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Biden’s epic collapse is as much about these issues as Afghanistan

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President Biden is at just 41 percent approval, according to the latest USA Today/Suffolk University poll. Looking deeper into that poll, the news gets even worse for Team Biden. 

Just 32 percent of independent voters approve of the job the 46th president is doing, according to the results. Those are the voters who decide elections in battleground states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona. If Biden loses those folks, he loses those states regardless of who Republicans nominate in 2024.

The easy reason to point to for Biden’s spectacular fall is his handling of the U.S. exit from Afghanistan and the country falling into the hands of the Taliban. According to Reuters, the Taliban now possesses billions of dollars in U.S. military gear, including Black Hawk helicopters and thousands of armored vehicles. On Wednesday night, the State Department warned Americans at Kabul’s international airport to leave immediately “due to threats outside the airport,” while British intelligence said an attack could be imminent. The attack came on Thursday, killing dozens of people, including at least 13 U.S. servicemembers, according to the New York Times. (The USA Today poll was taken before the airport attack.)

This is an absolute mess of the administration’s own making.  

But when peeling the onion on these polls, public sentiment against Biden goes much further than just Afghanistan. A recent NBC poll, for example, asked respondents what their most important issue is. Top answer overall: COVID-19. Afghanistan didn’t make the list at all. 

“His approval on immigration and the economy are also upside down. The only issue keeping him remotely in the game is his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, where he is barely at 50 percent,” noted David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk Political Research Center.

The numbers on the economy are stunningly low in that USA Today/Suffolk survey, with Biden receiving 39 percent approval on the issue that usually decides elections. 

Couple that with a Washington Post-ABC News poll in July showing the president polling at 38 percent on his handling of crime and 33 percent on immigration via the crisis at the U.S. southern border, and it’s hard to see where and how Biden and the Democratic Party can turn this around.

Just ask yourself this: What happens on Sept. 1, when the U.S. military is out of Afghanistan completely? It could be a repeat of the Iran hostage crisis, except infinitely worse: Any American who’s left behind, or any Afghan accused of assisting Americans, along with their families, could be held hostage or executed by one extremist faction or another. 

“If Americans are still in Afghanistan after the deadline, what will you do?” NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander asked Biden earlier this week.

“You’ll be the first person I call,” Biden oddly responded with a chuckle. He took no further questions, while the White House cut his audio feed.  



Even the liberal New York Times is sounding the alarm. “As Biden Faces a Political Crisis, His Party Looks On in Alarm,” read a Times front page headline of Aug. 22. 

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Interviews with more than 40 Democrats, lawmakers, strategists and party officials show a White House at a pivot point amid concern over Afghanistan, covid and the party&#39;s shift to the left. <a href=”“>@llerer</a> <a href=”“>@reidepstein</a> <a href=”“>@anniekarni</a> <a href=”></a></p>&mdash; Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) <a href=”“>August 23, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>

We are witnessing the slow-motion train wreck of a presidency. And given how packaged and hidden the president is, if cutting his audio or taking few questions from the press is any indication, there’s little confidence within his team that he can turn this around, considering what little control the administration has on inflation. Or on the border. Or Afghanistan. 

There is no script for any of these items. No speech that will fix the problems. 

Joe Biden is in serious trouble. And unlike with his old boss, President Obama, one has to wonder if today’s president has the ability to convince Americans he’s the right man for this moment, when even a mostly friendly media has turned on him in a hurry.  

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill.

Tags afghan withdrawal Afghanistan Afghanistan troop withdrawal Afghanistan–United States relations Barack Obama Joe Biden Kabul Presidency of Joe Biden Taliban War in Afghanistan War in Afghanistan

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