When Joe Biden ran for president in 2020, he had all the advantages of a nonincumbent in a year when everything had gone wrong.
Biden waged a careful, disciplined campaign, built around a simple message: He would end the pandemic, rebuild the economy and restore normalcy. After the chaos of the Trump years, that was enough.
Governing has been more difficult. The pandemic, fueled by the delta variant of the coronavirus, didn’t end. The economy’s recovery has come with worrisome inflation, shortages and supply chain problems. In public opinion polls, a large majority of Americans say they think the country is heading in the wrong direction.