Summer is heating up, and so is Biden's panicked campaign pandering to slow Trump's lead

President Joe Biden likes to spin tales about how he’s going to sail to reelection and how the polls are simply getting it all wrong.

Earlier this month, he told donors, “While the press doesn’t write about it, the momentum is clearly in our favor, with the polls moving towards us and away from Trump.”

Unfortunately for Biden, “the press” isn’t writing that because it’s not true – and it’s not what the polls are showing. Former President Donald Trump bests Biden in most surveys, including in swing states that will decide this election.

Despite Biden’s sunny disposition about his betting odds, his actions betray what he’s really feeling: panic.

Last week alone, Biden announced two measures that scream of his uncertainty.

Biden thinks he can buy his victory

First, his administration announced that it would be “strategically releasing” 1 million barrels of gasoline from the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve, created 10 years ago following Superstorm Sandy, so drivers this summer can spend a little less on road trips just months ahead of the election.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is laser focused on lowering prices at the pump for American families, especially as drivers hit the road for summer driving season,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

Strategic, I’ll say. The thing is that this reserve was meant for emergencies.

So what’s the emergency? I’d have to put my money on Biden's awful poll numbers.

Does Biden really want to debate? Biden gets his wish to debate Trump. But it’s not going to be the win he thinks it is.

Biden also turned to his go-to tactic to win over the young voters he’s struggling to hang on to by announcing yet another round of student loan “cancellation.”

His administration on Wednesday said it would wipe out $7.7 billion in loans for roughly 160,000 borrowers, most of whom are in income-driven repayment plans. This brings the total handout so far to $167 billion to nearly 5 million people.

Lucky for them, I guess, but not so lucky for the rest of us who have to shoulder the debt burden. And that includes all the Americans who have paid off their loans through hard work – or those who don't have a college degree.

It’s a bizarre obsession for Biden, who has continued to seek (likely illegal) ways to unilaterally cancel debt after getting shot down by the U.S. Supreme Court last year for doing the same thing.

What’s even worse is that student debt “relief” and other giveaways are directly contributing to the inflation that tops voters’ concerns.

Sorry, Biden. The polls don’t lie.

No wonder Biden is losing to Trump, especially on the economy.

A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll shows that price increases remain a top concern for U.S. adults. And no surprise, they trust Trump over Biden on both the economy and inflation by 14 percentage points.

Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for his campaign rally in Wildwood Beach on May 11, 2024 in Wildwood, New Jersey.
Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for his campaign rally in Wildwood Beach on May 11, 2024 in Wildwood, New Jersey.

According to the Cook Political Report, voters are more concerned about Biden setting both economic and immigration policy than they are about Trump setting abortion policy.

That should be of huge concern to Democrats, because abortion was supposed to be a winning issue for them in 2024, much like it was in the midterm elections.

About Biden's tarriffs: Are you worried about the high prices we're paying? Biden’s tariffs will make it worse.

And then a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that Biden’s public approval rating – 36% – has fallen this month to its lowest level in two years.

Biden put all his hopes in the basket that voters would refuse to once again vote for Trump after the debacle following the 2020 election.

What’s actually happening, however, is that this election has become a referendum on the incumbent, and voters do not like what they’ve seen.

It’s offensive that Biden thinks he can make up for four years of failed policies with election-year bribes.

Surely, Americans are smarter than that.

Ingrid Jacques is a columnist at USA TODAY. Contact her at or on X, formerly Twitter: @Ingrid_Jacques.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden cancels student loans, wants lower gas prices. He's buying votes