A clear pattern has emerged since 1993. The last two Democratic presidents were very successful and left office with high approval ratings. In contrast, the last two Republican presidents were miserable failures and were deeply unpopular. Let’s take a little trip down memory lane and take a look at the record.
During the Bill Clinton Presidency, 22 million new jobs were created, unemployment declined from 7% to 4%, median family income rose, and poverty declined to its lowest rate in 20 years. In addition, Hillary Clinton worked with Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch to provide insurance coverage to more than 8 million children.
When Barack Obama was president, the unemployment rate was reduced from 10% to 4.7%. During the successful Obama presidency, 20 million formerly uninsured Americans obtained insurance and the uninsured rate was reduced from 18% to a record low of 8.6%.
The contrast between the last two Democratic presidents and the last two GOP presidencies couldn’t be more stark. When George W. Bush left office, the economy was losing 800,000 jobs per month and eight million Americans had lost insurance. Until Trump, Bush had the worst jobs creation record since Herbert Hoover.
Trump’s record was even worse than Bush’s largely due to his catastrophic mismanagement of the pandemic. According to a study from Columbia University, Trump’s incompetence caused over 200,000 Americans to have unnecessarily perished to the corona virus.
Trump’s failure to mitigate the virus wrecked the good economy he inherited from President Obama. When Trump was in office, the unemployment rate increased from 4.7% to 6.7%, 10 million Americans lost their jobs, 12 million Americans lost insurance, 8 million Americans fell into poverty and the annual deficit increased from $585 billion to $3.1 trillion.
Fortunately for America (and the world), Joe Biden was elected president in 2020. Even though we’re only one month into the Biden presidency, we’re already seeing some significant improvement.
Since Biden has taken office, the daily number of Covid-19 cases have declined significantly from 189,000 on January 20 to 55,000 on February 21. Is this just good luck or serendipity? Or did the Biden Administration have something to do with it?
Unlike the previous Administration, the Biden Administration has emphasized the wearing of masks and social distancing. In contrast, Trump ridiculed these simple measures and turned it into a culture war — thus discouraging millions of Americans from taking these simple precautions.
The Biden Administration has nearly doubled the number of daily vaccinations, despite the fact that the Trump Administration had no plan to distribute the vaccines. Since Biden has taken office, daily vaccinations have increased from 900,000 to 1.7 million.
According to the Axios website, “America’s much-maligned vaccine rollout is actually going relatively well, at least compared to other wealthy countries. The U.S. has carried out more vaccinations than any country in the world, and given a first dose to a higher percentage of its population (12%) than all but five countries. In fact, the U.S. is distributing doses three times as quickly as the EU, adjusted for population, and nearly five times as quickly as Canada.”
The impending end to the pandemic has caused economists across the board to upgrade their economic forecasts. According to the NY Times: “Economists at Goldman Sachs forecast that the economy will grow 6.8 percent this year and that the unemployment rate will drop to 4.1 percent by December, a level that took eight years to achieve after the last recession.”
Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman is equally optimistic: “All of this suggests to me that spending will surge once the pandemic subsides and people feel safe to go out and about, just as spending surged in 1982 when the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates. And this in turn suggests that Joe Biden will eventually preside over a soaring, “morning in America”-type recovery.”
Just what accounts for the difference between Democratic and Republican presidencies? Progressive columnist Jonathan Chait put it this way: “Democrats have a governing program and a cadre of policy advisers that is responsive to empirical reality and able to effectively respond to real-world problems. Republicans have none of these things, and the rise of Trump has shown that the problem has grown worse, not better. Republicans …have a failed party.”
Prominent presidential historian Michael Beschloss said it best: “Anyone still saying it doesn’t really matter who is President of the United States?”