It's time to mark President Biden's report card after almost a year of his presidency, and it's not looking particularly healthy, writes Donald Forbes.

Has he delivered the normalcy that Democrats promised after the still irrepressible or still dangerous Donald Trump – depending on what sort of partisan is talking?

The opinion polls say no, as does the record. Biden's approval rating has sunk to 42% with 60% saying the country is on the wrong track. To supporters of Trump, who won 74 million voters in 2020, the 79-year-old Biden is a sentence-mangling, semi-senile joke who makes Mrs Malaprop look like Churchill.

Democrats badly misjudged their ability to pass a radical agenda with an equally divided Senate where they rely on Vice President Kamala Harris's casting vote to break the tie. They have been frustrated by the opposition of two of their own who have stalled Biden's multi-trillion dollar Build Back Better bill. The overall impression has been one of failure. Biden has mainly got his way through executive orders that are being contested in court.

Covid, immigration, crime and inflation make up the controversial legacy of Biden's first year, so much so that Republicans are confident that can regain control of both houses at next year's mid-terms. Secretly, Biden may not see that as a personal setback since it would free him from leftist control and Republicans would then be forced to share the blame for hard choices.

All four issues are wholly owned by the Democrats and their policies.

Inflation under Biden is almost at seven per cent – a figure not seen since 1982 – and still rising. Democrats thought the Covid vaccines developed under Trump in 2020 would re-open a booming economy in 2021. It never happened and economists blame Biden's spending as well scarcities caused by clogged supply chains for rising prices.

The administration's claim that inflation is "transitory" has been overtaken by worries that the government has lost control and about how high inflation will go. Americans who experienced 1970s inflation, and the painful medicine that cured it, are dubious about assurances that this can be turned round next year.

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Biden promised to defeat Covid with the vaccines developed under Trump but there have been more deaths this year than in 2020. Legally-dubious mask and vaccine mandates have given divided Americans something else to fight about in a political atmosphere that is already poisonous. The arrival of Omicron has destroyed the administration's hopes of relief.

Some two million illegal immigrants are expected to cross the southern border in 2022 after Biden changed the rules and scrapped Trump's wall. He insists it remains closed but media coverage proves it is not. Americans usually have no objection to legal immigration but they resent being taken for fools and tell pollsters they don't like the situation.

Crime and murder rates have continued to spike. What Biden can do about a matter largely in state and city hands is limited. But most of the blame has been laid on efforts by his party to defund the police in cities where criminality is highest. It is also complicated by racial politics with progressive prosecutors who say the law is unfair to blacks. People are angered when arrested suspects are freed without cash bail and re-offend.

The harsh treatment of those arrested after the 6th of January, pro-Trump riot at the Capitol riles Republicans who compare the pre-trial detention of around 40 people who are still in jail with the immunity of arsonists and looters who rampaged through American cities in 2020 after George Floyd died. The detentions are seen as deliberate in order to strengthen the Democrats' narrative that what happened was an insurrection rather than a protest.

Biden's foreign policy has also creaked under strain. His botched withdrawal from Afghanistan was egregious. He's looked indecisive over China's threat to Taiwan and Russia's to Ukraine. These would admittedly test any president and he didn't seek them. But he chose to try reviving President Obama's nuclear deal and was forced to throw up his hands when Teheran proved intransigent.

The extraordinary Kamala Trump affair when Biden's people unleashed the media – including Democratic stalwarts like CNN and the Washington Post – to trash the vice president's competence has been puzzling. It's not clear what that was about unless to discredit her as a possible nominee in 2024. Biden says he'll run again but it's unlikely.

Harris can't be forced out and her relations with Biden are surely now rock bottom. How does the humiliation of the woman who's next in line to Biden help unity in a party that is supposedly desperate to elect the first woman president. It reduces her chances of winning the 2024 nomination unless she arrives as a sitting president if something happens to Biden.

But that's three years away. Those remaining years are what must worry many Americans if they're like 2021.

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