What’s happening: A new analysis from Axios suggests that President Joe Biden’s case for 2024 could be getting stronger following modestly shifting numbers on inflation, crime, and border crossings. This ignores the reality that Americans’ lives are markedly worse than four years ago.
The argument: The report cites border numbers that have reached their “lowest level in over two years in June,” parroting a debunked narrative based on the Biden administration’s framing of statistics. Whatever decline the U.S. actually saw was largely the result of a summer with record heat. Axios also points to lower levels of violent crime and retreating inflation as evidence of a “crumbling” Republican strategy against Biden’s America.
- Inflation: While inflation is cooling, there has been no consistent trend of wages growing faster than inflation, meaning Americans have been poorer under Biden. Prices that soared during the COVID-19 pandemic have not gone back down. The economy remains voters’ top concern, and only a third of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of it.
- Violent crime: Some recent reports suggest falling murder rates across the nation in the first half of 2023. But violent crime levels are still higher than they were four years ago in 2019 before Biden took office. According to a recent poll, Americans still think crime is a pressing issue.
- Border crossings: Under Biden, illegal entries into the U.S. and encounters at the southern border (including encounters with terrorism suspects) have been the highest in history. There have been almost four times as many “gotaways” — those who enter illegally and evade capture — than in the last three years of the previous administration.
A reality check: The attempt to portray these issues positively in 2024 runs into the same problem that the “Bidenomics” campaign faces. It may come down to whether Americans believe the White House — or the media — over their own eyes.