How Independent Voters Feel About Biden

More from our inbox:

  • Grading Biden on the Economy
  • If Only Republicans Were as Bold as the Brits
  • Sanctions Against Russia if It Invades Ukraine
  • Yes, They Deserve a Lawyer

  Credit…Illustration by Cristiana Couceiro, photographs by Chris Jackson/Getty Images and Pool photo by Steve Parsons

To the Editor:

“14 Independent Voters Share Their Fears” (Sunday Review, Jan. 23) reflects attitudes that may cause the downfall of the Biden presidency and result in even greater negative consequences.

In response to a request for “a word or phrase that describes President Biden,” the answers were weakly moderate (e.g., “reasonable”) to completely negative (e.g., “incoherent,” “pathetic,” “clueless,” “complete disaster,” “spaced out”).

Consider the issues and opposition that Mr. Biden faces: Vladimir Putin and Ukraine, Chinese economic and territorial expansionism, Covid, a divided Congress, Iran negotiations, Build Back Better, inflation, Supreme Court rulings, voting rights, economic and social justice, and last, but definitely not least, climate change. Consider also that the Afghanistan pullout and infrastructure bill are done.

I do not believe that any president since World War II has confronted and tried to address so many major, even existential, issues at one time. I was not initially a Biden supporter. I do not necessarily agree with him on everything. My solutions may differ on the issues. But if I were to be asked for a word to describe President Biden, it would be “courageous.”

Dean R. Edstrom
Eden Prairie, Minn.

To the Editor:

As I read through the transcript of the focus group with “independent” voters, I couldn’t help but think: I voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and worked on Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. Where’s my focus group?

The media’s obsession with using Obama-Trump voters as a representation of independent voters has never made sense to me. While these voters may represent a segment of independent voters, they seem more drawn to strong personalities than good policies. Many in the group seemed susceptible to misinformation, a trait that I imagine led them to Donald Trump.

There are other independents in this country who can provide much more interesting (and dare I say nuanced) takes on how the administration is doing. Those voters can have just as much of an impact on the elections in 2022 and 2024, if not more. I hope The Times will consider highlighting those voices as well in the future.

Eric Hinkle
Arlington, Va.

Grading Biden on the Economy

  Credit…Illustration by Rebecca Chew/The New York Times; photographs by Doug Mills/The New York Times, and Lauri Patterson, via Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “President Biden’s Economy Is Failing the Big Mac Test” (editorial, Jan. 23):

Your editorial succinctly summarizes the economic policies of the Biden administration, the current state of the economy and its likely future trajectory. With all that in mind, it concludes that President Biden made the right choice in firing up the economy to avoid a sluggish recovery that would have caused considerable pain for many, even though this approach has caused near-term pain for a segment of the population.

Were one, however, to read the headline, or even its first few paragraphs, one would come away with the incorrect notion that Mr. Biden — who the editors acknowledge has less ability to affect the economy than popularly conceived — has engaged in failed policies that have left people worse off than they ought to be.

The Times can and should do better.

Seth Ginsberg
Englewood, N.J.

To the Editor:

The Times’s failing grade for President Biden’s economic performance needs to be re-examined. The editorial tells us your main measure is real weekly wages — the average worker’s wages adjusted for inflation. The editorial determined that Mr. Biden has failed, since the average real weekly wage fell by 2.3 percent over the last year.

There are two major problems with this measure. The first is a composition effect. In 2020, many low-paid workers were laid off. This raises the average, in the same way the average height in a room rises when the shortest person leaves. The composition effect went the opposite way in 2021, as low-paid workers were rehired.

The other is a pandemic price effect. Many prices, most notably gasoline, were depressed when the world economy shut down because of the pandemic. Predictably, these price declines were reversed when the economy reopened.

If we want a more honest measure, we would look at real wage growth over the last two years, which is a very respectable 2.9 percent.

Dean Baker
Kanab, Utah
The writer is senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

To the Editor:

The problem is, nobody really understands the economy.

Different economists will give different reasons for why the economy is doing what it’s doing. Some will get it right, many won’t. Some might be only partly right.

When it comes down to it, there are often multiple reasons why the economy does what it does. And, no matter what the president does, the economy will go its own way because of multiple factors. So is President Biden at fault? A little bit yes and a little bit no.

We have an economy being manipulated by Covid, oil-producing nations, supply chains, businesses inflating prices, etc. The president is the most prominent individual to aim at, but he’s only a small part of the problem. Do you know anyone who’d be more effective?

Marshall Cossman
Grand Blanc, Mich.

To the Editor:

Rather than blaming “Democrats, unable to agree on the terms of a permanent expansion” for the expiration of the child tax credit, the blame should be placed on one Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin, and the 50 Republicans who are united in opposition.

Michael Caplow

If Only Republicans Were as Bold as the Brits

Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Parliament on Tuesday.Credit…Jessica Taylor/Uk Parliament, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “How Partying Could Be Boris Johnson’s Undoing” (The Daily podcast, Jan. 25):

As I watch the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, tumble into a conflagration of his own lies and hubris as he flagrantly flouted Covid restrictions while the rest of Britain abided by the rules, I am struck by the members of his own Tory Party who are openly stating their disgust at his behavior.

Certainly they are motivated by self-interest and the preservation of the Tory majority, but one can only wonder where we would be in this country if Mitch McConnell and other Republicans had confronted Donald Trump and openly declared their actual personal opinions about his mendacity and malignancy as David Davies, a senior member of the Conservative Party, did in Parliament. He quoted the words spoken to Neville Chamberlain: “You have sat there too long for all the good you have done. In the name of God, go!”

The Republican leadership simply did not have the morality and courage of David Davies. We are all paying the price for their lack of character.

Robert Grossmark
New York

To the Editor:

I have been struck throughout the pandemic by the resonances with Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Masque of the Red Death,” in which a prince, attempting to escape a deadly plague, holes himself inside a palace and throws a masquerade ball. Spoiler alert: The plague gets in, disguised as a flamboyantly dressed guest.

It does not surprise me that Boris Johnson’s demise may be thanks to a party of his own.

Alice Walker

Sanctions Against Russia if It Invades Ukraine

 Credit…Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik

To the Editor:

If Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine, then the United States, Britain and the European Union should close their borders to Russian citizens and deny them visas.

Let the oligarchs find new places to buy their mansions and launder their money. The West should not be a refuge for Russian money and rich Russians.

Michael R. Slater
San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Yes, They Deserve a Lawyer

The Rev. John Udo-Okon, pastor of the Word of Life International Church in the South Bronx, hopes to be trained to help his congregants defend themselves against debt-collection suits.Credit…Thalia Juarez for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Do Debtors Really Need a Lawyer When Sued?” (news article, Jan. 26):

Yes, they do! Hundreds of thousands of overwhelmingly Black and brown low-income people face debt collection in New York State — from pending cases and cases in which creditors secured court judgments against them. Why should they have to settle for nonprofessional counsel in legal proceedings that can determine if they have food on the table and a roof over their heads for themselves and their families?

If you have the means, you would never settle for a nonprofessional, and they should not have to either. New York State should expand civil legal services in this grossly underfunded area, particularly at this critical time.

Dora Galacatos
New York
The writer is executive director of the Feerick Center for Social Justice, Fordham University School of Law.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button