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Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The presidential popularity paradox: why is Biden unpopular among the Democratic youth?

Kathy Duan
Student loan borrowers rally near the White House for Joe Biden to cancel all student loans. Biden, pictured left, is troubled with diminishing popularity with youth as he fails to forgive all students loans as he had promised. “[Biden] kind of fumbled things even though he tried with student loan forgiveness,” said Cory Warren, humanities department faculty. “That was [the] number one campaign promise to get the youth vote.” Whether it is student loans, age, or foreign policy, what, ultimately, drives away the youth vote for Biden?

The Democratic youth are disappointed with Joe Biden. From his age to his policies, he really seems to be doing it all wrong. Yet, that does not reveal the entire picture.  

A NBC News poll last November showed Biden in close competition with Trump with voters ages 18-34, a sharp plunge from the support Biden comfortably held during the 2020 election.  

“I’m not a fan of Biden,” said Izzy Kim (‘24) who plans to vote Democrat this November. “There should not be an 84-year-old man running our country. I have a feeling that Biden doesn’t really know what’s going on. And I also think that certain situations [are] not being handled well…like unemployment rates.” 

Though public opinion of Biden has grown more critical, he has a better record than most progressives think.  

Coming out of the chaos of Trump’s presidency, Biden has effectively kept the country and Democrat party together and running. Not only has Biden engaged in numerous climate change initiatives, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, but also kept the U.S. out of the recession many experts thought we would fall into. Following the enactment of Biden’s American Rescue Plan, jobs grew by 1 million per month, compared to the 300,000 before. Now, unemployment rates have fallen to a low of 3.5%. 

Within the Democratic party, Biden united with the far left, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, earning Democrats 50 votes in the Senate. As infighting ravages the Republican party, the Democratic party seems to be functioning much better. 

That is to not to say that some of his other decisions, like adding to the border wall or funding the Israel-Palestine conflict, are humane or beneficial. Yet, Biden seems to receive backlash for these policies without credit for his good work. Why is that the case? 

“What makes a good candidate in 2024 might not be the same thing that makes a good president,” said Susanna Linsley, Director of Experiential Learning. 

Biden’s biggest flaw is his inability to campaign, speak, and inspire effectively. Young voters are worried that this is a result of Biden’s cognitive decline.  

Deciding not to charge Biden for his willful retainment and disclosure of classified documents after his vice presidency, the special counsel cited the reason as an “innocent mistake” and described Biden as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” citing him not remembering the date of his son’s death as evidence. 

In a speech addressing this report — the only one he has given directly addressing his age — he again showed his age when he referred to the President of Egypt as that of Mexico. Though these slip-ups can happen to anyone, the frequency of Biden’s is detrimental to his campaign. 

As opposed to Obama who was viewed in a generally positive light — especially among Democrats — during his presidency, Biden is getting quite a different treatment. 

“Part of Obama’s success is that he’s such a captivating speaker,” said Cory Warren, humanities department faculty. “He won the youth vote again and again because he inspired people [when] he spoke. During the Obama years, there [were these] rose-tinted lenses that everyone wore about him, but once people could step back and see [that] he accelerated the use of drones in the US military and didn’t use much executive action to improve that situation [in Flint, Michigan], and deportations.” 

Biden’s campaign team seems to understand his poor campaigning abilities as well, turning down a Super Bowl interview that could help Biden reach an enormous audience. When a team does not see its own candidate as its best asset, they bury him away from public view. Without aggressive campaigning, Biden is unable to take the credit for his work, leading to the overwhelmingly negative news in the media. 

For instance, many younger voters call Biden out on not ultimately following through with his promises on student loan forgiveness. 

“[Biden] kind of fumbled things even though he tried with student loan forgiveness,” Mr. Warren said. “That was [the] number one campaign promise to get the youth vote.” 

Yet, what is not talked about enough is that in total, the Administration has now approved nearly $138 billion for 3.9 million borrowers in the past three years and recently approved another $1.2 billion. It is certainly not the $1.6 trillion he promised, but it is more than people give him credit for. Additionally, Biden’s original plan was stopped at the Supreme Court, something out of his control. 

With younger demographics polling more liberally than any other group, the American youth is a major voting bloc for the Democratic Party. Yet, the youth seek action and leadership that they do not observe in Biden. 

“I know that [Biden is] liberal-leaning, but there’s been nothing that has shown that he is enforcing those liberal values,” Izzy said. 

As the media perpetuates the notion of “Sleepy Joe”, the youth grow tired of inaction. After years of intense political polarization and fighting, the youth have understandably grown more skeptical of Biden’s campaign promises. Yet, Biden can be trusted. He has shown again and again he is making things happen and it is working. 

No matter who you support or how angry or disappointed you are, don’t opt out of the democratic process of voting. The workings of our democracy and trust in politics cannot be crippled by a repeat of the 2016 Trump presidency. This is a critical election, and your vote could make a big difference. 

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About the Contributor
Kathy Duan
Kathy Duan, Copy Editor
In both the classroom and at your local law firm, Kathy Duan (‘25) radiates an aura of unwavering positivity, always prepared to offer a listening ear or a supportive shoulder to those in need. Serving on the Honor Committee and contributing to the Webb Canyon Chronicle as a Copy Editor, Kathy showcases her dedication and dependability, readily addressing any questions from political theory and philosophy to the finer points of the Webb Canyon Chronicle’s style guide. During the summers of her sophomore and junior years, she immersed herself in an internship at a community law firm, deftly managing client communications. Beyond her legal pursuits, Kathy shines as a passionate debater, and is an integral part of the Webb debate team. Most notably, she founded a non-profit organization, Roundtable Debate Academy, that makes speech and debate classes more accessible. Apart from the newsroom, leadership, or debate, you may sometimes find Kathy at the pool practicing water polo with friends or in Fawcett Library researching the next big story in today’s political scene. As a passionate advocate for rectifying injustices around educational equality, Kathy dedicates herself to finding solutions constantly. The next time you walk by the Fawcett Library or take a nice stroll by Stockdale Center, be on the lookout for Kathy’s next big article! Favorite Song: "Passionfruit" by Drake

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