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Regardless of which party controls Congress, presidents must negotiate their agenda on an almost one-by-one basis with each member of Congress. EPA/Michael Reynolds

It’s not all about the president: why November’s congressional elections matter too

A Democratic president can negotiate much easier with a Democratic majority in Congress than with a Republican majority. But being in the majority does not mean having the votes to implement anything.
How well this lot can get along may depend most on the growing group of politicians hoping to sit in the president’s chair in two years. Reuters

What the budget deal means for Congress and the ‘16 elections

Given the contentiousness of recent fiscal negotiations, the prelude to the budget passed by the Senate last month was surprisingly placid. Will a uniquely unproductive Congress be followed by a more conciliatory…
Congress raised the cap on how much an individual can donate to political parties in its spending bill that just passed last week, giving wealthy Americans a greater voice in elections. Shutterstock

Lawmakers show indifference to Americans’ needs by gutting campaign finance caps

The political system’s indifference to the needs of the American people could not have been made clearer in recent days. At a time when economic inequality is increasing and the US racial divide is ever…
Barack Obama has signed into law all but two of the bills to come before him, but is likely to use his power of presidential veto more often in the final two years of his term. White House/Pete Souza

US votes for presidential vetoes, filibusters and partisan fractures

Perhaps no sentiment better defines the American political psyche than distrust of government. It prompted the constitutional framers 226 years ago to create a system of national government that separates…
The outside is being renovated, but what about the inside? Jim Bourg/Reuters

How to make the House of Representatives representative

Foundation essay: This article is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the US. Our foundation essays are longer than our usual comment and analysis articles and take a wider look…

The man who dines alone

Love him or loathe him, there is no denying that only Narendra Modi can claim credit for the landslide victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party in India’s just-concluded 16th General Election. The BJP fought…
India’s 14th prime minister is the BJP’s Narendra Modi after a month-long election campaign. EPA

Modi wave sweeps India

After nearly six weeks of voting, the verdict is out. Indians have thrown out the Congress-led government of Manmohan Singh in favour of the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Narendra Modi…
Partisan gridlock in US politics has led to the recent failure of Barack Obama’s gun reform agenda, which did not get through Congress last week despite public support. EPA/Spencer Platt

Dysfunction by design: why American politics is in gridlock

For all its international power, the United States government seems increasingly powerless to make laws for the benefit of its own people. The recent failure to implement popular gun control measures in…
By opting for restraint in his state of the union speech, Obama presented his ideas not as bold initiatives to revive the liberal tradition, but as pragmatic proposals with widespread bipartisan support. EPA

Obama extends a light hand of liberalism to Americans

Barack Obama opened his fourth state of the union address to Congress with words from another Democratic president, John Kennedy: “The Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress…
President Obama delivered an ambitious inaugural address, but will struggle to get many of his progressive measures through a hostile Congress. EPA/Chip Somodevilla

Obama defends progressive vision in inauguration address

US President Barack Obama’s first inaugural address was largely forgettable. Recognising the large divide between the soaring optimism of his campaign rhetoric and the realities of an economy in the midst…

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