You don't choose to be the Cleverman. You get chosen. The similarities in Australian politics, literature, cinema and television to the United States are striking at times. One man's erasure has become inspiration for a tv show with the first ever Australian Indigenous superhero on the national broadcaster. Youtube link
In 2010, Citizens United paved the way for an influx of "dark money" (previously)--funds given to politically active nonprofits and limited liability companies that aren't required to disclose donors' names--into American elections. How to keep tabs on such groups? Dark Money Watch is one place to start.
Election season, 1860: "Stumping for the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln, [a] strange movement electrified the presidential election. Young men from Bangor to San Francisco and from huge Philadelphia clubs to tiny Iowa troupes donned uniforms, lit torches, and “fell in” to pseudomilitary marching companies." The Wide Awakes, as they were known, began as escorts for Republican speakers, but as the campaign season continued, these "political police" became an intimidating presence throughout much of the nation--young, fervent brawlers and unapologetic supporters of an aggressive style of American political combat. [more inside]
Though we've come a long way since Bernie, Donald and Hillary formally launched their campaigns, there's still a while to go before polling stations open. Recently, Barack enjoyed a Nordic State Dinner , delivered a commencement speech of our time, and pushed through rules including extending overtime pay to more than four million Americans. On the campaign trail, Hillary takes Kentucky while Bernie takes Oregon. Meanwhile, Donald clarifies that there's no VP for Marco with him, but Marco wants people to leave him alone anyway, people make wild speculations about Bernie's possible VP pick, Ted pretends Donald does not exist, Reince pleads "come together", and in coal country Hillary mentions a Bill role as a potential running mate is a bit coy. [more inside]
How I Acted Like A Pundit And Screwed Up On Donald Trump, by Nate Silver "...along with a couple of marginal ones." Data journalist Nate Silver soul-searches and course-corrects while defending data journalism. "Basically, my view is that putting Trump’s chances at 2 percent or 5 percent was too low, but having him at (for instance) 10 percent or 15 percent, where we might have wound up if we’d developed a model or thought about the problem more rigorously, would have been entirely appropriate. If you care about that sort of distinction, you’ve come to the right website!" [more inside]
In case you were wondering about [a conspicuous lack of] the Koch Brothers' involvement in the 2016 US political elections, here is the inside scoop. [more inside]
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte, running on a platform of tough measures on crime, corruption, and drug abuse, has just recently won the presidential election in the Philippines. [more inside]
With only six months left in the all-too-brief election campaign, three candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties remain. In the red corner, Donald has vanquished Ben, Bobby, Carly, Chris, George, Jeb, Jim, John, Lindsey, Marco, Mike, Rand, Rick, the other Rick, Scott, and Ted. In the blue corner, Bernie and Hillary have vanquished Jim, Lawrence, Lincoln and Martin. However, there is pessimism about whether Donald can win the general, with bookmaker odds stabilizing and keeping Hillary as the clear favorite. Elsewhere, Sarah doesn't like Paul, Lindsey is glad he isn't in Area 51, Gary Johnson "could" become POTUS, and Jeb sort-of returns. Meanwhile, Bernie collects more delegates in Washington state, while Hillary wins the Guam caucus. And, on the island of his mother's birth, war has broken out between rival facebook groups for and against Donald. [more inside]
It's on - Australia is going to the polls in its second ever double dissolution election. [more inside]
With less than 200 days before deciding who will be POTUS #45, five states hold primaries today: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Following the problems with voting in New York, hopefully there won't be so many this week, although location limitations do not bode well. Since the New York primaries, Ted has cut a deal with John but thinks the convention will be contested, people are eyeing Bernie's email address book, Donald buys a ticket to Seattle but gets his historical election facts wrong while encouraging an academic discipline, John corners the astronaut demographic, Hillary rejects a non-endorsement, Joe is focusing on the Senate, and the new first rule of Abe Club is that there is no more Abe Club. [more inside]
In the endurance test that is the 2016 US presidential election, we finally come to New York State where all of the polling stations are now open. The state consists of not only the city famed for fine dining but also the mainly rural upstate region. There's a lot of delegates here; Ballotpedia has information about the Democratic and Republican allocations. Since last time, Paul said "Nope", GOP leaders said "Meh" followed by "Rules?", Washington Democrats had their own local endurance test, Virgin Islands Republicans had an unpleasant meeting, Bernie visited the Vatican, Hillary visited Staten Island (as did Donald), the Democratic candidates debated, Donald is figuring out West Virginia, Ted appears very conservative, and a grumpy John is aiming for second. [more inside]
As we enter the last 30 weeks of the election campaign, delegate talk becomes more prevalent. On the Republican side, current Donald (future Donald) did not have a good Saturday in Colorado and South Carolina, with Cruz picking up delegates, and Kasich seeing a path despite lacking delegates. On the Democratic side, Bernie's recent good run has added to his count, although he remains behind Hillary. Voter suppression continues to be a strong issue, while Wikipedia has some interesting data on historical voter turnout. Meanwhile, Paul Ryan may or may not be running, while Kevin Spacey, who plays Frank Underwood in House of Cards series, says some real-life presidential candidates ‘appear to be fictional’. [more inside]
And then there were five. On the Democratic party side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders remain. On the Republican party side, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Donald Trump remain. But there's also the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and lots of other parties. The dates for candidate debates are fluid; for example there may be a Democratic debate on April 14th. In other election news, the New York Times thinks that Candidate Trump would be "Wildly unpopular", while the Washington Post thinks that Republicans are gaming the voting system in their favor. Cruz and Sanders lead in Wisconsin polls, Kasich enjoys a beer, and the BBC describes five ways the Republican bloodbath could end. [more inside]
"For eight years, Sepúlveda, now 31, says he traveled the continent rigging major political campaigns... Many of Sepúlveda’s efforts were unsuccessful, but he has enough wins that he might be able to claim as much influence over the political direction of modern Latin America as anyone in the 21st century."
Liz Plank sits down to talk with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in NYC during his recent visit, and asks him (among many other things) what he thinks about 28% of 2000 Americans polled saying they'd try to move to Canada if Trump won the 2016 election, about multiculturalism and diversity, about gender equality, and about balancing fatherhood and politics.
War! The ruling Liberal-National coalition is under fire across multiple fronts: bullying, tax, negative gearing and superannuation, and the budget. And other things. So Australia's is probably heading off to the ballot box on July 2, after what will be an exhausting two-month campaign. [more inside]
Apocalypse Presidential Election continues: Five states vote in primaries on Tuesday, March 15th. Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump will undoubtedly gain some delegates, while the other two will likely face their last stands: Marco Rubio in Florida, and John Kasich in Ohio. Candidates are taking desperate measures, like recommending each other, to stop Trump, while violence escalates at Trump events. Meanwhile, the Democratic race has tightened between frontrunner Hillary Clinton and her opponent Bernard Sanders as they prepare to split almost 800 delegates Tuesday... [more inside]
Jane Mayer takes on the Koch Brothers [1,2,3] - "For decades, billionaire libertarians Charles and David Koch have spent millions trying to reduce the size of government and slash regulations, making the brothers a target of the political Left and campaign finance reformers. But few people have dug deeper into the Koch empire and family history than New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer, author of the new book 'Dark Money'. Among other revelations, she alleges that the brothers hired private detectives to investigate her after she published articles critical of them. We talk to Mayer about the book and about what the rise of Donald Trump means for the Kochs and their allies." (previously)
It's another day of multi-state voting in the live version of House of Cards otherwise known as Election 2016. On the Republican side, four candidates remain: Rafael Edward Cruz, John Richard Kasich, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Donald John Trump. On the Democrat side, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton and Bernard Sanders continue their fight. As the math becomes clearer, and with several months still to go before potentially feisty party conventions, the odds [Oddschecker] [PredictWise] remain on both Clinton and Trump as the favorites to win their respective nominations. More on today's voting from ABC, Fortune and USA Today, while on the horizon, in-person voting begins in Florida... [more inside]
The three party system - "There are three major political forces in contemporary politics in developed countries: tribalism, neoliberalism and leftism (defined in more detail below). Until recently, the party system involved competition between different versions of neoliberalism. Since the Global Financial Crisis, neoliberals have remained in power almost everywhere, but can no longer command the electoral support needed to marginalise both tribalists and leftists at the same time. So, we are seeing the emergence of a three-party system, which is inherently unstable because of the Condorcet problem and for other reasons." [more inside]
The March 1st round of voting in US primaries and caucuses is today. Since 1988, no candidate has won his party’s nomination without winning Super Tuesday. With early voting and absentee voting already happening, the people of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia will turn out for both Republicans and Democrats. Republicans in Alaska will hold caucuses, as will Democrats in Colorado. Democrats in American Samoa also nominate. On the Republican side, with 661 delegates to be allocated today, Donald Trump currently holds the delegate lead. On the Democrat side, with 865 delegates to be delegated today, Hillary Clinton currently holds the delegate lead. (A more visual delegate tracker) The actual POTUS election odds continue to make Hillary the favorite, from Donald with the rest at long odds. Politico has more information on today, as does the Wall Street Journal and 538. With variable weather for voters, Nate Silver being cautious about assumptions and Obama's surprise endorsement of Trump, it's all to play for.
Iran goes to the polls on Friday to elect members to two bodies: Parliament and the Assembly of Experts. Moderate President Hassan Rouhani is not facing a ballot test directly, but his agenda - in particular, last summer's landmark nuclear deal, and the economic benefits that were supposed to follow - will be. Moderates face an uphill battle, however, since the Guardian Council disqualified almost half of the more than 12,000 candidates who signed up to participate in these elections, many — if not most — of them reformists. The Assembly of Experts chooses the next Supreme Leader, and considering the age of the current supreme leader, this contest may determine the fate of the country for the foreseeable future. [more inside]
The moment of truth: We must stop Trump "Democrats, your leading candidate is too weak to count on as a firewall. She might be able to pull off a general election victory against Trump, but then again she might not. Too much is uncertain this year. You, too, need to help the Republicans beat Trump; this is no moment for standing by passively. If your deadline for changing your party affiliation has not yet come, re-register and vote for Rubio, even if, like me, you cannot stomach his opposition to marriage equality. I too would prefer Kasich as the Republican nominee, but pursuing that goal will only make it more likely that Trump takes the nomination. The republic cannot afford that."
Almost a quarter of the votes in the last US presidential election were cast by women without spouses, up three points from just four years earlier. They are almost 40% of the African-American population, close to 30% of the Latino population, and about a third of all young voters. The most powerful voter this year is The Single American Woman.
Tonight, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will face off in a town hall from Nevada that will also will stream live at MSNBC.com and NBCNews.com and the Spanish-language version on Telemundo.com, ahead of this weekend's Nevada caucus. Meanwhile, three GOP hopefuls, Donald Trump, John Kasich and Jeb Bush will be in Columbia, South Carolina to answer questions from voters ahead of the Feb. 20 Republican primary in the key Southern state. The event starts at 7 p.m. and will be moderated by CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Blogger suggests that a win For Hillary Clinton's methods on the way to the White House is a loss for participatory democracy. Alongside the quiet rollback of Obama's ban on contributions from federal lobbyists within the DNC comes what appears to be a novel tactic to maintain control of the nomination process by the Democratic establishment or HRC: the formation of fundraising agreements between HRC and state Democratic parties. The implications for participatory democracy do not seem good given that state parties with their success financially tied to HRC's success must oversee very narrow caucuses and primaries.
Haitian President Michel Martelly will leave office today and hand control over to a provisional government (warning: very graphic image in the link). In the face of massive protests against widespread fraud and irregularities in the election process, the January runoff election was cancelled after second place candidate Jude Celestin refused to participate in an election which he believed was rigged in favor of Martelly's chosen successor, Jovenel Moise. This leaves Haiti without a president. Martelly leaves office 30 years to the day since the end of former dictator Baby Doc's rule.
Amidst an increasingly unpredictable political season, tonight the Iowa caucuses will finally cast the first votes of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's an outsider vs. establishment war in both parties, as Republican leaders struggle to dislodge Donald Trump and Ted Cruz from the top while Hillary Clinton marshalls her endorsements and long résumé against the populist zeal of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. The best guesses of FiveThirtyEight, BetFair, and Ann Selzer's gold-standard Des Moines Register poll all favor Trump and Clinton, but the race remains very close, and turnout in the demanding and complicated caucus events will be key. Vox provides a helpful video explainer on the process [previously]. Pass the time with FiveThirtyEight's 40-minute elections podcast, and keep an eye on the New York Times live blog of the caucuses for real-time updates once voting starts at 8:00 PM Eastern -- and don't forget to leave your two cents in the MeFi election prediction contest!
If you're tired of the status quo, there is a third path forwards — Canada for President [more inside]
Donald Trump begins and ends each of his presidential campaign rallies with “The Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera and “Memory” from Cats. [more inside]
Iowa's caucus system, explained. [YouTube] [Vox] Each US primary election season kicks off in Iowa. Learn the process behind one of the pivotal events of the general election. [more inside]
Thursday was a banner day for Bernie Sanders, whose campaign reached two million donations and won two key endorsements. So it came as a shock Friday when Sanders was hamstrung by, of all things, a Clinton data scandal. NGP VAN, the Democratic Party's main vendor for data services, mistakenly lowered the firewalls isolating each campaign's voter info -- and one Sanders staffer peeked. While the (now-fired) staffer claims they were just trying to gauge the scope of the exposure, the Clinton camp accused their rival of downloading valuable data. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz agreed, barring the entire campaign from NGP VAN in response -- potentially crippling their sprint to Iowa. Already dinged for shielding Clinton with favorable debate schedules, the DNC dropped the ban following outcry and a Sanders lawsuit (which Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said might expose collusion). Crisis averted, though not without adding some potential fireworks to tonight's Democratic debate on ABC.
One man is replacing guns with sex toys in photos of GOP politicians. That man is Matt Haughey.
Donald Trump isn't funny anymore. Currently leading the polls in part due to a reaction to the Paris attacks that saw him inciting hatred against Muslim Americans with defamatory lies, Trump has eased off calls for a database of Muslims in favor of a new target, Black Americans, retweeting fake crime statistics provided by neo-nazis and supporting the beating of black protestors at his rallies. Let’s be clear, millions of Americans love Trump and are perfectly fine with him advancing racist lies. writes activist Shaun King, It’s ugly, but this, ladies and gentlemen, is America. 2015.
2 Clintons * 42 years * $3 Billion: A Washington Post investigation reveals how Bill and Hillary Clinton have methodically cultivated donors over 40 years, from Little Rock to Washington and then across the globe. Their fundraising methods have created a new blueprint for politicians and their donors.
Houston Voters Reject Broad Anti-Discrimination Ordinance [The New York Times]
A yearlong battle over gay and transgender rights that turned into a costly, ugly war of words between this city’s lesbian mayor and social conservatives ended Tuesday as voters repealed an anti-discrimination ordinance that had attracted attention from the White House, sports figures and Hollywood celebrities. The City Council passed the measure in May, but it was in limbo after opponents succeeded, following a lengthy court fight, in putting the matter to a referendum.[more inside]
"We’re now in the home stretch of Canada’s federal election campaign — at seventy-eight days, the longest in modern Canadian history and the most important since 1988, when free trade with the United States was the defining issue. For the first time in Canadian history, it is a close three-way race between the ruling Conservatives, the centrist Liberals, and the social-democratic New Democratic Party (NDP)." [more inside]
"The Conservative government is not afraid to defend Canadian values." Welcome to the home stretch of the Canadian election! [more inside]
Blue Rodeo offers a modern day (anti-harper) protest song (And wins extra points for citing all the facts in the song and video with news links). [more inside]