There is a growing unease among the youth voters, especially those who identify as Gen Z, concerning the current U.S. President, pointing out what appears to be a lackluster performance and an overall lifestyle more akin to retirement than active leadership.
Subreddit conversations and morning news shows feature burgeoning concerns of this demographic as the President’s approval ratings continue to dwindle on national polls, with the upcoming 2024 election drawing nearer. One Gen Z voter, identified as Kale Ogunbor, part of the Republican party, has voiced his concerns about the President’s work ethic.
According to Ogunbor, ‘The President, much to my dismay, seemingly holds a more laid-back approach to his duties than expected.
Reports indicate that he has spent over 40% of his tenure on vacation which isn’t the epitome of an active, engaging President.’ He added, ‘Us, the Gen Z, and Americans at large, desire a leader with unwavering commitment and dynamism, someone who is ready to put in the necessary work rather than just appearing like they’re on an extended holiday for the next four years.’
Released on Monday, a recent Monmouth University poll painted a worrying picture of the matter at hand. President Biden’s approval rating currently stands at 34%, while 61% of the respondents give him a negative review on his performance. This is the lowest point his approval rating has been since his first day in the Oval Office about three years back, with the majority of the voters voicing deep concerns about his handling of the inflation and immigration issues.
Adding to the existing concerns, an Axios report has suggested that the President has not fully acknowledged his age, something that’s resulting in tension in the West Wing. Points of contention allegedly arise from his grit and determination, and the external opinions of the First Lady and several senior aides who have recommended a more restful approach to his work.
Another poll conducted by Monmouth University brought to light that about 76% of the respondents believe the President might be too old to execute competently if he were to serve another term. This belief stands in contrast when juxtaposed with the 48% who have voiced the same concern about former President Trump. ‘Biden’s age appears to be a hurdle that he has been unable to overcome during his presidency,’ mentions Ryan Edwards, another Gen Z voter.
Edwards continued, ‘I fear the President is missing the quick-thinking capability required to run the country efficiently. Over the past four years, the sense is of a steady decline in his true ability to lead the nation. Unquestionably, to steer a free nation like ours, one should have the ability to make prompt and nuanced decisions, and I’m unsure if Biden holds that capability.’
For the initial six months at the White House, Biden’s approval rating fluctuated within the range of low to middle 50s. However, his approval took a downturn around August 2021, this was when criticism rose over his handling of the tumultuous U.S. pull-out from Afghanistan coupled with the sudden surge in the COVID-19 cases primarily among the unvaccinated population. While these crises were a significant hit to his ratings, the surge of inflation and migrants attempting to move to the U.S. via the southern border with Mexico exacerbated the situation.
Another factor contributing to the plummeting approval rating was the rise in inflation. The issue started noticeable augmentation during the summer of 2021 and has remained a prominent concern for American citizens ever since. The rise in commodity prices and the overall cost of living has left a deep impact on the lives of the average American, partly fuelling their dissatisfaction with the President’s ability to navigate this financial crisis.
Further adding to the immigration issue, a considerable number of migrants trying to cross into the U.S. along the southern border has put more pressure on the administration. This surge has not only stressed the country’s immigration system but also impacted the public’s perception of administration’s capabilities to protect and manage the country’s borders, thereby feeding into the declining approval statistics.
Brilyn Hollyhand, another Gen Z voter, humorously compared the President’s term in office to a popular culture reference, he said, ‘Ever since Inauguration Day, it seems like we’ve been living a real ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ scenario in the White House.’ This was in reference to the cult film where two people puppeteer their deceased boss to pretend he’s alive. Hollyhand further added that ‘Biden appears to be in a cognitive decline and is primarily sustained by his supporting staff.’
He also pointed out an Axios report that suggested the First Lady, Jill Biden, might be the real driving force behind the administration. Hollyhand strongly argued against this alleged situation, saying, ‘The American citizens didn’t vote Jill Biden into power. We should be concerned about what’s going on behind closed doors and consider the necessary changes.’
The conversation around the President’s mental ability and lifestyle reflect a sentiment that’s increasingly gaining traction. The young voters are apprehensive of a leader not wholeheartedly invested in the role. The slipping approval ratings in national polls, coupled with widespread concern about his leadership style all seem to echo a similar narrative.
President Biden’s performance to date, especially on inflation and immigration, is perceived by many as failing to rise to the necessities of robust leadership. This sense of dissatisfaction is beginning to permeate through various factions of society, particularly among the Gen Z demographic who seem worried about the future trajectory the country is being steered towards.
The speculation around the President’s retirement-like lifestyle and the tension in the West Wing add another layer of complexity to the situation. Ultimately, these elements combined fuel the concern among people, including the younger and future generation, about the nation’s leadership.
As the 2024 election looms around the corner, the President has a considerably challenging task at hand. It’s clear there’s a growing sentiment of unease, particularly among the younger demographic. As it stands, the President will need to reestablish faith in his leadership abilities and demonstrate unwavering commitment to address these concerns and improve his standing in future polls.