‘Far better than I expected’: Guardian readers on Joe Biden’s first 100 days

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<span>Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

‘It’s a blessing not to cringe every morning when I look at the news’

Related: Biden’s 100 days: bold action and broad vision amid grief and turmoil

He’s far better than I expected on his domestic policies. If he can get the Senate to get rid of the filibuster, he’ll probably do a lot more. His foreign policy team is hawkish, dragging their feet in regards to Iran and truly reactionary regarding Latin America. But compared to Trump even that looks good. It is truly a blessing not to cringe every morning when I look at the news and don’t see 45 [Trump, the 45th president] still in charge of the US. Chip Hollister, 73, retired psychologist, Pennsylvania, Green party

‘I’m dumbfounded (in a good way) by how much this president has taken on in such a short time’

I’m dumbfounded, in a good way, by how much this president has taken on in such a short time. Managing the pandemic and vaccine rollout, historic fiscal stimulus intended to lift people out of poverty, urgent initiatives to address climate change, sweeping infrastructure investment, dismantling systemic racism … Any one of these might absorb the attention and energy of an entire four-year term.

That this president is tackling and prioritizing all of these issues at once, and within mere months of taking office, is astounding. I’m exhausted for President Biden and his team. And worried. But also hopeful. His unflagging optimism, perseverance and spirit, even after decades in politics and enduring partisan divisions, render him the rarest sort of civil servant: an inspiring one. Tara Chhabra, 47, HR manager, New York, Democrat

‘The major flaws thus far have been refusing to cut our “defense” establishment and failure to mitigate inhumane treatment of refugees’

He’s doing so much better than I expected on domestic matters. I’m impressed by the Covid, infrastructure and poverty relief initiatives. He’s even dared to mention the unmentionable – we need to reform our tax structure above all else. Biden speaks firmly, though with a moderate tone and presence. On the national front, this is the best news our country has had for 40+ years. I think whatever happened between him and Bernie Sanders has had some effect on current policies.

Leaving Afghanistan (or mostly leaving it) is great. However, the major flaws thus far have been in refusing to cut our bloated and far too powerful ‘defense’ (aggressive) establishment, and the failure to mitigate the inhumane treatment of refugees. My own view is that the US can work toward helping social democratic/populist governments to survive in Central America, so that those seeking refuge will be able to remain at home. Florence S Boos, 77, university professor, Iowa, Green/Democrat/Bernie wing

‘Biden has done nothing to support Americans who have lost their jobs, homes and cars’

He’s just a puppet. He’s not running the country; he’s just being told what to do and what to say. I’m a third-generation immigrant from Italy, and right now the borders are ridiculous – putting immigrants in hotels while we have so many Americans living on the street. I’m sorry their countries are so unlivable, but their governments allowed it to happen. The teachers’ union is preventing our children from returning to the classroom, when unions are an item of the past. Then there’s electric cars, which the average person cannot afford because of their price. Gas prices are out of line too because he has canceled new production of fuel. So many Americans are without great-paying jobs now, losing their homes, and cars and Biden has done nothing to support them. Anonymous, 68, retired, Indiana, Republican

‘As a reluctant voter I have been pleasantly surprised’

As a reluctant voter for Biden as president, I have wondered why, yet again, I can only vote against the worst of two bad choices, rather than for a candidate that represents my values. Viewing Biden as a dinosaur who was overdue for retirement, I have been pleasantly surprised on a daily basis by his hard work, his evident commitment to listen to others and to act on what he hears from them, and by his willingness to challenge some of the many US shibboleths that have remained untouchable for far too long.

My main concern is whether he may take Obama’s path of seeking bipartisan support when there is none to be had, and my main hope is that he will pursue his publicly stated agenda and eliminate the Senate filibuster in order to succeed. Dr Philip V Hull, 58, psychologist, California

‘He is often stuck on needless compromise’

Biden has led as well as a president can during this crisis, and his administration seems mostly capable of helping our nation find its way back to 2016. It seems evident, however, that Biden does not know how capable he is of doing this, and too often is stuck on needless compromise with the very conservatives the people resoundingly voted out last year. Charlie, 17, student, Virginia, Democrat

‘We have a deeply unequal and broken society – Biden is not capable of fixing that’

It’s fair to say that he has exceeded expectations. I thought I would get the vaccine in the summer but I got my first dose on 12 April. The American Rescue Plan was also a huge help for the economic crisis brought by the pandemic, and it is the first time since the Great Society that the federal government has substantively combatted poverty and inequality. I was feeling much worse before he was elected, but this is still a nation with very little hope, especially for the young. Inflated tuition and a difficult job market mean that the way forward is not clear at all.

We all still struggle under a deeply unequal and broken society. Biden is not capable of fixing that. Even if he finds success against the immediate crises we face, there is still a much deeper malaise infecting the nation. One that has destroyed the American dream for everyone but the rich. I’m glad he’s president, but America needs someone with a vision for the nation on par with Franklin D Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson. Still, Biden’s success in his first 100 days may pave the road for someone transformative. We all wait for that day. Paul Arango, 21, unemployed, New York, Democrat

‘His immigration policy is too Trump-like’

I am disappointed that Biden has not reversed more of Trump’s policies, like increased sanctions on Iran, and the cutoff of Obama relations with Cuba. His immigration policy is also too Trump-like; parents and relatives should be reunited with children, then monitored. Instead of restoring the corporate tax rate to 35%, he wants only to raise it to 28%. Biden’s economic policies are good, but temporary, when many need to be made permanent while we still have a majority in Congress.

Biden has condemned Medicare for All, which is absolutely necessary. I support most of the policies advocated by Bernie Sanders, and wish he were president, but he is playing a very important role as head of the budget committee. Dr Kegel, 73, retired clinical psychologist, Illinois, usually votes Democrat, but not a supporter of the mainstream party

‘Refreshing and hopeful’

I am happy to be able to breathe again. I no longer wake up afraid of what has been inferred, threatened or stated on Twitter. I find his encouragement of responsibility, sympathy for those impacted by disaster and solemn commitment to climate change refreshing and hopeful. These were things generally expected from a sitting president in the past. They have now become precious pearls of unexpected maturity. The bar had been set so low, that anything above it would seem like a cause for celebration. I think President Biden has much to correct and a big job ahead of him but I am encouraged that we will regain the trust of our world partners and address global problems with respect and maturity.

For me personally, my healthcare coverage feels stabilized and the cover offered is better as a result of Biden’s commitment to improving the existing program. Stock markets are stable and the housing market is booming. If nothing else, the last four years have taught me to pay attention. Voting is crucial and holding elected officials to task is important. I will never be that lazy again. Sara Sally L, 63, artist, educator and writer, Kansas, former Republican, newly a Democrat