Americans Want Voting Reform, Analysis of Trump’s Attack on Syria

Most Americans would support reforms to break up the Democratic-Republican duopoly.

An old-fashioned lever voting machine used in New York City, New York, November 4, 2008
An old-fashioned lever voting machine used in New York City, New York, November 4, 2008 (Caren Litherland)

A Voice Of the People poll has found (PDF) majority support in the United States for introducing ranked-choice voting.

Also known as instant runoff, it would allow Americans to vote for third-party candidates without wasting their votes. Maine is the first state to consider it.

Another way to break up the Democratic-Republican duopoly would be to consolidate congressional districts.

I would support either. The two-party system has polarized Americans. We see in Europe that multiparty democracies are better at managing tensions.

Michael Cohen drama

The latest Donald Trump drama involves his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. He has had his offices raided, is facing criminal charges for paying off a porn actress and was forced to admit he has done work for Sean Hannity, the over-the-top pro-Trump Fox News host who has been talking about this story on air for months without disclosing his relationship with Cohen.

Axios has a useful primer on who Cohen is and why he is so important to the president.

Note: Cohen’s case had been referred by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, to the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. That means, if Cohen is convicted, Trump could not pardon him. The president can only give pardons for federal, not state, crimes.

Analysis of Trump’s attack on Syria

  • Eliot Cohen calls the attack unserious and intended to relieve emotional pressure. In many ways, he believes it was worse than doing nothing at all.
  • Steven Cook sees similarities between Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Donald Trump. Both, he argues, let domestic political calculations drive abrasive and abrupt shifts in foreign policy.
  • Former NATO chief James Stavridis writes what Trump should do next.
  • Russian military expert Dmitry Gorenburg points out that Friday’s airstrikes revealed the military balance in the region. In a few days, the Western allies were able to muster a set of forces much stronger than what Russia has been able to bring to bear.
  • Maxim Trudolyubov believes Russia relishes the narrative of a “Great Game” rivalry in Syria. The Kremlin loves a great story better than a great country.