Biden is proving 2021 is the comeback we needed
If 2020 was the setback, then 2021 is set to be the comeback. 2020 was a year that few of us will ever forget. As a country, we were ravaged by COVID-19, consumed by calls for racial justice and appalled by the divisive rhetoric radiating from the former occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
I’ve been very transparent about how the loss of my grandfather during the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and a lack of leadership from the previous administration affected me. Unlike his predecessor, President Biden has made empathy and solemnity the foundation of his presidency. Which is why I believe that few presidents have ever had a more positive impact in their first 100 days than Joseph R. Biden.
On Jan. 20, when then-former Vice President Biden became our 46th president, he did so during a period of economic, racial and international instability. Over 500,000 Americans had perished as a result of COVID-19, hundreds of Americans had violently stormed the Capitol in an attempt to interfere with the certification of our election, and millions of Black and brown Americans felt ignored, unheard and too often mistreated.
One hundred days later, the Biden administration hasn’t just eclipsed their goal of 100 million shots in the first 100 days (a goal they reached in just 58 days), they’ve gone on to double that goal, delivering 200 million shots before the 100-day mark. That’s not just impressive, it’s historic. If that’s not proof that voting matters, I don’t know what is. Politicians in Washington often talk about how their actions could potentially save lives, but in this case, we’ve got the evidence to prove it.
After being handed a global health crisis of monstrous proportion, exacerbated by a lack of transparency and honesty, the Biden administration has kept its head down and done the work that our nation so desperately needed — without the constant name calling or embarrassing press conferences that became all too familiar over the last four years.
Addressing the current global health crisis has been just one of the many issues that the Biden administration has had to tackle head on. As we’re all too aware that one of the consequences of the last administration’s failure to address COVID-19 has been a period of economic instability that led to historic unemployment levels and the shuttering of small businesses. Thanks to the Biden administration’s leadership and a Democratic Congress passing historic COVID-19 relief legislation, our country’s economy has begun to stabilize and the stock market has outperformed any previous administration’s first 100 days, dating back to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
This administration hasn’t only looked to close the wounds of 2020 in its first 100 days, but it has also sought to invest in the future of this nation. In his first 100 days, Biden has rescinded the permits for the Keystone XL Pipeline, rejoined the Paris Agreement and proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that will put Americans back to work building our country back better.
After the damage done by the previous administration, restoring faith in institutions is no small feat. It’s why Biden’s polling numbers are so impressive. A 52 percent approval rating may seem like a relatively low number with little to no context and when compared against previous administrations, but context is everything. Getting 52 percent of the country to agree on anything in this hyper-partisan, confirmation bias bubble that we call America is nothing short of remarkable. Within his own party, Biden’s poll numbers (90 percent) are four points higher than those of his predecessor (86 percent) four years ago and he’s polling nine points higher among independents. His 59 percent approval rating with 18-29-year-olds (the largest group of new voters — who also skew democratic) gives me a renewed sense of optimism for this country’s future.
Biden has done what few thought was possible: advance a progressive agenda while maintaining a high public approval rating. The administration’s first 100 days have been a masterclass in crisis management and a blueprint for future administrations. If 2020 was the setback, then 2021 is set to be the comeback.
Michael Starr Hopkins is a senior vice president at Firehouse Strategies.
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