Biden faces political losses and party division

U.S. Democratic President Joe Biden returned to Washington and met the stiffest political headwinds he's yet faced in office.

The latest gut-punch: A demoralizing defeat for Democrats in Virginia, where Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin won a governor's race.

It's a stinging upset for Biden, who campaigned repeatedly for Democrat Terry McCauliffe.

Republicans cheered the victory, which could offer a roadmap for the party to retake one or both chambers of Congress next year.

Virginia's results suggest that independents and moderates who voted en masse for Biden in 2020 were warming to Republicans once again.

Republican congressional campaigns may follow Youngkin's model of focusing on culture wars over race and education, and promising to give parents more control over public schools.

More tough news for Biden's party in New Jersey, where a Republican challenger seems to have almost overtaken incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy, even though registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans there by more than 1 million.

Murphy's narrow lead highlights the surging enthusiasm of Republican voters.

That sentiment could spook Democrats in Congress as they wrangle over details of Biden's agenda.

Progressive Democrats have threatened to sink a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package unless their priorities are met in a larger spending bill.

But moderates, such as West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, have dug in their heel over the size and scope.

The Republican turnout on Tuesday turns up pressure on Biden and his party to show they can deliver results, but it's not clear whether they will unite to do so.

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