CCSU Professor Explores President Biden’s First 100 Days

Ryan Brooks, Assistant News Editor

As President Biden nears the 100-day mark of his presidency, CCSU political science professor Jerold Duquette has questioned whether or not the President is having a political “honeymoon”.

Traditionally, a political honeymoon is a period at the beginning of a new presidency in which the president enjoys a high level of satisfaction among the public as he pursues his legislative agenda.

“At day 76 of his presidency, Joe Biden has about a 53.6 percent approval rating, which, historically, is not that impressive,” Duquette said. “Obviously, in terms of Donald Trump, it’s a bump, a big bump, as Trump had a 40.4 percent approval rating on day 76. However, when you go past  Trump to look to the rest of the presidents’ successors, his first 100 days do not appear to be much of a honeymoon.”

However, Duquette suggests new metrics to weigh whether Biden is enjoying a political honeymoon.

“The success of [Biden’s] legislative agenda shows something of a honeymoon, the passage of the American Rescue Act is a very significant legislative accomplishment, not one that sort of squares with what’s not the most impressive popularity number,” Duquette said. Another thing that shows honeymoon is an analysis of how he is treated by the media. The mainstream media seems to be doing for President Biden what it does for all presidents, which is giving them the benefit of the doubt. The [exception] in this instance is Donald Trump. President Biden has benefited from being the successor to Donald Trump; not being Donald Trump has become a central element of President Biden’s ability to exert influence.”

Duquette suggests that unlike any president before, Biden’s ability to get his legislative program through, as well as much of his authority, is predicated on being the complete opposite of the previous president. 

“The Biden administration has taken every opportunity to frame almost everything they do explicitly with respect to how it was done in the previous administration”, Duquette said. “Even when the Biden immigration policy at the border can be shown to have a direct relation to some of the problems, the Biden administration can say ‘yes, this is a problem, but it would not have been a problem if not for his predecessor inhumanity.’ The question then is how long can they get away with that.”

This brings to light another aspect of a political honeymoon, that being the opposition. 

Duquette asserts that the Republican Party is not particularly concerned with Biden’s approval rating, nor are they concerned with the good coverage he’s getting or the policy he is promoting.

“[Republicans] are focused like a laser beam on the midterm elections and they’re [ignoring] that the president right now is getting good numbers and good coverage. They are intentionally not engaging on policy, and my assumption is that they believe that by the time we get around to the midterm elections, that voters will be back into their group identity mode,” Duquette said.

Duquette emphasized that voters will be concerned about cultural issues again, effectively returning to their respective political camps.

“The specifics about the COVID crisis will have run their course, and what the president is relying on right now, which is the sense of national crisis, would have faded, and to be honest, I believe that is a pretty sound strategy,” Duquette said.