tv America Votes 2014 Midterm Election Coverage Al Jazeera November 4, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm EST
feel to be dick cavett"? about the only question that's ever floored me, you know? >> "talk to al jazeera". saturday. 5:00 eastern. only on al jazeera america. >> announcer: america votes 2014, tonight control of congress hangs in the balance. we have reactions from across the country, around the globe, focusing on the issues that matter to you. the stakes couldn't be higher, and the coverage starts right now with john siegenthaler. >> good evening, everyone. tonight is much more than the individual races, it is about the real life issues behind the votes. our stephanie sy has the latest vote totals. tony harris is here with our panel of political experts. ali velshi looks at the financial impact of the most expense if congressional race in history. our team will cover the impact
after all of those votes at home and around the world. david shuster breaks down what tonight's votes and losses mean for americans. and joie chen is in washington, d.c. with incites on how in could effect the way business is done in the nation's capitol. it's 8:00 in the east, the polls have just closed in 15 more states. 36 races for governor, nearly 50 competitive house races. countless ballot questions and control of the senate is. two early wins are on the book for republicans, that includes kentucky, stephanie sy is here with our returns desk and the latest. stephanie. >> hey, john, republicans are looking for a pickup in this key state, new hampshire. looking at the early results right now, the democratic incumbent does lead scott brown. he is the transplant from massachusetts looking to up seat
shaheen. he was the senator from massachusetts for a couple of years. turning to north carolina, another key competition tonight, and incumbent senator kay hagen, the democrat in that race, again, in the very early returns here, leading tom tillus, the speaker of the house. that is another key race, republicans think they may get a pickup there. and romney won north carolina in 2012, but obama won in 2008, and you see how close that race is right now in the early results. turning to the senate race in georgia, of course that is the seat vacated by the retiring senator saxby chambliss. right now, david purdue is leading the challenges michelle nunn. she is the daughter of sam nun. the key question is whether this race will end in a runoff.
at least one of the candidates needs at least 50% of the vote. we have the projection in west virginia. the projected winner right now, shelley more capito, and she becomes the first female senator from the great state of west virginia. in florida, charlie crist who is a former governor, against governor rick scott. and you can see how tight that race is right now. and we're also hearing reported at this time, christ has filed a motion to extend voting hours because there were some problems in fort lauderdale. >> stephanie thank you very much. florida has been close between republicans and democrats since 2000 in bush versus gore. let's go to david shuster now.
north carolina looks like the key race now to watch in the next hour, right? >> yeah, you are looking at both north carolina and new hampshire for the democrats to have any sort of chance of holding on to the senate they need to protect their seats in both races. very different races, though in north carolina, kay hagen really tried to make this about education. tom tillist was part of an effort to cut $500 million from the state education budget. kay hagen made that an essential issue in this campaign. and a lot of republicans are kicking themselves for not putting some one else in there. in new hampshire, gene shaheen road the wave in with president
obama. and scott brown become somewhat of a carpet bagger according to democrats. again, one more look, john about the balance of power. going into tonight democrats had a 55-45 advantage in the senate. that means republicans need a net gain of six. they are down to five right now. the magic number is five republicans because they got that pickup of west virginia, a seat previously held before the democrats, john? >> all right. david shuster of course one of the most popular surrogates for the democrats, hillary clinton, i believe she has gone to more than 20 states during this election campaign to fight for people like allison lun der grin grimes, and kay haeger. how important was it for hillary clinton to be out on the campaign trial, mike viqueira in order to try to help the
democrats? >> well, it's obviously huge. you mentioned a couple of states where she was. she also happened to be in iowa and new hampshire, and we don't have to be reminded of the significance of those two states two years hence. hillary clinton was developing a lot of chits over the course of the last several week, campaigning for kay hagen, for green in new hampshire, for bruce braley in iowa and all across the map. her husband, the former president bill clinton, i believe by our count bill clinton has more appearances on stage than president obama did. after all president obama said he wasn't on the ballot, but his policies were. and this is the essential irony for democrats. low turnout. they don't have president obama on the ballot. there's low enthusiasm, as compared to the average
republican base voter, and yet he's not on the ballot, and he can't generate that kind of enthusiasm among the base, but his policies are on the ballot and that is depressing democratic turnout and firing up republicans as well, because they are so anti-president obama, john. >> all right. mike viqueira at the white house. thank you. ali velshi is here with the impact of unemployment and what it did to the midterms. >> john this is more about the economy than anything else. polls consistently show the economy is the number one issue for voters. it has been since 2008. and within the economy jobs are the number one economic issue so for a. the national unemployment rate is 5.9%. that's a drop of almost two percentage points than what it was in '201. but let's take a look at some of the key races. in colorado the unemployment rate is only 4.7%.
this is a fast-growing state. it's 1.2% lower than the national rate. denver and the nearby cities have seen an influx of people coming from other states, fueling growth in construction jobs, which is good news for the incumbent democratic senator mace phasing a challenge from the republican congressman. let's go to kentucky where it appears that mitch mcconnell has held on to his seat. unemployment 6.7%. that's almost a point higher than the national rate. the big issue there is the decline of the coal industry. that has hurt mcconnell's opponent, because the push away from coal is largely associated with the obama administration. similar picture in north carolina, the jobless rate has been pushed higher by recent teacher layoffs. those layoffs are proving to be a big issue between the democratic incoupleant and her
ch -- challenger. and take a look at georgia. 7.9%, the national unemployment rate is 5.9%. it's the heist state unemployment rate in the nation. this normally wouldn't bode well for republicans trying to hold on to the senate seat being vacated by saxby chambliss. the higher rate could suede voters in this right governor's race. economists are not sure why jobless rate shot up so high in georgia. republican incumbent governor, nathan beal has an answer. john this one is worth listening to. he says the numbers are, quote, manipulated. >> yeah, he thinks the federal government is messing with the numbers. >> i'm not here to pass opinions, but i'm going to pass an opinion on that. that's dumb.
>> yeah. ali we'll talk about this later. you can't talk about the economy without talking about jobs and wages. and we are live in des moines, iowa with more on that issue. >> that's right. iowa's seasonably adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.6%, well over a point below the national average in september. but jobs, unemployment, still big issues here in iowa. a poll conducted found that about 53% of iowians support an increase in minimum wage from $7.75 to $10.10 an hour, with about 55% of republicans supporting that increase as well as a majority of independents and democrats. and that increase could affect about 10% of the population. but it's one of those issues that has really been sharply device li
divisive when it comes to the two sen rate candidates. joni earnst opposed any federal minimum wage increase. she says that should be handled at the state level. and it's something that her democratic challenger, bruce braley says he supports. john? >> all right. usher thank you. we want to continue the discussion now about minimum wage and the economy. wajahat ali is at the museum in washington, d.c. and is following what the online communities have been saying. >> they are buzzing over the minimum wage debate. four states are set to vote on measures to increase the minimum wage in their state. folks are waging a fierce debate over national trending hashtags. like hashtag, fight for 15, which is calling for $15 per
hour minimum wage. and hashtag living wage calls for higher pay especially for fast-food workers. in places like nebraska they just want to raise it to $9 per hour by 2016. they are using the hashtag, yes, 425. sam says don't been a jerk, vote yes on 425. very, very subtle. this could be the unicorn of the midterm elections. in nebraska, the republican candidate is reluctant to discuss minimum wage. his opponent has been supporting it since announcing his candidacy. he treats i stand alone and firmly for minimum wage increase. but there's opposition as well, we just got this from joel in our online community. raising the minimum wage creates a vicious cycle of driving up cost. so for our community at home, tell me, should we raise the
minimum wage? if so to what? tweet me, and your beautiful face will be up on this awesome twitter wall behind me that is live. and i want you to be part of this conversation. >> waj quickly any other big issues tonight? >> they are talk about the economy, jobs, women's rights, person hood, native american vote, and also marijuana legalization which is up in three states and d.c. online community is buzzing about that, pardon me for the pun. >> all right. we're going to talk about that, wajahat ali thanks very much. more of our coverage in just a moment. >> hi, i'm rob from detroit, michigan, i feel this election is very important because there is a big change going on. i feel it's very important to have great leaders. ♪
welcome back, everyone. thousands of voters avoided the polls today by taking advantage of early voting, but some were surprised to learn they weren't eligible to vote. joie chen joins us from washington with more on that. >> yeah, we're hearing from the organization called election protection. they have fielded more than 17,000 calls from people who said they had trouble going to the polls and having an opportunity to vote. most of those calls coming in from texas, florida, and georgia. we're taking a look at the
controversial anti-voter campaign that may have lead to some voters being ineligible. cross check uses digital name matches to flag anyone suspected of voting in more than one state. our investigation lead aljazeera.com journal list found flaws and he also discovered that minorities may be targeted more than other voters. >> it's the first day of early voting in georgia, and this polling station is buzzing. with the race for governor and an open senate seat in the balance, these georgians know every vote counts. but not everyone who wants to vote will be allowed to. journalist greg palace obtained a list of more than 500,000 people who's eligible is in question due to cross check. he found one of them in this
apartment building said to be housing up to ten double voters. this is you, right? and also it says louisiana, joseph edward nailer. you are suspected of voting twice, which is a crime. is that true? >> no. i didn't vote twice. i only voted here today. matter of fact in louisiana i never voted. >> while cross check could discourage some from voting, its supporters say it's a necessary tool. >> having requirements for people to vote can deter bad activities. >> the reverend has been at the center to get more african-americans to the polls, but he says claims of fraud tend to target black voters. >> there clearly is an effort to suppress the votes of african-americans, and young people, elderly people, and unfortunately, there are times when we think we won certain
battles, and we find ours fighting those battles all over again, and it's our job to stand up. >> just a note to our viewers, looking to kentucky, allison lun der gan grimes has been talking to her supporters. we're listening in as she speaks with her crowd. apparently that has already been called for senator mcconnell. [ applause ] >> my hope is the message has been sent to congress. we need to work to increase the minimum wage. >> all right. we're going to follow up more on that, what is going on in kentucky, pretty much a concession there. we want to advise our viewers who are interested in cross check you can find out if your
state is on the list. one place that there has been a great deal of concern about all of this is the state of georgia. there are some very competitive races there, but tens of thousands of voters disappeared after they said they registered to vote. robert ray is standing by for us in atlanta. robert? >> reporter: joie indeed, every vote counts as you reported and here in georgia perhaps like no other tonight as we are looking at a very important senate race and a governor's race where it could go into a runoff. listen to this, amazing, the new georgia project actually -- which has been working to get african-americans and other minorities into registered voting citizens, they claim that over 40,000 registered voters are not on the rolls tonight. they went to the secretary of state. they said we registered these people. here is our evidence. where are they on the role.
and the secretary of state and the georgia project had a judge look at it, and the judge claimed that right now the secretary of state has its time and duty to go through this, but those people according to new georgia project are not on there. that's over 40,000. that's 1.5% of the vote here in the state of georgia tonight, an estimated 1.5%. that number in a close race like this in the senate and governor, it could decide everything. so those are important things, and as you also said in your story, the head of abneezer baptist church which is the martin luther king church, they have put over 120,000 blacks on the registered roles here, just in this past few months in their recruiting, so it couldn't come down any closer to the wire object to, and clearly if we do go into a runoff, if these candidates don't get the 50% plus one that it takes then we
could see this become a very big issue in less than 12 hours, perhaps 24 hours from now, joe which. there has been a big campaign underway in georgia to get african-americans and latinos to be a part of the process to try to convert that red state to blue. we'll continue to watch what happens with voting roles down in georgia. john that is an issue we're following here in washington. >> all right. joie. let me bring in an al jazeera contributor. you talked to mitch mcconnell yesterday, and he anticipated he was going to win this race. what do you think was the turning point for this campaign? >> i asked his campaign and they
said it was all about candidate recruitment. they felt that in march when corey gardner, a congressman from colorado announced his intention to challenge mark you doll. that that was the point where they said we have enough good candidates, we have mount serious challenges in all of these states, and they felt they could do it. and in the last two cycles they didn't field candidates that could actually win. so for them it was a huge focus, and that was when they thought, we can do this. >> i'm sorry -- i was just listening to my producer. jay thank you very much. i want to turn it over to tony and our panel of contributors. >> john appreciate it. the whole idea of voter suppression is really a hot issue. and let me start with you patina, any question now, at this point, that voter id laws
are -- are overwhelmingly partisan, passed by republicans and criticized, opposed by democrats? >> of course this has been a big issue, through the media talking about it, but when you look at the general public, 70% of the american population believed in voter id laws. they think it is a good idea, because if you need to cash a check, and show your id, or pick up medicine and show your id, they don't understand why if you are going to go vote you don't show your id. for the majority of the american people they think this is common sense. and we should be making sure that everyone has access to ids, and make it free -- >> why are you shaking your head there? >> i agree in theory, but in reality, in the practice of it,
if you have a student id -- take the state of texas after they passed one of the most restrictive laws in the history of the country since the jim crow era, texas allow you to have your concealed carry license for your gun, but you can't show a student id. in other states, you can have a photo id, but if it is not a state-issued photo id, you can't use it. so then you have to go about going to your state, paying money to get that id. getting on a list to get that id. >> we should be extending the franchise. >> we should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder. >> you would agree with that, right, patina? >> of course, you want to have everyone to have an id, but i think it's also an issue if people don't have an id how do they function in today's society -- >> it's the type of id they are asking for. these people have ids.
and how do you justify them cutting early voting hours. that's an opportunity for people who may work multiple jobs to have an opportunity to vote. how do you justify all of these attacks on people's ability to exercise their constitutional rights? >> ray, we have 40,000 registered voters in georgia who apparently are not on the roles. we have issues that joie was just reporting moments ago. 17,000 people reporting problems voting in texas and georgia and i think one other state she mentioned. >> once you are inside the guts of a county or state agency where they vet these documents where voters sign up, you can keep anybody off of the roles if it's your intention to. a t that wasn't crossed, an i that doesn't dotted. i have been through this. i covered elections in chicago for many years, and saw how the
mechanics of shaping the electorate works. in several states where new republican legislatures passed these laws, republican-elected officials admitted that they had a better shot at winning -- >> and mitch mcconnell is returning to washington, d.c. perhaps as the majority leader of the senate and he is speaking now. let's go to mitch mcconnell. [ cheers and applause ] >> they have put their trust and confidence in me for a long time. and i want to thank them tonight. i work hard to bring your concerns to washington, and i will not let up. [ cheers and applause ] . >> you know every election is a job interview, in this case a very long one. [ laughter ] >> i shared my vision with you.
you shared your stories and your concerns with me. and yet one complaint has stood out above all of the rest, especially in recent weeks. so i would like to make an announcement that i think will be very welcome news to many of you. no more campaign commercials. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> the tv executives might not like it, but enough is enough, right? [ applause ] >> a little while ago i spoke with my opponent, secretary grimes ran a spirited campaign. she earned a lot of votes, and she earned my respect. it took a lot of guts to take on a race like this, because of the business we're in, it also meant she would take some heat. i admire her willingness to step into the arena and fight as hard as she did. we need more people who are willing to do that, not fewer. she deserves a lot of credit for
it. this was certainly a hard-fought contest. [ applause ] >> and i have been so proud, so proud to have my wife beside me every step of the way. [ cheers and applause ] >> you know -- you know, she told me early on, she wasn't ready to have me sitting around the house working on my resume. [ laughter ] >> and she has gone above and beyond to prevent that. [ laughter ] >> she has been the most valuable player on our team, and i'm so blessed to have her in my life and by my side. [ cheers and applause ]
>> and to my campaign manager, josh holmes -- [ cheers and applause ] >> -- my friend, he pitched a perfect game. thank you josh. [ cheers and applause ] >> of course there -- there are so many ores, i could thank. they know who they are. thank you every one of you for giving so much of yourselves to this race. nobody has been blessed with a better team than i have had over the years. and i want to thank them all. my hopes also turn back tonight to two other people who aren't
here, but to whom i owe a great deal, my parents. i learned a lot from them both, from my dad, a combat veteran of world war ii, i learned an abiding love of this country, and all that it represents, not only to those of us who are fortunate enough to be born here, but to so many others around the world. for my mom, i learned the value of perseverance and got an enduring less son as she helped me overcome a frightening bout with polio as a child. in many ways my folks were just like any other parents of their generation, they were optimists. they believed in america. without a trace of sen -- sen schism, they transferred on the promise that each generation will leave the next one a little
better off than before. this is a compaq that every generation of americans have made with the one that followed it. and through civil wars and depressions, and world wars and strife, we have always made good on it. but as traveled through kentucky over the past year, i sensed new boughts. suddenly folks aren't so sure that that compact will survive if we continue down the road that we have been on. they are hungry for new leadership. they want a reason to be hopeful. they want reassurance that people who run the government are actually on their side. [ cheers and applause ] >> so tonight i pledge you -- >> and there you heard senator mitch mcconnell winning a race in a big way in kentucky. i want to turn right away to stephanie sy for some new results. >> yeah, we have another call to
make. the associated press, john, is projecting that senator mark pryor has lost his seat to freshman representative tom cotton, the republican challenger in this race. this was considered one of the g.o.p.'s hopes for a pickup, and it appears that they have flipped this seat. tom cotton is a first-term congressman, a army veteran and lawyer. he is a decorated iraqi army veteran, but served less than a year in congress and is now headed to the upper chamber. >> all right. stephanie thank you. david shuster is standing by. two to go to the republicans, so far, david and four to go. >> yeah, that's right. arkansas going to the republican column. a pick up for the republicans. this turns the magic number down to four. and democrats especially nervous, john -- they thought they had a pretty good chance in arkansas, in fact this is a pretty big setback for the
clinton family. bill clinton spent a lot of time working for governor pryor. so this is something of a setback and rebuke to president clinton and the clinton dynasty. and another part of democratic firewall that appears to be collapsing. and again, the loss in west virginia, these are two seats democrats held, republicans picked up. the imaginic number is now down to four. and there is another number that republicans are nervous about and that is the senate race in georgia. there -- virginia. a number of field operatives do not like what they are seeing, if the republican picked up virginia that would be somewhat unexpected. if that race is close, and we heard mike viqueira mention that democrats were not so happy with what they were seeing, but if
virginia were to flip, republicans are really in the driver's seat. >> david i want to talk for a moment about virginia, and the rise of the victory in kentucky for senator mcconnell. this is a huge win, when everyone said it might be so close. well, we lost david there. but let's go to randall pinkston, who has been covering several tight races across the south, including the race for the senate in arkansas. randall? >> reporter: david -- i'm sorry john, david was just talking about arkansas and the thought that senator pryor had a chance of overcoming the challenge from congressman cotton, but it was not to be. we all know that the clintons are hailed from arkansas, and since they left arkansas that state has been increasingly turning red going towards
republicans. this yet another indicator. i was speaking to former mississippi governor, hailey barber who said the republicans tonight will either have a wave, or a rising tide. obviously the current is moving in the g.o.p. direction so far in the senate. john? >> all right. randall pinkston -- we have got david shuster back up again. >> yeah, john, i'm here, and again, keep in mind arkansas is a big deal for the democrats in terms of losing the state, because mark pryor was one of the senators who came in on the obama wave in 2008. some other senators that came in, kay hagen is facing a very tight race, and gene shaheen who is facing the race for her life. and to have the races called so early, the democrats thought they might be able to stretch arkansas a little later in the evening, so for the associated
press to be able to project that tom cotton would win in arkansas so quickly, that's not the kind of indication democrats are looking for tonight, that their chances are very good of keeping control of the senate. >> this is a loss not just for president obama, but a big loss for the clintons in their former home state. >> yeah, if you look at the two states where the clintons spent the most time. particularly bill clinton, he was in ann romney -- arkansas three times, and that will raise questions among democrats thinking forward for 2016, thinking about whether hillary clinton will get in the race, and what kind of power the democrats still get from the clintons. there were a number of democrats that identified themselves as clinton democrats as opposed to obama democrats. and that has not panned out very
well for them. >> david shuster thank you very much. let's switch gears for a moment and talk about the issue of marijuana. it's on the ballot in three states and in washington, d.c. adam is live with more on that. alan. >> reporter: john one of the states you mentioned is the state of alaska where the concept of legalized marijuana at least to some degree is nothing new at all. you have been able to have a little bit and smoke a little bit of pot as long as you do it on your own property since 1975. and it has been 15 years or so that the state has had medical marijuana. for those reasons and more, a washington, d.c.-based group, pushing a nationwide campaign to legalize pot, has seen alaska as low-hanging fruit, and they have spent more than $800,000 and put
a lot of effort in alaska trying to get this measure passed. when we were up in alaska a couple of weeks ago, we talked to some of the smaller communities out in the bush, and they say they look at this pot initiative, and they are uneasy about it. a town in what alaska ans call simply the bush. it's 4,000 miles from washington, d.c., where the campaign to regulate marijuana like alcohol in alaska has its roots and its money. >> why would somebody from outside of alaska try to push legalization in -- in alaska for marijuana? >> reporter: this is place where local control is takt. a matter of health and safety. drinking takes a disproportionate toll in the native alaskian population. booze has been banned for 42 years. there is not the same kind of local option built into the proposed pot law, and much of
the promarijuana campaign is built on branding it as safer than alcohol. chris worked in d.c. for several years then was sent north by the marijuana policy project, proving they can win in an stanchly red state like alaska would be a big political victory for legal weed. still they call it a grass roots effort. >> that's a little disingenuous, the mpp is running the campaign. >> right, but our chair is a local professor, and our board is completely made up of alaskans. >> reporter: but virtually 100% funded by the mpp. >> not 100%, but close to it. >> reporter: 95? >> yeah, yeah, sure. >> reporter: the polls have been all over the place in alaska. when we were up there we met nobody willing to make an ironclad prediction on whether this would be up or down. oregon voters are also looking
at a similar initiative, also based broadly on the law that passed two years ago in colorado. the district of columbia, considering broadening the decriminalization of marijuana that they started this year, and giving city council the right to introduce retail and recreational marijuana to the district of columbia. it's a medical marijuana vote in the state of florida, and that's a constitutional amendment, john, they will need 60% of the vote to get it passed there. >> late tonight alan thank you very much. and we'll be back with more of our special coverage right after this. ♪
welcome back to our election-night coverage. i'm john siegenthaler. we want to turn to an issue that has taken center stage, foreign policy. and antonio mora is the host of "consider this," and has bill richardson. >> and he is also former governor of new mexico, john, and he joins us from santa fe. governor good to see you as always. were you an ambassador for the united states. foreign policy has played a much bigger role in these midterm elections than usual. you were also a congressman. how is this new congress, if the senate going republican going to deal with foreign policy? is it going to make decisions harder for the president? >> well, it certainly will, because the republicans in the house have blocked almost any initiative of the president's in foreign policy. if the senate turns, i expect
they will do the same. however, i think the president already has the authority on the isis response. he already has a -- i believe, a sound policy in the middle east, a military diplomatic coalition effort, free trade agreements are probably going to be a problem for the president, although republicans generally are more free trade. but at the same time, i think you have to contemplate gridlock and in foreign policy, it's not an area where the president can take executive action. he has brood authority to make foreign policy decisions, but it will be probably another area of gridlock between the congress and the president. >> and talking about executive action, a lot of talk about him taking executive action in immigration. 71% of latinos voted for the
president, but that gap has narrowed significantly. is that because of the -- you know, you were again, one of the few latino governors we have ever had. are latinos upset with democrats because of unfilled promises on immigration or they are just upset with the economy like everybody else. >> i think latinos did expect an easing on deportations. they didn't get it. the president felt he had to wait until after the election. it remains to be seen what he is going to do. i think he will ease deportations. the republicans are so anti-hispanic by their regular nif immigration policies that i don't think they are going to pick up latino voters. the problem in this election is latino voters are probably going to stay home. but i think the casualty long-range is republicans in
2016, if they continue these tea party attitude towards -- >> although that gap -- although the gap has narrowed at least in polls of support for republicans among latinos. and i want to ask you a quick final question. you were an early supporter of the president. exit polls show the majority of people who voted today are not happy with what he is doing today. back when he was first elected 60% of the elected chambers around the country were democrats, and now it's republicans. how big of a deal was the president's unpopularity in this election? >> well, i would turn around what you said, antoinio. i think democrats made a mistake of disassociating themselves with one of the president's successes, such assen a improves economy.
gas prices are down, obamacare has covered more people, it's starting to work. and we got out of iraq, afghanistan. the president promised that. so, yeah, there's no question that president's in the second-term off-year election are weaker than they have been. but to blame the entire election problem that we probably are going to have today on the president is wrong. democrats have to be more positive, more assertive, and i think they are going to have a good shot in 2016 if they take those initiatives that make them more positive and appealing to the american people that are basically optimists. they weren't optimists tonight, though, probably. >> governor very good of you to join us on this election day. >> thank you. >> john back to you. one of the most pressing challenges overseas is the fight against isil in syria and iraq.
>> reporter: the islamic state of iraq and the levant grew out of the chaos of wars in syria and iraq. it's goal, to form a new country where a strict and repressive version of islamic law would rule. by the summer the group had crossed into iraq, moving deep into the north. the fighters took advantage of iraq's fragile government to capture the second largest city, mosul, and the mosul dam. it is the largest in iraq, and supplies most of the country's water and energy. they sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing for their lives. then went for iraq's oil. the u.s. stepped in. air strikes in iraq began june 16th, helping iraq's army and kurdish fighters take back strategic cities and sites. but it was the brutal murder of the american journalist james foley that caught the public's attention. a video released shows his beheading.
by september 10th, the president announced his plan to bomb isil in syria without syria's consent. he said the u.s. would also train and arm rebels and form an international coalition of allies to fight isil. he did nort ask for congressional consent, but repeated a promise. >> it will not involve american combat troops fighting on foreign soil. >> polls suggest most americans supported the intervention. and congress did vote on the training and arming of rebels. the house approved it september 17th. the senate on the 19th. and on september 22nd, coalition strikes began on syria. it has been more than a month, but isil has held on to territory it has captured in many parts of syria. in iraq the group has advanced through the anbar province to the edges of bagdad, and a poll last week suggest that a growing
number of americans now believe strikes alone won't stop isil. nick shift r -- shift rin joins us live from istanbul. the question is whether the american strategy is working against isil. >> reporter: if you ask the u.s. allies inside of syria that very question, the answer would be no. they say the air strikes are hitting the wrong targets and the training is not going fast enough. and they say they are simply being overrun by the syrian government that's attacking places like aleppo which is the symbolic heart of the u.s. allies inside of syria, and an al-qaeda linked group, called al-nusra, also attacking those very same symbols of the revolution, and they say, look, we're getting overrun by these other two opponents you need to
help with more arms, more training, and more coordination on the ground to help us defeat isil. and if that doesn't increase, they simply won't be able to defeat isil. >> how could the outcome of tonight's election effect the fight against isil? >> reporter: yeah, in terms of syria and iraq, perhaps the main election outcome if the senate goes republican, is john mccain will become the chairman of the armed services committee, and we will push very hard for more training and weapons, especially to the syrian rebels. but perhaps the area that will be most affected is iran, a more republican senate already very skeptical of iran's intentions may try to limit any kind of deal the u.s. signs with iran or the u.s. trying to sign that deal in the next three weeks to limit iran's nuclear program.
it's not clear whether that deal will be signed, but if it is, depending on whether the senate feels the u.s. gave too much away, a more republican senate could be more skeptical of that deal and try to limit it. >> all right. nick thank you. the white house said it has the legal authority to fight isil, the obama administration points to a law passed after 9/11, but one congress woman has tried to repeal that law. >> some of us must say let's step back for a moment, let's pause just for a minute, and think through the implications of our actions today so that that does not spiral out of control. >> josh rushing is the co-host of al jazeera's "faultlines" program, and has more on that. josh? >> what she is talking about was the passage of the authorization to use military force. this was passed about a week
september 11th, and many claim it set up the legal framework for what some people call an endless war. we're 13 years past the passage of that, and it is still being used by the executive branch in iraq and syria where there is military action taking place without going before the house or senate for a full vote. that will be reconsidered by the new congress and new senate after these elections. in fact it will have to be reconsidered before the new congress takes seats, because the funding they have right now for the fight over there runs out in early december. they will have to vote to extend that, and vote on the national defense authorization act. this is a bill that passed for 53 years in a row. last year it didn't pass until midnight over political fighting. they don't know if the same will happen this year. there are over 200 amendments
submitted to the ndaa before they can pass that bill. and that bill includes the funding for the pentagon for next year. >> all right. thank you very much. james bayes is in the studio with us. james there are several issues to talk about, but if the senate does go republican, i mean, how does that change -- not particular issues, not particular policies, but -- but president obama's ability to carry out his own foreign policies. >> and the way he has perceived around the world, because he is in his last two years. his authority, i think, will be dented around the world. people will see he is not getting his own way politically at home, and i think that will mean critics can use that, and have some leverage there. >> what does that mean in the fight against isil? >> well, we're hearing lots of diplomats saying there is a real problem here. the coalition has members
involved militarily, and some who are not. it has members involved in bombing only in iraq, and only a few who are involved in syria, so there is a real difficulty here, in that not everyone has signed up to the same game plan. >> and what about iran, if the united states tries to cut a deal -- president obama tries to cut a deal on nuclear weapons with iran, and the senate doesn't agree, what impact does that have? >> the 24th of november is supposed to be the deadline. they reached an interim deal last year. now they are supposed to come up with a final deal. they believe that although there are still sticking points, we're pretty close nvm the closest we have ever been. some say the heart is not getting the deal, but trying to sell the deal to the iranians, to the hard liners back in tehran, and president obama trying to sell it to congress. of course he needs congress
because if he is going to lift the sanctions, then it needs congressional vote on that. >> i want to talk about israel if we could. prime minister netenyahu suggested that this election in the united states will determine the future of israel. how is that? >> well, we're at a very key point there too. the u.n. on this occasion is quite important, because the u.n. security council, the palestinians have said we're trying a new strategy, we're going to put a resolution before the u.n. security council, setting an end date to the occupation. next time america goes to the polls that's when the occupation should end. the obama administration really doesn't want that going to the u.n. security council, it doesn't want to have to use its veto. that's why they are trying to persuade them to go back to talks again. >> very important issue thags could be affected by this election. >> james bayes thank you very
welcome back to our midterm election coverage, it's 9:00 p.m. on the east coast, polls closed in 14 states, including five key senate races that could determine the balance of power. coming up, we take a closer look at issues affecting women voters. first, the senate races that republicans picked up two seats. stephanie sy is at