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A proud conservative holds a sticker in Irvine, California.

Reuters

For decades, the coalition that made up American conservatism included the strong influence of limited-government libertarians who identified themselves as the “leave us alone coalition.” But amid the social and cultural clashes playing out in America in recent years, a new, more activist strain of conservatism is rethinking the political value of leaving key institutions alone: National Conservatism.

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Gabriella Turrisi

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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U.S. President Joe Biden reacts during a moment of silence for the dead as he delivers remarks about Afghanistan, from the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 26, 2021.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The deaths of 13 US service members in twin suicide attacks outside Kabul's airport during the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan has turned what could have been just a temporary political crisis — the mismanagement of a foreign policy objective — into a much more durable, and increasingly damaging crisis for President Joe Biden.

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The US federal government is gearing up to spend a lot of money these days. So far, to cushion the blow of the pandemic, Washington has already parted with $5 trillion in the form of direct payments to households, forgivable loans to businesses, and other support including aid to state governments. And more is coming.

President Joe Biden has proposed another $4 trillion in federal funds for physical and "human" infrastructure, some of which would create income support and social spending programs that would last well beyond the pandemic.

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As thousands of migrants, many of them children, attempt to cross the US southern border, stretching the immigration system's ability to process and integrate them, President Joe Biden now finds himself facing a challenge that has bedeviled presidents and Congress for decades: how to reform an immigration system that everyone agrees is broken, but which no one can agree on how to fix.

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