Ian Bremmer’s quick view: Hello everyone. Ian Bremmer here. And a little preview to start your week on a Monday here in New York. And yes, everyone is talking about these polls, with the New York Times and Siena showing that Biden is behind Trump, not only in overall popularity, but also specifically in how voters in key states will vote. And of course, it’s the Electoral College. This is how you get elected president of the United States. So yes, Biden supporters are very concerned about this. But we’re a year away, so it’s early.
That said, there are a few things that I think are worth paying attention to. First, 71% of Americans say Biden, 80, is too old to run for president. Look, very few people work with an 80 year old on a regular basis. So I understand. And in a year, I’m pretty sure he’ll be a year older. So it’s not something Biden can do much about. And there is a major drawback. That said, Biden is obviously aging physically while intellectually, you know, one-on-one in small meetings, he’s still able to hold meetings reasonably well.
Trump, on the other hand, at least if you’ve watched him recently and I’ve been to a few of his rallies, is very robust physically and intellectually, he seems to lose a lot more vigor in his fastball. And I suspect that once he gets the nomination, which is pretty much a certainty at this point, he’ll get a lot more coverage in real time, and more people will see that. So that definitely works against Biden. But I don’t think it’s as dramatic a gap as we’re seeing now.
I think other problems are more difficult to solve. Illegal immigration, for example, which no longer only concerns red border states, but also blue sanctuary cities that were happy to be sanctuary cities even though they host many illegal immigrants. But you suddenly bring them in. They say, wait a second. , we agreed with Sanctuary City in theory, but in practice it won’t work. And you see this happening in New York. You see this happening in San Francisco, in Chicago, in a number of cities across the country, and it’s also difficult to solve because immigration is very limited. During the pandemic, people didn’t move. Two and a half years of pent-up demand. Now they are. And Biden’s willingness to play hardball, particularly with the Mexican government and Mexico’s southern border, where people have been transiting through so far, has not been what it should have been. It’s hard to imagine this problem getting much better.
One that may improve for Biden is the economy, where the U.S. economy is increasingly significantly outperforming other advanced industrial democracies post-pandemic. And even if inflation is high, it is falling, even if it starts from a high level. And no one expects the Fed to continue raising rates. In fact, they may decline a bit next year and this soft landing will likely help soften Biden’s numbers on that front. That said, foreign policy is now becoming a vulnerability for Biden in a way that hasn’t really been the case over the last year. And few Americans actually vote on foreign policy. But when we talk about a huge problem, like that of 100 billion dollars intended to support Ukraine in a war that looks more and more like a stalemate, where the counter-offensive that we have been talking about for many months looks like a failure, and where it was a bipartisan issue of support for Ukraine, it has now become a partisan issue in which Democrats strongly support more money for Ukrainians. Republicans say this is too much money for Ukrainians. And when Trump secures the nomination, the Republican Party will vote more, with Democrats likely to move away from that support. So I can easily imagine an environment in which Ukraine feels like it is divided, which no one will accept and is therefore an unacceptable reality when Biden runs for re-election. This is one of his foreign policy hallmarks and he will be vulnerable to the Republicans.
The other problem, of course, is the Middle East. Now, if you manage to contain the war from the Middle East to Gaza and Israel, it probably won’t have much impact next November. But if it expands, the impact on oil prices as well as the likelihood that U.S. forces in the region will be directly involved in some fighting with Iranian Shiite proxies in the region, in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and in Lebanon and perhaps even with Iran itself. . It is also a vulnerability. Not to mention the fact that right now, Biden only has a little over 20% support from Arab American voters in the United States, which are very important in places like Michigan, where they represent 5% of the voting population, or Pennsylvania, where they represent 5% of the voting population. re greater than 2%, both of which are larger than Biden’s actual victory in these states in the 2020 election.
So there are vulnerabilities. And increasingly, the Biden administration fears that this will be a challenge and that there will be little it can do to ensure better results. So in an environment where domestic policy seems okay, but people aren’t as focused on it, they’re not as happy as they’d like to be on a few basic issues. And suddenly foreign policy becomes a vulnerability, which seems like a challenge to me. Offsetting all this is the fact that Biden is the president and that outgoing presidents always do better in the United States, even the most unpopular ones. They get an advantage because they can drive the agenda and direct the media coverage. This continues to be true for Biden. This is one of the strongest arguments for him to run a second time.
Beyond that, there is the issue of abortion, which continues to play an important role for Biden, but a very bad one for Republicans. It was a conservative Supreme Court with key justices appointed by Trump that rid the country of Roe v. Wade, which ended up being a very popular Supreme Court decision for the majority of red and blue voters across the country . And there’s a negative reaction that you see there. This is also one of the reasons why Kamala Harris is no longer seen as a drag on the Biden administration. In fact, in many ways, Biden is seen as much of a drag as Kamala, especially in this latest vote. And that’s because he was given not only immigration, which is a loser’s issue, but also abortion, which has been a winner’s issue. And as she’s talked about it across the country, she’s done better on that front.
The final point, of course, is Trump’s ineptitude. And even if all of this plays out in 91 indictments, some of which are very real cases, some of which are politicized, it’s going to become an even bigger drag on independent votes because people spend more time focus not on Democrats versus Republicans, but on Biden. against Trump once the nominations are made. It is also a vulnerability. So a long election cycle that no one wants to deal with, with two candidates who generate little enthusiasm among most people. I guess we’ll have to talk more about it. But that’s where we are right now.
That’s all for me. I will talk to you very soon.