Consequences of the Biden administration’s courageless governance
Editor’s Note: Dr Sun Taiyi is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Christopher Newport University, USA. He is also the editor of the main publication of the World Forum of Chinese Political Scientists, Global China. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.
The Biden administration appeared happy with the outcome of this midterm election, despite losing the House to Republicans. Indeed, a “red wave” has not materialized, and there are signs of relief for Democrats as they come to control the Senate for at least the next two years. However, all of the inflated “red wave” expectations were created by mainstream media and pollsters. It’s easy to forget that the Biden administration had great potential and good cards in hand and could have done much better, especially with the motivated constituency following the reversal of “Roe vs. Wade” and with the presence of the self-destructive Trump. wing of the Republican Party. The Biden team, due to their fear of angering different groups within the party, lacked the courage to make the right decisions. And as a result, several groups have been alienated, which could come back to bite the Democrats in two years if not carefully nurtured.
American Consumer Alienation
The results of polls of registered voters in the United States consistently indicate that the economy is the most important issue and that inflation is probably the main concern. The most effective and simple solution has always been there before our eyes: to remove the inconsistent and failing “Trump tariffs”. Biden could have denounced and removed “Trump tariffs” from day one and claimed a political and economic victory. Such a move would not only provide an abundant supply of goods and services that average American consumers need, but it could also stabilize China-US relations, creating a more suitable external environment so that the Biden administration can focus on its interior program.
However, in the name of national security in hopes of retaining a bargaining chip in trade negotiations, the Biden administration squandered the opportunity to do the right thing and threw the Democratic Party and consumers Americans in general under the bus – why are tariffs on Chinese goods bikes and toys important to US national security? Not to mention the high opportunity cost to American labor as higher value jobs become available and employers desperately need to hire.
Alienation of Latinos
The Biden administration and the Democratic Party took this demographic for granted, believing that once there was a large enough bloc of Latino voters, Democrats would have structurally secured the US electoral system. There was not a sufficient level of organization among the Latin American population, and much of this administration’s political achievements were not sufficiently promoted, fearing that any spending-related legislation would remind voters of the strong inflation.
More importantly, the Democratic Party assumes that all Latinos support immigration, whether legal or illegal. Nonetheless, many first-generation Latinos arrived in the United States legally and do not want the border towns in which many reside to spiral out of control. Why can’t the Biden administration simply announce that it is simultaneously dealing with border security and the humane treatment of asylum seekers? There is a lot of political space between strong and strict border security and the protection of the basic dignity of asylum seekers. Some harsh rhetoric could serve as signals to discourage people who think illegal immigration is easy; humanitarian actions can still help and protect those in need.
Additionally, the US economy may experience a labor shortage, and some immigrants may well be the best solution to the problem if a well-designed training and matching system can be publicized and implemented. Today, many Latinos and even African Americans are turning away from the Democrats because of the ruling party’s lack of courage and inaction. Ron Desantis winning majority Latino and even Miami-Dade County, where Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 29 percentage points, is a sign of potential structural change.
Alienation of general taxpayers
When inflation is high, the Biden administration has persisted in introducing the Student Loan Forgiveness Plan which is mostly not means-tested. The people who take out student loans are not necessarily the ones who need them the most. However, even if such a plan is purely political to motivate the younger generation to vote, it will not necessarily increase voter enthusiasm for the Democratic candidates. Nevertheless, taxpayers’ money, which could be spent much more efficiently and at different times, is still pumped into the economy which is already suffering from high inflation. The Biden administration was lucky as many young people turned out to support the Democrats while the courts subsequently halted the loan forgiveness plan – in a way, the benefits are reaped and the cost of the increase in inflation could be temporarily avoided.
The “Trump” on the left
Biden, in his 2020 run, wanted to unite the country and bring back the soul of the nation. Based on how people voted in this midterm election, it’s clear that Biden’s policies have further polarized the United States, and even fewer people are voting for split tickets than before. The Trump-style “motivate the base” strategy is not working well for Biden and is backfiring and alienating important groups. The Biden team’s lack of courage to do the right things and take the necessary steps and its continued complacency toward a small special-interest group is driving significant numbers of potential voters to vote Republican.
The surveys are coming
Unfortunately, all of the good work done by the Jan. 6 committee to restore faith and trust in American institutions could be jeopardized by the aforementioned failures of the Biden administration and the Democrats. Republicans will seek revenge now that they have control of the House – mostly led by Trump – and play the China card against Biden and his family. Hunter Biden’s business dealings with any person or entity remotely linked to China would be scrutinized. The investigation into the origins of COVID-19 would resume, and why Biden stopped the investigation, which was launched by Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state under Trump, would be part of the investigation. The new House led by Kevin McCarthy will not only pass aggressive China legislation just so Biden can veto them to lose political capital, but will also step up actions that would escalate China-US tension so that the Biden administration is constantly stuck in quagmires – the routinization of congressional delegations to the Chinese region of Taiwan headed by top lawmakers would be an example.
lead with courage
Governing without courage has created a dire situation for the Biden administration, both at home and abroad, and many in the administration seem to ignore the challenges. The United States is more polarized and the international environment is more unstable. Even US allies such as the EU, South Korea and Japan are unhappy with Biden’s Cut Inflation Act because the $369 billion spending package hasn’t really in mind the global community and only the narrow constituency that Biden values would benefit.
Now that Biden may be thinking about a run in 2024, it’s time to find the courage to do the right things for the American people and the international community that we all cherish.