Democratic Primary News

Bernie Sanders
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders makes a speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, October 30, 2015 (Michael Vadon)
  • Bernie Sanders is going into Monday’s Iowa caucuses with an average of 24 percent support in the polls, followed by Joe Biden at 20 percent.
  • Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren both poll around 15 percent in the state, which is the minimum needed to qualify for delegates.
  • Nationally, Biden still leads with an average of 27 percent support against 23.5 for Sanders.
  • Sanders raised the most money in 2019 ($96 million), but billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, who are largely self-funding their campaigns, outspent the other candidates ($388 million combined).
  • Bloomberg‘s Super Tuesday strategy may be working. The former New York mayor has moved into fourth place in national polls.
  • John Delaney has ended his presidential bid. Read more “Democratic Primary News”

It’s Too Hard to Remove an American President

Donald Trump James Mattis
American president Donald Trump and his defense secretary, James Mattis, arrive for a NATO summit in Brussels, July 12, 2018 (NATO)

If Donald Trump’s allies in the Senate vote to acquit him next week, they will prove it has become too hard to remove a president in the United States.

Trump withheld congressionally mandated aid from Ukraine to coerce the country into investigating the son of his Democratic rival, former vice president Joe Biden. Trump broke the law and abused his power to help his reelection.

Yet not a single Republican member of Congress voted to impeach him. Not a single Republican senator is expected to vote to remove him from office. Read more “It’s Too Hard to Remove an American President”

No, Project Fear Wasn’t Wrong

United Kingdom European Union flags
Flags of the United Kingdom and the European Union outside the Berlaymont building in Brussels, January 29, 2016 (European Commission)

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”

Trump’s Middle East Plan Is Not About Peace

Benjamin Netanyahu Donald Trump
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American president Donald Trump step down from the podium in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC, January 28 (GPO/Kobi Gideon)

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.

In return for accepting these conditions and renouncing terrorism and incitement, the Palestinians would receive a municipality-sized, demilitarized and completely dependent “state.” Read more “Trump’s Middle East Plan Is Not About Peace”

Labour Leadership Election News

Keir Starmer Jeremy Corbyn Rebecca Long-Bailey
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn chairs a meeting in London flanked by Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey, April 3, 2019 (PA/Stefan Rousseau)
  • Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Keir Starmer have won enough nominations from Labour Party affiliates to qualify for the third and final voting round in the contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
  • Emily Thornberry is still short.
  • Jeff Phillips has withdrawn, saying she is not the candidate to unite Labour, and endorsed Nandy.
  • Len McCluskey, the Unite union boss who backs Long-Bailey, has responded to suggestions that centrist lawmakers might quit if the Corbyn loyalist prevails: “Good riddance.” Read more “Labour Leadership Election News”

Who Is Russia’s New Prime Minister?

Mikhail Mishustin
Mikhail Mishustin, then director of Russia’s Federal Tax Service, meets with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, November 20, 2018 (Kremlin)

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.

Yet it was probably because, not in spite of, this political inexperience that Mishustin was chosen. Read more “Who Is Russia’s New Prime Minister?”

Catalan Ruling Parties Fall Out

Quim Torra
Quim Torra enters the parliament of Catalonia to be sworn in as the region’s president, May 14, 2018 (Miguel González de la Fuente)

Catalan president Quim Torra’s suspension as a parliamentarian has divided the Spanish region’s ruling separatist parties.

In a session of the regional parliament on Monday, Speaker Roger Torrent of the Republican Left warned Torra, who leads the center-right Together for Catalonia, that his vote would not be counted in accordance with a ruling by the Spanish electoral commission. The entire Together for Catalonia delegation then abstained from all parliamentary business in protest.

The electoral commission has ordered Torra to resign as lawmaker for violating regulations on political neutrality. The Catalan leader refused to remove a banner from the regional government palace in Barcelona during the last election that called for the release of nine separatists who are in prison for leading a failed independence push in 2017. Among them is Republican Left leader Oriol Junqueras.

Torra argued only the Catalan parliament could remove him. Its presidium has now sided with the electoral commission, although it believes Torra can continue to serve as president. Torra is appealing the electoral commission’s decision to the Supreme Court in Madrid. It is unlikely to rule in his favor. Read more “Catalan Ruling Parties Fall Out”

Democratic Primary News

Elizabeth Warren
Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts gives a speech in Bloomfield Township, Iowa, January 19 (Phil Roeder)
  • Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren have been endorsed by The New York Times.
  • Warren has also been endorsed by The Des Moines Register, the top newspaper in Iowa.
  • Bernie Sanders has once again apologized to a fellow candidate for the tactics of his supporters. In an op-ed that Sanders’ campaign promoted in their newsletter, failed congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout accuses Joe Biden of corruption. Another Sanders ally, Nina Turner, earlier accused Biden of “betraying” black voters. Sanders has apologized, just like he apologized to Warren for instructing supporters to describe her as the candidate of wealthy white liberals. It’s the same pattern NBC described at the time: “Sanders, his supporters and his surrogates go on the attack; Sanders downplays or dismisses the attacks; and the party becomes more divided.”
  • Iowa Democrats caucus in a week from now, on February 3. Read more “Democratic Primary News”

Why Trumpists Demand Complete Loyalty

Donald Trump
American president Donald Trump attends a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018 (Office of the President of the Republic of Finland/Juhani Kandell)

Jonah Goldberg wonders in his newsletter why it’s not enough for conservatives like him to accept Donald Trump’s impeachment is an overreach while recognizing that the president did something wrong.

Trump’s supporters demand complete loyalty to an ever-shifting party line — or they’ll accuse you of suffering from “Trump derangement syndrome”.

I suspect the answer depends on whether you’re talking to cowards or fanatics. Read more “Why Trumpists Demand Complete Loyalty”

Don’t Try to Take Politics Out of Important Decisions

Washington DC
View of Washington DC with the United States Capitol in the distance, September 28, 2017 (Ted Eytan)

When politics becomes dysfunctional, there will be a temptation to remove it from important decisions.

This only makes the dysfunction worse.

Politics is what we call decision-making in a democratic society. Taking politics out of some decisions falsely suggests there is a consensus for a certain policy or delegates the decision to technocrats. Either is undemocratic. Read more “Don’t Try to Take Politics Out of Important Decisions”