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Salvini's opponents left the door open for him. Photo: Salvatore Laporta/Kontrolab/LightRocket via Getty

Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right League party, seemed to have miscalculated catastrophically in August.

Flashback: Then interior minister and deputy prime minister, he moved to bring down the coalition government in which he served and force new elections, which could have catapulted him into the prime minister's office.

Where things stand: Any sighs of relief from Salvini's foes, who include French President Emmanuel Macron and many in Brussels, now appear premature.

  • Salvini and the League have only grown more popular in opposition and lead the PD and Five Star by 10+ points in national polls.
  • With elections looming on Jan. 26 in the left-wing stronghold of Emilia-Romagna, polls show the League neck-and-neck with the PD, something that would have been unthinkable not long ago.

What to watch, per the FT:

  • “If the PD lose in Emilia-Romagna, it 100 per cent has the potential to bring down the national government and set Salvini on course to become prime minister,” says academic Daniele Albertazzi.
  • “This coalition is already so fragile that the only thing gluing it together is their fear of Salvini,” says Erik Jones of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna. “If they lose it is hard to see how they make it through the spring.”

Go deeper

John Hinckley, who shot Reagan, wins unconditional release

John Hinckley Jr. sitting on the back seat of a car in 1981. Photo: Bettmann / Getty Images

A federal judge on Monday approved the unconditional release of John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate former President Reagan in 1981.

State of play: U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington ruled that Hinckley can be freed from all court supervision in 2022 if he remains mentally stable and continues to follow rules that were imposed on him after he was released from a Washington mental health facility in 2016 to live in Virginia, AP reports.

Rep. Karen Bass launches run for Los Angeles mayor

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) on Monday launched her bid for mayor of Los Angeles.

Why it matters: Bass is a high-profile member of Congress. The former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, she was considered as a potential running mate to President Joe Biden and was a lead negotiator in the recently-ended talks on police reform. Should Bass win the mayoral election, she would become the first female mayor in L.A. history.

Biden administration takes steps to "fortify" DACA

People attend a protest supporting DACA in New York, Aug. 17. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Monday took additional steps to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program despite ongoing legal challenges to the program.

Driving the news: The Department of Homeland Security unveiled a proposed rule designed "to preserve and fortify" DACA, which offers protection from deportation for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The rule is set to formally publish on Tuesday and would give the public two months to submit comments in favor of or against the Obama-era policy.