What's Next Post-Midterms for the Biden/Harris Administration? with Rational Security

Nov 9, 2022 37 min listen

In a crossover collaboration with the national security and foreign policy podcast, Rational Security, co-hosts Scott R. Anderson and Alan Z. Rozenshtein, both Lawfare senior editors, join Doorstep co-hosts, Nick Gvosdev and Tatiana Serafin to assess the policy implications of the 2022 midterm elections.

With over $16 billion spent on both federal and state races, millions more Americans going to the polls, and ballots still being counted, how are the Democrats and Republicans lining up to promote their respective agendas? Will President Biden be in pole position in upcoming G20 summit and beyond? Or will Republican priorities take over the conversation?

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: Welcome, everyone, to this special edition of The Doorstep podcast right after the U.S. midterm elections. I am your co-host, senior fellow at Carnegie Council Nick Gvosdev.

TATIANA SERAFIN: And I am Tatiana Serafin, also a senior fellow here at Carnegie Council. We are very, very excited about a special collaboration we want to share with our listeners. We have here today Scott Anderson and Alan Rozenshtein from Rational Security, their weekly roundtable podcast which focuses on national security issues and a host of other things. It is a fun podcast to listen to, and we want to hear more from them about it in a second. Also we are excited to hear their views on policy.

Up until this second—it is really not election day; it is election week, maybe election month in the case of some runoffs—we have been hearing a lot of horserace reporting: "This one wins by this percentage. That one wins at this percentage." We have heard a lot of Red versus Blue, but I want to move the conversation today to: What does this all mean? Specifically what does this mean at the doorstep and on policies that are important to Americans? What did we actually vote for, and what are we waking up to on Wednesday, not just winners and losers, but day to day how are our lives going to change or not going to change?

I am so excited today, Scott and Alan, to welcome you to Nick and our discussions in this roundtable conversation and format that we are trying out. I am throwing it out there then to anyone: Is anything really going to change?

ALAN ROZENSHTEIN: First of all, thanks for having us. The question of "Is anything going to change?" depends on what the results are. That is the odd thing. We don't actually know yet who is going to control the Senate. We don't yet know who is going to control the House. Obviously if either body flips, then any sort of legislative agenda is very unlikely to happen in the next two years, at least nothing terribly interesting from that perspective.

If the Senate flips, then there will likely be no more judicial nominations. Rather, there will likely no longer be any judicial confirmations, and that will arrest the attempt of the Biden Administration to not de-Trumpify the judiciary but to "Bidenize," we might say, the judiciary as a balance to the many judicial nominations that the Trump Administration put forward.

If the House flips, then we could see a variety of changes. I will leave it to Scott to talk about the foreign policy implications, but the two most obvious domestic things that will change are, first, for those of us who have been following and caring a lot about the January 6 Commission, which is something we talk a lot about over at Lawfare and on Rational Security, there is no hope of that continuing under a Republican-led House, and in fact if anything they are probably going to start a commission to investigate the commission, headed by Marjorie Taylor Greene. That would not surprise me, but it does fill me with quite a bit of dread.

Again, if the House flips, you could see some potentially destructive hardball politics coming out of the Republican caucus. There is already some suggestion that the Republicans might go back to the debt-ceiling brinksmanship that we have been dealing with on and off for the last 15 years.

Of course, things also depend a lot on how large the House majority ends up being for the Republicans. There is a big difference between Speaker McCarthy dealing with a 30-member margin versus dealing with a three-member margin. I think those are some of the domestic implications, and Scott can speak to what a Republican victory might mean for policy issues.

SCOTT ANDERSON: The thing to bear in mind is that even though these results are not the "Red wave" some people were predicting—people are calling it a "Red ripple" and I have even seen some commentators suggesting a "Red wedding"—I think Democrats have reason to be emboldened and pleasantly surprised about the outcome, and I actually think that itself has policy ramifications for down the road about how the electorate and political figures are going to be responding to that. We can talk about that a little bit more.

Bear in mind even if just the House flips—and that is the most likely scenario right now, that the House will be controlled by Republicans by a slim majority—the House is a highly majoritarian body, and that means that even if you have just slim control you get to dictate who the chairs of the committees are, and that means that they get to drive the agenda in terms of oversight and investigations, something that House Democrats were very active about during the Trump Administration and did a lot to—rightfully in my view in most cases—solidify the House's authority to pursue those investigatory responsibilities and authorities, and those are going to be flipped now.

A narrow margin may make it politically more difficult, but institutionally it does not make that big a difference. If you control a chair and you have enough partisan fidelity that you can rely on your members to vote with you, particularly around procedural matters—there is a very strong norm of doing that in both parties; that is why even slim majorities can still run the House pretty effectively—it means you are going to drive the bus.

We already know what this is going to look like to some extent. We have had promises from the likely Speaker, Kevin McCarthy—although again I think one outcome of this somewhat underwhelming result for Republicans is that his speakership might be a little more in danger than it would be otherwise—his agenda probably reflects what Republicans are going to do regardless. We know he is talking about having investigations about the origins of COVID-19. That has implications for the U.S.-China relationship. We are going to have investigations about Afghanistan and the withdrawal there, probably much more narrowly focused on the Biden Administration's actions and not the 20-year retrospective that Democrats have indicated they might be open to but no one has taken any steps toward implementing meaningfully.

Then we also know we are going to see investigations specifically about the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). We saw the Judiciary minority release a "thousand-page report" in just the last week or two. Actually the report was only about 40 or 50 pages. It had 900-plus pages of copies of letters, many of them redundant, that they sent out to various people to beef up the report and waste trees I guess; I don't really know why.

Regardless it underscores that they are trying to build a case out of not much there—at least as far as I can tell from this report—that the FBI is highly compromised. The rhetoric around this has been pretty remarkable, basically saying that the whole FBI has been undermined by what they perceive as Democratic, left-leaning partisan preferences, something very ironic for anybody who has dealt with the FBI for more than the last four or five years. That is going to be a big focus of theirs, and they are still going to be able to execute that institutionally just by slim control of the House. There just may be more political constraints on it.

Then we can get more into the foreign policy consequences because the majority of the vote means that they get to run the agenda about what legislation gets votes in the House and how they structure amendments. If they can pull swing voters over on certain items, they are going to have less control on the substance of those issues, but it does mean that the Biden Administration may face an uphill battle around things like support for Ukraine, particularly down the road when the authorities that are going to be enacted by the current outgoing Congress for the next year begin to expire or appropriations begin to run out and they have got to come back to Congress for more. So there is lots to dig into there, but even a slim Republican majority in the house, the most likely outcome, has big policy ramifications.

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: I think it is important that you have highlighted for our listeners why process matters. Often this is where people's eyes glaze over, but as you said, if the Senate flips, not only judicial appointments but all nominations are impacted by that. Then of course in both Houses of Congress control of the committees, control of the agenda, the legislative agenda, what gets moved forward for a vote and what gets bottled up I think is all very important. You are already seeing some concern outside of the United States about whether this is going to be two years of gridlock, is this two years of nothing really getting done, and are we now essentially in a waiting period until 2024?

Of course the world is moving on. We live in a dynamic situation. We have already alluded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our relationship with China. It is not likely that other countries are going to wait around.

On the other hand—and I will pose this to you both—despite the partisanship and the domestic divide there does seem to be some degree of basis for consensus. Both parties have become much more China-skeptical over the last number of years. The narrative that we are in a competitive relationship with China seems more or less to be shared by both parties. While levels of aid to Ukraine might be on the table, there does not seem to be, other than from a few outliers, much pushback against the idea that the United States should be helping Ukraine in its fight against Russia. Do you see that there could be some bipartisan initiatives in foreign policy and national security that move forward, or do you think even when there is agreement across the aisle the partisan divide will preclude that from moving forward?

SCOTT ANDERSON: It is a tough question. I don't think we will know until we get there. The one thing I think we can be confident of is that the opportunity and incentive for more partisan-driven behavior builds over the next two years. First, the legislation that the current Congress has enacted begins to either expire or appropriations get spent down, Congress has to enact new things, and that gives even one chamber of Congress that is controlled by Republicans much more influence once you hit those inflection points. That is when you'll see more bargaining, also with other things that are related to national security that are still nationally important. Like Alan has already mentioned, the debt ceiling is a big one.

Then you have the fact that incentives are going to build, and the tenor of that is going to depend on who the candidate is. We know Donald Trump and a lot of people around Donald Trump had very different views of Russia and very different views of Ukraine until just a few years ago. Those views are quieter now. People don't express them and don't focus on them, but I don't think they have totally gone away or that all Republican officials have abandoned them and wouldn't be willing to go back to them at some point if provided the right incentives.

I think it is a minority, but it is an influential minority because they have such a strong support base, although again maybe weakened by the lukewarm results of this election. We will have to wait and see, but nonetheless they tend to be well-funded, very organized, and very motivated, and therefore can bring a lot to particularly House votes where candidates are always worried about being primaried and always need support. So they are going to have disproportionate weight that might lead them to be more skeptical of Ukraine down the road, particularly if the economy suffers and particularly if the war drags on. I am more concerned about support for Ukraine down the line. In the near to middle term—the next six months or so—I don't anticipate any major changes in that regard, but the risk is going to build depending on a bunch of other external factors as well.

Regarding China you are 100 percent right. There is a lot of alignment here, but there are also strong political incentives to sometimes look like you are being harder, meaner, or even more anti-China, and that is what we are likely to see. That is what this COVID-19 investigation they have already announced is going to be about. The parties have very different views on the angles and the ways you fight China, and they have different policy implications that are problematic at times. I think we are going to see tension between the Biden Administration and the House over that.

ALAN ROZENSHTEIN: Adding to what Scott said, I want to draw out the point about Trump. Tatiana, I am going to try to not violate your injunction to not talk about the horserace aspect of it, but I do think—and we will see this more again over the next days as the results shake out—that how this election impacts Trump, Trumpism, and Trump's role in Trumpism is going to be a very important one, not just for the political context but also for these policy issues.

Let's say, even if DeSantis ends up being the nominee for 2024, it is highly unlikely that Trump will—how do I put it?—be gracious about it. Because of his outsized influence on the Party and particularly his outsized influence on the Party's base and because again the Republicans, although they may have a majority in the House that will give them procedural control, that still might be a fairly slim majority, they might be very sensitive to whatever nastygrams Trump is constantly lobbing from Truth Social or whatever the case is.

If you then inject a potential indictment of Donald Trump either on federal or state charges into an official run for the 2024 election, I think the scope for the sort of bipartisan cooperation that, Nick, you outlined, and I think plausibly so, about China and Russia—increasing U.S. manufacturing and whatever else there is actually quite a bit of agreement on—might go down just because the politics will be so generally speaking poisoned and toxic.

TATIANA SERAFIN: I want to comment on the toxicity because I do feel that especially on a local level it was ramped up because of what was learned from 2016 and 2020, and it has trickled down into just plain mean electioneering on a local level. In many races across New York State I have been looking in some of my classes at some of the ads and the just plain meanness. In one ad we had a candidate with Putin's face next to the candidate with fires and flames behind and lots of other things that I won't describe because they were so mean. I do think most of those candidates that sent out all these mean mailings and mean ads were rejected.

It is a hypothesis—I cannot quantify it yet—but I do think there is a turn away from this divisive language and this completely hateful rhetoric. I do believe it in my gut—no empirical proof yet—but I think it is leading people to look at candidates more on issues and how they speak to candidates as intelligent people looking out for their issues. If we were swinging the pendulum toward just mean, nasty partisanship, I think I see—no empirical evidence yet—a shift back to: "Let's talk like human beings; I respect your point of view; you respect my point of view."

I think this is coming from the younger generations which are now moving into office and into positions in state legislatures. We just had our first elected Gen Z-er going to Congress. A tweet this morning that made my heart sing was: "My name is Nabeela Syed. I am a 23-year-old Muslim Indian American woman. We just flipped a Republican-held suburban district." This was in Illinois. Tell me if I am being Pollyannish, but I see a glimmer of change in rhetoric, more going toward: "Let's cooperate. Your point of view is different from mine, but let's find a middle."

ALAN ROZENSHTEIN: I will be the downer on this one. I think there is definitely a lot of truth to that. At the very least I do think that the Republican brand is turning voters off, particularly that part of the Republican brand whether you want to talk about it as "meanness" or just nondemocratic. It is remarkable that with a 42 percent presidential approval rating, record-high inflation, and a midterm year it looks like mostly the status quo is going to continue. Candidate quality does also appear to matter, not just in the Senate but also in the House. In that sense, I do think that you are seeing Republicans pay the price for their extremism.

The problem, though, I think is that the hold of this extremism on the Republican base does not seem to me to be substantially weakened. Again, you have lots of outlets, whether it is the Times or FiveThirtyEight doing analyses of how many Republican winners there were yesterday and potentially in the days to come are out-and-out election deniers. It is good that in some of the key states for 2024, notably Pennsylvania and potentially Wisconsin as well, it looks like the Democrats are going to keep the governor's house, which means that they will be able to limit the sort of shenanigans that a lot of us were afraid of and honestly might still occur in 2024. I would just temper your hope, which I think again is well-taken, with the sobering realization that at the end of the day Trumpism is still the dominant ideology in the Republican Party, and that is not a long-term good thing for American democracy.

SCOTT ANDERSON: I agree with everything Alan said, but I also want to put maybe a slightly more positive, even Pollyannish, spin on it. I will lean that way as being in the glass half-full camp in this regard: This is a big defeat for Donald Trump flat out. That is going to be the narrative coming out of this. The extent to which it is real or not is the narrative because we had built up an expectation—in part because of Donald Trump and people around him filling him with their words and in part because of a huge shift toward Republican-backed partisan polling that was very optimistic—in the election, and they have fallen short on that now.

This is a big moment for somebody else to step into the Republican Party and assert a different brand of leadership. Ron DeSantis has a very Trump-like brand, but he is also going to face incentives to begin to distinguish that to some extent in the next few years, and maybe find ways to say, "I don't have some of the liabilities that Donald Trump brings." I think he is a very politically savvy guy to some extent. Our colleague Quinta Jurecic has argued in the past that that is actually part of the reason why he is not going to be as effective as Donald Trump because he doesn't have that kind of "animal instinct" to paraphrase—I think she said "dark magic" or something. I do think he has the triangulation aspect that usually works for a lot of candidates in a lot of contexts.

It also creates an opening for people like Liz Cheney, who has strongly signaled that she may step into the Republican primary to be there, not necessarily with the expectation of winning, but to say, "Hey, look, we need to have somebody in the Party speaking about these issues and saying, 'We should not be rioting to tear down our democracy.'" This is a really important moment for those people. This is the biggest opening those people have had to begin to change who is in control of the Party, and that changes faster and more easily than you think, particularly when your big hub of support tends to be in the states and House of Representatives, where you have the most frequent elections and people tend to be most ideologically malleable because they are under the most electoral pressure.

I think this is the biggest moment of weakness for that Trump-led coalition in the Republican Party, and that has big ramifications. That ties into that mean language that you are talking about, Tatiana, that is a big driver of this, this idea that: "We are right and we are still right. We can be dismissive and hostile to the other side, derogatory toward them, and we are so right that we can disregard actual democratic outcomes." Those things go hand in hand, and this does feed into that.

I am not sure that the meanness is likely to go away—that is always part of our politics—but it is going to be maybe of a different tenor, and it is the antidemocratic element of it that I think might have some of the bigger weakness here because the two big issues that we are going to see brought Republicans down here are "candidate quality"—which is just a coded term for all of these issues we are talking about, like people who are conspiracy theorists and have wacky views—and abortion rights. Abortion rights was the number-two item after inflation in exit polls around the country, even stronger for young people I suspect once we break down the demographics. That has been true of polling for the last couple of weeks and months since Dobbs came out.

Abortion rights is going to be an ongoing political struggle in our country in a post-Dobbs landscape. You are going to see legislation around it in states around the country. We saw several ballot initiatives last night. On top of that it is fundamentally a process complaint. It is people saying, "How has a political shift taken away rights that I thought I had"—as women, not me personally—that half the American population thought they had for 40 years? That sort of process complaint feeds into these democratic norms, reinforces them, and they underlie that sort of conversation.

Again, this is a moment when we are seeing democratic norms reassert themselves as an important part of what voters care about in America. They are doing it indirectly, but it is there I think. I think it is a major driver of this defeat that we have seen for Trump-backed Republicans across the country. I think that is the only way we can think about it.

TATIANA SERAFIN: I think we have to also acknowledge how many people came out in a midterm election. The number is up to—and I know we are still massaging those numbers—upward of 120 million I have heard coming out to vote in a midterm election year, which is unheard of. In general America does poorly when ranked with other countries in terms of voting turnout, but this was pretty amazing. The voting using early ballots and people asking for early ballots was amazing, and I think we have to take into account that people in general overall—my other hypothesis I am drawing—have learned so much from 2016 that our civic life matters, that civic engagement matters, that it is a doorstep concern, an everyday concern, and that we can't nullify that. Every decision that is made in our lives is controlled by government, and the government is people that we elect, from taxes to abortion rights.

Nick, I will let you go, and then I am going to come back to climate because I don't want to miss that issue before we leave today.

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: I wanted to connect "what next steps" back onto the international stage. The president has made a hallmark of his discussion about America's role in the world, that part of that is to make the case for democratic forms of government against authoritarian forms of government to try to pull together partners and coalitions.

Again, we don't know the final results, we don't know how things are going to shake out in both houses, but in your opinion as of this moment do you think when the president goes to Bali, goes to the G20, he goes with some wind behind his sails, that he has beaten back the Red tsunami that didn't happen, does that help him? Do you think that other G20 countries are responsive to that?

To pave the way—and I think Tatiana will pick this up—the other question of course is that in this election unprecedented numbers of younger people not only voted but as Tatiana said took office. A few days ago we re-tweeted Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili's comment about next-generation leaders having fundamentally different approaches to questions of international politics. So maybe the second question—Tatiana, you can build on this as we continue the discussion—is: "Are we going to start to see within the United States as well a generational change in our understanding of what national security is and what those priorities would be?"

Going back to my point, do you think the president gets a bump for the G20 from the midterms?

ALAN ROZENSHTEIN: Maybe. Honestly, though, I think it depends on whether the House flips. At the end of the day we can make all the statements we want and make all the commitments we want, but if the last ten years have shown us anything it is that honestly the president's powers in fighting climate change are not that big unfortunately. Whatever international commitments he makes, whatever their status is under international law, they mean exactly zero in domestic law. He has executive authorities, there are things he can do on the margins, and he can do agenda setting, all of that is true, but at the end of the day the way we are going to move to a more sustainable future is through massive investments in renewables, taxes on carbon, whatever laundry list of policy interventions that you think are or are not appropriate. Ultimately all of that has to be done through Congress, and just last term the Supreme Court limited the extent to which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other government agencies can act on their own.

It is better for Biden, and I think those political leaders in the know who understand American politics will appreciate what a victory this is relative to expectations, but ultimately when it comes down to whether let's say a small Pacific island nation that is currently sinking under the water cares, it is going to be whether or not the president can credibly commit to American legislative action, and unfortunately—this is one of the areas where I don't think there is a lot of agreement among the parties—if Kevin McCarthy is Speaker of the House, there is not going to be an Inflation Reduction Act Part Two, and that is a shame.

SCOTT ANDERSON: I have a slightly more positive take, but I think I generally agree with that just because it's my posture now.

ALAN ROZENSHTEIN: You're the positive one today, Scott.

SCOTT ANDERSON: I am taking your half-full glasses and savoring every drop left, even though you dismiss them as merely half-empty.

Joe Biden is in a better position today than he was on November 7, absolutely, flat out, because a lot of these costs were already baked in. The United States has a credibility problem, and it comes from its internal politics, and it is going to stick with us for the foreseeable future.

It is not necessarily new either. We saw the Obama Administration try to use a lot of creative international and domestic legal arguments, a lot of political persuasion, and the kind of international and domestic view that they were going to—the Obama Administration and its successors, Hillary Clinton in that particular case—control the White House for a while; that proved to be not true after 2016—to try to put in a lot of initiatives that did hinge on the fringe of executive power because they couldn't get Congress onboard, but they came up with a bunch of ways. They were probably right. If they had gotten four more years of an administration that would have stuck by them, those would have been very influential and yielded good policy impacts, but they didn't.

Even in the best of circumstances I think people understand now that the United States has politics on the head of a pin. It can go either way in major elections. So they don't have an ability to commit to those big-ticket items in any meaningful way down the road.

The Inflation Reduction Act is a huge victory, something that came for a long time for climate people in particular. I don't think it is likely to be rolled back, now especially because President Biden is there and the Republicans might not control the Senate and because of the way it is structured. It is an incentive-based thing. If you take it away, you are going to anger parts of American industry, so it is not an easy thing to roll back as opposed to new taxes and stuff that were part of prior climate proposals, although that comes out of economic cost, deficit cost, and other things that there are reasons to legitimately criticize how it was executed from certain perspectives.

Those big initiatives are not on the table and have not been for a while, so I think Joe Biden never had that toolkit. He has got the bully pulpit, he has the limited things he can do under his own authority, but that has petered out, and now he can come in and at least say, "Well, you have to be a lot less confident that Donald Trump is going to be back in 2024 because look how his candidates did." That makes him stronger, but it doesn't fix the underlying problems.

We have seen progress on climate in the last few years. We have. We are still in a bad scenario with bad consequences, but we have curbed carbon emissions enough that the worst consequences we worried about five or ten years ago seem to be no longer realistic or serious concerns. That is not the victory people wanted, but it is progress.

A lot of that happened in spite of the United States or in the absence of the United States, and those avenues I tend to think are the most likely to be the most successful. While it is important for Joe Biden to say, "We want to talk about climate, we need to make sure it's a priority, acknowledge it, and put it on the national agenda," a lot of times it is just going to be making sure there is space for subnational actors, private sector actors, and other people to make progress on these issues and then capitalize on geopolitical circumstances that might make them easier, like the fact that oil dependency is undermining us in Ukraine and making us have troubling relationships with Saudi Arabia, things like that, that there might be opportunities to tack away from carbon reliance.

I don't know if making it a big electoral issue is the way to move anything forward now because I am not sure there is enough confidence that he will be able to deliver something in the best of circumstances. Hopefully that changes one day, but right now I don't think it does.

TATIANA SERAFIN: I love your lead-in to my question because this is also what we have been talking about here at The Doorstep. I say all the time that midterms are more important than the presidential election because of this very issue that you both have stated, that it is in Congress, it is in the House, and it is at state levels where we see action on so many of these projects, especially climate.

Here in New York State, where I am, we just passed a $4 billion environmental bond act that a lot of people were skeptical about, but it was a big issue in New York State. California is the fourth biggest economy in the world and is moving a lot on climate, and I think what we are seeing is that the states are taking over foreign policy in a way we have never seen before.

I want to get your understanding and look at that post these midterms. Are states going to continue to take more action as this debate continues over what federal rules and what federal government should and shouldn't be between the Democrats and the Republicans?

ALAN ROZENSHTEIN: It is an interesting question about states and their role in foreign relations. There is a whole cottage industry within foreign relations scholarship and in scholarship around foreign relations law about this. States are quite limited in the sorts of foreign policies they can have. They are in many constitutional ways restricted from doing so, so it is not that they can take official positions, but some of the actions that they take can have these repercussions. The standard example that is usually trotted out is California, which, both through practice, because it is such a big market, and because it has special permission from the EPA can set its own emission standards for cars, for example, and people talk about the "California effect."

I do expect that, to the extent that there is gridlock at the federal level, there will be more state-led initiatives. I don't think that the state-level initiatives will themselves have specific international effects, but rather that—and you see this often in American history—when the federal government is deadlocked the states can play their "laboratories of democracy" role, and you can get changes in American policy that flow in a bottom-up way from the states to the federal government, and then the federal government has a major impact on the world because of the size of the United States, its power, prestige, etc.

ALAN ROZENSHTEIN: I don't know if I have much to add to that. I think that is fairly astute. In a moment when the federal government is paralyzed you see states play a more central role in all sorts of policy areas, both domestic and international. Some will say that is part of our constitutional design. I don't think realistically that was actually a part of our constitutional design through most of the 20th century. It was a feature maybe a lot earlier in American history before we had such broad ideas about federalism and federal government, but it is still an underlying safety net of policy. It is part of the "laboratory of democracy."

I think that is a term that sometimes gets used in too celebratory a way. You don't always want things in laboratories—sometimes laboratories are not the most efficient way to do things—but it does lead to a lot of experimentation and gives opportunities for people to live lifestyles and live in polities that they feel represent them in important ways. Abortion rights again I think has become important and why the states are going to be a big focus of that for the foreseeable future.

We are seeing a resurgence of the states precisely because the federal government is so paralyzed around these big legislative issues and then being reinforced to a substantial extent by a Supreme Court that seems inclined to limit federal regulatory authority at least without more affirmative congressional ratification than it is inclined to produce. We are seeing the Supreme Court curb a lot of the broad statutes that the federal government has relied upon to regulate things and pursue different types of actions for the last several decades. That combination puts a lot more on the states.

The problem is that a lot of problems cannot be effectively addressed by the states at scale, and there are a lot of trans-state issues just as there are transnational problems that you need an effective federal government to deal with. We are going to see problems arise from this. Nonetheless, there is a saving grace that they can play a central role on things like climate. In fact the State of California, a major global economy in its own right, is taking on a leading role that yields benefits.

TATIANA SERAFIN: As a whole, when we are looking at the federal government and our role in the world post-election and what the world is thinking of us, let's not forget that Britain just went through complete chaos in its prime ministership, and it is still continuing. As we continue to look at where the House is going to end up and where the Senate is going to end up, I continue to leave off with a positive, hopeful perspective on what is going to happen and positive change that is going to happen.

I look forward to continuing our conversation with you both and Quinta as well when we go over to Rational Security.

SCOTT ANDERSON: And we are looking forward to having you.

TATIANA SERAFIN: Thank you so much for joining us today.

ALAN ROZENSHTEIN: Thank you for having us.

SCOTT ANDERSON: Thanks a lot.

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: Thank you.

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