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The time to choose Joe Biden is near

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When he heard that George Washington was stepping down as America’s first president, King George III said, “If he does, he will be the greatest man in the world.” To be fair, Washington was much younger than Joe Biden is today and could have gone on for as long as he wanted.

However, Biden has a chance to win the affection of history and the respect of his country by avoiding what surely could be an agonizing second term. Someone said that all political careers end in failure. The exception is those that expire at a moment of their choosing.

The timing of this Biden declaration of self-denial is so good that it almost certainly will not happen. It’s hard to think of a presidential year since the mid-1980s as it is 2022 for Biden. He started it in a slow funeral march. Insiders have written off his chances of passing meaningful legislation. His foreign policy was in disarray after last summer’s failed withdrawal from Afghanistan. and a midterm elections The survey was taken for Democrats as a read.

Biden ended the year with a West more united than it has been since the end of the Cold War, the best midterm results for the incumbent party in 20 years, a flurry of heavy new laws and waning anxiety about the future of the United States Republic. Which is exactly why he wants to run for office again – and he will likely announce his intention in January. Biden has been preparing all his life for this role. Why quit now when things are going so well?

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The answer is that the road from here goes down. Biden will likely win re-election in 2024 if Donald Trump is his opponent. A world of pain still awaits him on the other side.

Political instinct may be one of the last faculties to be vocal, especially for lifelong professionals like Biden. But his slip rate is worse than it was two years ago. He flips through his lines often and misremembers things, for example when he confused the Iraqi city of Fallujah with the recently liberated Ukrainian city of Kherson.

Who cares, say Biden’s defenders? Trump refused to visit a World War II cemetery because it was full of “losers” and wanted to dig a trench along the Mexico border and append it with alligators. What is little aging compared to a world-class malignancy? Besides, Trump will be 82 at the end of a presumed second term, just below Biden, who is 86.

The problem with this line of argument is that it ignores what most American voters are saying. Forget the others: A majority of Democrats want Biden to step down. They may be on the lookout for something that Washington’s professionally conflicted advisers pay to ignore—a person’s inability to do any kind of work in their mid-80s. No credentials are required to realize the grim reality of aging. Indeed, if Washington’s indifference to Biden’s age is any guide, insiders are wearing blinkers. There are worse things than worrying about a boss’s endurance.

Calculations change if Biden’s opponent is a younger generation, such as Ron DeSantis from Florida, who will turn 46 in the next election, or former governors such as Nikki Haley (52) or Chris Christie (62). Biden will discover his opponent’s age is too late for other Democrats to get into the fray.

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The White House bid takes months to prepare — even longer than in Washington’s days. A dozen or so aspiring Democrats have been suspended during Biden’s decision. The idea that the Democrats have a high seat is wrong. Many good credentials. The same applies to the potential Republican line-up.

Biden’s secret weapon is that he is often underestimated. Show it again this month. Washington’s pundits now overcompensate by endowing him with powers beyond actuarial considerations. They also miss wood for trees.

A Biden victory in 2024 would establish the Republicans taking back the White House in 2028. A new Democratic president, on the other hand, would start with a clean slate for re-election.

saw a lot This year’s elections As a mother of all midterms. Enough American voters have passed this test by showing that they can differentiate between Republican candidates who believe in democracy and those who do not. In this sense, Biden has kept his promise. He said he would be America’s bridge to normalcy after Trump and that’s what he did.

One of Biden’s favorite phrases is: “Don’t compare me to God Almighty, compare me to the alternative.” Will attachment to this comparison with Washington persuade Biden to rethink?

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edward.luce@ft.com

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TherapeuticsMD enters into product licensing agreements for Mayne Pharma

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The Minister of the Interior welcomes the report calling for the suppression of asylum seekers

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Soella Braverman, Britain’s Home Secretary, has welcomed a report calling for a massive crackdown on asylum seekers who come to Britain using illegal methods, including placing them in indefinite detention.

Braverman is under increasing pressure from Tory MPs to control migration across the Channels in small boats, with 44,000 people arriving in Britain using the route already this year.

On Monday, a centre-right think tank will publish a report saying that “if necessary” Britain should change its human rights laws and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights in order to tackle the problem.

Refugee groups said the proposals, if implemented, would be a major breach of Britain’s international obligations and tarnish its reputation as a haven for desperate people seeking refuge.

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The Center for Policy Studies report, co-written by Nick Timothy, Theresa May’s former chief of staff as prime minister, calls for new laws that would make it impossible to seek asylum in Britain after traveling from a safe country, such as France.

It also calls for a ban on immigrants entering the country using illegal routes from settling in Britain, and for the “expedited transfer abroad” of such immigrants to Rwanda or other third countries willing to take them.

Timothy and co-author Carl Williams say Britain may have to leave the European Court of Human Rights to allow detention and transfers abroad. They also want to fix May Modern slavery lawthe main legislative tool in the UK to deal with abuses in supply chains, to avoid its alleged misuse.

They argue that all future grants of asylum should only take place through formal resettlement routes and no more than 20,000 people per year.

The issue of small boat immigration became a major political problem for the Conservative government, particularly in the working class seats in the North and Midlands.

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Braverman said she did not agree with “everything” in the report but said she welcomed it as “a vital and necessary contribution to the policy discussion about what can be done to address crossings.”

In the introduction to the report, she said: “There is a range of policy options. With clear thinking, political will and determination, we can defeat the smuggling gangs, and against those who abuse our system, and we will comprehensively address the problem of small boats.”

Tory MPs are tired of the tough talk of home ministers and want action from the government to tackle the surge in migrant crossings. Braverman’s allies have refused to say which parts of the CPS report they support.

They were also described as “wrong”. a report The Sunday Times reported that ministers were drafting laws to prevent illegal asylum-seekers from settling in Britain.

For his part, Robert Jenrick, the Immigration Minister, said it was “very difficult” to see how Albanians, who are currently The largest number of small boat crossingsthey must be able to successfully claim asylum when they come from a ‘clearly’ safe country.

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Inver Solomon, chief executive of Refugee Council, a UK charity, said of the CPS report: “The policies outlined in this report will lead to the UK withdrawing from the Refugee Convention, which we signed up to just over 70 years ago.”

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said the government’s asylum policy was “a mess” and based on “a headline-hunting”.

“They have to adopt the Labor plan including a specialized unit in the National Crime Agency to go after the criminal gangs that lead this, and take immediate action to end the backlog and chaos from the asylum system,” she said.

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Tennessee Gov. Lee is considering tripling electric vehicle fees, adding fast-track toll lanes

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is considering allowing freeway toll lanes and tripling tolls for electric vehicle owners as he targets his first big push after winning re-election — paying tens of billions of dollars in road projects.

The Republican insists on what he will not do: raise the gas tax. add full toll roads; Or issuing debt instead of the pay-as-you-go method of financing.

Timing, Lee says, is critical to quickly shifting onto the roads. With Tennessee’s rapid growth and truck traffic, state transportation officials say $26 billion in projects are needed to address worsening congestion, only $3.6 billion of which is planned under A big criticism on the roads by my predecessor. Officials also say the projects are taking so long — 15 years on average — that they are over budget by 40%.

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Like other states, current funding of roads in Tennessee through gas taxes is looking less reliable as more people switch to fuel-efficient cars and electric vehicles. Tennessee has also become a center for electric vehicle production, highlighted by Ford’s upcoming massive electric vehicle project with a partner company’s battery plant.

Lee will need Republican representatives on board to get much of what he wants. This includes opening the way for private companies to bid to build new highway lanes and charging tolls for profit. Lawmakers will also need to agree to increase the annual fee for owning an electric vehicle from $100 to $300.

Transportation Commissioner Butch Ely has stated that any rapid transit toll lanes will be newly built, and will not convert existing carpool lanes into toll lanes. Across the country, five states have rapid transit lanes, 10 states have shared car lanes that allow others to join at a price, and some have both, according to a February 2021 report from the Federal Highway Administration.

Driver eligibility and pricing policy can be controlled by the state, which can go down or up based on current crowding, while charging only those who want a faster ride. A private company designs, builds, finances, operates and maintains the trails.

“There is nothing, I think, more equitable than paying people for what they use,” Eli told reporters Thursday.

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The $300 electric car fee may be the most expensive in the country. As of July, 31 states had similar annual fees, ranging from $50 in Colorado to $225 in Washington, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eli says the increase better reflects what electric vehicle drivers will pay in federal and state gas taxes.

However, Lee said officials may or may not settle for $300.

“We want to make sure that there are fair fees for everyone,” Lee told reporters. “We’ll find out what that number is and move on.”

Vehicle taxes are mixed state by state. Some charge property taxes and annual inspection fees, for example. Tennessee has phased out the last required vehicle test and does not tax personal property.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbrough said he will wait for Lee’s strategy details, hoping to hear about everything from roadworks to mass transit.

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“I look forward to learning more and speaking to the governor because there has been a lot of focus on highways in the state,” said the Nashville Rep. “But the country needs a transportation strategy, not just a highway plan.”

Lee’s sweeping road push, which also calls for pay increases for transit workers and other expansions in public-private partnerships, comes after former Republican Gov. Bill Hasan struck a deal during a drawn-out battle over his 2017 plan. $0.20 to $0.26 per gallon over three years and raised the diesel rate as well, among other changes that partially lowered separate taxes.

My boost comes after the passing of President Joe Biden Infrastructure law. However, the governor’s transportation team said Tennessee’s five-year building plan was up about $1.7 billion under the law, saying that’s not a significant influx of funding.

Meanwhile, railroad expansion is not part of Lee’s immediate plans. The concept has been hotly debated in Nashville, where a light-rail ballot failed in 2018, toppled by opposition to tax increases and fears that it might accelerate gentrification that drove some low-income people out of their communities. Ely said the state will continue to look at railroad possibilities in the future.

In the GOP-led legislature, House Speaker Cameron Sexton and Senate Speaker Randy McNally said they are taking a deep dive into how to fund transportation infrastructure.

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They will have plenty of work to do when lawmakers return for their annual legislative session in January. For example, Sexton mentioned railways as a topic that needs to be discussed.

“We have to have honest discussions about the infrastructure in our state to solve the problem of traffic congestion,” Sexton said. “This should include expanding rail access, shortening the decades-long timetable for road construction, and also looking at fast lanes on our highways in very congested areas.”

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Nashville-based Kimberly Crossi contributed to this report.

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