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US President Joe Biden exits off of Air Force.

Ken Cedeno via Reuters

What We’re Watching: Dems take aim at Biden, them’s the breaks, BoJo; Japan takes to the polls

Are Dems done with Biden?

The US president’s party usually takes a thrashing in midterm elections, whether Republican or Democrat. But as November’s midterms approach, Democrats look set to take a greater-than-usual hit. (Republicans, for their part, only need to gain five seats to gain control of the House of Representatives and one seat to flip the Senate.) Crucially, it’s not only disaffected independents and middle-of-the-road suburban voters feeling the burn of inflation and losing patience with President Biden. Congressional Dems and party officials are increasingly expressing dissatisfaction with the commander-in-chief’s lackluster governing style and legislative losses – as well as his failure to use the power of the presidency to better appeal to voters. Indeed, many Dems are saying (mostly off-the-record) that they think fresh blood is needed to guide the party to the 2024 election. But who? VP Kamala Harris is wildly unpopular and has had a series of mishaps over the past 18 months. If Donald Trump decides to run again, or if another contender uses his playbook in 2024, are any Democrats capable of winning? The left appears to be backed into a corner, and many analysts anticipate a bloodbath come November.

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U.S. President Joe Biden

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Biden’s State of the Union: Big challenges and potential opportunities

President Joe Biden's speechwriters have been busy. They likely scrapped and rewrote much of his State of the Union address after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The annual address, to be delivered at the US Capitol on Tuesday night, is usually an opportunity for the president to lay out a political vision, laced with a healthy dose of cheery optimism.

But Biden will rise to the podium against the backdrop of relentless bad news. Ahead of his first SOTU, what issues are plaguing Biden’s presidency and how might he try to spin them in his favor?

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The politics of US crime: Perception vs reality

A recent spate of violent crimes in New York City has made national headlines. Since Eric Adams was sworn in four weeks ago as mayor of America’s most populous city, violence on the streets — and the subways — has again become a major political focus. Things got even more heated this week, when two young cops were killed while responding to a domestic dispute in Harlem.

Crime is not only a dominant political issue in New York. It also resonates more broadly with American voters worried over increased lawlessness and unrest. Indeed, crime is already shaping up to be a wedge issue as Republicans vie to win control of the US Congress this November.

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U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Afghanistan during a speech in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 31, 2021.

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

A year of Biden

Joe Biden’s first year as US president included two major historic accomplishments and a series of (often bitter) disappointments that has his party headed toward likely defeat in November’s midterm elections. Biden’s own political future is increasingly uncertain.

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Biggest Surprises, Successes & Mistakes of Joe Biden's Presidency So Far | GZERO World

Joe Biden's presidency: biggest surprises, successes and mistakes so far

What surprised Jane Harman, former US Congresswoman (D-CA), most about Joe Biden's presidency? "Number one, he's much more hands-on as a leader than I fully understood. It's coming out now how he runs his meetings and what he does. But number two, and I love this, he's really enjoying the job." Harman, a nine-term member of Congress who served for decades on the major security committees in the House of Representatives, notes that Biden's stint as Vice President was no guarantee of how he would perform. "I think sitting behind that desk, and having the buck stop with him is very different. And I think he fills out the job very well."

In an interview with Ian Bremmer, Harman says Biden has a dimension that none of his four predecessors had, because of his experience in Congress and in foreign policy. She also shares her perspective on Biden's biggest successes as well as some mistakes he's made.

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