November 18, 2014
US Politics and the Climate Deal

by Dana H. Allin

It is now two weeks to the day since President Obama's party suffered another ‘shellacking' – though he didn't use the word this time – in midterm elections. There was much immediate chatter about the president's supposedly diminished power at home and abroad. In a couple of news interviews and a blog post, I tried to put this in context. In terms of structural power relations in US domestic politics, not much had changed, while the notion that the president was now crippled in his conduct of foreign policy I found even less convincing. It's not that an electoral defeat of this magnitude will have no effect, but the effect will be marginal.

In the meantime, Obama has made it pretty clear that he does not intend to behave like a lame-duck president. The ‘red rag to a bull' that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned against will be fully unfurled very soon: executive action to lift the threat of deportation from millions of illegal immigrants.

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