Excellent pieces. Biden doesn’t get credit due regrettably to media laziness. There is a worship of clicks and grievance; they actually see it as easier to chase grievance (think hunting through diners for Trump voters even now). Also, the Dems are lazy and haven’t faught back- I’m concerned they are afraid to. The problem is: if TFG gets back in, life will never be the same. I keep seeing US as Weimar America and hope I’m wrong.

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Let's be really clear. Biden has not just done an OK job, but an outstanding performance. Our economy has returned to normal since Trump's lack of economic oversight, and our unemployment has been low and steady for 22 months. Trump was convicted of business fraud and has filed four bankruptcies. In 2019, the U.S. Government spending was up 49.1% from the previous year, while income was down 13%. This was before COVID-19. Anyone or any country who spends roughly 50% more than their income is heading for a disaster. In the second quarter of 2020, the U.S. economy dropped 32.9%. This was the largest drop ever reported. Also under Trump, the FBI reported that violence in the U.S. increase by 30% with 7,700 hate crimes committed. This was the largest single increase in crime in the U.S. in recorded history.

Microsoft has proved that 58% of cyber attacks into the U.S. are from Russia. They have openly admitted to hacking our 2016 election to ensure Trump's win and said this will continue. They have attacked our food supply chains, gas and oil distribution, banking and finance, military and security data bases, and our elections and probably our polls and surveys. Polls sway voters as does massive disinformation. We live in a country that Vladimir Putin has sworn to destroy (The Foundations of Geopolitics) because he blames the U.S. for the demise of the Soviet Union. The Russians want Trump in the White House for one reason - he was probably compromised at some point and is under Putin's control and influence.

Russians use three tools to compromise a foreigner: flattery, money, and women. Every hotel room in Russia where a foreigner stays has spy devices: cameras and listening devices in the walls and the ceilings. This is common practice but not known to most foreigners. With Trump's history with professional women, he was an easy catch. Also, in 2008, Trump Jr. stated that a large percentage of the Trump income comes from Russia. So after filing four bankruptcies in the U.S. and domestic banks refused to loan him money - Trump was doing business with and/or borrowing from Russia. (Elizabeth Graham spent about 20 years living and working in Russia. www.democrazy2020.org)

While the American media spotlight, ever enthralled by the sensationalism of the moment, remains fixated on Trump's legal woes, a crucial and overlooked danger continues to unfold in our country. The influence of Putin's strategies quietly attempts to reshape the trajectory of American politics. The shadow cast by Putin over the landscape of American democracy, and his influence and "control" over Trump, grows larger and darker by the moment. WE ARE SEEING THIS HAPPENING NOW!

It is time to stop spending money and fighting wars abroad, and save our own democracy. Most likely, Putin was involved in the startup timing and weaponization of Hamas. He knew this would draw the U.S. into another war (in Israel), cost us millions of dollars more, distract from his war in Ukraine, and shift the U.S. media (and therefore the American public) from the Ukrainian war to the Israel-Hamas war. Biden has finally brought our troops home from foreign wars, but for how long?

In Janurary there will be a new Substack called: From Democracy to Democrazy. Keep an eye out for it.

Putin intends to destroy our democracy from within - and he is succeeding.

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Biden doesn’t jawbone the public the way Trump did into believing everything was great. I also think the roll off of Covid support greatly impacted how people felt about the economy, but it also was a huge contributing factor in the resiliency of the consumer. Biden running 10-11 points above his approval rating in key states is a tall order, but if he can improve his approval rating 3-5 points then that task looks much more doable.

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Perhaps Democrats would have more time to tout Biden's economic record if they spent less of it insisting that bombing civilians and sniping journalists in Gaza is good, actually

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I think the reason why people are negative about the economy is that groceries are so expensive. The same grocery list two years ago cost me $150, and now costs me $350. That’s a huge two-year jump and it is so frustrating that politicians aren’t talking about it. Especially because everyone I know is struggling from just buying food! And then when people talk positively about job numbers and inflation it feels like such a farce and so theoretical.

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“So why is there this disconnect? One possible reason is the pandemic. ”

In June 2023 the CDC reported that 6% of American adults had Long COVID, defined as still having symptoms at least four weeks after they have cleared the infection. That’s about 15.7 million people based on the most recent population data. Of those, 26.4% reported Long COVID symptoms caused significant limitations in their ability to perform day-to-day activities (such as working). Each COVID infection increases the risk of Long COVID.

Many other people with disabilities and preexisting risk factors never subscribed to Biden’s “back to normal/let it rip” program, because they can’t afford to pretend everything is fine and risk multiple COVID infections. That has limited their ability work, caused older folks who could to retire early with less resources, etc.

In 2021-22, 1 in 3 school age children missed 10% or more of school days (chronically absent). Early data for 2022-23 indicates some improvement, but still nowhere near returning to 2018-19 levels (which already weren’t great). Since back to normal/let it rip involved exactly zero lasting mitigations like improving ventilation and air quality in public spaces like schools, and COVID damages the immune system, you don’t have to look very hard for parents talking about how their kids are constantly sick. One in 5 non-government workers has zero paid sick leave, and only 17 states have mandated it. So more and more people are caught between being able to earn or take care of a sick child.

So yes, I think it’s quite clear the ongoing pandemic is contributing to the Vibecession. Wastewater data indicates we’re in a sizable COVID wave right now. And the band played on.

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I read the articles but I'm not feeling many changes here . The fact that he can't do anything substantial without legislative support and the fact that our legislators don't legislate anymore is certainly not helping. Why do we act like 4 years is enough time to change anything? It's clearly not because the first two years is just going around trying to undo the worst shit the opposing party did. Media doesn't discourage this expectation of immediate results, it's been this way as far as I can remember. There was more common agreement about what progress meant prior to Trump it felt like, but maybe that was just my self-delusion. We just keep passing it back and forth usually every 8 years but the move to the right Supreme Court has made it worse for most. I feel pretty hopeless TBH

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Good article! You present points I wasn’t aware of, for example,

“It's also true that the more affluent have benefited less; workers in the top quartile have seen real wages fall by 2.4 percent. More affluent people generally have more power to shape media and public narratives. That may disproportionately affect indicators of economic sentiment.”

Thanks! Liberals, if they agree, could also emphasize that President Biden is the first president in 40+ years to veer away from Neoliberalism. I think he’s instead been putting Liberal (Keynesian) economics back into service and I think it’s very important, but very difficult to highlight it.

Important because I think that’s why Biden has been so successful. Difficult because disciplined, dedicated Republicans have been amazingly successful in their project to replace Keynesianism and install Neoliberal economics. Their task looked daunting because, from the 1930s through the 1960s, Keynesianism had an exemplary record of reducing inequality, advancing the working class and helping them join the expanding middle class, increasing industrialization, and expanding Civil Rights. Then there occurred a period of decreased capital formation, decreased economic productivity and severe inflation. Republicans blamed Keynesianism and made that stick. Liberals did not mount a credible defense of Keynesianism; a momentous failure.

As a result, Neoliberalism became so embedded in our country that its principles came to seem like common sense. And that resulted in the media not even mentioning its name and many Americans not knowing its name or its nefarious principles. I think that’s why many ordinary Americans mistakenly identify Democrats as the cause of their very real misery. And that’s a big problem for us.

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I will not restack any essay, no matter how good it otherwise may be, that takes so much as one tiresome cheap shot at Obama or--as Berlatsky did in another otherwise excellent piece--makes a snarky reference to Biden. They are not necessary and add no value whatsoever. They are like scratching a chalkboard, and I’m not the only person who sees it this way.

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