Over a year in office, Biden and Harris have made zero progress

Xavier Cullen, Opinion Editor

President Joe Biden currently holds a 41.7% approval rating, 1.8 points higher than former President Donald Trump had on Jan. 31, 2018, according to FiveThirtyEight. (Photo from the White House)

Tens of millions of people took a collective sigh of relief as the results slowly came in that President Donald Trump would be denied a second term. One of the most tumultuous and tense times in recent history was put to a stop — or so we hoped.

Newly-elected President Joe Biden told voters he would be one of the most progressive presidents in U.S. history. But what we got instead was a president who has broken nearly all of his campaign promises.

Since Biden took office, America has seen the highest deaths per day since winter 2021. States are lifting mask mandates, employers are forcing workers back to their unsafe jobs and stores are artificially inflating prices for necessary goods. Is this what “under control” looks like?

How about Biden’s promise to cancel student loan debt for the millions of borrowers in the United States? So far, he has put a moratorium on payments until at least May 1, 2022, and has canceled $15 billion of loans. But that moratorium will end soon, and what has been canceled so far is less than 1% of the $1.7 trillion of national student loan debt.

To say that this doesn’t even scratch the surface would be a gross understatement.

Or how about Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ promise to decriminalize marijuana? Well, if you hadn’t followed the election before votes were cast, you would have never known that this was a key campaign issue. Criminal reform was one of Kamala Harris’ most harped-on topics, as she claimed to be a staunch supporter of decriminalization.

But nothing has been done.

Let’s also not forget Biden’s promise of ending “forever wars” in the Middle East and following through by pulling our troops out in the worst, least-coordinated way possible. Now, troops are on standby to potentially be deployed in Ukraine. Not a single campaign promise has gone as planned.

Where is the accountability? Why aren’t we giving Biden and Harris the same scrutiny we gave Trump? Just because they don’t go on unhinged Twitter rants or have blatantly shady colleagues doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to their failures.

The absurdity of Trump’s four years have made us numb to discreet corruption. Instead of perjuring themselves for millions of followers to see, Biden and Harris are keeping up a facade of stability. In reality, we are living in one of the worst times for COVID-19, the economy, jobs and housing.

Biden’s defenders will point toward adversaries such as senators Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema, as well as congressional Republicans, as reasons why the president’s legislation isn’t getting through. But I think that makes Biden’s failures even worse. Instead of attempting to circumvent traditional legislative routes like Trump did, Biden promised he could reason with the unreasonable. He tried to make an ally out of the enemy.

This failed attempt at bipartisanship was doomed from the start. Republicans and Democrats in Congress are propped up by their corporate donors, so faltering from the beliefs of their backers would be a death sentence for them. Morals don’t outweigh money.

As we reflect on the failed first year of the Biden administration, ask yourself: Is life better now than it was five years ago? Have we improved as a country since before Trump took over? The U.S. is still funding foreign wars, finding a job is nearly impossible, the federal minimum wage hasn’t changed, COVID-19 has come back in full force, the housing market is unattainable to first-time buyers and states are swiftly taking away human rights.

Biden has a clear path to recovery if he simply follows through with what the people voted him in for. The looming Russia-Ukraine tensions and the opportunity to elect a new Supreme Court judge could provide Biden with enough public support to make a Bill Clinton-like resurgence in approval. But I’ll wait to see those changes for myself, if they ever come at all.

“Not the worst” is not good enough for the most powerful person in the world, but if Biden continues down this trajectory, he might end up reaching rock bottom.