Electomatic Political News

Gossiping The Elections, The Policians & The Electorates

Analysts need the answer of just a simple question; why there is so much peace and stability in the Pak’s Kashmir and why India has failed to stabilize its occupied part with o.7 million army personals.

It is evident that we share the common quality of lack of trust. India says that Pak has to act against banned terrorist organizations and Pak wants the Modi government to stop interfering in Baluchistan. Pakistan has also set Kashmir, the pivotal point of negotiations.

PM Modi’s these two years was the biggest opportunity as Modi has credible fame in India and in Pakistan; security establishment approach has been relaxed in context of India. Some analysts give credit to Pak China economic corridor as China wants Pakistan and India to settle down some core issues. With the passage of time, the general election will not let the Indians to put all things on table and anti Pakistan slogans shall be heard again.

Economies That Bind

Nothing can bind us except economy. India feels that economic corridor is a threat to its national security, with the rise of Chinese involvement in Pakistan and they are trying to turn every stone to establish a counter strategy e.g.  ChahBhar Port. However, Indians know that Chah bahar needs the stability in Afghanistan for its operations in region while the C-PEC will produce result just after the last day of its completion.

Indian political elite and media object that in Pakistan, the government has no cards in its hands and it is the army which manipulated the policy to India. To some extent, it is right as in our foreign policy – security establishment has more than required role which did not let the diplomacy to work properly.

Pakistan has to realize that terrorism hit our growth that is just 4. 6 % while India with its economical strategies in foreign policy hitting the figure of 7.9 % in GDP.

Without economy, what’s the future of Pakistan? Europe’s example is in front of us, where the nations set the highest examples of cruelty in wars but now put past aside and diverted their attention from defense to human development.

Budget of both sides did not allow them to exceed from certain limit in defense spending and poverty in both countries demands some kind of maturity.

India can’t become the guard of this region with America’s support – a reality, India has to accept. While, credible relations with Pakistan can boost its global image and economy.

War is no option and according to Manmohan Singh “You can change your friend but not your neighbor”- this lesson should act as the ideology for any composite dialogue. Kashmir solution and water security is must for sustainable peace and yes! Pakistan can’t get the fruitful result except with the action against banned organizations.

History looks beautiful in books and for wisdom but in reality, the 21st century proves that you have to compromise on your hard memories and ideological approaches for the betterment of future generations.

Londres, Inglaterra, 07 de julio de 2005.
El Presidente Vicente Fox, acompañado del Excelentísimo Manmohan Singh, Primer ministro de la India, volaron juntos a la ciudad de Prestwick, en el marco del diálogo ampliado de los Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno de la República Federativa de Brasil, República Popular de China, República de la India, Estados Unidos Mexicanos, y República de Sudáfrica, (G-5).

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Trump vs China. A break with the one China policy spanning decades. An intercontinental trade war. Even actual military action could be on the horizon following increased tensity during the first weeks of the Trump presidency.

To the disbelief of many political pundits, Donald Trump emerged victorious in the presidential elections of November last year by a comfortable lead. Riding on the wave of populism, his appeal to American working class stemmed mostly from his radical worldview and the promises to reignite the faltering economic engine.

The talk of financial reforms and recreating jobs though, did not make up the most flashing headlines worldwide – that status was hogged by a seemingly ceaseless stream of eccentric views on a number of foreign policy issues. Often expressed through twitter and in the media interviews leading up to the poll, – these statements made frequent mention of Mexico, Iran, Russia, and China.

Chinese Party Congress

Chinese Party Congress

The One China Policy

China can be said to have occupied a central place in Trump’s pre-election rhetoric. During his election campaign the president vowed to take on a harder line towards the Asian giant over, what the analysts have dubbed, a number of highly sensitive issues. Chief among them is Beijing’s assertion of its territorial sovereignty over reefs and artificially made – and now militarized – islands in South China Sea. An important Trump aide, Rex Tellirson, who was also recently confirmed as the secretary of state is reported to have suggested, in his confirmation hearing before the senate committee that US should beef up its military footprint in the volatile region to deter Beijing’s emboldened regional ambitions and even consider imposing a naval blockade surrounding the contested waters. These remarks have been a cause of growing concern not only in Beijing but also among former White House officials and diplomats who have described Trumps remarks as incoherent and worrisome and earnestly cautioned the newly elected administration from escalating tensions with China.

One China Policy – a policy principle that demands states would not dispute China’s claim over Taiwan, a small democracy in Pacific – also seems set to travel uncertain roads under Trump. Upon his election, the new president spoke with the island nation’s president over phone, which was perceived by many to be a step in the direction of ultimately breaking away from long standing US diplomatic tradition of recognizing China’s territorial unity.

That phone call, coupled with Trumps earlier statements signaling his publically declared intent to reconsider diplomatic norms as sacrosanct as ‘One-China Policy’ once he takes the helm has evoked strong diplomatic reprisal from Beijing, further straining already tense relations between the two countries.

Trump vs China. A break with the one China policy spanning decades

Trump vs China. A break with the one China policy spanning decades

Trump Vs China

Trade arrangements between the two countries, perceived by Trump to be sharply tilted to favor China, have also been in the crosshairs of president’s vociferous criticism. Resolute statements from the newly elected president have emerged during the run up to the election where he called for a reexamination of trade terms with China.

Beijing’s alleged devaluation of its national currency to boost its exports at the cost of US manufacturing is another subject Trump has spoken about with great deal of dissatisfaction. Trump believes Beijing is involved in crafty manipulation of its currency which has served to undermine US economic interests.

Trump vs China – is it going to unfold or fade ? With Trumps unpredictability and declared ‘US First’ policy combined with China’s growing assertiveness over its South China Sea claims, the two largest world economies seem to be moving on a path of mutual confrontation. Suffice to say, if impulsive actions come to dominate rational decision-making, the already fragile regional stability would be strained to its limits, precipitating far reaching consequences. This is something security establishments in both Washington and Beijing ought to be mindful of as they perform their strategic calculations.

Trump vs China. A break with the one China policy spanning decades. An intercontinental trade war. Even actual military action could be on the horizon following increased tensity during the first weeks of the Trump presidency

Trump vs China. Newly Sworn in Donald J Trump.

 

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Panama Leaks Update – 8th April – 2016

The Panama Leaks keep drawing headlines. Causing problems for leaders across the globe. Currently a lot of attention is focused on the UK, which appears to be the center of the links to the Panama tax haven. Calls for the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron are sounding loud on social media and in British press after his admissions that he indeed held personal stock in his late fathers Panama based fund and sold them for a profit.

Further government links in the UK have been hinted in the British media with George Osborne being accused of stashing away profits from a 6m pound property deal in a Panama company.

Aside from the UK there is still talk about Russian president Putin having links to the Panama scandal. However, no further solid evidence has been presented and in fact Kremlin has hit back with accusations of the leak being information warfare aimed at their president.

In Iceland the prime minister quickly resigned following the scandal. New polls in Iceland show The Pirate Party surging to more than 40% support, however for now the government there is attempting to avoid elections by simply naming a replacement prime minister.

The Panama Papers

The panama papers have already started making heads roll. The Icelandic prime minister resigned after being directly implicated in the leak. Several others are taking heavy fire in the media. However, the Panama Papers have the ability to topple many more heads of state and public servants across the globe.

What are the Panama Papers ? Basically a leak of files from a law-firm helping high earners move income and wealth to Panama to avoid paying taxes in their home countries. As such the Panama Papers are a simple whistle blower case. The unique thing about the Panama Papers is that they do not expose the wrongdoing of any specific person or government, but the potential legal and moral wrongdoings of thousands of government members, public servants and business people across the world.

It is worth noting that sending money to Panama, having a company or a bank account there is not necessarily illegal in any way. In fact usually it is specifically set up not to be. In terms of perception however being named as making maneuvers of this sort is what is damaging, it is not about legal but moral.

Panama Papers Downfalls ?

The panama papers signify a new form of information warfare. Someone found the files. Sent the file to a newspaper and exposed thousands of people across the world. We have no overview yet over everyone implicated. We do not know if the whist blower had a hidden agenda. Was he targeting someone in particular. Has he deliberately left someone out? Months of investigations of the terabytes of documents might reveal the answers down the line.

What we know right now is that several prolific politicians have found themselves in the firing line. First to fall was the Icelandic prime minister as mentioned. Highest in the headlines so far has been Vladimir Putin of Russia and David Cameron of the UK.

Putin is not actually directly implicated by the papers, but media reports link him to funds moved to Panama to the tunes of 2bn dollars via friends, backers and family members. Is that a problem for Putin ? Honestly. No. Whilst democratically elected Vladimir Putin is in a uniquely strong position in Russia in which a perception of him being a bit too close to something dubious matters little and surprises less. As such, Putin does in fact seem like more of a distraction for more vulnerable targets tarnished by the leak.

David Cameron Tax Dodging Links

David Cameron, prime minister of the UK, is a bit of special case in relation to the leak. He is not yet directly implicated, however his father is and several primary donors of his party are as well. That in itself is embarrassing, particularly the family link to tax evasion. However, David Cameron has himself raised himself above the fray on tax evasion by publicly maintaining that being legal is not enough, acting morally is required too.

For instance David Cameron was explicitly outspoken on the amoral but not illegal tax dealings of British comedian Jimmy Carr:


Aside from these moral stances on creative tax dodging David Cameron has stated that the UK was a world leader in combating tax havens and curbing tax dodging. Such statements obviously sound almost outer worldly after the revelations that “the UK are at the heart of tax dodging networks“.

And worse: David Camerons own father was an active perpetrator of these tax avoidance schemes, thus raising clear questions about David Camerons own wealth, efforts to combat tax dodging and honesty in general.  To make matters almost comical David Cameron chairs an international conference about stopping international tax evasion schemes next month.

David Cameron is unlikely to fall as a consequence of the Panama Leaks despite being heavily tainted. He has a solid majority in parliament backing him and is not running for re-election. As such the opposition has no possibility of removing him. His own party could but given he is already a dead-man-walking politically it would make sense to keep him in nr.10 till after a potential EU referendum loss, another unpopular budget and other issues that would harmfully tarnish a new Conservative leader.

Vladimir Putin and David Cameron in Panama Papers Leak

Vladimir Putin and David Cameron in Panama Papers Leak

Prominent Casualties ?

Are we likely to see other prominent casualties of the leak ? Yes. But exactly who is quite unpredictable. Aside from David Cameron, the Icelandic Primeminister and Vladimir Putin most of those implicated are either having more indirect links to the scandal or they are simply difficult to remove by democratic means.

For instance the King of Saudi Arabia has been named. Does it make him unpopular at home? Maybe. Does it topple him? Unlikely. There is no process for removing a Saudi king, nobody to do it and presumably no great shock that he has wealth stashed away either. Similar is true for several Middle Eastern, African and South American leaders and ex-leaders.

In several cases it is possible that the revelations could have influence down the road.  The scales could be tipped for the next presidential elections in Argentina. The Ukrainian president could stumble to uprisings or votes. The United Arab Emirates president could face problems. But there is no automatism to it. It would require local public outrage

Is There More ?

More ? The Panama Papers are but a fraction. These are the papers from one big law firm specialized in helping companies and individuals stashing away cash in Panama. Several other companies have the same metier. Plenty of other tax havens are as big or bigger destinations of wealth than Panama. Hong Kong. Cayman Islands. Seychelles. Andorra. Bermuda. British Virgin Islands. Switzerland. Mauritius. And many many more. Each one could have its own leak. From each of the law firms working it. The current leak is might look enormous but it covers a fraction of the entirety.

This of course means too, that nobody is off the hook simply because they are not listed as implicated in this leak. They might simply keep their stash elsewhere. The interesting thing for us though is the political and electoral outfall. We have seen one actual fall. Plenty of humiliation. The longer term consequences are harder to predict. Voters might rise to demand a stop to these practices. Voters might demand measures to hold their leaders accountable, personally and politically. Or. We might settle back into X-Factor and Big Brother when the Panama buzz is over.

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The path forward for the republican frontrunner Donald Trump basically has 3 possible outcomes this point. He can win the nomination outright, he can enter a contested convention being just short of 1237 or he can opt to run as a third party candidate.

If Donald Trump wins outright the road ahead is clear for a general election, presumably against Hillary Clinton. However, unless Trump reaches the magic 1237 delegates he seems like a certain loser in every scenario, unless he pulls a clever rabbit out of the hat.

Donald Trump Rally - Contested Convention Ahead ?

Donald Trump Rally – Contested Convention Ahead ? by Ed Ouimette

Contested Convention Scenario

A contested convention occurs when no single candidate reaches 1237 delegates on the first vote. What happens next is basically quite messy and not yet set in stone as the republican convention committee has not yet written or published the actual rules for the upcoming convention. What we do know is that the majority of delegates are set free for the second and subsequent votes.

This is where Donald Trump gets in trouble. Not only would he need to attract votes from more delegates for the second vote, he would need to retain his own delegates too. Both seem extremely difficult for him. The delegates won by and pledged to Donald Trump are generally not Trump supporters. Quite to the contrary, they will typically be elected to fill the role by local GOP committees at the lower level of the republican establishment. In other words they are going to the convention bound to vote for Donald Trump on the first vote but likely with no intention of doing so in following votes after they have been set free.

Could Trump come out a winner of a contested convention ? He could of course. If he makes superior use of his self-proclaimed magnificent negotiating skills. He could secure backing from unbound delegates. He could be backed by one of his opponents in return for some future favor. He could put a scheme in motion to reach out to the individual delegates one by one and convince them. It is possible. It is not likely.

Plainly spoken all other candidates are in a better place to do the things required to tilt a convention in their favor. Simply things like easy access to the delegates by having support in the GOP locally suddenly matters. Experience with delegate math becomes important. Wheeling and dealing abilities in republican circles attains crucial importance. Trump is a beginner at those games, the establishment has decades of expertise to lend their favored alternative.

Donald Trump Supporters - Ready For #DaysOfRage ?

Donald Trump Supporters – Ready For #DaysOfRage ? Gage Skidmore

#Daysofrage by Roger Stone

What happens if Trump enters the convention a frontrunner with a lead in delegates and the popular vote but still ends up losing on the convention floor? Chaos. Turmoil. GOP splits. 3rd party run. Basically the situation becomes unpredictably volatile with a huge part of the primary voters for the GOP feeling cheated, a Donald Trump likely firing up his troops and thousands of his most ardent supporters in or around the actual convention center.

Trump-supporter Roger Stone is already rallying under a #DaysOfRage and #Stopthesteal banner. The intention seems to be getting the maximum number of riled up Donald Trump supporters riled up and rallied to the Cleveland convention site. How is that going to end? It could be anywhere from mudslinging, lawsuits and animosity to actual violent riots, a split in the party or a third party run.

Donald Trump - Taj Ma Wall - Political Satire

Donald Trump – Taj Ma Wall – Political Satire by DonkeyHotey

A Trump Third Party Run ?

Donald Trump has all but said in recent days that if he feels “treated unfairly by the RNC” he might launch a third party run. In reality such a third party candidacy has very little chance of getting anywhere close to the presidency. It will however fundamentally change the race for everyone.

Donald Trump has consistently surprised us. Doing so by being competitive on a third party ticket would require a miracle. In a general election where all states are first-past-the-post it requires amazing nationwide backing and organisation to compete. In fact it would be a huge surprise if he won a single state. Ralph Nader and Ross Perot both failed to do so. Simply put: The odds are heavily stacked against third parties. Even if they have high favorability ratings in the general population. Donald Trump does not. He has strong support from a core but incredibly high negatives with those not supporting him.

Why run as third party candidate then ? Donald Trumps only motivation does not appear to be winning the presidency. He seems to enjoy the spotlight and he has made it a brand to always counter-punch when attacked. The ultimate counter punch against a GOP that stole what he perceives as his rightful nomination would be a third party run.

Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton vs a GOP winner of a contested convention is almost certainly guaranteeing a Hillary Clinton presidency. Donald Trump will pull some white collar democrats for sure, but he is likely to draw much more heavily on those voters otherwise landing on the GOP candidate. It would further be surprising if GOP downballot tickets did not suffer too. Plenty of races at all levels are tight enough that even a small boycott of GOP candidates from Trump supporters will tilt the balance in favor of the Democrats.

Trump or Bust For the GOP ?

To sum up: Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has 3 ways forward: Winning 1237 delegates, a contested convention or a third party run. His only realistic chance of the nomination and presidency is an outright win in advance of the convention.

Does that mean the GOP is home safe if they stop Trump enough to get to a contested convention ? To the contrary. That outcome might please the #neverTrump crowd mightily, but it more or less guarantees some level of split in the party too.

Donald Trump contested convention or third party run?

Donald Trump contested convention or third party run? by Gage Skidmore

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Bernie Sanders had a grand day in the caucuses in Alaska, Washington and Hawaii. The left-wing hero of progressive politics ran up amazingly impressive numbers in all 3 states. The foregone conclusion of Hillary prevailing is suddenly replaced by debates about a Bernie Sanders path to victory. An 69,8%-30,0% win in Hawaii. Washington voted for The Bern at a 72,7% to 27,1% ratio. Finally the biggest win of the night came in the Alaska Caucus where Bernie Sanders grabbed 81,6% to Hillary Clintons 18,4%.

In terms of delegates Bernie Sanders netted an approximate 56 delegates to Hillary Clintons 20. A commanding win of proportions large enough to catch up with Hillary Clinton were it repeated in all coming states.

Bernie Sander Rally By Gage Skidmore

Bernie Sander Rally By Gage Skidmore

The state of the Democratic Race

In terms of delegates the state of the democratic race obviously narrowed a bit with the huge Bernie Sanders wins in Hawaii, Washington and Alaska. Hillary Clinton has won 1251 delegates whilst Bernie Sanders reached 1012 delegates with this weekends additions. If we include the already pledged superdelegates the totals are 1733 for Hillary Clinton and 1039 for Bernie Sanders.

It is worth cautioning a bit about the numbers including superdelegates. First of all plenty of superdelegates have not yet pledged and as such a shadow pool of delegates exist. Further, should Bernie Sanders actually overtake Hillary Clinton in won delegates it is very likely that some of the pledged delegates will simply change their allegiance to Sanders as happened in 2008 when Hillary had a similar lead in superdelegates until Barack Obama overtook her at the ballot boxes, thus picking up the superdelegates as well.

Feel The Bern - Bernie Sanders Supporters

Feel The Bern – Bernie Sanders Supporters By Jake Bucci

Bernie Sanders – The Comeback Kid ?

A comeback kid? Well yes and no. He won big. Impressively! But he was in fact favored to win and had been all along. Obviously 3 out of 3 wins will energize his supporters, bring in fresh donations and add some positive news cycles to an already well spinning campaign. In reality though we are talking a “comeback” that added maybe 10 or 15 more delegates than expected in must-win states.

Nothing changes the media narrative like a fresh landslide victory. Bernie Sanders got 3. We are suddenly examining the Bernie Sanders path to victory. It was not really a comeback though, given he performed brilliantly exactly where he was supposed to. His campaign in fact has nothing to comeback from. It has outperformed expectations massively. It rakes in unbelievable amounts of small donor contributions. It drums up enthusiasm in young voter like never (well save Obama) before. And in pledged delegates the Bernie Sanders campaign has managed to stay within somewhat realistic striking distance of Hillary Clinton all along. A Hillary Clinton who was declared ready for coronation even before any voting began given the opposition, primarily Sanders, she faced.

Bernie Sanders Path To Victory

Given all the positives and sweeping victories, does Bernie Sanders have a path to victory ? Indeed he does. But it is as narrow as ever. The road ahead is severely bumpy in terms of the realistic delegate catches for Bernie Sanders. The trouble is clearly visible in the Democratic primary calendar:

Democratic Primary Calendar
Date State Pledged Super Total Type
Apr 5 Wisconsin 86 10 96 Open primary
Apr 9 Wyoming 14 4 18 Closed caucus
Apr 19 New York 247 44 291 Closed primary
Apr 26 Connecticut 55 16 71 Closed primary
Delaware 21 10 31 Closed primary
Maryland 95 23 118 Closed primary
Pennsylvania 189 21 210 Closed primary
Rhode Island 24 9 33 Semi-closed primary
May 3 Indiana 83 9 92 Open primary
May 7 Guam 7 5 12 Closed caucus
May 10 West Virginia 29 8 37 Semi-closed primary
May 17 Kentucky 55 5 60 Closed primary
Oregon 61 13 74 Closed primary
Jun 4 Virgin Islands 7 5 12 Closed caucus
Jun 5 Puerto Rico 60 7 67 Closed caucus
Jun 7 California 475 73 548 Semi-closed primary
Montana 21 6 27 Open primary
New Jersey 126 16 142 Semi-closed primary
New Mexico 34 9 43 Closed primary
North Dakota 18 5 23 Open primary
South Dakota 20 5 25 Semi-open primary
Jun 14 District of Columbia 20 26 46 Closed primary
Jul Unassigned 0 1 1 Closed caucus

Bernie Sanders will likely win several of these contests. Plenty of the caucuses especially are tailored to his strengths. However, Bernie Sanders is not just in need of symbolic wins and performances spinnable as momentum. He needs to make up significantly more than the 200 delegate Hillary Clinton lead in order to construct a narrative going:

Bernie Sanders leads the delegate count now. Handing it to Hillary Clinton by use of superdelegates would be undemocratic and wrong.

To do that he needs to catch, pass and continually outdo her. Is that possible? Well there are plenty of delegates still to be awarded and as such of course it is. But in realistic terms the answer is no. Primaries in delegate rich states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and California are on the menu. It is not a tasty one for Sanders. He is behind in all polls in these states whilst what he needs is something like 25% percent wins across the board. Without the collapses he experienced in southern states, letting Hillary drive up her lead.

Making up deficits is harder in the Democratic race as there are no winner-take-all contests. Deficits are made up by big wins awarding huge proportional parts of the states delegates. Sanders has momentum and could do it in quite a few places, but so far we have no indications that he is even within reach of a win in the big states that really matter.

Bernie Sanders path to victory ? It exists. But it still requires a serious game changer making him surge far ahead in current Hillary Clinton firewall states.

Bernie Sanders Path To Victory

Bernie Sanders Townhall By Phil Roeder

Democratic Primary Race Facts

The democratic candidates compete for a total of 4,051 pledged delegates primarily awarded proportionally on a per state basis. On top of that 721 individuals are appointed superdelegates by the DNC.

You can follow the latest American Opinion polls here to see if the Bernie Sanders momentum starts to manifest in crucial upcoming races.

The 3 latest contests were all caucuses:

Alaska Democratic Caucus

Alaska Votes Percent Del. (100%)
Sanders 440 81.6 13
Clinton 99 18.4 3

Hawaii Democratic Caucus

Hawaii Votes Percent Del. (100%)
Sanders 23,530 69.8 17
Clinton 10,125 30.0 8

Washington Democratic Caucus

Washington Votes Percent Del. (100%)
Sanders 19,159 72.7 25
Clinton 7,140 27.1 9
Bernie Sanders - The Comeback Kid ?

Bernie Sanders – The Comeback Kid ? By Steve Rainwater

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The GOP nomination battle is raging at hitherto unseen intensities and ethical lows. However beyond the noise it is relatively clear that the GOP establishment has finally made a decision: They are reluctantly supporting the Ted Cruz campaign in order to avoid the nomination of Donald Trump as their presidential candidate. The clearest manifestation of the Republican establishment rallying to Ted Cruz is obviously the endorsement from no other than Jeb Bush.

Had anyone predicted a few month ago the Jeb Bush or Lindsey Graham endorsement of Ted Cruz the immediate recommendation would have been a reality check or indeed psychiatric treatment. That is however the situation today. Ted Cruz happily describes it as proof of momentum for his campaign. The devils advocate might instead label it a sign of complete GOP establishment panic.

Nobody among the powers that be in the Republican party would volunteer a single kind word for Ted Cruz without a gun to their head. Thing is. They have a gun to their head. The strongest field of Republican candidates in several decades have produced the unlikeliest and most unwelcome outcomes imaginable. The Republican shot callers having to back what they consider an un-electable and inflexible evangelical with few positive traits only to desperately attempt to avoid the even bigger evil is a nightmare scenario.

Ted Cruz Presidential Campaign - GOP Establishment Support

Ted Cruz Campaigning By Michael Vadon

GOP Establishment Vs Ted Cruz

Are the GOP big Whigs going to attempt to nominate Ted Cruz then ? No! In a small piece of poetic justice they are setting him up to fail. The logic is fairly simple:

Donald Trump might well win outright by gaining 1237 delegates. In that case the choice is either rallying to Donald Trump despite his flaws and make the best of it. Or, alternatively run a third party candidate. Would that third party candidate be Ted Cruz? No. Obviously not. The third party candidate would be someone mainstream GOP candidates in primarily vulnerable blue states could cling to in their own election battles.

Donald Trump could fall short of 1237 delegates. Ted Cruz would have won significant victories in the primary battles against Donald Trump in this scenario. Thus turning up at a contested convention with a strong following of delegates in his own pocket, though not within reach of 1237. Would Ted Cruz be a potential nominee in this scenario ? Very unlikely. Cruz would have played his role as spoiler for Trump but few or no of his current reluctant backers would enter the mudwrestling contest of the convention with the intention of getting Cruz to 1237. Why would they? Largely every other option aside from Trump would be more attractive to the GOP establishment and besides Ted Cruz would be one of the hardest sells to unbound delegates. The Cruz delegates would be used to stop Trump and since captured to attempt to nominate an acceptable candidate such as Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, John Kasich or similar.

Ted Cruz could reach 1237 delegates himself. Well no. Mathematically it is not entirely impossible yet, but in practical terms he has no path to reaching the magic number. The failure of Ted Cruz path to nomination happened long ago when he missed the low-hanging fruit for an evangelical candidate in the Southern and strongly conservative states. Having missed those Ted Cruz would have to largely clean the table in primary battles much less favorable to him.

Ted Cruz Townhall Meeting

Ted Cruz Townhall Meeting By Michael Vadon

The Ted Cruz Path To Nomination

If we look at the Fivethirtyeight delegate target tracker Trump is currently at 96% whilst Cruz is at 53% – check the Fivethirtyeight Delegate Tracker to see it in action. The point of that tracker is that Ted Cruz has currently secured only 53% of the delegates he should have won in order to be on track to win at least 1237 at the end of primary season. The tracker takes into account where each candidate should secure delegates based on demographics, ideological makeup of the electorate and so forth. As such, the 53% is a mathematical expression of Ted Cruz having missed his best opportunities already. It is extremely hard to imagine a Ted Cruz surge to victory in places like New York and California. Such a surge is exactly what he would need though.

Where does it all leave Ted Cruz ? As very close to a sure loser. He can not win outright. A Donald Trump win earns him nothing and the paper thin support from the GOP establishment will vanish the second they have even a remote alternative. Nothing is certain. Especially not this year. But Ted Cruz looks set up to fail.

Ted Cruz Caricature

Ted Cruz Caricature By DonkeyHotey

PS: Yes. We are aware that we are breaking current election cycle rules by not including any nude photos depicting family members of those mentioned. We have also failed to question the mental health, looks or endowment of the presidential candidates. We will leave that to the candidates but you can snoop in the Dirty Campaign Technique feature to see what they are up to or simply have a look at the Political Meme and Negative Campaign trackers. Largely everything uttered seems to fit there these days. Sadly. One day we will have a look at the potential effects. Not today.

Donald and Melanie Trump Campaigning

Donald and Melanie Trump Campaigning By Marc Nozell

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A Trump / Cruz 2016 Ticket ?

The stuff nightmares are made of. At least if you consider yourself a moderate or establishment republican. A Trump / Cruz 2016 ticket! But are we in fact seeing such a ticket potentially taking shape? Obviously nobody would officially say such a thing from either campaign. Though the Donald Trump campaign actually have gone on the cable news channels pointedly saying “or vice president Cruz as I prefer to call him”. A hint, hint, hint ?

In fact it could be a hint. And it could be something to consider seriously in the Ted Cruz camp. Basically Ted Cruz has almost no possible way of winning the nomination by now. He missed too many opportunities in Southern Evangelical races. Donald Trump ate into his voter base. Right now Ted Cruz is a sure number 2 in the race, but the future looks rather bleak for him with few obvious opportunities for wins on the horizon.

a Trump Cruz 2016 ticket 2

Ted Cruz Has No Path To Nomination

Why not stay in the race in second place and aim for winning a brokered convention ? Because Ted Cruz is probably the least likely of all candidates to emerge a winner of a brokered convention. If the race ends up in a convention mess there is simply little reason left to hand it to a universally disliked candidate such as Ted Cruz. He knows this. Thus. With a path to winning outright closing fast he has few options left.

But imagine this: Donald Trump is entirely inexperienced policy wise. Trump has a few solid points he really wants to move forward with such as building a wall against Mexico and redoing all trade deals. Aside from that he is a blank piece of paper on most policy issues. In such a situation there is a huge actual power vacuum to be filled out by those actually filling in all the blanks. That puppet master holding onto power on the majority of policy fields could indeed be no other than vice president Ted Cruz.

In other words Ted Cruz may have the choice between being left with nothing at all and approaching a spot on a a Trump / Cruz 2016 ticket. Indeed a ticket that could bring him influence on a hitherto unseen level given the traits of a president Trump.

A Trump Cruz 2016 ticket

A Trump Cruz 2016 ticket

Benefits of a Cruz Vice President

Would Ted Cruz be interested in a VP spot on the ticket ? Well for now he has to say no. But in reality he should start considering his options. The senate brought him little influence and fewer friends. Unless the cuts a deal with the eventual Republican president somehow he is extremely unlikely as the nominee for the supreme court that he might also have craving eyes on.

Why would Donald Trump want Ted Cruz ? To clinch the nomination, secure the republican base and be able to say he has someone politically experienced on his team. The downside would be how poorly Ted Cruz is viewed in the senate, how stoic he is when it comes to refusing compromise. Both making him a bit awkward for the guy striking deals with the senate and congress. Trump needs someone to smooth things behind him and that might not be a profile fitting Ted Cruz very well. However, the ups may still weigh in heavier than the downs in favor of offering Ted Cruz a place on a Donald Trump ticket.

A Trump / Cruz 2016 ticket ?

Are we gonna see a Donald Trump / Ted Cruz republican ticket then ? It is way too early to say. But in dark smokey backrooms there may be plotters and planners puffing on large cigars who have started considered such a constellation. In both camps! A Trump / Cruz 2016 Ticket is obviously still way in the future. But the thought may be taking hold. A nightmare in some minds, a potential way forward in others.

The two republican candidates were said to have a bit of a bromance for many months until falling out as the primary race tightened. As we have seen with the Ben Carson endorsement of Donald Trump that does not rule out a reunification. A Trump / Cruz 2016 ticket might be in the making.

A Trump Cruz 2016 Republican ticket

A Trump Cruz 2016 Republican ticket

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Political Satire Tracker

On a jollier note today. We have started a small political satire tracker. Our mailboxes are flooded with political cartoons attacking Donald Trump, satire ridiculing David Cameron, small meme pictures poking fun of Hillary Clinton and much more besides. So. For the sheer fun of it we have started the Political Meme Tracker

Have a look and a laugh.

Political Satire and Memes

Obviously political humor is exactly that. In the age of internet campaigns it is used to get serious messages out, spreading negative information about opponents and attempting to make attack ads go viral as part of dirty campaign tricks of various sorts.

However. Humor should be taken as such first and foremost. The best of political humor has some truth to it. But it should never be taken as gospel or proof. When you see homemade fact sheets making outrageous claims, they are just that. Ourageous claims. Nothing becomes facts because someone photoshopped it onto a fact sheet. And Donald Trump does not become a Hitler incarnate because someone draws the cartoon. Take it all with a pinch of salt and a laugh.

brexit-satire

Satire Cartoons in Politics

In fact political cartoons have been part of the debate for as long as print media has existed. Newspapers have published political cartoons since the dawn of political debates. The new thing these days is that anyone with an eye for drawing and mind for satire can join in. Draw his own cartoon. Spread it on social media and watch it go viral.

Suddenly some guys homemade cartoon poking fun at some political candidate has reached millions of viewers. And many times more people have laughed at it than any cartoon in a print media newspaper would ever achieve.

Follow our collections of political satire cartoons

american-politics-detroit-meme

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Elections in Germany: Far Right AfD Wins

Local elections were held in three of Germany’s powerful states. The headline from all 3 of them is the electoral breakthrough of far-right party AFD. AFD stands for Alternative Für Deutschland (Alternative For Germany). The party is a youngster on the German political scene. Being founded in 2013. Why are they worthy of big headlines?

Because it is the first real breakthrough of the far-right or as some term it dirty right since the fall of the nazis. Are AFD nazis then? No! They are indeed far-right in a more modern sense. Any actual nazi parti would be outlawed in Germany as has happened to plenty of such over the decades. What Alternative Für Deutschland is, is a populist party hammering home anti-immigration and anti-EU sentiments.

As such they can be compared to the Austrian Freedom Party, the Danish Peoples Party in Denmark, the Front Nacional in France which are similar anti-immigration and anti-EU political parties on the far-right, who all still work within the boundaries and rules of the established democracies. Equally, AFD does not seem to deserve comparison to actual fascist or nazi parties around Europe such as Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary or the Slovak National Party (Slovenská národná strana)

Alternative für Deutschland - Elections in Germany

Alternative für Deutschland – Elections in Germany By Ziko van Dijk

Election Results in Germany

Lets have a look a the actual results. The Germans went to the polls in three local states. But the results sent a message to all of Germany. Indeed, to all of the world.

Baden-Württemberg Election Germany
Grüne 30,3% – 47 (+11) Seats – (The Greens)
CDU 27,0% – 42 (-18) Seats – (The Conservatives)
AfD 15,1% – 23 (+23) Seats – (Alternative For Germany)
SPD 12,7% – 19 (-16) Seats – (Social Democrats)
FDP 8,3% – 12 (+5) Seats – (The Liberal Party)
Die Linke 2,9% – 0 Seats – (The Leftwing Party)

Rheinland-Pfalz Election Germany
SPD 36,2% – 39 (-3) Seats – (Social Democrats)
CDU 31,8% – 35 (-6) Seats – (The Conservatives)
AfD 12,6% – 14 (+14) Seats – (Alternative For Germany)
FDP 6,2% – 7 (+7) Seats – (The Liberal Party)
Grüne 5,3% – 6 (-12) Seats – (The Greens)
Die Linke 2,8% – 0 Seats – (The Leftwing Party)

Sachsen-Anhalt Election Germany
CDU 29,8% – 30 (-11) Seats – (The Conservatives)
AfD 24,2% – 24 (+24) Seats – (Alternative For Germany)
SPD 10,6% – 11 (-15) Seats – (Social Democrats)
Grüne 5,2% – 5 (-4) Seats – (The Greens)
FDP 4,9% – 12 (+5) Seats – (The Liberal Party)
Die Linke 16,3% – 17 (-12) Seats – (The Leftwing Party)

These results follow strong showing for Alternative For Germany in other local elections. However, these results really are spectacular. Almost a quarter of the vote in Sachsen-Anhalt and beating SPD in 2 out of 3 elections. The leader of AfD Frauke Petry will be celebrating tonight. Angela Merkel will not. This is a strong thumbs down from German voters to an open-door policy on immigration, a rejection of enthusiastic German support for a federal development of the EU and to some extent a negative vote of confidence on Angela Merkel herself.

Alternative Für Deutschland Election Party

Alternative Für Deutschland By Ralf Roletschek

Alternative For Germany in Power?

Are we gonna see Alternative For Germany in power? No! All other parties have sworn not form coalitions with AfD. At least for now. However, AfD have gotten themselves a strong wave of momentum and a powerful political platform ahead of the 2017 general elections in Germany. There is no doubt AfD are looking at an electoral breakthrough on the national stage next year too. They narrowly missed the 5% barrier at the previous elections in 2013 but are already polling consistently above 10% for the next general election.

Policy wise. What does the introduction of a far right political party in Germany mean? It probably has Angela Merkel considering a swing to the right. Her governing party CDU is bleeding voters to Alternative For Germany. She can try countering by arguments. Or she can try countering by approaching AfDs policy positions. As such, do not be surprised if Angela Merkel strikes a slightly less immigrant friendly tone in the coming month.

Do not be shocked if the chancellor chooses less enthusiastic messaging about the EU. Is it going to be enough to stop AfD? Judging from other European elections the clear answer is no. Alternative For Germany are very likely to get a thunderous victory in the 2017 elections in Germany, but are equally likely to be sidetracked by the traditional political parties in terms of influence. Nobody wants to touch Frauke Petry with an iron barge. But they will be scrambling to stem her tide. Even if it means copying significant parts of her rhetoric and policy.

Frauke Petry - AfD Win Elections in Germany

Frauke Petry By blu-news.org

Elections in Germany – Far Right AfD Won Big

The elections in Germany were a milestone. Not since the fall of the third reich has any far right party won any significant portion of the vote in Germany. Last night far right AfD won big.

Almost a quarter of the vote in Sachsen. Momentum. Plenty of media focus. By all accounts Alternative Für Deutschland is a new power to be reckoned with in German politics. And the “we will not work with them” tactic has been tried. And failed. In Sweden the Swedish Democrats of a similar nature as AfD have been kept from influence and kept growing as a result. In Denmark The Danish Peoples Party were labelled “not house-trained” and kept from power. Until the dam burst and they became perhaps the most influential party in the country.

What is the German political establishment going to do ? For now. They too will attempt the “unclean” labeling of AfD and hope they go away. In the 2017 elections they are likely to find out just how disastrous that tactic can be.

Alternative For Germany - AfD Election Party

Alternative For Germany By Ralf Roletschek

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The Hillary Clinton Campaign – Strange Self-Belittling

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders met in a CNN debate following the Michigan surprise win for the latter. And prior to the important March 15 round of primaries. The debate had a special focus on Hispanic issues with parts of the debate being in Spanish. That is all interesting but the debate gave a peculiar insight in the Hillary Clinton Campaign and what we might term a strange self-belittling by the former secretary of state.

The debate started in a friendly tone. Bait was thrown to Bernie Sanders to go on the attack on the issue of the private email server setup by Hillary Clinton. Sanders presidentially stayed above the fray. Basically saying: We have big problems in this country, here is a list of them, shut up about irrelevant mudslinging topics. It worked well. It looked good. It looked presidential.

What did Hillary Clinton do ?

She started taking more cheap shots. Her weakest moment in the previous debate was to claim Sanders was against helping automotive workers in Michigan. On this evening in Florida she did it again. Repeatedly. Claiming Bernie Sanders was not standing on the side of immigrants. Claiming Bernie Sanders supported vigilante minute men. Yet again claiming he does not stand with automotive workers. And several more.

Why should Hillary Clinton stay away from such attacks? Well for starters, not a single uncommitted person could possibly believe them. They sound like cheap shots, they sound like nasty little chirps taken out of context, they sound like traditional politicians drama with no substance. The only effect of attacking Bernie Sanders from the left is to make herself look like a petty politician, a cheap shot artist and less trustworthy. Exactly what she does not need. And entirely unnecessary.

Hillary Clinton Campaigning for President 2016

Hillary Clinton Campaigning for President 2016 By Phil Roeder

A Better Political Message For Hillary Clinton ?

Hillary Clinton is winning. Big. Bernie Sanders is way behind and his only chance at this point is to use a fairly sizable minority of delegates to influence the policy at the convention. He can not win. It is pure delegate math. Whoever advised Hillary Clinton to panic about Michigan and react by attacking Bernie Sanders with cheap shots need demoting to coffee-fetcher in the campaign.

She could have played it grand and smart.

When Bernie Sanders yells free college tuition. Hillary answers: “I will fight for everyone getting a good education. Bernies promises might be a bit lofty and difficult to keep, but we agree about the goal“.

When Bernie Sanders yells lets be nicer to illegal immigrants. Hillary stays far away from attacking him and answers: “America was made great by the immigrants we all have as forefathers. I stand with everyone who wants to work in and for America. This is why I have a plan to stop deportations and give every hardworking and lawful immigrant a path to citizenship. 

Instead of making silly claims about Sanders supporting vigilante minute-men chasing immigrants at the border with Mexico Hillary says: When Donald Trump and Ted Cruz tries to play to peoples fears. When they use racism and prejudices to create a divided America. When Republicans want to round up people and send them away in cattle-trains. I can only say Stop. Do not believe the fear mongers. In a storm some candidates want to build walls, others want to build windmills. My windmill is a path to citizenship, humane and respectful treatment of all regardless of ancestry, legal jobs for immigrants and a safe future for everyone in America“.

When Bernie yells release the speech transcripts Hillary pulls them out of her handbag and replies: Yes, here they are. I believe in transparency. The republicans do not. Donald Trump still havent shown us his tax returns. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump still have not shown us the transcripts of their private speeches. And do you remember what happened the last time a Republican candidate had his private speeches exposed? Mitt Romney was exposed pouring scorn on 47% of Americans. I suspect Donald Trumps private speeches will show him having nothing but scorn for anyone but the top 1% of Americans who plays golf at his billionaire clubs.

Hillary Clinton has every chance of changing to a better political message painting her as a trustworthy and solid choice for president. Attacking Bernie Sanders with irrelevant cheap shots does exactly the opposite.

Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign

Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign By Jake Bucci

The Hillary Clinton Campaign

The Hillary Clinton campaign has a problem. But it is not called Bernie Sanders. As discussed before Hillary Clinton really needs Bernie Sanders to stay in the race to keep the Democratic race in focus, to have someone to debate, to have someone harmless to ping pong political issues with. Taking cheap shots at a harmless opponent belittles nobody but Hillary herself.

Instead. Tailor messages that embraces Bernie Sanders. Agree with most of his goals (as in fact she does). But stay presidential. Stay above the fray. Gently point out that his methods of achieving the political goals might not be realistic, but that the goals are valid and worth fighting for none the less. She could even offer him a place in the government in a new “End Poverty in America” capacity or similar.

So. Hillary. You can not help winning the nomination. But if you want to win in November stop running on petty cheap shots. Rise up. And start drawing the contrast to Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican field. Now is the perfect time to do it as Hillary Clintons position as nominee is safe, whereas the republicans still have months of internal fighting to come.

The Hillary Clinton strategy should not be about winning an exchange with Bernie Sanders that will be forgotten in seconds. Or worse. Strengthen a picture of her as untrustworthy and petty. Instead. Play the slightly longer political campaign game, slightly more dignified messaging. And improve those critical perceptions in the process.

Hillary Clinton Campaign 2016

Hillary Clinton Campaign 2016 By Hillary for Iowa

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Rubio … And The Damage Done. Isn’t that an awkward distortion of a Neil Young quote? Yes, it is. The needle and the damage done applies to senator Marco Rubio these days. Is Marco Rubio Dropping Out then ? Well no. Not just yet. Maybe.

Marco Rubio has struggled to gain traction in the polls and the voting booths for quite a while. In fact, he has never really capitalized on the narrowing of the republican field at all. The junior senator from Florida looks like the perfect candidate for the GOP. He is young (in political terms). He is good-looking. He is well spoken. He is of Latino ancestry. He holds office in a swing state. He is fairly mainstream (in Republican terms).

In other words Marco Rubio should be the perfect establishment backed frontrunner. Right now should be time when he was wrapping up his nomination with only a show-piece of a race left to excite the media against an ultra-conservative evangelical of the Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum or Ted Cruz left. Instead. Marco Rubio has lost 18 out of 20 states so far. Usually not even making it to second place.

Maro Rubio Dropping Out ? GOP Race Florida

Maro Rubio Dropping Out ? By Gage Skidmore

Rubios Newscycle From Hell

This week some good news was finally heading Marco Rubios way. The polls were narrowing in Florida with the local senator closing in on frontrunner Donald Trumps lead. Marco Rubio further grabbed a resounding victory in Puerto Rico with almost 75% of the vote and all 23 delegates in the back. Obviously Puerto Rico is no essential part of any reasonable path to the nomination. But a win is a win. And most campaigns would expect a good few positive newscycles from an almost 60 point win anywhere.

Not Rubio. He had his worst news yet.

First. A leading Florida newspaper announced they wouldnt endorse any GOP candidate. Trump doesnt have the temperament to be president. Kasich simply can not win. Cruz is too scary. And the local boy Marco Rubio? He does not have the work ethics to be president. Wow. Where did that come from? The work ethics. In other words Rubio is too lazy. He wouldnt get things done. Exactly as the Attack Ad Donald Trump is currently running in Florida says: Marco Rubio is lazy, his senate record is worst among all senators.

In fact. Being absent from senate votes often could by all accounts be a sign of excellent work ethics. If Marco Rubio turns up mainly for crucial tight votes and spends the rest of his time investigating problems, talking to voters and constituents, drawing up grand proposals and negotiating across the isle to find common ground – well then he is doing wonderfully well. Is he actually doing that? We have no idea! And neither do the Florida voters. All they know now with a fair amount of certainty is that the young charlatan Marco Rubio rarely turns up for work. Was that a coordinated attack? Not likely. More likely one picked it up from the other. But the effect is strong and damaging.

Is Marco Rubio dropping out then from the Republic race for presidential nominee ? He says no. But that is problem in itself! The state of the Republican race is volatile. And Marco Rubio is the most likely next victim of a rough American campaign season. He lacks tracktion. And the news is terrible!

Marco Rubio Dropping Out ? Florida Primary GOP

Marco Rubio Dropping Out ? Florida Primary GOP By Gage Skidmore

Marco Rubio Dropping Out ?

Speaking of damage. Here comes the needle. The needle that might poke a finale hole in the balloon that is the Marco Rubio campaign. Suddenly CNN fired up a banner live on air:

BREAKING NEWS: Marco Rubio Considers Dropping Out Of The Race for Republican Nominee

The story was backed by anonymous sources suggesting the Florida senator might drop out prior to voting in his home state of Floria for the sake of his political future. The Marco Rubio immediately went on air to dismiss any thoughts of dropping out. But the damage was done. The entire news narrative since that moment has been about whether or not Rubio should drop out, what the effect might be for the other candidates, when he might do it and so forth.

As the former leader of the Socialdemocratic Party in Denmark said after being dramatically ousted by his second in command Poul Nyrup Rasmussen: Never Threaten To Leave, Threaten To Stay.

The wisdom buried inthere is that the second people think you might leave, you become irrelevant. Nobody needs to worry about the guy who is about to leave. Nobody wants to spend time campaigning, donating to or voting for the quitter who is about to run away.

So what happened? Marco Rubio had a media-narrative knife jammed thoroughly in his back. Who did it? All arrows would point at Ted Cruz. The senator wants and needs Rubio out. Cruz has been caught in similar and rather dirty campaign tactics previously. And he has the most to gain. However. It could also simply be someone disgruntled within the Rubio campaign itself. The problem is it does not matter if the story is pure fantasy, the needle and the damage done. Once people speculate about your leaving. You might as well leave.

Is Marco Rubio dropping out then? Well yes. I think he is now. But probably not until the night of his defeat in Florida.

Republican Primary Final Four 2016 Caricature

By DonkeyHotey (Republican Primary Final Four 2016 – Caricatures)

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Elections in Iran – Reforms Ahead ?

Elections in Iran were held in February 2016. Does it spell reforms ahead for Iran politics? The Iranian voters seemed to vote for change, but is that actually the case? Let us examine the Iranian election results. The political system of Iran. The possible changes. First. The political system in Iran is quite different from most Western democracies. On the national stage Iran elects a head of the Iranian state and head of government (the president), a legislative assembly called the Majlis, and a so called Assembly of Experts (mujtahids) which is tasked with electing the Supreme Leader.
The Iranians held a parliamentary election.

Political System in Iran

On february 26th 2016 Iran held elections for the legislature and the assembly of experts. The elections for both chambers of government were muddy to say the very least. The assembly of experts are elected as individuals with endorsements from different factions of political life in Iran. Several candidates had endorsements from both the reformist and traditionalist side, making the actual tally of mujtahids almost impossible to do until it is seen in practice.

Further it is worth noting that there are rules for running as a candidate for all offices in Iran making it hard to determine the outcome further. First of all, there is a right to veto the running of candidates. The veto is held by a council of guardians consisting of 6 theological or religious leaders appointed directly by the supreme leader of Iran. Thus, the traditionalists have a sort of handbrake function on any reform movements as they can simply veto the running of any candidates they consider dangerous.

It is also worth noting that only practitioners of Islam can run (with some exceptions for those running as minority religion representatives). You need to hold a masters degree and be 30 years old. But further you can not be a supporter of the Shah, who ruled Iran till 1979. Furthermore you can not have a poor reputation, which largely equates the “unworthy” clause in Western democracies that parliaments can deem people based on criminal convictions in the past.

Iranian Election Results 2016

As noted above it is simply impossible to judge the elections for the experts assembly given the individual candidates running based on varying endorsements from various camps in Iranian politics. The results below show who won based on who endorsed them:

Support (Seats)   Percentage
Reformist/Principalist support (35)
39.77%
Principalists support only (27)
30.68%
Reformists support only (20)
22.72%
Independents (6)
6.81%
Distribution of seats by political camp support

At the face of it there is a small majority of principalist / traditionalist supported candidates, but several of those had reformist support as well. Thus muddying the picture, but no great wave of reforms can be expected from the assembly of experts in Iran.

For the legislative chamber of Iran the picture is slightly more telling. Basically the parliament is hung with no major party commanding a majority. However, a clear movement can be noted towards the reformist movement with the Pervasive Coalition of Reformists in Iran becoming the biggest party in the Majlis. The second party is the coalition of traditionalists called the Principalists Coalition. However, to form a majority support from the sizable group of independents is necessary for any party.

A direct comparison to previous elections is not possible as the coalitions consist of an ever changing make up of smaller parties in varying lineups. But the trend is clear. More reformist candidates have been elected in Iran. Particularly in the capital Teheran it seems that the reformists have momentum with very strong election results at the 2016 polls.

کرسی‌های مجلس دهم بر پایهٔ گرایش سیاسی.png
Alliance MPs
Logo Name Of total
2ndstep.png
Pervasive Coalition of Reformists 83 28.62%

83 / 290

Principlists Coalition logo.png
Principalists Coalition 64 22.06%

64 / 290

People's Voice 2016 logo.png
People’s Voice Coalition 10 3.44%

10 / 290

Independents
55 18.96%

55 / 290

Religious Minority
5 1.72%

5 / 290

2016 Iranian election poster - Elections in Iran

Elections in Iran 2016

Political Parties in Iran

Iran has 3 major parties running for seats. The parties are not divided by the usual ideological lines seen in Western democracies. Rather, they are ranked by their attitude towards reforms, religion and traditionalism.

Pervasive Coalition of Reformists
The big winner of the election were the reformists of the Pervasive Coalition. The reformist movement of Iran running under the Pervasive Coalition banner supports more freedom and democracy. The current Iranian political system is rather limited in terms of who can run, how they can campaign and what positions they are allowed to take. The pervasive reformists desire to open up the system to a more open and western styled democracy.

Mohammad Reza Aref - Pervasive Coalition Iran

Mohammad Reza Aref – Pervasive Coalition Iran

Principlists Coalition
The principalist coalition running for elections in Iran is a combined list of several traditionalist and islamist parties Combatant Clergy Association and Islamic Coalition Party, the ‘Transformationalist’Society of Devotees and Pathseekers of the Islamic Revolution and the radical Front of Islamic Revolution Stability.

The traditionalist parties and coalitions have generally been dominant in Iranian elections and within the political system.

2016 Iranian election poster - Principalist Coalition Iran

By Hossein Zohrevand

People’s Voice Coalition
The peoples voice coalition is somewhere in between the two dominant parties on the reformist vs traditionalist scale in Iranian politics. They started out as a protest party for the 2012 elections but have placed themselves in the middle. They could be the swing party in hung parliament situations and are thought to lean slightly to the conservative traditionalist side.

2016 Iranian election poster

2016 Iranian election poster

Elections in Iran – Reforms Ahead ?

International media have hailed the results of the elections in Iran as a sign of a more reformist line ahead. A more western-friendly style of government. More freedom and democracy. But is that actually the case?

Basically, it is more than hard to say for sure. First of all the reformist candidates are vetted by traditionalists with a veto before even running. Secondly, the powerful unelected guardian council and assembly of experts are both seemingly held firmly by traditionalists.

It is clear though that a signal was sent by Iranian voters. They voted heavily for candidates touting reformist credentials. More reformists were elected, more women were elected in Iran and especially in Teheran the signs were clear that new winds are blowing over the political system in Iran.

It would be very premature to expect actual change of the system in Iran though. There are simply too many barriers. Too much control with the system from above. Too little real wriggle room for reforms. It is likely that some reforms will be made. Pleasing voters is always wise afterall. But is it gonna be substantive? Likely not!

Elections in Iran were did spell change. But mostly as a signal. Voters in Iran said yes to reform. A bit in rural areas. Massively so in Teheran. But the system itself is conservative. Change is possible. But by tiny steps. However, conservatives themselves might initiate some reforms to accommodate the voice of the voters.

Elections in Iran 2016 - Female Voters

Elections in Iran 2016 – Female Voters – By Hamed Malekpour

 

 

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Cow Poo Gate – Crisis In Denmark

In one of the more bizarre pieces of political news it seems the Danish government might fall. Over an argument about cow poo! Specifically the minister of farming Eva Kjer has been caught out by state media in Denmark putting forward proposals from special interest lobbyists in the farming sector in relation to the spread of cow poo and cutting of weeds in streams.

One would think this was a rather minor case of a minister being a bit too friendly with the lobbyists within her area of authority. However. The case have seemingly exploded into a proper cow poo gate that might end in the fall of the primeminister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and his minority government. The current government is supported by the far-right Danish Peoples Party, the Liberal Alliance and the Conservatives. In this case it is the conservatives causing trouble for the government. The conservatives demand the departure of the minister of farming Eva Kjer, despite supporting the proposals she has put forward, as they feel she has mislead them in relation to how much cow poo can be spread on fields in the coming 3 years.

Eva Kjer Hansen - Minister of Farming Denmark

By Mogens Engelund

So, is the Danish government going to fall in cow poo gate ? The most likely answer is still no! The primeministers party is looking at losing power to the leftwing led by the Socialdemocrats if he call an election. Further, the previous election was held only a few months ago and it will be a severely difficult task to explain to Danish voters that cow poo is important enough to bother them again already.

We will keep you posted on the bizarre happenings in the land of Hamlet, HC Andersen and the minister of poo.

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Unstoppable Trump ?

The results from the Nevada republican caucus are in and Donald Trump took it in a landslide.

Currently the count is:
Donald Trump 45%
Marco Rubio 24%
Ted Cruz 21%1,
Ben Carson 6%
John Kasich 4%

These are the numbers with only 14% counted but victory has long since been declared for Donald Trump. Ted Cruz yet again has declared himself victorious after a rather disappointing display. His argument is that Marco Rubio still hasnt had a win and should have done so in his Nevada firewall. This, however, is getting old. The argument is stretched too thin. Third place again without victory anywhere but Texas in sight. Basically Ted Cruz looks finished.

Can Donald Trump be Stopped?

Yes! Donald Trump can be stopped. He still might have a ceiling too low to win a one on one contest against an establishment candidate. He might still finally do something that outrages his supporters sufficiently to make them look elsewhere. Some external event still might switch the focus, priorities and ultimate choice of candidate.

But. We are approaching Miguel Indurains black cat territory. The legendary Spanish Tour De France winner always argued that victory could be snatched from him at every turn of the road by a crossing black cat. However, the black cat never came. Indurain kept winning. And by all accounts so will Trump.

It is fully possible that Ted Cruz will carry the Texas primary. He should. It is his home state and base for his entire operation. It is equally possible that an upset happens here or there. But overall, everything points to Donald Trump having a cruising time past super tuesday. He is building a commanding lead in delegates. He is polling impressively across the board in upcoming primaries. He keeps ruling the media cycles. He seems unstoppable!

donald-trump-rally

Rubio or Cruz ?

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are still battling to be the alternative to Donald Trump. But, as we debated in the past they are more or less already too late to settle that score – Rubio and Cruz should have united prior to letting Donald Trump run away with the momentum, delegates, attention and winning narrative!

But still. Ted Cruz is not gonna bow down to Marco Rubio, though Cruz has the hardest path to victory. Instead, he is spoiling for a fight. Marco Rubio isnt going anywhere either. He is consolidating establishment support, donors and endorsements. But. Neither of these two look like they have anything up their sleeves which might rattle the Donald. Even if Kasich and Carson drop out they are unlikely to pick up enough steam to be competitive.

Super tuesday might well be the end of the line for anyone hoping to stop Donald Trump!

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Brexit coming ? A referendum is coming up in the UK on the future membership of the EU. As described the other day primeminister David Cameron returned to a public shaming after he failed to secure special terms for Britain at negotiations in Bruxelles. However, it was equally assumed that the meager results could be sold as some kind of victory and thus used as the basis for a STAY campaign.

The STAY campaign was predicted a certain winner. Due to unlimited funds, media support, establishment support etc. But already now I have to flip flop. The STAY victory suddenly got a lot more shaky and uncertain as mayor of London Boris Johnson announced his intention to campaign for a LEAVE vote. With Boris Johnson fighting as a prominent figure in the Brexit ranks the result is simply unpredictable.

Boris Johnson Brexit

By johnhemming

The Boris Johnson Difference

The LEAVE campaign was mired by squabbles and division. Charismatic but divisive figure Nigel Farage seemed to be the natural but to many mainstream voters unacceptable natural leader of the movement. And Farage certainly has the power to pull in his special segment of voters, but as seen in the general elections he stirs up as much animosity as he does praise. As such, he was always a bad choice to lead a campaign that needs to win a national majority.

Several Tories were obviously pro Brexit too all along. A few businessmen as well. But Boris Johnson is a potential game changer in the race. Not only is Boris Johnson the most prominent name that could possibly join the brexit campaign, being the favorite next leader of the Conservative party. He is a legitimizing face. He makes it ok for even high ranking tories, business people and voters to side openly with the LEAVE side.

Plenty of voters and second tier politicians would not want be identified with a movement led by Nigel Farage or a similarly divisive face. Boris Johnson on the other hand is liked across the political spectrum. The legendary Boris Johnson buffoonerey, being locked out by his wife after cheating on her – live on tv – and having to walk off down the street from his house, for instance. It sounds silly. But it makes him a sort of likeable harmless household name and even leftwingers will go “Oh I dislike the Tories, but this is Boris

Boris is a game changer! Is it enough to win for the LEAVE campaign ? I still doubt it. But the odds have certainly changed from 80-20 for the STAY vote to something much tighter!

 

Boris Johnson Satire - Mayor of London

By Dominique

Brexit Coming ?

Still. A brexit is not likely. The LEAVE campaign is up against formiddable forces. But with the entry of Boris Johnson defeat is no longer a given. And of course. Boris Johnson just made himself an even likelier next Tory leader. In or Out? Give your opinion!

Obviously. David Cameron could have done without another humiliation this week. After the fiasco in Bruxelles he must have hoped for a united conservative party at least backing him. Instead. He lost 6 cabinet members. And the next leader to be: Boris Johnson !

Brexit is closer today. But it is still a long shot. The odds may have changed. But the STAY vote is heavily favored. But if Boris Johnson puts his future career on the line for leaving, it might just happen. Exciting months to come.

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