President Joe Biden came to office during a uniquely divisive period in American history, so, unsurprisingly, voters feel divided over his one-year performance.
A Georgia history teacher who voted for Biden would give him a “C,” criticising the president for failing to end the Senate filibuster sooner but praising his Build Back Better initiative.
A retired nurse from Iowa who voted for Pete Buttigieg in the Democratic primaries says she has been impressed by Biden’s adherence to the office’s dignity.
According to an Arizona registered independent who voted for former President Donald Trump, Biden’s first year has been “very horrible,” citing the Keystone XL pipeline shutdown and the messy Afghanistan withdrawal.
What else do Americans have to say about Biden’s performance thus far?
THE TRUMP-BIDEN SUPPORTER
Donald Trump, according to Craig Prichard, should be imprisoned. However, he is not your average Trump detractor: he voted for him in 2016.
However, not in 2020. “No, sir,” responds the self-described independent 65-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa.
Prichard is enraged with Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol revolt, which he says was orchestrated by the former president. However, Prichard voted for Biden in 2020 due to Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Trump wanted to make it appear as though COVID was being phased out,” Prichard explains. “That was not the proper way to handle it.”
Prichard, who spent 40 years building farm machinery, working in construction, and finally retiring last year after a spell at a meatpacking facility, said Biden is “managing COVID as best he can.” “while juggling a variety of other responsibilities.
“Biden, you can tell he’s juggling the epidemic, food costs, gas prices, and Russia, and he doesn’t appear to care about his appearance,” Prichard says. “Because it’s not ideal for him right now, even though fewer people are dying than if Trump were there.”
“It comes out that Trump was mainly concerned with his appearance,” Prichard says.
THE CLASSROOM TEACHER WHO GIVES BIDEN A ‘C’
Kai Uchimura, a high school history teacher from Decatur, Georgia, voted for Biden in the 2020 presidential election. So far, he’d give him a “C.”
Uchimura, 26, characterises himself as a liberal on the majority of subjects, although he is not a registered Democrat. He says he supports Biden’s stalled social policy package, but believes Democrats have done a terrible job of presenting its merits.
“About the Build Back Better plan, it appeared as though no one knew what was in it save for the expense,” he explains.
He also criticises Biden for failing to advocate for an early end to the Senate filibuster, which requires 60 votes to move most legislation. For the first time last week, Biden called explicitly for the abolition of the filibuster to discuss and vote on election and voting rights legislation.
“I’m aware that when he took office, he conveyed a message of attempting to unite the country and reaching across the aisle,” Uchimura adds. “However, I wish he had understood sooner that this era of bipartisanship appears to be on shaky ground.
THE BIDEN SUPPORTER WHO REFUSES TO VOTE FOR POLARIZATION
Lynn Manning-John, a school administrator on a Native American reservation near the Nevada-Idaho border, is satisfied with Biden’s first year in office but is concerned that his presidency has polarised her community even further.
She overheard consumers complaining about how Biden’s agenda has entered “Trump country” at a Walmart in Elko County, Nevada, a ranching region that voted solidly for the former president.
“There is simply an unwillingness to support the current president.” “According to the 45-year-old independent voter. “Anything he proposes faces opposition, even if it is sound and common sense.” She was particularly pleased with Biden’s choice of Deb Haaland, another Native American, to the position of Interior Secretary.
Elko County’s superintendent and five of seven school board members resigned last year following protests by parent organisations opposed to equity and diversity lesson plans in areas of the county beyond the Duck Valley Indian Reservation.
Manning-John interprets the resignations and parents’ demands as a reaction to Biden’s 2020 triumph.
For many Americans, Biden’s election victory remains surreal, she argues.
“And the outpouring of outrage that has followed directly affects school boards,” she argues.
LIBERALS’ BIDEN VOTER WARY
Patrick Sweeney voted for Biden but is upset that the president has not taken a stronger stance against the Democratic Party’s left-wing.
“I wish he would claim and stake out the middle ground, saying, ‘This is what the Democratic Party represents,'” says Sweeney, a 62-year-old retired educator living in a Phoenix suburb who is not associated with any political party.
“So much of the discussion appears to be centred on the Democratic Party’s radical left-wing and progressive ideas “Sweeney asserts. “I believe he should take a more proactive role in rebutting that.”
He applauds Biden for signing the infrastructure measure into law but wishes he had stopped there rather than pushing for a big increase in social welfare expenditure.
“I was a supporter of the initial infrastructure plan “he asserts. “I believe it is long overdue, and I was overjoyed to see it, and I believe it could have been and should have been a tremendous accomplishment. Set the bulldozers and shovels to work.” “I believe there is too much in the Build Back Better plan, and I don’t see the necessity for it, nor do I believe the federal government is the solution,” he continues.”
THE TRUMP SUPPORTER WHO IS DISAPPOINTED
According to Eric Ollarsaba, Biden’s administration has been “quite awful.” However, the 33-year-old Trump supporter is unsurprised.
“He’s essentially doing what I anticipated him to do, “Ollarsaba, a registered independent who resides in Phoenix and works for an online automobile retailer, agrees. “He is a professional politician.”
He is dismayed by Biden’s decision to halt construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and appalled by the US military’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“We’re likely to become energy dependent on other nations, which could result in another conflict or our involvement in another war,” Ollarsaba warns. “I believe the United States still required a presence in Afghanistan. Not significant military actions, but a presence is necessary, and I believe that would make the region a little less perilous for the US.”
According to him, the US should not have been forced to rely on the Taliban’s cooperation to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan. He is concerned that relinquishing authority in that region will enable terrorist groups to establish a foothold.
THE DEMOCRAT WHO SELECTED MAYOR PETE OVER OTHERS
Kathleen Paul’s first choice was not Biden. In the Democratic primary, the 74-year-old retired nurse supported Pete Buttigieg.
“I assumed Biden was a ‘Jokin’ Joe,'” Paul explains. “When (Barack) Obama was president, he said things that were completely off the cuff. ‘Can we take this person seriously?’ I wondered.”
To her amazement, it turns out she can.
“I’ve been impressed with how he preserves the dignity of the job and expresses himself,” Paul, a self-described liberal Democrat from Des Moines, Iowa, adds. “I was aware that he possessed the experience and had been through adversity. However, I was unaware that he was capable of projecting the weight of it.”
She praises Biden for adhering to science in his handling of the pandemic but criticises him for his naive optimism in setting last July 4 as the deadline for vaccination of 70% of the nation’s eligible population. That goal was met months later, although the percentage has dipped below 70% due to the inclusion of younger children.
She was particularly outraged by the administration’s disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming that the administration should have anticipated the outcome: “Bombs going off, people racing down runways after planes.”
“They made the move, and it was poorly executed,” she explains. “If you’re going to be there for 20 years, what’re another six months to slowly remove the Band-Aid?”
THE BIDEN SUPPORTER WHO WOULD LIKE TO SEE HIM TOOT HIS OWN HORN
Natalie Rawlings, a registered Democrat who voted for Biden, believes the president is not enough credit for all that is going well, such as the robust job market that has made it simpler for employees to move employment.
However, she believes that is partially his fault.
“I’m not sure why he’s having such difficulty communicating,” says Rawlings, a 50-year-old Atlanta resident who works for a Fortune 500 company. “Did Biden believe his initiatives would sell themselves?””
She also believes Biden underestimated his ability to persuade his former Senate colleagues to support his plan.
“Biden has taken a bit larger than he can chew,” she asserts. “Perhaps if he proceeded more incrementally, but it would appear to be backpedalling now.”
Although it is still early, she is uncertain that he will serve a second term.
“I see no obvious path for Biden to re-election in a second term,” “she asserts.
TRUMP SUPPORTER SURPRISED BY SOME BIDEN INITIATIVES
J.J. Goicoechea, a cattle rancher in Eureka, Nevada, voted for Trump and intends to vote Republican again, but he says he has been pleasantly pleased by the Biden administration’s agricultural programmes, particularly those aimed at small family farms and ranches like his.
Since Biden’s election, farms and ranches have received more than $1 billion in relief funds. The administration has tried to assist independent processors in the aftermath of the epidemic and has engaged farmers in discussions about climate change, incentivizing them to offset carbon emissions through strategies such as planting carbon-capturing crops.
However, Goicoechea, 47, is concerned that efforts to strengthen rules under the Packers and Stockyards Act may have unintended repercussions, increasing expenses in a sector where many ranchers already operate on razor-thin margins. He credits inflation to the administration’s assistance in advancing government spending and relief programmes through Congress, claiming that it has increased the cost of everything necessary to maintain a cattle ranch.
“The cost of conducting business has nearly doubled in the last year,” Goicoechea says, noting increases in the prices of hay, fuel, fertiliser, and pickup and tractor tyres. “I’m concerned about the direction that’s taking. We keep requesting assistance, and they provide it in the form of monetary assistance, which tends to drive inflation higher.”
AN ACTIVE SOCIAL WORKER CONSIDERING HER VOTE
Gina Massiah voted for Biden despite her reservations, deeming him the better of two awful candidates. However, the 49-year-old social worker is no longer certain.
“Indeed, there was much division,” “According to the Brooklyn resident, the Trump period has been a disaster. However, when it came to Trump, “you knew exactly what you were getting.”
“Was he an anti-Semite? He was all of those things. None of us is without flaws. We all bring something with us, correct? However, I believe he would have accomplished much more had he been reelected.” “I totally prefer him to Biden,” she continues. And, wow, that is a Black person speaking, correct?”
“That may sound insane to some people,” she admits, “but that is how I feel.”
Massiah, a registered Democrat who is unaffiliated with any party, compares Biden to other politicians who make grandiose promises but then “forget about you.” “once they are elected to power.
She is especially concerned about the lack of progress on racial issues. While she acknowledged that many had held out optimism because Vice President Kamala Harris is a woman of colour, she stated that “we are still being shot by cops.” We continue to be targeted when we enter stores.”
Messiah is spent.
“I’m simply fed up. I am truly enraged.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report with contributions from Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa; Sudhin Thanawala in Atlanta; Jonathan J. Cooper in Phoenix; Sam Metz in Carson City, Nevada; and Jill Colvin in New York.