1) Immigration. How many millions will the president let in? On what terms? One hint: The Department of Homeland Security recently ordered more than four million green cards and visas for next year and says it might order another 29 million for future years. The cards would give immigrants who are here illegally the right to continue living and working in the U.S. legally—and perhaps receive a variety of federal and state benefits. Should the president unilaterally issue these cards, there will be a brutal debate over the wisdom of this policy, whether it extends to welfare benefits, and whether the president has the constitutional authority to issue so many cards without specific congressional approval.And a constitutional crisis would lead to calls for the President's impeachment, a move Republicans are loath to make and which there's no point in making if they don't win the Senate on Tuesday. Even so, the President is deeply unpopular and his plans are offensive to the vast majority of Americans so it may happen. Lipson concludes:
2) The next U.S. attorney general. The president wants a crusader on progressive causes and a reliable firewall to protect him, just as Eric Holder has done. Rumor has it that he wants Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who has been the point man on racial preferences.
3) Keystone XL Pipeline. Given his druthers, the president almost certainly would prefer to kill this project and appease his environmentalist supporters. But he won’t do that before the final votes are tallied for Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu , who is running for re-election.
4) Bergdahl. The Pentagon has completed a long-delayed report on Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl but won’t tell us what it says. Sgt. Bergdahl walked away from his unit in Afghanistan, was taken in by the Taliban, and was finally swapped for five Taliban leaders who were detained at Guantanamo Bay. If Sgt. Bergdahl is found to have deserted his post, the report will be bad news for the White House. People will ask why the president gave up so much for a turncoat and why the president held a Rose Garden celebration to mark Sgt. Bergdahl’s return.
5) Iraq and Syria. No one knows what the president will do with regard to Islamic State; in fact, it is now virtually impossible to tell who our “friends” are since America’s opposition to ISIS, a Sunni group, makes the U.S. effectively a partner of its Shiite opponents in Tehran and Damascus. The Saudis, who lead the Sunni coalition, are livid and wonder if the U.S. has switched sides in the Persian Gulf, flipping from its longtime partnership with Saudi Arabia to a de facto one with Iran. Everyone wonders what the president’s strategy really is and whether he will stick to it after the election.
6) Iran. This is the big enchilada. If the president cuts a major deal on Iran’s nuclear-weapons program—which will surely include major concessions on U.S. economic sanctions, he will face a storm of controversy among the public and on Capitol Hill. Worse, Mr. Obama might refuse to submit the deal to Congress, claiming that it is an agreement and not a treaty requiring Senate approval. That could generate a true constitutional crisis.
All of these matters have been high-profile and potentially deeply divisive. That is precisely why the White House is postponing any announcements. When the administration finally does speak, it will unleash a political storm, even if Democrats hold the Senate. If Republicans win, those winds will reach hurricane force, since the president will likely try to ram everything through a lame-duck Congress. If that happens, consider boarding up the windows.When candidate Obama said in 2008 that he wanted to fundamentally transform the country I wonder how many people realized that this was the sort of thing he had in mind.