According to the conventional wisdom, the power and influence of the U.S. president begin to diminish almost from the date of his second inauguration. Ever-lengthening election cycles mean that both the U.S. Congress and public are focusing on the next campaign from the day the president takes the oath of office. The Republican Party victories in the 2014 midterm-election — which gave the GOP control of the Senate, and thus both houses of Congress — was supposed to put a stake through the heart of the Obama presidency, forcing him to compromise on his agenda and shift to the right to accommodate the new mood in America and a shift in power in Washington.

Instead, President Barack Obama has doubled down, pushing through a series of action items on topics ranging from immigration to climate change. He has been especially aggressive in foreign policy, announcing the opening of relations with Cuba after 18 months of secret talks and, most recently, producing a framework deal for Iran’s nuclear program that has the potential to transform ties with that country.

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