US mid-term elections and their longer term repercussions
In next week’s US mid-terms, the Republicans are looking to win back control of the Senate and increase their majority in the House of Representatives, giving them control of the legislative agenda and the ability to further constrain President Barack Obama during his final two years in office. Ben Hall discusses the elections and their and longer term repercussions with Richard McGregor and Ed Luce.
Are Americans more on board with President Barack Obama’s efforts to clinch massive deals with the Pacific Rim and the European Union than most Democratic lawmakers give him credit for?
This week, the well-respected, bipartisan, NBC-WSJ poll found that 44 per cent of Americans were more likely to vote for a member of Congress who “favours new trade agreements with other countries”, compared to 20 per cent who said they were less likely to; 34 per cent said it made no difference, and 2 per cent were unsure. Read more
Fans of Obama rhetoric went into ecstasies last night over the president’s victory speech.
Here was the old Obama back: strong, confident, with his preacher’s cadences – appealing for a better future and reprising the themes that first shot him to national prominence in 2004: the unity of the nation, the ability to overcome the differences between red and blue America.
The fact that Mitt Romney also made a gracious and conciliatory speech and that senior Republicans are talking of finding compromises have led to some hopeful talk of a new spirit of bipartisanship, allowing America to skirt the fiscal cliff – and tackle a few other big challenges besides.
I’m afraid I don’t buy it. I think the Republican Party will return to Washington in an embittered and angry mood. Read more
The relief felt by Obama supporters on Wednesday is tonally different from the unbridled elation of 2008. The four intervening years have instilled a little more wariness and a little less hope. So while Obama’s campaign slogan was ‘Forward!’, it’s also important to look back – at his successes and failures, at the battles fought with a recalcitrant Congress, and at the lessons he may have learned – all of which will inform the choices of his second term. In that spirit, here is our selection of some of the best reporting and analysis pieces that shed light on Obama’s first term as president. Read more
Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US Election 2012 as voters have re-elected Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. The Democrats will retain a majority in the Senate, while the Republicans will hold the house. Follow all the action with Shannon Bond, Arash Massoudi and Anjli Raval in New York (All times EST).
02.20: As the celebrations continue in Chicago, we leave you with these closing thoughts.
The President came into tonight’s election a damaged political figure with victory far from certain. He won with help of a unmatched grass-roots campaign and his direct appeal to a broad cross-section of America’s ever-changing demographics. He won’t enter his second-term in office with the same momentum in his sails but that’s not to say his challenges are any less daunting. Read more
Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US Election 2012 in which US voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. As millions of Americans continue to head to polling sites around the country, some results will begin to trickle in shortly.
By Arash Massoudi and Anjli Raval in New York (All times EST)
19.00: Continue to follow our election live blog here.
18.55: How will markets react tomorrow? Michael Mackenzie, FT’s US markets editor, says bond traders believe Treasury yields are likely to fall if President Obama is re-elected as attention will focus on gridlock and the “fiscal cliff”.
“Traders think a Romney win would push the benchmark yield higher as the risk of a fiscal accident is reduced. For equities, the consensus view is that a relief rally beckons once the election result is finalised, with a Romney win pushing stocks even higher.”
Voters wait outside a makeshift polling station on Sandy-ravaged Staten Island, New York. (AP)
Welcome to the FT’s live coverage of a momentous election in which US voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to lead them through a future of economic and political uncertainty. Here is our moment-by-moment reporting as months of bitter campaigning and rancorous rhetoric end, and voters finally have their say. By Anjli Raval and Arash Massoudi in New York and John Aglionby and Ben Fenton in London. (All times EST)
16.52 We’re going to take a short break before the polls start to close. Stay tuned for more live coverage on FT.com, which can be found here.
16.49: Lionel Barber, Financial Times editor, writes a piece from Washington saying that America’s real test comes after the polls: Read more
Last month, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, made two announcements regarding his country’s stance on the Iranian nuclear programme.
First, he said that Israel would not be going ahead with a unilateral military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities this year, abandoning the much feared “October surprise.” Secondly, he spelled out a new “red line” that Iran will not be allowed to cross as far as its nuclear activities are concerned. This will be the moment when Iran has acquired enough more highly enriched uranium to build one nuclear bomb – a moment that in Mr Netanyahu’s view may come by next summer.
In recent days, Israeli officials visiting London have spelled out the details regarding this new red line. In their view, Iran by next summer will have acquired some 240kg of more highly enriched uranium (that is uranium at a 20 per cent concentration). This could be converted by Iran into enough weapons grade uranium (at a 90 per cent concentration) to provide Iran with one nuclear weapon.
The difficulty for the Israeli government is that while western leaders are relieved that Mr Netanyahu postponed plans for a strike this autumn, they don’t regard his new red line as having much credibility either. Read more
Welcome to a summary of US election coverage of a day when President Barack Obama had the luxury of dominating television screens without having to pay an extra cent in advertising, while his opponent Mitt Romney was forced into an uncomfortable position in the wings of a great drama.
In the Financial Times, Alan Rappeport reports from Atlantic City that Mr Obama’s position as incumbent gave him the opportunity not only to be pictured coming to the aid of a storm-battered New Jersey, but also inspecting damage alongside the state’s governor, Chris Christie, who has been one of Mr Romney’s main surrogates in attacking the president. Read more
Welcome to a summary of US election coverage on a day when the advantages of incumbency will surely continue to work on behalf of President Barack Obama.
His role in supervising the clear-up of damage caused by the biggest storm to hit the eastern US in 75 years puts the president in centre shot of news footage that for at least the next 24 hours will be broadcast into every home of the US, airtime that could not be bought.
Latest polls show the presidential race is still being fought on the thinnest margins in states that have either been dealt glancing blows by Sandy – Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, – or know only too well what it is like to be mangled by the forces of nature – hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in Iowa. Read more
Welcome to a storm-curtailed review of US election coverage after a day on which both President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney stopped campaigning because of Tropical Storm Sandy.
As the Financial Times reports, the campaigns caught their breath as a combination of practical difficulties in travelling and organisation, and a desire not to be seen to be practising politics as usual at such a moment took hold. Mr Obama was assuming his commander-in-chief role at the White House.
Politico.com asked a question few were expecting to have to pose: could Sandy delay the election next Tuesday? Forecasting that seemed as difficult as predicting the weather.
“Whether the election can be postponed or not is a legal black hole,” said Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. “There’s very little precedent for such an act.”
Federal law requires presidential elections to be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, but it also provides that if a state “has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law, the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct.”
The flooding that hit the north-eastern coast of the country, killing at least 16 people, was a disaster big enough to stop the juggernaut of campaigning, so the only non-storm news was the latest set of polling data. Read more
If Barack Obama is re-elected on November 6, a large part of that will be down to the Latino vote. The big question for Mr Obama, then, is will enough Latinos be motivated to turn out on election day to boost his chances nationwide? Read more
It may be a contest to become the most powerful human on the planet, but even the US presidential race has to bow to the might of nature sometimes. As Hurricane Sandy summoned up her powers to hammer the east coast of the US, organisers of the two campaigns hurriedly changed their plans and moved inland.
The weather is likely to have two effects, according to the US press, with practical concerns about travel and safety affecting both. But the campaign of President Barack Obama will be worse hit by a second factor, as the Wall Street Journal explains:
Today is the last day for in-person and mail-in voter registration in deadlocked New Hampshire, where the weather threatens to scuttle campaign stops planned by both camps next week. First lady Michelle Obama has canceled a Tuesday trip to the University of New Hampshire campus, which will be closed Monday and Tuesday in preparation for Sandy.
Mr. Obama’s campaign team is relying on banking votes during the early voting period in many states. Campaign aides are privately nervous about a potential disruption in early voting in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.
Welcome to a round-up of presidential election news and the quadrennial process of the “last dash for votes” stories has begun early this time around. Concepts like “momentum”, “campaign groundwork” and “heavyweight endorsements” are here to stay for the next 10 turbulent days.
Having voted in his home state of Illinois, President Barack Obama’s idea of momentum appears to consist of sitting in the Oval Office recording media interviews, while his challenger Mitt Romney has a slightly less hectic schedule than in the immediate post-debate days, with only two states, Iowa and Ohio, on his agenda on Friday. Read more
President Barack Obama at a rally in the swing state of Ohio. (AFP/Getty)
Welcome to the US election news round-up on the day that the candidates switched from sparring over military planning to blitzing the battlegrounds of the ‘burbs.
The debates are done. A fortnight from now, we’ll know whether Mitt Romney has evicted Barack Obama from the White House. Unless, of course, it’s 2000 all over again and the nail-chewing lasts for 36 days.
So narrow are the margins in some states that 10 are “toss ups”, according to the rolling average of polls by RealClearPolitics.com. All 10 voted for Obama in 2008, including four – Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada – that he won with double-digit margins. Read more
Welcome to the round-up of reaction to Monday night’s third and final presidential debate, in which President Barack Obama went on the offensive.
The debate’s topic was foreign policy and it saw an unusual inversion of what might have been expected, with the incumbent taking up the cudgels and the challenger assuming a statesmanlike position. Mitt Romney frequently agreed with his opponent’s foreign policies, although they clashed more fiercely on China, the final subject of the final debate. Read more
Welcome to the election news round-up on the morning before the third and final presidential debate, which will focus on foreign policy.
While investors may increasingly focus on the threat of the so-called fiscal cliff facing whoever wins on November 6, this potential catastrophe for the US economy will remain off the agenda as Washington DC remains obsessed with the minutiae of an incredibly tight race. Read more
Welcome to a round-up of media coverage of a presidential election now so close that the candidates, with less than three weeks of campaigning left, are paying visits to states with only four votes of the 270 needed to win the electoral college on November 6.
President Barack Obama was in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday, a town accustomed to the paraphernalia and pageant of primary campaigning in December and January, but not so much to autumnal visits by the victors of those primaries.
The latest poll for the New England state shows Mr Obama tied with his Republican rival Mitt Romney.
One local paper, the Eagle Tribune, reports that an enthusiastic crowd of 6,000 saw an energised president repeating many of the attack lines he used against Mr Romney in Monday’s presidential debate. Read more
Notes from the Heartland
Dennis Bute is a noun guy. Riding shotgun in his pick-up, cornfields melting into liquid gold, I listen to the 64 year-old farmer itemise West Point, his home town in western Nebraska. “This be combines”, he says, grammatically resuscitating the harvesters. “This be a cow”, he continues, an adjective as rare as a raindrop.
The Butes have farmed 160 acres of corn and soyabean for 130 years. The third oldest of eight brothers and sisters, Dennis will probably end the family run. His siblings, aside from one sister, live out of town and there is no heir to inherit the land. “Here’s my farm, it looks like any other farm”, he says, without decelerating.
I ask Mr Bute how the last years have been. He affords himself a rare smile, “prices gone up, double, triple, last three years.” Times are so good that he is mulling retirement from his second job – midnight watchman at the soyabean processing plant. “If we’d had these prices, we’d have seen more people”, he adds. Read more