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Does Donald Trump stand a chance against Joe Biden?

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As Americans prepare to head to the polls, Democrats and Republicans may be tied for control of Congress

The U.S. is preparing for the all-important midterm elections in a matter of months.

For President Joe Biden, it could be a stark warning that his leadership is on thin ice, or it could be the validation he needs ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

There will be 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate up for contention this November.

But as President Biden prepares to ride the campaign wave, it’s the so-called “MAGA Republicans”, which are drawing attention.

“We have to be stronger and more determined and more committed to saving American democracy, than the MAGA Republicans and that guy destroying democracy.”

U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN

The majority of Americans believe political violence will increase across the country. According to the same polling from CBS, U.S. voters think the nation will become less democratic for future generations.

Kim Hoggard is a former U.S. government official, who served in the Bush and Reagan Administrations, she said the current political climate is proving a challenge for leaders to connect with voters.

“I wonder how it is that in this period in American political history where divisiveness is so wide and so dangerous, how it could be that a president can achieve high approval ratings anymore.”

In fact, around six in 10 Americans (57%) disapprove of Biden’s performance, according to recent Ipsos polling from Reuters.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the “soul of the nation” in a recent address.

The president’s dwindling ratings have been characterised by some factors out of his control—the pandemic, rising inflation, cost of living, and the war in Ukraine.

But there is one foreign policy outcome, which could be the reason for his falling support, according to Stephan Loosley from the U.S. Studies Centre.

“There’s no question that an enormous hole was punched in the Biden White House with the fiasco, the calamity of the Afghanistan withdrawal, which was badly mishandled.”

However, when it comes to the war in Ukraine, Loosley said Russian President Vladimir Putin misread the strength of U.S. intelligence, and Biden’s hold on his NATO allies.

“The President’s mobilisation of NATO in the face of the illegal Russian incursion of Ukraine has been extraordinary,” he said.

In light of this, President Biden has still managed a strong legislative agenda. This includes climate change action, healthcare reform, military aid for Ukraine, and infrastructure commitments.

Is this enough to sink Biden’s ship?

The U.S. midterm elections are scheduled for November, and with a general election on the cards for 2024, there is much discussion about the rise of former President Donald Trump.

It’s been so far-reaching, even President Biden can’t seem to shake off discussion around his predecessor. In fact, he recently spoke about the rise of Make America Great Again (MAGA) Republicans during a nationwide address.

“There’s no democracy where you can be pro-insurrection and pro-democracy,” he said.

The president’s approval ratings are yet to reach the record low levels of President Trump, which sunk to 33 per cent at the end of 2017.

As it stands, the Democrats have 221 seats in the House of Representatives, and 48 members in the senate.

“The probability of the Democrats losing control of the house is very real. That’s been the history of American midterms since Harry Truman,” Loosley said.

“It’s just possible the Democrats may hold onto control of the Senate. A lot of that has to do with the ‘MAGA Republican’ candidates… those who are endorsed by the former president.”

STEPHEN LOOSLEY, U.S. STUDIES CENTRE

Of course, Trump hasn’t been without his own worries—the fallout from the Capitol riots, raids at his Mar-a-Lago estate, a lawsuit against his company, and a criminal investigation in Georgia.

Kim Hoggard, who is also a former White House Assistant Press Secretary, said these events demonstrate Trump is unfit for office.

“The mishandling of sensitive information and top secret intelligence information show what a dangerous person he would be if he were to regain the presidency,” she said.

He may be considered dangerous but nearly one in five (19%) of Americans identify as ‘MAGA Republicans’. This is hardly going to be a short-term blip on Joe Biden’s radar.

“There’s no question that Mitch McConnell is determined that Trump will bear any responsibility for Republican losses in the midterms,” Stephen Loosley from the U.S. Studies Centre said.

Mitch McConnell is the Minority Leader in the Senate and he believes the House of Representatives will flip this November.

“You have all these investigations, inquiries, and probes running simultaneously, it’s got to divert and distract the Republican Party and it’s got to damage some Republican candidates’ races,” Loosley said.

In terms of Trump’s 2024 possibilities, Kim Hoggard said the criminal investigations and lawsuits “are going to significantly affect his [Trump’s] ability to be a viable candidate”.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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People investing heavily in pet health

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Australian pet owners are demonstrating their unwavering commitment to their furry companions, as revealed in a recent survey by Finder.com. The survey, conducted among 1,061 respondents, highlights that 94% of pet owners are willing to spare no expense to ensure the well-being of their pets, with some prepared to spend over $10,000.

On average, Australians are willing to invest $6,219 to safeguard their pets’ health, showcasing the deep bond between humans and animals. While 6% of respondents admit they wouldn’t spend anything on vet bills before considering euthanasia, the majority prioritise their pets’ welfare.

To assist pet owners in making informed financial decisions, Finder has announced the winners of its Pet Insurance Awards for 2024. Bow Wow Meow’s Ultimate Care policy stands out for its exceptional value, offering extensive coverage at an affordable price point.

Highly commended policies include petinsurance.com.au’s Platinum Cover and Coles Pet Insurance, providing comprehensive protection for furry companions.

Investing in pet insurance can provide peace of mind, ensuring that pet owners are prepared for unforeseen medical emergencies without compromising their financial stability.

With policies tailored to various needs and budgets, pet owners can find the right coverage for their beloved animals.

Despite generational differences in spending habits, with Gen Z leading the pack in willingness to invest in pet health, one thing remains clear: Australians’ love for their pets is unwavering, exemplifying the cherished bond between humans and animals.

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ASEAN emerging as new global economic power?

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As global supply chains adapt to the pandemic and heightened US-China tensions, attention shifts to ASEAN’s emerging economies.

Could Vietnam and Indonesia lead ASEAN into becoming a third economic powerhouse alongside China and India? Professor Tim Harcourt of UTS and The Airport Economist on Ticker weighs in.

While debates on ‘deglobalisation’ persist, the question arises: is production truly shifting or merely realigning? Geopolitical uncertainties prompt businesses to diversify their supply chains away from China, a move influenced by both politics and economics. Taiwan, Vietnam, and Indonesia emerge as preferred destinations due to their strategic advantages and growing economies.

Australia’s recent Australian ASEAN Summit highlights the potential gains from closer ASEAN ties, given its vast population of over 640 million. What collaborative opportunities lie ahead?

Professor Harcourt’s upcoming Airport Economist ASEAN series on Ticker promises deeper insights into ASEAN’s economic landscape, revealing its potential as a significant global player.

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Investors assess geopolitical risks amidst tensions

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Amidst a backdrop of geopolitical easing, investors are reassessing their risk strategies to navigate a more tranquil global landscape.

This shift coincides with markets recalibrating expectations around potential rate cuts, resulting in a downturn in stocks.

In the tech sector, all eyes are on US earnings reports this week, particularly those of industry giants whose performance often sets the tone for market sentiment.

Additionally, anticipation mounts ahead of the release of Australian CPI data, scheduled for Wednesday, which promises insights into economic health and potential monetary policy implications.

These developments underscore the need for investors to remain vigilant and adaptable in response to evolving geopolitical and economic dynamics.

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