United States: After a year in office, is the presidency of Joe Biden already screwed?

“I cannot vote for that. By announcing on the ultra-conservative Fox News channel his opposition to the “Build Back Better” plan, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin sent a little wind of panic to the White House. Here is the gigantic plan for social and ecological reforms, with a budget of 1. 73 billion dollars and who could make Joe Biden look like a 21st century Roosevelt, blocked by a member of his own camp . Obviously, it’s messy, especially after the return of the Taliban to Afghanistan and galloping inflation. From there to saying that the Biden presidency is already screwed up, a year after his election? 19 Minutes takes stock.

Assistance plan, investment plan, solid arguments

In addition to having spent his first weeks unraveling the most conservative measures of Donald Trump , Joe Biden signed a great victory in the spring: a gigantic stimulus plan of 1. 900 billion dollars to resuscitate an American economy damaged by Covid- 19, “very important and past quickly ”, indicates Nicole Bacharan, political scientist author of The great days which changed America . Another great achievement of the Pennsylvanian, his plan for infrastructures, which should revive “an aging America, where the roads are full of potholes, where one wonders whether one will pass on the bridge, where one no longer has access to the Internet outside the cities ”, lists Jean-Eric Branaa, lecturer at the Sorbonne specializing in American politics.

Fifty billion dollars have already been released to open access to fresh water in certain areas and as much to change the lead pipes. But the transformation, more than useful for a country “bordering on third world” in places, according to Nicole Bacharan, will take time. At least ten years. And Americans are not seeing the effects yet, even though this plan will generate many jobs.

Jobs, Covid – 19 and inflation, between good management and economic conditions

Level unemployment precisely, all the lights are green. Falling to 4.4% in December, “an unemployment rate is announced below 4% in January, which was the target for July 2022 ”, points out Jean-Eric Branaa. A sign that the strong economic recovery is a success, despite galloping inflation. A “corollary” according to the teacher, since people consume and have seen their wages increase after tense negotiations when labor became scarce. If he can hardly act on this cyclical rise in prices, the president may fear that it will cost him the “midterms.”

Another worrying situation on a daily basis for Americans, the epidemic of Covid – 12 is experiencing a new lease of life with the variant Omicron , which represents 73 % of contaminations in the United States. Here again, it is difficult for Joe Biden to do better, since his efforts on vaccination are limited by “Republicans’ anti-ax propaganda,” laments Nicole Bacharan. Despite everything, “the presence of the army in hospitals pleases, because we feel that there is a pilot on board”, image Jean-Eric Branaa.

The disintegration of the Democrats

For Joe Biden, the enemy may be inside. Elected to bring a little peace to everyday life after a Trump presidency marked by brilliance, he is disowned live in a Republican media by a man of his camp, Joe Manchin. “Biden’s promise of unity is a failure,” said Jean-Eric Branaa, who compared the two wings of the camp Democrat to “two kids fighting in the schoolyard”. In the Senate, where the two major parties of the country are on an equal footing, the president finds himself at the mercy of the lesser elected who wants to block him, which is never very good in terms of leadership. These internal disputes tire voters, who have inflicted a defeat on the Democrats in Virginia, while the governor’s seat was promised to Terry McAuliffe.

There remains the symbolic case of the “Build Back Better” plan, which was to “transform the America ”socially and environmentally. “Creation of public nursery schools, parental leave”, quotes Jean-Eric Branaa about the plan imagined by Bernie Sanders. All this does not exist across the Atlantic. “It will have no electoral importance,” he warns. All the more so since Joe Manchin “is playing politics” with his declaration, since Congress is on vacation and his opposition has been expressed in the conditional form. Which promises parties full of negotiations according to the lecturer, for whom the “BBB” is not not dead.

Stigmata from the Middle East

If there is one issue that may be prejudicial to Joe Biden’s presidency is the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan , immediately plunging the country into chaos with the return of the Taliban. Summoning the memory of the images of Saigon in 900, Nicole Bacharan said to himself that “Joe Biden will not recover”. Appeared “overwhelmed, weakened” according to her, the president tried to charge Donald Trump, who had initiated this withdrawal. “But nothing prevented him from undoing this decision like the others”, underlines the political scientist. Jean-Eric Branaa may well assert that “it’s good experience in the United States to stop sending soldiers and money abroad”, the impression of a debacle remains.

Especially since the American president has not been more clever elsewhere. First by falling out with France on the subject of submarines in Australia, then by struggling to counterbalance the Kremlin during the crisis on the Belarusian border. While Putin seems to be preparing an attack in Ukraine, “nothing is working” in China and even less in Iran, which still wants to acquire nuclear weapons, according to Nicole Bacharan.

Kamala Harris, future apprentice president?

On a daily basis, however, it is not Joe Biden who is the most attacked by his political opponents, but well Kamala Harris . Almost propelled to the rank of icon during the campaign, the vice-president must today be more discreet constitutionally. “She has no function in the executive, she cannot put herself forward, the decisions she takes in the working groups are not made public”, explains Nicole Bacharan.

But “we already have the Democratic candidate for 2024 “, advances Jean-Eric Branaa,” no democratic leader is capable to compete with it ”. So, the Republicans “seek to weaken it as much as possible before the official start of the campaign.” A task all the easier as the vice-president manages “insoluble matters, such as immigration to the Mexican border or the right to vote”, underlines Nicole Bacharan, and on which the Californian has no experience.

But when it comes to taking stock, it is the president’s action that counts. And like in Virginia, voters could express their Covid weariness in the midterm elections – 19 , dissensions among Democrats and the economic situation at half mast. “While he already has an extremely tight majority, Joe Biden may be paralyzed,” warns Nicole Bacharan. And his presidency good to throw.