Seeds: In the history of United States presidencies, the second term is said to be “cursed.” Approval ratings plummet, the nation’s focus shifts to the new candidates for the position, and the lame duck president struggles to get any sort of legislation passed. The beginning of President Obama’s second term seemed to point to yet another president falling victim to the “second term curse.” Benghazi fervor flooded the nation, the activities of the IRS were called into question, and the website that ran Obama’s most prominent piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, was extremely inefficient, crashing frequently and mishandling 600 billion dollars in insurance contracts. However, within the last year, the president seems to have broken free from the curse.
Core: Recent pollings have shown that President Obama’s approval ratings have surged to 51%, as high as they were at the time of his second inauguration after dropping to as low as 40% in 2014. A few reasons for the raise in approval ratings is a drop in unemployment rates, the president’s work to alleviate tension with Cuba, and his use of diplomacy to come to agreements on international trade and climate change. Furthermore, President Obama’s second term has not been plagued with the types of scandals that caused his predecessor’s approval ratings to plummet (Think Nixon’s Watergate scandal and Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky). All of this has contributed to the President escaping the so-called second term slump.
Skin: The media has loved to watch President Obama’s change in demeanor throughout his second term. In contrast to the previous 4 years of his presidency, Obama has seemed to become far less calculated, doing and saying exactly what he wants, reminding us all to live our lives like second term Obama. Just this month, the president delivered the commencement address at one of the nation’s historically black universities. The speech mainly revolved around the struggles the graduates would face as a result of their race, a topic that the president strayed away from during his first term. Essentially, Obama’s new attitude can pretty much be summed up in this one mic drop at his final White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and the media is eating it up.
Leaves: President Obama’s recent surge in approval ratings may set a new precedent for what constitutes a successful second term. Furthermore, the president’s current approval ratings point to the possibility of him securing a positive legacy when his time in office comes to an end.
Food For Thought: Do you think President Obama has had a good second term? Is his surge in approval ratings a result of the low approval ratings of the current presidential candidates?