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Time Is Running Out to Avoid a Constitutional Crisis in Spain

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a news conference in Madrid, September 7
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a news conference in Madrid, September 7 (La Moncloa)

The governments in Barcelona and Madrid continue on their collision course. Time is running out to avoid a constitutional crisis in Spain.

  • Catalonia’s regional parliament legislated this week for an independence referendum from Spain.
  • Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to do “whatever is necessary” to stop it.
  • His government challenged the legality of the referendum to the Constitutional Court, which promptly suspended the law while it considers arguments.
  • Prosecutors filed criminal charges against senior Catalan officials, including the regional president and speaker of parliament.
  • Law enforcement agencies in Catalonia have been instructed to seize ballot boxes. Read more

America Goes the Way of Europe: Christians Become Minority

View of the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 26, 2009
View of the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 26, 2009 (Jon Dawson)

America is going the way of Europe. There are fewer Christians. Young people in particular are losing faith. White Christians have become a minority.

The Public Religion Research Institute interviewed more than 100,000 Americans across all fifty states and found that:

  • White Christians comprise only 43 percent of the population anymore. As recently as 1976, that was 81 percent.
  • Catholic and mainline Protestant churches have gradually lost flock. A decline in evangelical Christians — once thought to be bucking the trend — has been more sudden. They went down from 23 percent of the population in 2006 to 17 percent today.
  • The Catholic Church is undergoing an ethnic transformation. A quarter century ago, 87 percent of Catholics were non-Hispanic whites. Today that’s 55 percent.
  • 38 percent of Americans under the age of thirty call themselves unaffiliated with any church. Only 12 percent of seniors do. Read more

Trump Is Right (For Once): The Debt Ceiling Must Go

A worker does maintenance on top of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington DC, September 8, 2014
A worker does maintenance on top of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington DC, September 8, 2014 (Architect of the Capitol)

Finally a good idea from Donald Trump.

The Washington Post reports that the American president has agreed with the leader of the Democratic opposition in the Senate, Charles Schumer, to find a way to abolish the debt ceiling.

When asked by a reporter, Trump said “there are lots of good reasons” for eliminating the measure.

Trump’s own Republicans, who have often used the debt ceiling as leverage to negotiate spending cuts, are appalled. Read more

Macron a Failure Already?

French president Emmanuel Macron gives a news conference in Brussels, June 23
French president Emmanuel Macron gives a news conference in Brussels, June 23 (Facebook)

Chris Bickerton makes a strong argument in The New York Times: Emmanuel Macron is on track to become yet another failed French president.

Bickerton, who teaches European politics at Cambridge University, knows France well. But here I think he misses the mark. Read more

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Democrats Should Look to the Middle, Not to the Left

Hillary Clinton supporters listen to a speech in Davidson, North Carolina, October 12, 2016
Hillary Clinton supporters listen to a speech in Davidson, North Carolina, October 12, 2016 (Hillary for America/Alyssa S.)

Since last year’s presidential election, the American left has been calling on Democrats to adopt a program of economic populism in order to lure back working-class voters.

This would be a mistake.

A lurch to the left may not bring back working-class whites but would disappoint middle-class voters who have been joining the Democratic Party in far greater numbers. Read more