Matthew Continetti

Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

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Opinion

What kind of leader America needs

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Matthew Continetti

Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

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The American public remains divided and unhappy about the state of the country leading up to the next presidential election, and former President Donald Trump now holds a narrow lead in the matchup against President Biden. While Biden portrays Trump as a threat to American democracy, voters in key states ironically trust the former president to handle threats to democracy better.

Watch the video above as Straight Arrow News contributor Matt Continetti explains why Americans think the country under Biden is headed on the wrong path. Continetti argues that Americans need a leader who will highlight the country’s strengths and “inspire us to get back on the right track.”


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The following is an excerpt from the above video:

The electorate is in a sour mood. Americans are pessimistic about the nation’s future. According to The Real Clear Politics polling average, some two-thirds of Americans say the country is on the wrong track. Only one full-term president in the past half-century has presided over an increase in consumer prices that matches inflation under President Biden. That president was Jimmy Carter, who lost reelection. Indeed, at this point in the campaign cycle, Joe Biden has the worst right track-wrong track numbers of any Democratic incumbent president since Carter.

The simplest explanation for America’s crisis of self-confidence is the decline in living standards under Joe Biden. What inflation does not explain is the duration of American gloom. After all, our bout of national pessimism arrived long before inflation returned in 2021. Not since 2004 have most Americans said that the country is on the right track. An entire generation has come of age since we last felt good about ourselves and about where we were headed.


Interested in opposing perspectives? Have a look at how our other contributors view this issue from across the political spectrum:

Dr. Rashad Richey: Support democracy or Trump, but you can’t do both.

Jordan Reid: Biden’s achievements undermined by growing perception gaps.

David Pakman: Making the case for both Biden and Trump.

The electorate is in a sour mood. Americans are pessimistic about the nation’s future. According to The Real Clear Politics polling average, some two thirds of Americans say the country is on the wrong track. Only one full term president in the past half century has presided over an increase in consumer prices that matches inflation under President Biden. That president was Jimmy Carter, who lost reelection. Indeed, at this point in the campaign cycle, Joe Biden has the worst right track wrong track numbers of any Democratic incumbent president since Carter. The simplest explanation for America’s crisis of self confidence is the decline in living standards under Joe Biden. What inflation does not explain is the duration of American gloom. After all, our bout of national pessimism arrived long before inflation returned in 2021. Not since 2004 have most Americans said that the country is on the right track. And entire generation has come of age since we last felt good about ourselves and about where we were headed. But my American Enterprise Institute colleague Nicholas Eberstadt, once dubbed our miserable 21st century has been an era of war, economic loss, addiction, dizzying technological and cultural change, plague, and disorder. These unfortunate events are behind the chaotic political scene. Prolonged frustration reveals itself in narrow and temporary majorities. There have been nine by annual elections since most voters began saying the country is on the wrong track. All but one of them resulted in a change of partisan control in either Congress or the White House, or both. No president since Bill Clinton has left office with an average approval rating above 50%. The last election where both presidential candidates enjoy positive favorable ratings was 2008. America could use better quality politicians. There are many capable men and women serving in elected and appointed office, but they have not found their way to the highest level of a power. All four of the centuries presidents pledged to unite the country, they failed. Consider how Americans have talked about their country since the beginning of the 2000s. It has been one long and woeful dirge in response to the 911 attacks. Newsweek magazine famously asked, why do they hate us, as if we had brought the slaughter on ourselves? The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were said to be hopeless causes based on lies. The global financial crisis was called an indictment of Western democratic capitalism. Climate change has been portrayed as an apocalypse for which industrialism and consumerism are to blame. Since 2012, America has been regularly and falsely portrayed as a systemically racist country. Media education and entertainment promote the corrosive ideas of intersectionality and decolonization. D legitimizing not only the Jewish state of Israel, but also the United States as a merit based constitutional republic. When Americans are asked to choose between a story of their country as a settler colonialist, oppressor of minorities, and a story of post constitutional progressive tyranny, is it any wonder that most people worry about the future. recovering our confidence and sense of purpose requires leaders who will speak for America remind us of our glories more than our shame, and reinforce the nation’s promise by building on what’s best in our country, our Constitution, our talent, our individuality, and our freedom. America needs political, cultural and business leaders who understand and who can explain why so many people want to come here. We need leaders who will talk America up not down, who will lift our spirits and who will inspire us to get back on the right track. Good. Let’s do that one more time. We’re rolling this is take two action. The electorate is in a sour mood. Americans are pessimistic about the nation’s future. According to The Real Clear Politics polling average, some two thirds of Americans say the country is on the wrong track. Only one full term president in the past half century has presided over an increase in consumer prices that matches inflation under President Biden. That president was Jimmy Carter, who lost reelection. Indeed, at this point in the campaign cycle, Joe Biden has the worst right track wrong track numbers of any Democratic incumbent. Since Jimmy Carter. The simplest explanation for America’s crisis of self confidence is the decline in living standards under Joe Biden. What inflation does not explain is the duration of American gloom. After all, our bout of national pessimism arrived long before inflation returned in 2021. Not since 2004 have most Americans said that the country is on the right track. An entire generation has come of age since we last felt good about ourselves and about where we were headed. But my American Enterprise Institute colleague Nicholas Eberstadt, once dubbed our miserable 21st century, has been an era of war, economic loss, addiction, dizzying technological and cultural change, plague, and disorder. These unfortunate events are behind the chaotic political scene. Prolonged frustration reveals itself in narrow and temporary majorities. There have been nine by annual elections since most voters began saying the country is on the wrong track. All but one of them resulted in a change of partisan control in either Congress, or the White House, or both. No president since Bill Clinton has left office with an average approval rating above 50%. The last election were both presidential candidates enjoyed positive favorable ratings was 2008. America could use some better quality politicians. There are many capable men and women serving in elected and appointed office, but they have not found their way to the highest levels of power. All four of these centuries presidents pledged to unite the country, they failed. Consider how Americans have talked about their country since the beginning of the 2000s. It has been one long and woeful dirge in response to the 911 attacks. Newsweek magazine famously asked, why do they hate us, as if we had brought the slaughter on ourselves? The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were said to be hopeless causes based on lies. The global financial crisis was called an indictment of Western democratic capitalism. Climate change has been portrayed as an apocalypse for which industrialism and consumerism are to blame. Since 2012, America has been regularly and falsely portrayed as a systemically racist country. media, education and entertainment promote the corrosive ideas of intersectionality and decolonization. D legitimizing not only the Jewish state of Israel, but also the United States as a merit based constitutional republic. When Americans are asked to choose between a story of their country as a settler colonialist, oppressor of minorities, and a story of their country as a post constitutional progressive tyranny, is it any wonder that most people worry about the future. recovering our confidence and sense of purpose requires leaders who will speak for America remind us of our glories more than our shame, and reinforce the nation’s promise by building on what is best in our country, our Constitution, our talent, our individuality, and our freedom. America needs political, cultural and business leaders who understand and who can explain why so many people want to come here. We need leaders who will talk America up, not down, who will lift our spirits and who will inspire us to get back on the right track. Thanks

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