The TAKE with Rick Klein
Former President Donald Trump was supposed to be a drag on Republicans in 2021, particularly in states he lost by 10 points (Virginia) or 15 points (New Jersey) a year ago.
That script could get flipped on Tuesday, depending on election results in those two states and a handful of other key races. It's President Joe Biden and the stalled Democratic agenda in Washington that appear to be holding down Democrats, while Republicans maintain a fragile unity in key races.
"We are going to send a shockwave across this country," Youngkin said over the weekend, "and there's not going to be a Democrat in any seat anywhere in this nation who's going to think that his or her seat is safe."
That's an overstatement, but the extent of Democrats' concerns about Biden's standing isn't. An ABC News/Ipsos poll out Sunday underscored the extent to which the president's approval rating has been battered across a range of issues, with a slide that began over the summer continuing on the force of independents in particular.
Asked about the political environment Sunday, Biden said "polls are going to go up and down and up and down," and noted that all presidents see their numbers fluctuate.
Passing their spending bills may give Democrats something to run on, though the same ABC News/Ipsos poll showed how much salesmanship they have to do from here. In the meantime, the stakes of the midterm year will come into sharper focus based on election results -- not just polls.
The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
It's not often that write-in campaigns make waves, but in Buffalo, New York, incumbent and write-in candidate Mayor Byron Brown could come out on top when voters cast their ballots Tuesday.
Brown, who has served four terms as mayor, lost in the primary to Democratic Socialist India Walton in June. He's counting on write-in votes to keep his post dubbing his write-in campaign "Write Down Byron Brown."
Walton, who has the endorsement of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, came to prominence during protests after the murder of George Floyd and advocated for redirecting funding away from police.
Walton has shifted her messaging since the height of the protests, but many believe talk of defunding the police has only fueled Brown's write-in effort.
It comes as mayoral races in cities around the country center public safety as a closing message amid spikes in crime. In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed at the hands of police, voters will decide if the city will do away with the police department all together in addition to choosing the next mayor.
The TIP with Alisa Wiersema
Texas' unprecedented anti-abortion law, SB8, will be back in the legal spotlight on Monday, as the Supreme Court takes up the law which was specifically designed to avoid constitutional review by a federal court.
As reported by ABC's Devin Dwyer, two hours of oral arguments are scheduled against a backdrop of likely protests and demonstrations. The arguments will be livestreamed to the public, and the justices are expected to review whether abortion rights advocates and the federal government have the ability to sue Texas over the law given the way it's designed.
The law -- which bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant -- is enforced through the deputization of private citizens, allowing Texans to bring lawsuits against anyone who "aids or abets" an abortion. Given that the law's enforcement centers on the involvement of private citizens, Texas officials claim they cannot be targeted in court. Meanwhile, abortion providers say the law has a chilling effect on clinics and could inspire similar bills to be implemented across the country, thereby threatening other constitutionally protected rights.
Although Monday's review by the Supreme Court will solely examine how the law is enforced, rather than a woman's right to get an abortion, the court is also scheduled to review Roe v. Wade in a separate case from Mississippi set for December.
ONE MORE THING
Negotiations on the infrastructure and social program bills have consumed Capitol Hill for months. Still, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll out Sunday finds Democrats are failing to sell the legislation to the public, who are broadly unaware of what is in the spending packages or skeptical they would help people like themselves, or the economy, if signed into law. Although a majority (55%) of the public is following news about the negotiations at least somewhat closely, about 7 in 10 (69%) Americans said they know just some or little to nothing about what's in both bills. Americans also do not feel like these bills would help them or the U.S. economy if they become law.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Monday morning's episode features President Biden's high-stakes trip overseas from the G20 to a climate summit in Glasgow. ABC News White House Correspondent Karen Travers joins us from Rome. Then, there are fears among economists about a chip shortage that could last for years, says ABC News Business Correspondent Deirdre Bolton. And, this week in Minneapolis, voters will decide on the future of policing in the city. ABC News' Zachary Kiesch talks about the nuanced opinion of "defund the police" on the ground. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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