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5 Big Stories For the Rest of 2014

A Surprise In Congress

It's often said the performance of Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections solidified a partisan split in Washington and paved the way for standoffs over the national debt, government spending and President Obama's agenda. Those 2010 gains were generally attributable to voter disquiet over Obamacare.

Four years later, it is unlikely Obamacare plays such a major role in this midterm election cycle. In fact, if midterm elections don't create decisive gains for Republicans in the Senate, and even swing in Democrats favor in the House of Representatives, it might pave the way for a revived policy agenda.

President Obama, in concert with his own party, appears to be trying to change the tide of midterm elections by pressing for a hike of the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. If that strategy works, it could help the President re-focus domestically and upon economic policy targeted at the middle class. A bad midterm could also solidify President Obama's status as a lame duck, as parties prepare for 2016 elections.

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