Dutch parliamentarians narrowly approved an EU trade agreement with Canada on Tuesday, but ratification of the treaty faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s ruling parties do not have a majority.
If the pact isn’t supported by the Netherlands — one of the EU’s most liberal and free-trading nations — it would be a serious blow to the bloc’s ambition to uphold the global trade regime in lieu of American leadership.
Britain’s Labour Party suffered its worst electoral defeat since 1935 in December, because it chose to be led by a far-left extremist.
Center-left Democrats in the United States worry their party is about to make the same mistake. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist from Vermont, won the most votes in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and now places first in national polls. (Although he has yet to get more than 26 percent support.)
James Carville, the architect of Bill Clinton’s 1992 election victory, warned Democrats this week: “if we nominate Jeremy Corbyn, it’s going to be the end of days.”
Andrew Sullivan, a British-born conservative commentator, believes a Republican campaign against Sanders would be brutal:
He’s a man … who sided with a Marxist-Leninist party that supported Ayatollah Khomeini during the hostage crisis in 1979. He loved the monstrous dictator Fidel Castro and took his 1988 honeymoon in the Soviet Union, no less, where he openly and publicly criticized his own country and praised many aspects of the Soviet system.
On the other hand, Sullivan points out Corbyn had a net favorability rating of -40. Sanders is only at -3. Most polls show him beating Donald Trump with between 2 and 8 points.
It’s every political junkie’s dream: a contested convention. When no American presidential candidate wins a majority of the delegates in state-by-state contests before the party’s convention in the summer, the assembly — normally stage-managed for television — will have to go through as many voting rounds as it takes to elect a nominee. Imagine the theater!
It hasn’t happened in almost seventy years, and for good reason.
The last time Democrats needed to “broker” their convention was in 1952. The last time Republicans had one was in 1948. At both times, the parties went on to lose the general election. The spectacle of a party struggling to find a presidential candidate doesn’t inspire much confidence in voters that they’ve made the right choice.
Having placed first in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders can expect stronger opposition from moderate Democrats who fear he would lose to Donald Trump. There are already calls to unite behind a single, center-left presidential candidate. Those calls will grow leader.
This overlearns the lesson of 2016. Trump was able to win the Republican nomination that year with plurality support against several center-right candidates. But most Republican contests are winner-takes-all. The Democrats award their delegates — who will elect the nominee at a convention in July — proportionally. If several centrist and center-left candidates remain in the race, the most likely outcome is not a Sanders nomination but a brokered convention, where the moderates would need to join forces. Read more “Panic About Sanders Is Premature”
You may remember that in 2016, we interpreted both the Democratic and Republican primaries in the United States through the prism of “the party decides” theory, which argues that party elites — including elected and party officials, interest group leaders and other partisan figures — coordinate before presidential nominating contests in order to help their preferred candidate win.
Or, as The Economist pithily summarized the argument: parties tell the electorate how to vote, rather than voters telling the party whom to support.
Democratic elites (everyone from the chair of the Democratic National Committee to local union bosses) did coalesce around Hillary Clinton, but many voters didn’t listen: 43 percent backed Bernie Sanders.
Tensions between Belarus and Russia prompted American secretary of state Mike Pompeo to pay Alexander Lukashenko a visit this weekend. He told the Belarusian leader that the United States could fulfill all of his country’s oil needs if he wants to become “independent” from Russia.
This shouldn’t be taken seriously. Besides the hypocrisy — how “independent” would Belarus be if it traded its dependence on Russia for a dependence on the United States? — it would be logistically and financially almost impossible for America to meet the complete oil needs of Russia’s closest ally.
Brexit is due at midnight. Cue the inevitable glee from Brexiteers when the sky doesn’t fall. “Project Fear”, they will claim, was wrong all along.
No thanks to them. The very mandarins who warned against the consequences of leaving the EU have been working for the last three years to prevent their own predictions from coming true. Read more “No, Project Fear Wasn’t Wrong”
Donald Trump has finally unveiled his “deal of the century” for peace and prosperity in the Middle East — and set the region ablaze with criticism.
The president’s plan recognizes Israeli control over most, if not all, of the settlements in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), excludes most of Jerusalem from a future Palestinian state and accepts Israel’s position that “refugees” (the descendants of Palestinians who were displaced in the 1948 war) will be resettled outside Israel.
Mikhail Mishustin was largely unknown both in- and outside Russia until two weeks ago. The head of the Federal Tax Service since 2010, he was unexpectedly promoted to prime minister, replacing Vladimir Putin’s longtime deputy, Dmitri Medvedev.