China's Covid lockdowns contribute to global economic instability

First Read is a briefing from "Meet the Press", and the NBC Political Unit about the most important political stories of the day and why they are important.

China's Covid lockdowns contribute to global economic instability

WASHINGTON -- Tuesday, February 15th: Russian strikes destroy residential properties in Kyiv. ... Ukraine President Zelenskyy calls for Russian soldiers' surrender. He will address the U.S. Congress virtualy on Wednesday. President Biden signs the Omnibus Spending Bill into Law. It's time to vote in the GOP Pennsylvania Senate Primary. ... Stacey Abrams launches her first commercial in the Georgia gubernatorial election. NBC News also presents Plan your Vote.

First, be prepared for economic instability.

NBC's Benjy Saline has the details. To control cases, the government has put Shenzhen, a manufacturing hub with 17.5 million people, under lockdown. Apple said that Foxconn, its supplier, was temporarily ceasing operations in accordance with the move.

Continue reading: "Not all effects so far have necessarily been inflationary. The other side of this ledger was the drop in oil that occurred Monday. Market watchers believe it was due to concerns about Chinese lockdowns and outbreaks, which will reduce global demand. Customers stay home and businesses shut down.

However, "a series stop-and-start lockdowns may prolong supply problems that many countries were hoping for in 2022." China's Covid situation in China is another source of upheaval, as the world economy has been already shaken by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions.

Translation: This news, plus the events in Ukraine, doesn't mean that global economic stability will be possible until the midterm environment (traditionally around the end of the summer) is locked in.

Many indicators point to a positive American economy. The number of jobs created is on the rise, while unemployment is down.

It's the instability, inflation, rising energy costs, and Covid factors that appear to be the cause of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index hitting its lowest level for a decade.

It doesn't look like instability will end anytime soon.

This is the total number of states that have made major changes to voting laws since 2020. Our website can help you plan your vote or navigate through any of these changes. An interactive tool allows you to view state-by-state information about the primaries and midterms, as well as key dates.

You need to be familiar with the following numbers:

35 This is the number of states, including DC, that allow you to vote by mail. Two additional states permit mail voting if Covid-19 is not an excuse. 14 states, however, require an explanation to vote by post.

33: Number of states that you will need an ID in order to vote on Election Day.

12 Number of states that you will need a witness or notary to vote by mail.

35 Percent: This is the share of Black, Hispanic and Asian registered voters, who in the new Wall Street Journal poll believe that the cost of living has risen and is causing financial strain. It's higher than the 28% of white voters.

$14.4 Million: The amount the Democratic National Committee claims it raised in February.

79.749,199 Number of confirmed cases in the United States of coronavirus, according to latest data from NBC News.

973 606: The total number of Americans who have died from the virus.

Roundup of the midterm

There is a moment for choice in the Pennsylvania Republican Senate Primary. Some big-name Republicans are choosing sides. Fox News host Sean Hannity endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz. Former Senate hopeful Sean Parnell, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump but dropped out following allegations of domestic violence which he denied, is running with Dave McCormick, a former hedge fund manager.

According to AdImpact, Georgia Democratic gubernatorial Candidat Stacey Abrams will be appearing on TV for the first-time this cycle with approximately $440,000. She says, "I was raised to believe that if you don’t get what your want, you don’t give up and you try again," in her first TV advertisement. This is referring to her unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018.

John Cranley, a Democratic hopeful for Ohio governor, is also going up on TV with a purchase of less than $260,000

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has endorsed former Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor. Rebecca Kleefisch is supporting former Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds in her bid for gubernatorial office. She's competing against veteran Kevin Nicholson, and state Assemblyman Tim Ramthun in a GOP primary.

The Democratic Majority for Israel PAC has 20 new endorsements. This includes Democratic Senate hopefuls and Reps. Val Demings from Florida and Tim Ryan in Ohio, along with a few incumbents in competitive races.

The trial against Nebraska GOP Rep. Jeff Fortenberry has begun on Wednesday. He was charged with lying to FBI and accepting a foreign contribution. (He denies the charges). Fortenberry will face a primary challenge later in the year.

Texas Republican House nominee Wesley Hunt has started a PAC to support his favorite candidates ahead of November's midterm elections according To The Hill.

Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines stated to Politico that he wants to lead the National Republican Senatorial Committee's next cycle.

Two Republicans were endorsed by former President Donald Trump last night: Oklahoma Governor and Kevin Stitt. Kevin Stitt, who has been subject to increasing attacks on the airwaves over the past weeks, see more below), and North Carolina's Bo Hines. Bo Hines is running in the 13th District of North Carolina in a primary election against Rene Ellmers.

Ad watch: A horrendous crime

Sooner State Leadership has released a new Oklahoma ad that highlights a shocking incident in which Gov. Stitt is soft on crime.

The ad was first aired yesterday and highlights the grisly murder in which saw a convicted felon kill three people, while carving one woman's heart out of her body after she dies.

Conservative Voice of America, also ran an ad last week targeting Stitt. It focused on the same crime. Both groups claim that the governor's "soft-on-crime" policies released the felon. The man was actually released by Stitt's bipartisan legislation, which was passed by the voters. This legislation reclassified certain low-level drug and property offenses from felonies and changed them to misdemeanors.

According to AdImpact, an ad monitoring firm, Sooner State Leadership has spent more than $540,000 on advertising while Conservative Voice of America spent more than $498,000. Stitt, however, has spent less than $77,000 on state commercials.

ICYMI: What other happenings around the world

After six weeks, Idaho legislators passed an abortion ban and sent the legislation to GOP Gov. Brad Little's desk.

Mississippi GOP Governor. Tate Reeves has signed a bill that restricts how race can be discussed at schools.

Trump has suggested another run for the presidency in 2024. A Democratic super PAC claims Trump is violating campaign finance laws, by not declaring his candidacy, according to The New York Times.

Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says that she attended the January 6 rally at The White House.


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