The Washington Post reports that officials in at least four countries — China, Israel, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates — have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, “by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign-policy experience.”
Officials in the White House were reportedly concerned that Kushner was “naive and being tricked” in conversations with foreign officials, some of whom said they wanted to deal only with Kushner and not with more experienced personnel.
Despite having no political or policy experience, Kushner was put in charge of everything from the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to American relations with Mexico.
Politico reports that he has now lost his access to top-secret intelligence along with other officials in the White House who did not clear background checks.
Peter Leyden and Ruy Teixeira argue that California’s Democrats are leading the way in developing a progressive vision for the twenty-first century:
The New California Democrats understand that a healthy society needs a strong government that’s well funded, and they don’t shy from raising public funds through progressive taxation. But the New California Democrats appreciate the market and the capabilities of entrepreneurial business. They are tech-savvy and understand the transformative power of new technologies and the vibrancy of an economy built around them. They understand that to solve our many twenty-first-century challenges, we need business to come up with solutions that scale and that grow the economy for all.
How can Democrats win back working-class voters who have switched to the right?
The obvious solution is to become more populist. Less Hillary Clinton, more Bernie Sanders. Tax the rich, spend more on welfare, make health care universal and oppose new trade deals.
Except we have seen social democrats try this in Europe and it didn’t work.
When left-wing parties cling to a shrinking working-class electorate, they end up neglecting middle-income supporters — and satisfy neither. Parties that takes sides are more successful. Read more “Lessons for Democrats from Europe”
The likelihood of elections being called soon is escalating tensions in Italy’s ruling center-left Democratic Party.
Senate speaker Pietro Grasso has left the party after criticizing the way it enacted electoral reforms. (By tying them to confidence votes, the government ensured they would pass without amendments.)
The Democrats and Progressives — left-wing critics of former prime minister and Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi — applauded Grasso’s move.
Former prime minister Massimo D’Alema, now a member of the Democrats and Progressives, said Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni “has become like Renzi.”
Four Renzi loyalists — Transportation Minister Graziano Delrio, Sports Minister Luca Lotti, Agricultural Minister Maurizio Martina and Cabinet Secretary Maria Elena Boschi — did not attend a cabinet meeting this week where Ignazio Visco was confirmed to serve another term as governor of the Bank of Italy. Renzi wanted him out. Read more “Old-School Leftists Break with Democratic Party in Italy”
Germany’s Social Democrats are making the same mistake as the Dutch Labor Party, I argue in the Netherlands’ NRC newspaper this week.
Like Labor, which went down from 25 to 6 percent support in the most recent election, the Social Democrats are trying to appeal to both working- and middle-class supporters. It is that indecision that is turning both groups away from them.
College-educated voters in the city see the benefits of open borders in Europe and free trade with the rest of the world. Low-skilled workers and small towns feel the downsides. Progressives obsess about gay rights and gender issues that animate few blue-collar voters. Read more “Social Democrats in Germany Make Same Mistake as Dutch”
Social democrats across Europe are caught in the middle of a culture war: they have middle-class voters, many of them university-educated, whose economic and social views range from liberal to progressive, as well as working-class voters, whose views range from the conservative to the nativist.
Germany’s are trying to bridge this divide, but a report by the Financial Times from the heart of the Ruhr industrial area does not suggest they are succeeding.
Guido Reil, a coalminer from Essen and former town councilor for the Social Democrats who switched to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany, says his old party has “lost its connection to real people.”
They don’t speak their language. They’re people who have never worked, they’re all careerists and professional politicians.
Germany’s Martin Schulz looks less and less like the savior of European social democracy.
His party performed poorly in North Rhine-Westphalia on Sunday, the third state election this year in which the Social Democrats were bested by Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.
I argued here earlier in the week that North Rhine-Westphalia’s election was a crucial test for Schulz. It is the heartland of German social democracy: the biggest industrial state with four of Germany’s ten largest cities and a long history of trade unionism. The state has been governed by a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens since 2010 under a popular state prime minister, Hannelore Kraft.
Social democrats might despair after the collapse of the French Socialist Party on Sunday. Their candidate, Benoît Hamon, received only 6.4 percent of the votes, almost an historic low.
Hamon’s defeat comes mere weeks after the Dutch Labor Party sunk to its lowest level of support ever in parliamentary elections.
And it comes weeks before the British Labour Party is expected to suffer yet another defeat under the feckless leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
There is some good news. Emmanuel Macron, the closest thing to a proper social democrat in France, is on track to win the presidency. Germany’s Social Democrats are riding high in the polls. Italy’s center-left Democrats are in power and will probably remain so after the elections this year.