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Japanese plaintiffs hold placards reading "A step towards Marriage Equality" outside the court after hearing the ruling on same-sex marriage in Tokyo.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

What We're Watching: US-Japan send mixed LGBTQ signals, China + Russia rattle South Korea, Congress hits diversity milestone, baguettes get UNESCO nod

US & Japan make same-sex marriage waves

As the US steps forward (a bit) in protecting LGBTQ rights, Japan digs in its heels on the same issue — with a silver lining. On Tuesday night, a filibuster-proof majority of American senators passed a bill to enshrine the right to same-sex marriage in federal law. It repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed US states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, although states will not be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Just hours later, a Tokyo court upheld Japan's ban on gay marriages by ruling against four couples who sued for discrimination. But there's a caveat: the same court admitted that the ban is a violation of human rights. What do these two developments mean on opposite sides of the world? In the US, passing the bill — which still needs a House vote, likely next week — was a rare show of bipartisanship in a culture-war issue like same-sex marriage, which many fear is the Supreme Court's next target after ending the federal right to an abortion. In Japan, the ruling might put pressure on Japanese lawmakers to finally give in and legalize same-sex marriages in the only G-7 country where it's still verboten. That would be a big shift for conservative Asia, where same-sex marriages are only legal in progressive Taiwan.

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Back to Divided Government: Biden's Silver Lining From a Republican House | GZERO World

Back to divided government: Biden's silver lining from a Republican House

The GOP was gearing up for a red wave in the US midterms. But in the end, it was just a ripple, and while the Republicans narrowly won the House Democrats kept the Senate.

Why? Democrats turned out more voters worried about democracy and abortion, NPR's White House correspondent Tamara Keith tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Divided government with such tight margins, she says, now means two things. First, nothing much is going to get done in Congress for two years.

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Ian Explains: How Democrats Used GOP Wins Against Them | GZERO World

How Democrats used GOP wins against them

It's going to be a red wave! No, a tsunami!

Nope. In the end, Republicans hoping for a wipeout in the US midterms barely won the House and Democrats kept the Senate.

Why? Turns out voters cared a lot about protecting two things: democracy and abortion, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.

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A Republican Led House Will be Tougher On US-China Relations | World In :60 | GZERO Media

US midterms have major global implications

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

Do the US midterms matter to the rest of the world?

Usually, no. This time around, absolutely, yes. In part because of China. A Republican-led House is going to be a lot tougher on US-China relations, export controls, Taiwan trips, capital controls, you name it, capital restrictions. And I suspect that Biden is not going to want to be outdone by the Republicans on this issue. So it will mean a hardening there. But also, just the fact that the US is going to be seen as so much more politically dysfunctional, efforts of investigations and impeachments and the rest against Biden. The administration and the fact that Biden has portrayed this as a loss of democracy makes it harder for the Americans to be consistent and coherent with allies around the world. It doesn't stop US leadership on issues like Russia-Ukraine, but it does actually matter.

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How a GOP Congress Would Change US Foreign Policy | GZERO World

US foreign policy and consequences of midterm elections

Republicans have a good chance of winning back the House after the US midterm elections. How might that impact America's foreign policy?

First, the GOP will start to question open-ended aid to Ukraine as inflation hits Americans hard, says Jon Lieber on GZERO World.

Second, Republicans will be more chummy than President Joe Biden toward Saudi Arabia and its de-facto leader, Crown Prince MBS. A lot of it has to do with gas prices.

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Luisa Vieira

Why US partisan gridlock might be good for the economy, stupid

Thirty years ago, Democratic strategist James Carville had a simple message to get Americans to vote for Bill Clinton: "It's the economy, stupid."

Rather than ideology, Carville believed most voters picked candidates over their perceived ability to handle bread-and-butter economic issues. By putting money in their wallets, you're more likely to get votes from independents and moderates — crucial for winning tight state races.

Yet, in 2022 it's Republicans who are channeling their inner Carville to woo voters for a midterm election in which the GOP is favored to win control of the House, and perhaps the Senate too.

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Political Violence Getting Normalized in the US | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Who cares if Elon Musk bought Twitter?

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

Might Congress take actions against members of Congress who play down threats for political reasons?

I suspect not. Obviously very disturbing that we are so tribal, we are so polarized that when you see political violence against people like Nancy Pelosi, the Paul Pelosi thing, knocked unconscious by a hammer, a guy goes into his house... And Gabby Giffords and Steve Scalise. This is getting normalized in the United States, and it should never be normalized. And in part it is because if it doesn't happen to your side, you don't pay attention to it. It's not such a big deal. That's not where the country needs to be, but it is where we are presently given just how dysfunctional this feeling of, "If you're not with me, you're my enemy," politically inside the United States. This is a natural impact of that occurring.

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US Voters Think GOP Can Fix Economy, But Can They? Not Likely | US Politics in :60 | GZERO Media

US voters think GOP can fix the economy, but can they? Not likely

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC shares his perspective on US politics.

What are the top issues for voters ahead of the 2022 midterm elections?

30 years since James Carville quipped that "it's the economy, stupid", which became the winning mantra for Bill Clinton's political campaign, it looks like the economy is once again the primary concern of US voters. There is way more public opinion polling than there was in 1992, and all of it shows that voters have one issue at the top of their mind, inflation. 49% of registered voters told Gallup that the economy is extremely important to their vote, the highest level during a midterm election since the middle of the financial crisis in 2010 when it hit 63%. Other polls show a similar trend with the economy dominating the pack among a diverse range of issues including abortion, crime, gun policy, and immigration.

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