One answer might be that expectations were so high, that hopes were bound to be dashed

America is overflowing with good news. Unemployment is down, wages are up, consumer confidence is rebounding, and consumers are spending more (retail sales jumped 1.7% in October, the third monthly increase). Covid seems to be in retreat, at least among those who have been vaccinated. And two big parts of Biden’s legislative agenda – last spring’s $1.9tn America Rescue Plan, and his recent $1.2tn infrastructure plan – have been enacted.

So what’s not to be happy about? Apparently, plenty. Biden’s current job approval rating is 12 points lower than when he took office – now just 41% (around where Trump’s was for most of his presidency). Most registered voters say that if the midterm elections were today, they’d support the Republican candidate. Even Trump beats Biden in hypothetical matchups. More than 60% of Americans say the Democrats are out of touch with the concerns of most Americans. And Republican congressional candidates now hold their largest lead in midterm election vote preferences dating back 40 years.

Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few and The Common Good. His new book, The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It, is out now. He is a Guardian US columnist. His newsletter is at

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