Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

This article, selected by a teacher with suggested questions, is part of the Financial Times Free School Access Program. Details / registration here.


Background: what you need to know

This article discusses Joe Biden’s first year in office, and highlights three issues that have damaged his reputation. Rising inflation makes it likely that there will be an unpopular tightening of monetary policy by 2022. Sections on Capitol Hill have meant that Biden’s signature ‘Build Back Better’ legislation will struggle to pass.

There was also a politically ill-considered focus on cultural liberalism – in other words, a heightened awareness of racial discrimination and other ‘identity’ issues. It is popular among Democratic Party activists, but not among the wider American public. All of these factors make it likely that the Democrats will suffer losses in the midterm elections next fall.

Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:

Biden’s disappointing first year in office

Depending on the examination board you follow, answer one of the following two questions.

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the view that the most important factor affecting the ability of US presidents to achieve their goals is the effect of external events.

    You need to consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: Remember that when answering questions on this subject, you should definitely demonstrate knowledge of the incumbent’s record, but Joe Biden should also be compared to other recent presidents. For example, you could look at the handling of the 9/11 crisis by George W Bush, or his and Barack Obama’s responses to the 2008-09 financial crisis, or Donald Trump and the Covid-19 pandemic. All are events that have given presidents an opportunity to demonstrate government competence – or vice versa.

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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