On 8 November 2022, American voters go to the polls in “mid-term” congressional elections, where the seats of all the members of the House of Representatives and of a third of senators are at stake. Democrats in Congress face real headwinds this year: two-thirds of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, and high gas prices, rising crime, and concerns about the economy are top of mind for voters. President Joe Biden’s majority in both the House and Senate is clearly at risk and the stakes are high. Assuming the Republicans manage to take one or both houses of Congress, what are the prospects for coherent, effective foreign policy for the rest of Biden’s mandate? What are the possible areas of bipartisan cooperation and how will this affect the Biden administration’s room for manoeuvre in the international space? Furthermore, a Republican-led Congress will be much less interested in co-governing with a Democratic president and more interested in undermining his administration to set the stage for a GOP presidential victory. The discussion will also examine how the election results will affect the Biden administration’s domestic political agenda as presidential elections in 2024 near.
About the Speakers
L. Marvin Overby is professor of political science and director of the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. Professor Overby earned his bachelor’s degree at Davidson College and his Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma, where he was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. Prior to joining Penn State, Overby held faculty positions at Loyola University Chicago (1990-1993), the University of Mississippi (1993-2002), and the University of Missouri (2002-2019). In addition, he has served as Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Hungary (2000-2001), as Fei Yi-ming Visiting Professor of Comparative Politics at the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies (1997-1998, 2005-2006), and as Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress’s John W. Kluge Center (2018-2019). A scholar with broad-ranging interests in American and comparative politics, Overby’s publications include the co-authored book Cobblestone Leadership: Majority Rule, Minority Power with noted historian James MacGregor Burns as well as some four dozen articles in leading journals such as the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Polity, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Studies, Social Science Quarterly, Journal of Legislative Studies, Party Politics, Mass Communication and Society, American Politics Research, and State Politics and Policy Quarterly.
Jonathan Stromseth is a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, where he holds the Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asian Studies in the Center for East Asia Policy Studies. He also holds a joint appointment with the Brookings John L. Thornton China Center. He holds a doctorate in political science from Columbia University, where his studies focused on comparative politics and international relations in the Asia-Pacific region. Stromseth has broad experience as a policymaker, scholar, and development practitioner. From 2014 to 2017, he served on the secretary of state’s policy planning staff, advising the State Department’s leadership on China, Southeast Asia, and East Asian and Pacific affairs. Previously, he was The Asia Foundation’s country representative to China (2006–2014) and to Vietnam (2000–2005).
Stromseth is co-author of “China’s Governance Puzzle: Enabling Transparency and Participation in a Single-Party State” (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and editor of “Rivalry and Response: Assessing Great Power Dynamics in Southeast Asia” (Brookings Institution Press, 2021). In addition, Stromseth’s publications include a multi-volume series on U.S.-Vietnam relations as well as articles and reports on policymaking in Vietnam, geopolitical trends in Southeast Asia, Chinese foreign policy, and foreign aid cooperation in Asia. At Brookings, Stromseth focuses his research on U.S. Asia policy in the context of escalating U.S.-China rivalry.