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Have Republicans Ruined Their Chances Of Taking the Senate? | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Have Republicans ruined their chances of taking the Senate?

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

Have Republicans ruined their chances of taking the Senate?

2022 started off looking like a very strong year for Republicans who are trying to retake the House and Senate. With inflation top of mind for voters and several Republican candidates in 2021 riding the backlash against COVID lockdowns and teachers' unions, Republicans had solid leads in congressional polling and the winds of history at their back. The president's party typically loses about 30 House seats in a normal midterm elections, and Democrats only had five to give away before they lost their majority. And in an evenly divided Senate, Republicans saw at least four easy pickup opportunities in swing states that Democrats barely won in previous cycles.

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The Graphic Truth — Biden's first midterms: How does he stack up?

US midterm elections are always seen as a referendum on the president’s performance. When voters head to the polls this November, it will be the first time they’ve been able to cast a ballot at the national level since Joe Biden won the presidency in 2020. Things aren’t looking great for him: Biden’s approval rating hovers at 42%, and polls suggest that Democrats are slated to lose control of the House of Representatives. But this pessimistic forecast is not unique to Biden. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt occupied the White House (1933-1945), only two presidents (Clinton and W. Bush) have made gains in the lower chamber after midterm elections. We take a look at how Biden stacks up compared to his five predecessors less than two months before the midterms.

Gabriella Turrisi

After a good summer, Dems look to midterms with new hope

US midterm elections tend to be bad for the party in the White House.

Held at the halfway point of a presidential term, they have become a favored occasion for Americans to lodge a vote of protest over the problems of the day. Record-high inflation and surveys showing that 70% of voters think the country is on the “wrong track” had created the expectation of a particularly severe backlash against President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party this November.

Republicans need to pick up only four seats to gain control of the 435-member House of Representatives. More Democrats are running in districts won by former President Donald Trump in 2020 than Republicans in districts won by Biden, and redistricting has created more Republican-friendly districts than two years ago.

In the Senate, Democrats are defending seats in four of the states Biden won by the narrowest margins in 2020, creating pick-up opportunities that would allow Republicans to take a clear majority in what is today an evenly divided Senate (with Vice President Kamala Harris wielding a tie-breaking vote).

But despite these strong structural factors, signs of strength for Democrats have emerged in recent months.

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Luisa Vieira

Can Biden’s IRA work IRL?

US Democrats have long been gunning for a win, and they finally got one in recent days. After months of painstaking negotiations and internal party turmoil, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a key component of President Joe Biden’s agenda.

This paves the way for the $700 billion legislative package, which includes massive investments in climate change mitigation, healthcare, and tax reform, to be passed by the House of Representatives and signed into law. The House begins its deliberations on Friday.

The bill took many forms in recent months in efforts to win the support of fiscally hawkish Democrats. But despite ample rewrites, many climate-related provisions managed to pass the smell test. What’s in the bill, what’s not, and how might it impact everyday Americans?

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US Senate Passes Bipartisan Gun Bill but SCOTUS May Loosen Gun Laws | US Politics :60 | GZERO Media

US Senate passes bipartisan gun bill but SCOTUS may loosen gun laws

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

How are the rules on gun ownership changing in the US?

This has been the most consequential week for regulations on gun ownership in the US for many years. In response to two recent high-profile mass shootings in New York and Texas, the Senate this week passed a bipartisan bill that restricts access to gun ownership by preventing people convicted of domestic abuse against a romantic partner from purchasing a firearm. And also increases funding for mental health, school security and incentivizes states to adopt laws that prevent people who are in mental distress from purchasing a gun.

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People participate in the March for Our Lives on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

What We're Watching: US gun-control deal, Indian protests, Macron's majority, Biden goes to Saudi

US Senate reaches compromise on guns

On Sunday, a group of 20 US senators announced a bipartisan framework on new gun control legislation in response to the recent wave of mass shootings. The proposal includes more background checks, funding for states to implement "red-flag" laws so they can confiscate guns from dangerous people, and provisions to prevent gun sales to domestic violence offenders. While the deal is much less ambitious than the sweeping ban on assault weapons and universal background checks President Joe Biden called for after the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, it's a rare bipartisan effort in a deeply divided Washington that seeks to make at least some progress on gun safety, an issue on which Congress has been deadlocked for decades. Biden said these are "steps in the right direction" and endorsed the Senate deal but admitted he wants a lot more. The announcement came a day after thousands of Americans held rallies on the National Mall in the capital and across the country to demand tougher gun laws. Will the senators be able to turn the framework into actual legislation before the momentum passes?

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Democrats Voting Reform Bill Likely Blocked | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Voting reform bill will likely be blocked, but still a key issue for Democrats

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, discusses the Democrats voting bill.

What is the status on the Democrats voting bill?

The Democrats are pushing a bill that would largely nationalize voting rules, which today are largely determined at the state level. The bill would make Election Day a national holiday. It would attempt to end partisan gerrymandering. It would create a uniform number of early voting days and make other reforms that are designed to standardize voting rules and increase access to voting across the country. This matters to Democrats because they think they face an existential risk to their party's political prospects. They're very likely to lose at least the House and probably the Senate this year. And they see voting changes that are being pushed by Republicans at the state level that they say are designed to make it harder to vote, particularly for minorities, a key Democratic constituency.

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Voting Reform Bill Stalls In Congress, Frustrating Democrats | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Voting reform bill stalls in Congress, frustrating Democrats

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, discusses the voting reform bill.

What is the outlook for a voting reform bill passing Congress?

Well, it's not great. Congress is adjourned for the year without pushing something that's been considered a big priority for Democrats all year, which is voting reform. Voting reform is considered a critical priority because a number of Republican states after the 2020 election have moved to roll back some of the law changes that made it easier for people to vote during the pandemic. Democrats think that these laws make it harder to vote and in particular, disenfranchise minority voters. So Democrats have been working on a compromise bill that would change how congressional districts are drawn, they expand opportunities to vote early, and generally make it easier for people to vote while also reinstating some restrictions on law changes in states where there's a history of discrimination against Black voters.

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