How a narrative of failure upended Biden's 1st year

President Biden.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

Six months ago, it looked like Joe Biden's presidency was off to a strong start. Though the presidential election was closer than most polls had predicted, Biden ran ahead of congressional Democrats. The new president and his party managed to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan less than two months after Inauguration Day, despite razor-thin margins in both houses of Congress. The administration did a good job of making several highly effective vaccines against COVID-19 widely available. And Biden announced the coming withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, fulfilling a campaign promise strongly backed by public opinion. For all of this, the new president was rewarded with approval ratings in the low-to-mid-50s.

Then came the chaotic execution of the Afghanistan exit from late July through the end of August. That sent Biden's numbers off a cliff, and they've never recovered.

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