(POLITICO) The general election is still almost a year away. But much about the economic picture that will frame the 2016 presidential race will come into the focus in the next two weeks as the Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade and the job market improves to levels not seen since 2007.
The overall backdrop — an economy that is strong enough for the Fed to start hiking rates — should favor Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
But the first Fed move, which is widely expected to come on Dec. 16, presents a potential wild card that could roil global markets, slow U.S. growth and provide an opportunity for Republicans in an economy that retains significant structural problems that have left many voters deeply frustrated and casting about for tough-talking outsiders like Donald Trump.
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