California senator Kamala Harris has ended her presidential bid.
Support for Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren has fallen from a high of 26 percent to under 15 percent since she announced her Medicare-for-all plan.
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is officially in the race and trying an unconventional strategy: bypassing the first four primary states.
Former vice president Joe Biden remains at the top of the field with 25 to 30 percent support. Read more
Britain’s Health Care Debate Is Broken
When it was revealed last week that the British government had not ruled out giving American pharmaceutical companies more generous patent rights under a post-Brexit trade agreement with the United States, the opposition Labour Party was up in arms, accusing the ruling Conservatives of putting the National Health Service (NHS) “up for sale”.
The Conservatives rushed to deny it.
“The NHS is not on the table,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock. “We are absolutely resolved that there will be no sale of the NHS, no privatization,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The episode was emblematic of the British health care debate: Labour mischaracterizes any proposed change as a step toward privatization while the Conservatives, rather than make the case for choice and competition, try to convince voters they care about the NHS even more. Read more
Small Victory for Catalan Separatists in Spanish Coalition Talks
Spain’s center-left Socialist Party has agreed the independence crisis in Catalonia requires a “political” solution.
This is a small victory for the separatists, whose support the Socialists need to form a government.
The Socialists and the far-left Podemos won 155 out of 350 seats in the lower chamber of Congress on November 10. Regional parties hold the balance of power.
The two intend to form a coalition government with the Socialists’ Pedro Sánchez as prime minister and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias as deputy prime minister. Read more
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Germany’s Social Democrats Elect Left-Wing Leaders
Earlier this month, I argued that lurching to the left would be a risky strategy for Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD), but that the alternative — staying in a grand coalition with the center-right — is too.
A change could scare off centrist voters, who have an alternative in Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats or Germany’s pragmatic Green party. But the grand coalition has wearied leftists, who have an alternative in the Greens and the far-left Die Linke.
Not making a clear choice has been worst of all. The SPD has fallen below 15 percent in recent polls, behind the Christian Democrats and Greens and neck and neck with the far-right Alternative for Germany. Read more
Macron the Secret Islamophobe
French president Emmanuel Macron has startled observers with a number of policies that might seem to contradict his previously held beliefs.
Despite being pro-EU, he blocked membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia. Once clear-eyed on the Russian threat, Macron now argues for dialogue with Moscow and calls Islamic terror NATO’s number-one enemy. He even made made a point of attacking political Islam.
Some hear dog whistles to the far right, assume bad faith and call Macron an Islamophobe. That is unfair to the most liberal president France has had since Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. Read more
Republicans Run Out of Excuses to Defend Trump
There is no doubt American president Donald Trump tried to bribe Ukraine into launching an investigation of his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, whose son, Hunter, did work for an Ukrainian company. The impeachment inquiry conducted by the House Intelligence Committee has established the facts in under two months.
Trump held up congressionally mandated military aid to Ukraine (which is fighting a Russian-backed insurgency in its east), asked President Volodymyr Zelensky to do him a “favor” by investigating the Bidens, and aid was restored after news of the attempted blackmail leaked.
It’s a straightforward abuse of power.
So Trump’s Republican allies have been doing all they can to complicate the story. Read more