Lessons From Abroad on How Biden Can Win

As Democrats puzzle over how President Biden can be so unpopular, it’s worth looking at the global context — because he’s actually doing better than most Western leaders.

In the Morning Consult approval ratings for global leaders, Biden polls better than leaders in Canada, Britain, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, France and Japan.

Here in America, we often attribute Biden’s unpopularity to his age, and that’s certainly part of it. But youthful leaders abroad are even less popular: In Britain, people fault the 43-year-old prime minister, Rishi Sunak, for being “too inexperienced for these grim times,” as The New Statesman put it.

The United States is doing better economically than most other countries, but Biden’s challenge is still that he represents the establishment at a time when there is deep suspicion around the globe of elites and globalization — yet there are also lessons from abroad that could help Biden beat Donald Trump. So while there’s a far-right tide that may also swamp the United States, it’s not hopeless for Biden.

Fareed Zakaria notes in his brilliant new book, “Age of Revolutions,” that a backlash to globalization after the 2008-09 financial crisis fed political uprisings in many Western countries, parallel to the rise of the Tea Party and the ethnonationalist takeover of the Republican Party that was happening in the United States.

“These anti-globalization parties have successfully tapped into the social and economic anxiety of millions,” Zakaria writes. These narratives may be untrue or simplistic, but they are reshaping the West.

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