We have a presidential leadership crisis – and it’s only going to get worse
Recently, I asked a Georgian friend supporting Trump if he thought our nation was doomed with President Biden at the helm. Using a Titanic analogy, he replied, “We’ve hit the iceberg before, and now we’re running towards the lifeboats.” Then he added, “I would bring Trump back to power five times over Biden,” but admitted, “I personally don’t like Trump and would rather he step down for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.”
Based on my friend’s demographic profile, I consider it a one-person chat group reacting to layers of crises. And his pessimism is in line with new polls. The president’s 44% Jobs approval average indicates more than just that Trump supporters are losing hope in Biden’s ability to right the ship of the state.
Still, for anti-Trump and independent voters who are going after Biden, remember the reason you voted for him: he wasn’t Donald Trump. And that was before January’s vicious attack and second Capitol Hill impeachment, which made “boring Biden” even more beloved after all the authoritative strongman drama.
However, Biden following Trump in the White House is emblematic of a pervasive, overarching national problem that rarely makes the headlines but affects them all — the United States is experiencing a presidential leadership crisis.
When voters see two names at the top of the presidential ticket every four years, they shake their heads and ask, “Why can’t we do better than those two?” Raise up your hand if you can understand.
Unfortunately, due to what I call a “compound pendulum effect,” our presidential leadership crisis is on a downward spiral. Although the pendulum has always swung from one president to the next, the age of the 24/7 media and internet has increased polarization and intensified severity.
For example, in January 2009, George W. Bush left office with a job approval average of 29%. It helps explain why the inexperienced Barack Obama was elected in a fervor of hope and change.
Then Obama in 2016, plagued by a perception of weak leadership, backed the inimitable but experienced Hillary Clinton with her truthful but unstated campaign message – “it’s my turn to be president”. But his dreams were unexpectedly thwarted by a burger and fries eating a famous “everyone” billionaire named Donald J. Trump. He was the political and intellectual polar opposite of Clinton and Obama with his unifying message of “Make America Great Again” and “build the wall!” in repeat playback.
This brings us to the 2020 elections in America’s ultra-polarized divided states. An era in which everyone only watches and reads news and information they agree with and share through their phones on social media. This climate has propelled the electoral pendulum of the COVID pandemic to swing from Trump to a “grown-up” incumbent president whose inescapable leadership line is “Come on man.”
The Biden vs. Trump pick — among the worst “wiggle your nose” moments in American history — prompted a record turnout of 155 million voters.
So, nine months into his term, is anyone surprised that President Biden – who will celebrate his 79th birthday in November – is proving to be among our weakest presidents? In his 36 years as a U.S. senator, followed by eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, Biden has never been an outstanding leader. And, today, without the endorsement of Rep. James Clyburn (DS.C.) in South Carolina’s 2020 presidential primary, Joe Biden would paint with Hunter Biden at his Delaware beach house.
Looking ahead to 2024, we have the ingredients for the greatest crisis in modern presidential leadership at its most perilous time. Pay close attention to China’s aggressive military moves towards Taiwan. Chinese communist leaders aim to take over the island and control the world’s largest semiconductor chip maker. That means the US economy could be brought to its knees as the US share of global chipmaking capacity has “fallen to 12%”, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association. It’s only a matter of time before this Taiwan/China conflict comes to a head, and virtually every element you touch and depend on is impacted.
Is there an American leader now or on the horizon who could guide our nation through such a global economic disaster? Names, please.
The very definition of a leadership crisis would be if the American people had to choose between Biden and Trump in 2024. Could the pendulum swing from Trump to Biden and back to Trump? Hill pundits explain how Biden’s ‘sinking’ could elect Trump 2.0 – resulting in authoritarian rule with no railings.
Even Biden’s almost forgotten vice president, Kamala Harris, has a 42% approval rating for underwater jobs, with 51% unfavorable.
Could she win Biden’s second term if he steps down? Can you imagine a Harris vs. Trump race? The winner would take our nation from a leadership crisis to a leadership apocalypse.
Now ask yourself two big questions: Is America ungovernable and ungovernable? How can you lead when half the population refuses to follow?
Our enemies know the answers.
Myra Adams writes about politics and religion for numerous publications. She is a RealClearPolitics contributor and served on the creative team for two GOP presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams.