Putin-Xi Bromance Cools; Pennsylvania Race Tightens
Author: Greg Valliere
September 16, 2022
PUTIN CONCEDED AFTER HIS MEETING with Jinping yesterday in Uzbekistan that Xi has “questions and concerns” over the war in Ukraine, a remarkably candid assessment that raised eyebrows among diplomats who were expecting a warm meeting between the two.
IN A STATEMENT after the meeting, China expressed a desire to “inject stability into a turbulent world.” To scholars who study the between-the-lines messaging of the Chinese government’s public remarks, “it sounded like an implicit rebuke,” the New York Times reports this morning.
RUSSIA HAS HOPED FOR WEAPONS FROM CHINA that have not arrived, forcing Moscow to rely on shipments from pariah states North Korea and Iran.
RUSSIA’S LOSS OF PRESTIGE, its thousands of casualties and growing domestic unrest in Moscow and other cities has some analysts thinking what was once unthinkable: could Putin be forcibly ousted? We think there’s a one-in-three possibility that his own generals will attempt to take him out.
COULD A PUTIN REPLACEMENT be even worse? That’s always a risk, but a new Russian leader would have an opportunity to seek an exit ramp in this disastrous war. After yesterday’s chilly meeting with Xi, Putin has to worry that his global support is tepid, even from fellow dictators.
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GETTING CLOSER IN PENNSYLVANIA: The buzz this summer was that Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz would lose badly in his Pennsylvania Senate race against Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. We were in Pennsylvania this week and it appeared to us that Fetterman’s summer lead of about 10 points has been cut in half.
THE KEY IS FETTERMAN’S HEALTH: He suffered a serious stroke earlier this year and it’s unclear how much damage was done; in campaign appearances, his verbal skills have not appeared to be sharp. Fetterman has agreed to one debate, two weeks before the election, and for once the focus won’t be on his hoodie and short pants and leftist policies. The focus will be on his verbal skills.
OZ HAS IMPROVED AS A CANDIDATE after a rocky start, and he still has a chance to win, despite the near-certain defeat of a pro-Trump GOP gubernatorial candidate, Doug Mastriano, which will bring out voters who vehemently oppose him.
THE NATIONAL SENATE OUTLOOK this fall continues to be close to a deadlock but we Think the Democrats have a decent chance to retain the Senate, perhaps by one seat or in a tie — but that math depends on a Fetterman win that is far from certain.
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