Good morning. Here’s your Daily SITREP for Monday, 11 September 2023.
- READ TIME: 4 Minutes, 39 Seconds
- Inside the Beltway
- (1) Dems Could Push Biden Out Fearing 2016 Repeat
- (2) Republicans: White House Circumventing Separation of Powers
- (3) Biden Plans to Take “Bidenomics” Global
- Domestic INTSUM
- (4) UAW: “Clock Is Ticking” After “Insulting” GM Offer
- Global SITREP
- (5) Biden: China’s Economic Woes Make Taiwan Invasion Less Likely
- (6) U.S. and Vietnam Sign Semiconductor and Mineral Deals
- (7) Argentine Conservative Party Wins Key Provincial Elections
INSIDE THE BELTWAY
- (1) DEMS COULD PUSH BIDEN OUT FEARING 2016 REPEAT: Democrats are concerned that next year’s presidential election could be a repeat of former President Trump’s 2016 victory rather than a repeat of 2020 when Democrats won on “MAGA extremism,” worried that voters will conflate Trump’s legal troubles with Hunter Biden’s legal issues and that voters are not getting behind “Bidenomics.”
- A recent Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll showed Trump ahead of President Biden by two points with registered voters and one point with likely voters.
- Why It Matters: Recent polls, including those with a Democrat-leaning bias, are showing Trump neck-and-neck with Biden and little enthusiasm for Biden among Democratic voters. Now, behind the scenes, Democrats are worried about a repeat of 2016 as Biden’s popularity is sinking, especially with younger minority voters in the Democrat base. And if House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is telling the truth, Democratic lawmakers are also approaching him concerned about the connections between President Biden and Hunter Biden’s overseas business deals and possible Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) violations. These factors coming together could cause Democrats to push Biden to withdraw from reelection in time for another candidate, likely current VP Kamala Harris, to step in. – R.C.
- (2) REPUBLICANS: WHITE HOUSE CIRCUMVENTING SEPARATION OF POWERS: Congressional Republicans are up in arms at what they say is the White House circumventing the Senate’s constitutional Advice and Consent powers over Julie Su continuing to lead the Department of Labor while her nomination is pending.
- Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), the senior Republican member of the labor committee, said the White House is “setting a precedent” and “what comes around goes around.”
- Why It Matters: The Biden administration has pushed policy through means that may not be strictly within the constitutional powers of the executive branch. Republicans appear to be signaling that turnabout is fair play and a future Republican administration, if they are able to overcome ballot harvesting and election law changes, will place cabinet picks into deputy positions as acting secretaries to avoid a fight in the Senate. – R.C.
- (3) BIDEN PLANS TO TAKE “BIDENOMICS” GLOBAL: Biden officials said they are planning to attract the developing world into the U.S. sphere by moving away from trade policy and towards direct investment in infrastructure projects through a rebranded World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
- A Southeast Asian official speaking anonymously said IMF and World Bank packages are seen negatively by developing countries because they have imposed austerity measures that come with “heavy commitments that would tie our hands.”
- Why It Matters: The Biden administration is attempting to copy the Chinese model for building influence in the developing world, but it may be too-little-too-late. The Biden administration will have to contend with the negative reputation the IMF, and World Bank have with developing countries, who feel that crippling economic policies are imposed on them and their resources are extracted with no real economic development. Biden is unlikely to find a receptive audience in the developing world, which is seeking cheap energy, for green energy policies that will come with infrastructure money. – R.C.
- (4) UAW: “CLOCK IS TICKING” AFTER “INSULTING” GM OFFER: After General Motors (GM) submitted a contract proposal last Thursday, 07 September, United Auto Workers (UAW) Union President Shawn Fain said the proposed contract was “insulting” and that the “clock is ticking” on “economic justice” at GM.
- The UAW contract with GM, Ford, and Stellantis ends on 15 September, and the union voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike.
- Why It Matters: The possible UAW strike could hit this Friday, 15 September. UAW President Shawn Fain is signaling that a strike is coming, and left-wing activists working with UAW members have said they are pushing for a strike after “missing out” during the United Parcel Service (UPS) contract dispute. Reportedly, the “Big Three” automakers have enough product on hand for one or two months, and a UAW member during a left-wing activist meeting said the UAW strike fund may only last that long. If a strike happens, it will be an endurance race between UAW and automakers with negative economic consequences for the U.S. economy. – R.C.
- (5) BIDEN: CHINA’S ECONOMIC WOES MAKE TAIWAN INVASION LESS LIKELY: President Biden said yesterday that China’s real estate crisis and high youth unemployment will take priority and lower China’s chances of invading Taiwan.
- China “probably doesn’t have the same [economic] capacity that it had before,” Biden said after this weekend’s G-20 meeting.
- The U.S. Navy won’t pull back from the region, according to Biden.
- Why It Matters: President Biden is desperate for a foreign policy win since Bidenomics is unpopular, and his poll numbers are tanking. But Biden’s statement may be wishful thinking. China’s economic situation may increase the chances of a Taiwan invasion, as Beijing could rally its citizens behind a war effort and distract from the country’s problems. – H.B.
- (6) U.S. AND VIETNAM SIGN SEMICONDUCTOR AND MINERAL DEALS: President Biden secured deals with Vietnam for semiconductors and minerals on Sunday, which will shift America’s global supply chain away from Chinese risks.
- This closer United States-Vietnam partnership will “demonstrate to our Indo-Pacific partners and to the world, the United States is a Pacific nation and we’re not going anywhere,” Biden told reporters.
- The alliance will include a security dimension, as the U.S. and its partners could help Vietnam diversify away from Russian military supplies, according to Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer.
- Why It Matters: Vietnam is becoming a “friendshoring” destination for U.S. technology companies, including Google and Intel. Also, according to U.S. estimates, Vietnam has the world’s second-largest supply of rare earth metals, which are vital for weapons systems. As U.S.-Chinese relations worsen, America will strike more of these trade deals to strengthen economic and national security. – H.B.
- (7) ARGENTINE CONSERVATIVE PARTY WINS KEY PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS: Argentina’s main opposition alliance, Juntos por el Cambio, won the governorship of the country’s third most populous in a sweeping victory for the conservative bloc.
- The election in Santa Fe province, home to the most important agricultural districts in Argentina, is a bell weather to the upcoming national elections.
- The latest national polls show an advantage for the libertarian economist Javier Milei, followed by Massa and the Juntos por el Cambio candidate, Patricia Bullrich.
- Why It Matters: Argentina is suffering triple-digit inflation amid a nearly collapsed economy – creating a window of opportunity for opposition candidates in both local and national elections. The election of Milei in the upcoming presidential election could signal an end to the “pink wave” of failed pro-China socialist parties in Latin America. – M.M.
— END REPORT
M.S. indicates analyst commentary from Mike Shelby
M.M. indicates analyst commentary from Max Morton
J.V. indicates analyst commentary from Jared Vaughn
R.C. indicates analyst commentary from Robert Cook
H.B. indicates analyst commentary from Harrison Burge
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