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Immigration reform so divisive that even Democrats can't agree

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics:

Is the surging immigration crisis the biggest challenge for the still new Biden administration?

I wouldn't say the immigration crisis is the biggest policy challenge, that's probably the coronavirus and getting the economy back on track and maybe a little bit of foreign policy, but it's certainly one of the biggest political challenges.

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The attack on the Capitol and the health of American democracy

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum had a disturbing takeaway from the Capitol riots of January 6th: An unignorable portion of the American population revolted against democracy itself. "That wasn't Republicans attacking Democrats," Applebaum argues. "What you saw was a group of people who were attacking the system itself."

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On Dr. Seuss and cancel culture

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hey everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Welcome to your week, life looking better every day in the United States, coronavirus land. But I thought I'd talk about, this week, all of this cancel culture that everyone's talking about right now. If you're on the wrong political side, your opponents are trying to shut you down and you take massive umbrage. I see this everywhere, and it's starting to annoy.

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Minimum wage won't go up for now; Texas sets reopening example

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics in Washington, DC:

Another stimulus bill is about to pass the Senate. Why won't the minimum wage be going up?

Well, the problem with the minimum wage is it didn't have the 50 votes it needed to overcome the procedural hurdles that prevent the minimum wage when traveling with the stimulus bill. Clearly support for $15 an hour minimum wage in the House of Representatives, but there's probably somewhere between 41 and 45 votes for it in the Senate. There may be a compromise level that emerges later in the year as some Republicans have indicated, they'd be willing to support a lower-level minimum wage increase. But typically, those proposals come along with policies that Democrats find unacceptable, such as an employment verification program for any new hire in the country. Labor unions have been really, really fixated on getting a $15 an hour minimum wage. They may not be up for a compromise. So, we'll see what happens.

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Republican civil war

"There's no question, none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking" the January 6 Capitol building riot. That attack was the "foreseeable consequence of the crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on the Earth."

So said Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, US Senate Republican leader since 2006, just after voting last Saturday to acquit the president of high crimes and misdemeanors following Trump's Senate impeachment trial.

On Tuesday, Trump punched back. "Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again." On Thursday, the pro-Trump chairman of Kentucky's Republican Party called on McConnell to resign as Republican leader.

The battle is joined.

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Mitt Romney isn't the future of the GOP. He's the past.

In this edition of The Red Pen, we take a look at an editorial by the FT's Janan Ganesh, who argues that Mitt Romney represents a future for US conservatism post-Trump and is in a unique position to turn around the Republican Party. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group's Jon Lieber point out that the GOP is actually moving in a very different direction.

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Quick Take: Trump will be acquitted, impeachment is now broken

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and I've got your Quick Take for the week. The second impeachment trial in the Senate of President Trump, now former President Trump, begins. And Lindsey Graham, Republican senator, has said that we all know what's going to happen. He's right. It's going to be close to a party line vote. A couple senators, maybe a handful, will vote to convict, but the large majority will vote to acquit, which says quite something.

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Senator Murphy on abolishing the filibuster, a Senate tool he has famously employed

One of the most heated debates happening on Capitol Hill right now is whether Democrats should push to eliminate the Senate filibuster in order to overcome Republican opposition to their legislative agenda. Bremmer posed this question to Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, a man who famously launched a 15-hour long filibuster of his own on gun control in 2016.

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