The 2020 presidential election was one for the books. It was riddled with accusations of voter fraud, political upsets shifting traditional red states blue, and a violent insurrection on the country’s capital; a new winner emerged and presented one of the most diverse cabinets in presidential history. President Joseph R. Biden clinched the country’s popular vote and took his seat as the nation’s leader for the next four years. The President stacked his campaign on promises like eliminating student loan debt, climate control regulations, and immigration policies. Still, as he crosses his 100th day in office, Americans are starting to form an opinion on his leadership and execution of his campaign platform.
Inheriting a country in the throes of a national and international health pandemic, social and civil unrest, and racially divided, President Biden got to work on earning the country’s trust. For some, it seems to have paid off. In a CNN poll conducted by SSRS, 59 percent of those who participated believed the President is doing a good job thus far at keeping his campaign promises. He has an overall approval rate of 53 percent. During the same period during their presidencies, former President Barack Obama held 63 percent, and Donald Trump stood at 44 percent.
Rankings aside, some believe the President has yet to take any sizable actions towards advancing the nation. Here in Detroit, community members are still waiting for the President to make good on his campaign promises.
“In his first 100 days he has made good on none of his promises and is doing nothing of substance he is doing what most politicians do to get in office. Biden is only in office because he is still riding high off President Obama’s name,” says K. Johnson, a local Detroiter.
In his first address to the Joint Sessions of Congress, the President gave his audience a fact-check of his administration’s accomplishments during the first 100 days, including surpassing his goal for vaccinations, stimulus checks rental assistance, and increased
enrollment for the Affordable Care Act. Still, some Detroiters feel the President is simply resetting the country to before Donald Trump’s reign.
“President Biden’s performance in his first 100 days was undoing what Trump built. I would like to see him do more than undo what is already done,” says LaDawn Duckett, an employee in the auto industry.
During the joint address, Americans also heard a detailed plan for tacking the next 100 days and beyond. Detailing the American Jobs Plan, an interactive to help drive the nation’s economy, the President promised to create jobs to get Americans back to work.
“The American Jobs Plan is going to create millions of good paying jobs. Jobs Americans can raise a family in with what my dad says ‘a little breathing room,” says the President.
The President nudged Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act on his desk for signing to ensure equality and opportunities for women are available and paid on the same scales as male counterparts.
The pandemic is one sweeping criterion the President is being graded on during his first 100 days in office. According to the same CNN poll, 66 percent of Americans polled agree the President is handling the crisis well. As some states continue to see a decrease in positive cases, other states are on an uptick. Although cases are rises in some states such as Michigan, access to the vaccine is widespread. For Detroit, vaccination sites are beginning to see a slow down in appointments or those returning for their second shot.
Despite the slow down, the President was able to meet his goal of 100 million vaccines going into the arms of Americans. Upon entering office, less than one percent of Americans were vaccinated. Now, more than a quarter of the American population is fully vaccinated. Still, a long way to go, the urgency to become vaccinated is soaring as variant strain cases cause spikes in the sick.
“Today, 90 percent of Americans now live within five miles of a vaccination site. Everyone over the age of 16, everyone is now eligible to get vaccinated. Go get vaccinated, America,” says President Biden during the address.
The CNN poll also shows the President’s approval rates are up in various categories. Fifty-four percent of Americans believe the President is doing well in environmental policies and racial injustice issues. Hitting the middle range, 51 percent approve of his handling of the economy, 50 percent for taxes, and 48 percent agree with his dealings on foreign affairs. Still, critics of the President are not happy with what they have seen.
“He can be a man of his word and make good on the promises that he made before getting into office. Honestly I don’t expect much from Biden because he’s been in politics all these years and now all of a sudden he cares about the African American community and police brutality when he sat by all these years and did nothing,” Johnson says.
The President also unveiled a COVID relief package and a new family plan that will impact childcare, offer free community college, and a police reform bill named George Floyd.
Still new to the role, President Biden is charging forward with his plans for America.