WASHINGTON — Whipsawed by events and facing another midterm electoral defeat, President Obama has directed his team to forge a policy agenda to regain momentum for his final two years in office even as some advisers urge that he rethink the way he governs.
Without waiting for results from elections on Tuesday that few in the White House expect to go well for Mr. Obama, top aides have met for weeks to plot the final quarter of his presidency. Anticipating a less friendly Congress, they are mapping possible compromises with Republicans to expand trade, overhaul taxes and build roads and bridges.
For a president who has lost public support and largely failed to move his agenda on Capitol Hill since winning re-election two years ago, there may be little hope for significant progress if Republicans capture the Senate and add to their House majority. But if Republicans are fully in charge of Congress rather than mainly an opposition party, both sides may have an incentive to strike deals, at least during a short window before the 2016 presidential campaign consumes Washington.
With or without partners on Capitol Hill, Mr. Obama will continue to exercise his executive authority to advance Democratic policies on climate change, immigration, energy, gay rights and economic issues, aides said. The president, in fact, may announce quickly after the election a unilateral overhaul of immigration rules to make it easier for millions who are in the country illegally to stay. And, of...