AOC: Biden Losing Young Voters, Needs to Cancel Student Debt

© REUTERS / EVELYN HOCKSTEINU.S. President Joe Biden speaks before signing into law the "Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021", at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 3, 2022
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks before signing into law the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 3, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2022
Despite past campaign promises to eliminate $10,000 worth of student debt, US President Biden has failed to deliver on the vow and has instead only offered Americans a temporary pause on their repayment plans. The president has urged Americans to use the pause to ready themselves when monthly payments are resumed.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) suggests that the Biden administration may be losing support among young progressives because of the president’s failure to deliver on campaign promises, specifically student loan debt forgiveness.
In an interview with New York 1’s Errol Louis, Ocasio-Cortez was asked about Biden’s low poll numbers. She didn’t mince words.
“It is Biden’s power and ability to cancel student debt, and nobody else’s,” Ocasio-Cortez said, seeming to refer to the executive order power that allows a president to pass policy changes without congressional approval.
“We do not have much more time to wait because these falling poll numbers [...] we need to acknowledge this is not just about the middle of the road, increasingly narrow band of independent voters, but this is really about young people, the Democratic base, feeling like they worked overtime to get this president elected and they aren’t necessarily being seen.”
Biden is presently polling at the lowest level of his presidency. According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, only 40% of Americans approve of Biden’s performance as president. Those numbers do not look better when looking at young voters, typically the base of the Democratic party. Only 37% of 18 to 39 year olds approve of Biden’s performance, while 52% disapprove, according to the poll.
The working class also are not big fans of the commander-in-chief’s efforts. Among Americans who make less than $75,000 a year, only 41% approve of Biden’s performance against 53% who disapprove.
Poll participants overwhelmingly listed the economy as their biggest concern.
During the 2020 campaign, Biden pledged to eliminate $10,000 worth of student debt for every individual. Early in the election cycle, Biden opposed mass student debt forgiveness, only advocating for forgiving student loans for debtors in bankruptcy. Some of his rivals in the Democratic primary, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), promised to eliminate all student debt. That pressured Biden to take a more progressive stance.
The Baker Library at the Harvard Business School on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.12.2017
US Millennials Give More Despite $1.2 Trillion Student Debt
Total student loan forgiveness proved to be very popular among young Democratic voters, one reason why Sanders consistently led Biden among voters 18 to 29.
Many of Biden’s democratic colleagues have called on Biden to meet or exceed his campaign promise, with Sanders, Warren, Senator Chuck Schumer and Ocasio-Cortez all stating that Biden should eliminate $50,000 of student debt per individual.
Proponents of eliminating student debt argue that Biden could accomplish it with a stroke of a pen, using the executive order to avoid going through Congress where it would face opposition from Republicans and conservative Democrats.
The Democrats face an uphill battle in this year’s midterms. The party that controls the White House traditionally sees a poor showing in midterm elections and that is amplified when a president is unpopular.
Student loan repayments have been paused since early in the pandemic. They have been set to resume several times but the pause has been consistently extended. At present, repayments are set to resume in May but are likely to be paused again.
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