she didn’t exactly wow the French. Her American-style tightly controlled five-day visit went unnoticed in Paris.

In the background, Covid infections have been rising. The US is now averaging more than 83,000 cases a day. With Christmas around the corner, people are worried about a winter surge. The Biden administration’s messaging on vaccines, masks and mandates was confusing and contentious. Disinformation is galore. Fatigue and facts are colliding.

Now, a respected media outlet has gone and put the big question about Biden’s health and mental fitness into the mainstream. Last week, a Morning Consult-Politico poll (bit. ly/3nKiSFk) found voters have ‘increasing doubts’ about the US’ oldest president. Only 40% agree Biden ‘is in good health’, while 50% disagree.

With no Donald Trump to present a constant contrast, Biden can no longer say, ‘Compare me to the alternative, not to the Almighty.’ He is being watched for every misstep. Biden has told allies he will run again in 2024. He had to say it even if he didn’t mean it to avoid becoming a lame duck. The message is also designed to tamp down runaway ambition of some of the progressives.

But his V-P‘s approval ratings are worse than his own. A Suffolk University-USA Today poll (bit.ly/ 3HQklSK) released earlier this month showed Harris at an abysmal 27.8%, a shockingly low number for someone who has many ‘firsts’ to her name. It’s partly because the Republicans relentlessly demonise her.

But there’s no question that Harris is struggling to her feet in this brutal town. Remember, she served only one term as a US senator before deciding to run for president in 2020. She didn’t make an impact and bowed out. Harris couldn’t pull a Barack Obama, who also rushed to become president after just one term in the senate. But he succeeded.

Kamala ‘chithi’ cuts a sympathetic figure for many, especially for African Americans, who feel she gets little support from the White House because she is a woman of colour. I don’t know about that because Biden’s people seem plenty woke and wouldn’t undermine the V-P because of race.

But are they letting her flounder because of politics and old grudges? I wonder if Jill Biden has really forgiven Harris for upstaging her husband and implying he was a racist during a crucial debate in the Democratic primaries. The future first lady was furious, and reportedly used an expletive for Harris in a group call with supporters a week later.

Potus-V-P battles are not unusual. But the accumulation of domestic problems is certainly a big challenge for the ol’ man.

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