Spain’s liberal Citizens have ruled out a pact with outgoing prime minister Pedro Sánchez while the Catalan branch of his Socialist Party has said it will not support a deal with right-wing parties — making a centrist coalition after the election in April impossible. Read more
American leftists who are tempted to sympathize with British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn — don’t. He is not an overseas version of Bernie Sanders.
Both men were political outsiders for much of their careers until they unexpectedly rose to the tops of their respective parties. Both appeal to voters who are disillusioned with old politics. Both argue for a break with the neoliberalism-inspired “Third Way” in social democracy.
But that is where the similarities end. Read more
Seven lawmakers have resigned from Britain’s Labour Party, arguing that it has become “institutionally antisemitic” under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Read more
Snap elections are likely in Spain after Catalan pro-independence parties joined the right-wing opposition in voting down Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’ 2019 spending plan.
The Catalans gave Sánchez a majority to oust the People’s Party’s Mariano Rajoy in June. They demanded a legal independence referendum for their support, which Sánchez refused.
Here is how early elections could pan out. Read more
Twelve Catalans — ten politicians and two activists — went on trial this week for their role in the 2017 independence referendum and attempted secession from Spain.
There is a good chance the defendants, who include the former Catalan vice president, Oriol Junqueras — who still leads one of the region’s two largest pro-independence parties — will be found guilty of at least some of the charges against them. The Spanish Constitutional Court had, after all, forbidden the referendum in advance and the Spanish Constitution speaks of the “indissoluble unity” of the state.
Hopefully the Supreme Court in Madrid (which is separate from the Constitutional Court) will throw out the more serious — and much harder to prove — accusations of rebellion and sedition, which carry prison sentences of up to 25 years.
But even light sentences would be a tragedy. This trial should never have happened. The 2017 referendum, which most opponents of independence boycotted, should never have happened. The reason it did is that the Spanish government at the time, led by the conservative People’s Party, refused dialogue with an increasingly restless nationalist movement in Catalonia. Read more
Frederick Studemann argues in the Financial Times that Germany’s Ostpolitik breathes its last in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline controversy.
Germany’s allies in Central European and North America have for years argued against the extension of the Baltic Sea pipeline, arguing — correctly — that it is a political project for Moscow. It doesn’t need the extra capacity. It wants to cut its dependence on Russia-wary transit states in Eastern Europe, most notably Ukraine. Read more
- Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has announced a presidential bid. The three-term senator from a state Hillary Clinton nearly lost in 2016 could help win back the sort of blue-collar Midwestern voters who left the Democratic Party for Donald Trump. Although Klobuchar’s voting record is more left-wing than her image, she has notably not (yet) endorsed universal health care.
- Elizabeth Warren has officially launched her presidential campaign with a combative speech focused on making life better for the American working class.
- The Democratic political community is broadly and deeply pessimistic about Joe Biden‘s potential candidacy, McClatchy reports. Read more