Lewis: My advice to President Biden

If the presidential election were held tomorrow, the latest CNN presidential polling data shows that President Joe Biden would face a tough challenge from Republicans Chris Christie, Mike Pence, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, and even Donald Trump. While this may come as a shock to some, it should serve as a wake-up call for Democrats that the upcoming election is far from a guaranteed victory.

Despite the Republican Party’s own challenges, it is clear that most Americans are dissatisfied with President Biden, who currently holds one of his lowest approval ratings ever, with just 40% of Americans approving of his performance.

Numerous distracting issues have clouded the public’s perception, diverting attention from what I see as more critical concerns. Examples of these distractions include constant chatter about Hunter Biden and ongoing concerns about Biden’s age. While these issues may hold some validity, they are largely red herrings. Notably, former President Trump is nearly the same age as Biden and faces more legal challenges. It is unlikely that these factors will play a significant role in the next election.

President Biden’s fundamental unpopularity stems from a straightforward problem — he is not effectively addressing the issues that matter most to Americans. While he points to legislative achievements such as the CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, these accomplishments do not have a day-to-day impact on the majority of Americans. Similarly, initiatives like student loan forgiveness, job creation, and prescription drug pricing have failed to boost his approval ratings because they are not improving things for most Americans.

If I were advising the president, I would recommend that he concentrate his efforts on just three things — the economy, immigration and crime. Improvements in these areas are crucial and will garner attention and praise.

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Regarding the economy, particularly inflation, it is essential to recognize that raw data, such as aggregate inflation numbers, may not always align with public sentiment. While overall inflation has been decreasing, rising gas prices are a significant concern for many because nearly everyone purchases gas regularly, and gas price banners are ubiquitous. It is safe to assume that a reduction in gas prices back to $2.50/gallon would be a game-changer for the president.

While immigration may not constitute the catastrophic invasion of criminals depicted by Trump, it remains a crisis due to the excessive number of immigrants being admitted compared to our current capacity to handle them through existing programs. Mayors across the United States, including the mayor of New York City, are voicing concerns that this crisis could destroy their cities. One of the most significant issues is that most immigrants granted entry are not permitted to work until their hearing, which can take up to a year. This policy is counterproductive; a simple change allowing people to work would benefit both the economy and government spending on housing and support.

Rising crime rates are a top concern for Americans. While this issue might be considered a state and local matter, its widespread impact affects national politics and demands greater attention. I would suggest the president incentivize the rebuilding of local police forces as well as incentives to push cities to get tougher on petty crimes like shoplifting. If businesses leave cities because of crime, it will set up a downward spiral that no one wants.

Lastly, I would caution the president about falling into the same trap that Republicans have fallen into with abortion by taking positions that fall far outside the views of most Americans. For example, only 33% of Americans support the use of affirmative action for college admissions, and 70% of Americans say that transgender athletes should only participate on sports teams with their sex assigned at birth. While politicians may feel personally compelled to take unpopular stands, just as Republicans will have to look for more common ground on abortion, so will Democrats on other topics.

While polling data may not always be entirely accurate, the latest results should serve as a wake-up call for President Biden. A majority of Americans are dissatisfied with his performance. While he cannot change his age, refocusing his efforts on mainstream issues such as the economy and immigration may be the key to securing a second term in office.

Mark Lewis, a Colorado native, had a long career in technology, including serving as the CEO of several tech companies. He’s now retired and writes thriller novels. Mark and his wife, Lisa, and their two Australian Shepherds — Kismet and Cowboy, reside in Edwards.

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