Electomatic Political News

Gossiping The Elections, The Policians & The Electorates

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.

Trumps 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 Tillerson, 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.

The One China Policy

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.

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.

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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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Swedish Politics and The Refugee Crisis

Sweden is known as one of the most stable and uneventful democracies in the western world. For decades the country has maintained a Scandinavian welfare state model based on high taxes and low income inequality. The center-left Social democrats have been the giant in Swedish politics for as long as anyone care to remember, however only minor adjustments have been made politically doing intermittent periods when the center-right Moderates have managed to take power in the cold northern European country stretching up beyond the arctic circle.

Neighboring countries refer to Sweden as the definition of politically correct, as the land of the forbidden and similar. It all boils down to a political system in which everyone has had a basic consensus about priorities, agendas and economic policies.

Swedish Democrats Activists - Swedish Politics

Swedish Democrats Activists By Frankie Fouganthin

Swedish Corrosion of Consensus

New winds are blowing over Sweden and the political system however. An ever increasing pressure on the borders from refugees during the last few years have seemingly corroded the long lasting consensus about the fundamentals.

The Social Democrats won the latest general election on September 14. At least on paper. New party leader Stefan Löfven was elected prime minister after receiving support from 31% of the voters for his party. The Social Democratic government is further backed by normal alliance partners the Miljöpartiet (The Green Party, an environmentalist left leaning party), further left wing democratic socialists of Vänsterpartiet (the Left Party) and the Feminist Party (yes, they have a feminist party in Sweden), though the latter failed to gain any seats in parliament.

This time around however the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Left Party failed to gain a majority in parliament. Normally that would spell a period of ministerial seats for the center-right alliance consisting of the centrist conservative party Moderaterne (the Moderates) led by former primeminister Fredrik Löfkvist at the time, the conservative Christian Democratic Party, the agrarian liberal Center Party and the classic economic liberals of The Liberal Party.

Not this time! The center-right coalition chose to hand the prime minister-ship to the Social Democrats in return for collaboration, some would say control over, on economic matters. An unprecedented abstention from power. What led to it? The Swedish Democrats!

Welfare or Mass Immigration - Swedish Democrats

Welfare or Mass Immigration – Swedish Democrats By Patrik Nylin

Electoral Breakthrough of The Swedish Democrats

The Swedish Democrats would likely have backed a center-right government given the alternatives. But the center right parties preferred being in opposition when faced with that or Swedish Democrat influence on their policies. Why? Because the Swedish Democrats is part of the so-called dirty right or far right wave that has been sweeping Europe in recent years.

The policy of Swedish Democrats is classic far-right populism. They demand a complete stop to acceptance of asylum seekers first and foremost. According to the Swedish Democrats special rights for minorities such as the Sami people must be revoked. Legal penalties must be significantly heightened to include the possibility of life without parole. Anti-EU sentiments are integral to the nationalist tone of the Swedish Democrats who among other things reject the EURO, oppose Turkish membership of the EU and demand renegotiations of Swedish membership.

On top of the normal far-right anti-immigration, nationalistic, anti-EU and tough on crime stances the Swedish Democrats have several locally tailored political messages as well such as lower taxes for Swedish elderlies, allowing hunters to shoot wolves and much more besides.

In the general scheme of things the Swedish Democrats are thus a far-right party along the lines of French Front National, German Alternative For Germany, the Danish Peoples Party, the Austrian Freedom Party, the True Finns and many more besides.

Jimmie Åkesson leader of the Swedish Democrats By Per Pettersson from Stockholm

Jimmie Åkesson leader of the Swedish Democrats By Per Pettersson from Stockholm

Significance of The Swedish Democrats

There are far-right parties on the fringe all over Europe. What is the significance of the Swedish Democrats ?

First and foremost they are an abrupt and complete break with the normal running of things politically in Sweden. The debate is usually incredibly civil, politically correct and cautious. Not so with boisterous Swedish Democrats. They yell what few others even dared to think until recently. Secondly the political topics thrown on the table by SD signify a break with all consensus policies on immigration, asylum seekers, EU and much more besides.

This is something entirely unseen hitherto in Swedish politics. Few political leaders seemingly have a clue how to deal with it or respond to it either. So far the establishments on both sides of the aisle have tried to simply silencing the unwanted voice by attempting to exclude them from debates, not joining in discussions raised by SD and keeping them from power by the two usually competing sides joining to keep them from influence.

The Swedish Democrats became the third largest party with 12,9% of the vote. In itself a fairly limited success one would think. However it gave them the swing seats between the two traditional blocks in Swedish politics. Thus creating a necessity for unity across the aisle to keep them from power.

Swedish Politics - Election Debate

Swedish Politics – Election Debate By Frankie Fou

Preserving Status Quo in Swedish Politics ?

The efforts to preserve a status quo by all establishment parties has so far proved a boomerang.  Prime minister Stefan Löfven has labelled the Swedish Democrats neo-fascist. All parties have refused to debate them, enter into any deals or coalitions with them locally or in the national parliament. In short: They have been sidelined completely.

The effect? They have been handed the gift being able to portray themselves as victims of political oppression. As the ultimate anti-establishment party daring to voice the truth covered over by the mainstream parties.

The voters reactions? They are flocking to the Swedish Democrats like never before. Polling is often showing the Swedish Democrats as the largest party in Sweden come the next election with an opinion polling peak of staggering 28.8%. The average of polls have them closer to 20-22% making them a likely second party in Sweden, but it still raises serious questions.

Can a party with perhaps a quarter of the vote be kept away from influence continuously ? If they were, would they simply keep growing ? Are the established political parties particularly from the center-right block gonna start making overtures to the far-right Swedish Democrats in order to regain power themselves ? Or are they instead gonna attempt stemming the tide by moving their own policy positions closer to those of SD ?

Time will tell. For now. Nobody seems to have a viable strategy for stopping the wave of far-right populism from the Swedish Democrats. Most even seem scared to try. Swedish politics have been upended by the refugee crisis. It remains to be seen how much political capital the Swedish Democrats will muster on the coattails of the crisis. For now. They have upper hand. The momentum.

No To Racism - Newspaper Headline i Swedish Election Campaign

No To Racism – Newspaper Headline i Swedish Election Campaign By Frankie Fouganthin

UPDATE: Latest Swedish Opinion Polls

The latest opinion polling data in Sweden. It paints the picture described above. Sverige Demokraterne peaks at 28.8% but are generally in the low 20s. Neither side look like they have any chance of forming a working majority government without the Swedish Democrats

Latest Swedish Opinion Polls

Latest Swedish Opinion Polls

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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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  • You are welcome to submit any type of political satire, meme or cartoon. But obviously we can not guarantee to feature your submission unless it is sourced.
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Dirty Campaign Techniques

Dirty campaign techniques. We hear a lot about them during these busy political campaign seasons. Candidates for public office routinely accuse each other of going negative or employing underhanded dirty tricks. But what is the truth of it all? We have compiled a little guide to the dark realm of negative campaigning, dirty political tricks and non-written rule breaking tactics.

Negative Political Advertising

It differs from country to country if political TV-advertising is allowed. Especially in Europe campaigns are often limited to radio adverts and ads in traditional newspapers, on the internet and in magazines. Such restrictions seemingly put a dampener on negative advertising but far from eliminates it.

In countries such as USA TV-advertising is integral to political campaigning on all levels and negative campaign ads take up a rather significant portion of that those media purchases. A negative TV-advert is simply a commercial spot spreading a negative message against a competing political candidate or party. Negative ads are often used to point attention to negative aspects of competing candidates records, personality or policy standpoints.

If say a Republican candidate has made negative comments about Latinos in the past, a competing candidate might decide to purchase TV-advertising in heavily Latino areas of Florida to drive up negative opinions about that candidate in the area. The idea of negative political advertising is basically to scare away voters from a candidates, drive up negative opinions about him and thus hopefully for those doing it opening up for their candidate grabbing the support later on.

Does negative political advertising work? Yes. Obviously. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent during a presidential campaign season in USA for instance on negative ads. They would not be if they did not work. They do not work universally though. First of all they often drive up the negatives of the recipient of negative ads as well as of the sender. But it also depends on the targeting, message and timing of the adverts how efficient they are.

As with other types of negative advertising it works best if it plays to a quality already known or suspected. The classic example being Joseph Goebbels painting jews as greedy outsiders leeching on society. True or not. It was a picture that resonated because it already existed. Goebbels then played to it, exaggerated it and put it to the front of peoples minds by flooding the airwaves with adverts on the topic.

A negative advert claiming something that people intuitively disagree with or fail to recognize is much more likely to backfire or go without effect. As an example a negative advert aimed at Donald Trump claiming he was a poor business man would likely fail, as he is already known as an excellent business man and has the wealth to prove it. On the other hand a negative advert showing an irate Donald Trump hitting the nuclear buttons in furious uncontrolled anger would perhaps be more likely to resonate as he is already known to have an explosive and unpredictable temper.

Goebbels - Negative Campaigning Against Jews

Goebbels – Negative Campaigning Against Jews

Negative Robocalls

Robocalls are automated phone calls. They call pre-programmed voters, deliver a pre-recorded message and hang up. Robocalls in themselves might be annoying for those receiving them. But they are not negative. That depends on the content of the call. A robocall can be simply a message or involve the voter replying by pressing options with his phone keyboard.

A usage of robocalls for negative campaigning is false-flag calls. Say phoning up. Pretending to be doing a poll. Then asking leading questions or planting a rumor with the voter. A classic example were the robocalls engineered by legendary negative campaigner Karl Rowe. They pretended to be polling. Then asking: Would it change your likelihood of voting for John McCain if you were told he had an illegitimate black child ? Thus a negative idea was planted without actually accusing anyone of anything.

George W. Bush and Karl Rove king of dirty campaign techniques

Karl Rove king of dirty campaign techniques

Negative Defining of an Opponent

You may hear pundits debating how certain statements are meant to define an opponent. This is a long game tactic that pulls on all the other methods to get the job done. And defining will be done positively by the candidate himself and potentially in negative ways by his opponents.

Defining an opponent can be defined as putting into your head the associations you get when the candidate is mentioned. Defining is hard to put exact fingers on. But incredibly important.

If a candidate is successfully defined by negative associations it can be almost impossible to break that barrier later on. Take for instance John Kerry. He was slow to respond to defining efforts by, yes him again, Karl Roves campaign team for George W. Bush. And never fully recovered. He was slowly and carefully painted as a flip flopper. He was shown as untrustworthy on his war-hero records. He was defined as wooden. All of it started long before the cameras turned to focus on the actual race. It was clever. It was vicious. And it was effective.

Defining an opponent is obviously easier if the voters do not already have firm opinions about him. This is why efforts to re-paint Donald Trump for instance will be much more difficult than say painting a fresh negative picture of lesser known figures such as Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. People already know Trump. If you ask them to define Trump they have words ready. Much less so for the other candidates.

John Kerry Victim of Dirty Campaign Tricks

John Kerry Victim of Dirty Campaign Tricks ?

Spreading False Information

One of the oldest tricks in the book is to simply spread false information. Again, it can be done in negative ads, as part of defining and so forth. And yet again too, false information is only as effective as its spread and how believable it is.

When Hillary Clinton claimed Bernie Sanders had a record of being against automotive workers it backfired. Why? Because it wasnt believable. Like him or not. Nobody could believe Bernie Sanders wouldn’t stand with those losing their jobs. Had she claimed he was secretly a communist with contacts to the USSR during the cold war it would probably be just as false, but we would be much more likely to be believed. Why? Because we have heard Sanders mentioned as a communist, we do not know him that well, but he is far left. It rings plausible.

Personal Attacks On Opponents

If you can´t catch the man, go for the ball. Or, attacking your opponent. Not for his policy positions. But for his personality, personal life or circumstances.

Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya. Really? No! He is none of those things. But what would it actually matter if he was? If he was able to do what he promised, fix the problems and become a good president wouldn’t it matter more if we agreed with him or not? Not necessarily! If we get the idea that a candidate has unpleasant or unfortunate personal traits we are generally less likely to look the other way than if we simply disagree with him on an issue or two. We can basically forgive his political positions but not bad personal traits.

As dirty campaign techniques go personal attacks are among the most common. When Donald Trump attacks Jeb Bush for being low energy instead of say being wrong in his foreign policy positions, its a personal attack. When Karl Rove insinuated John McCain had an illegitimate kid it had nothing to do with his policies.

One of the most important factors when we vote: Who would we rather drink a beer with! When asked, none of us choose based on that. When we actually vote it plays a significant role. We want the guy we can relate to, the good guy! That is why attributing negative traits to opponents work. But as with other negative campaigning it can backfire badly. For the same reasons. Attack someone seemingly unfairly. Come across as a bully. Be seen as playing dirty politics. It can all come crashing down on the sender.

Negative Internet Campaigns

In the age of the internet we have of course seen negative campaigns spread onto the new medium too. And everyone has joined in. Dirty campaign tricks are no longer exclusively reserved for plotting at candidate headquarters. Everyone can launch a negative video and attempt to make it go viral. Everyone can define negative tags on twitter and attempt to make them trend. Everyone can make political memes and spread them on facebook.

The internet can be used for all the other methods. But many more people can take part. A campaign can spread nasty rumors, false information or defining “facts” from seemingly anonymous accounts and have thousands of supporters doing the grunt work of spreading it all.

Check our Political Meme Tracker for more examples.

better-together-campaign-meme2

Dirty Campaign Techniques

Dirty campaign techniques. They are integral to political campaigns. Like it or not. The above walk through is far from comprehensive. We could mention plenty more. But the basic idea always is to define opponents negatively. Thus weakening their support.

A full article could be done on scaremongering political tactics. Maybe we should. But for dirty campaign tricks you will most likely have plenty of fodder for the cannons in the Presidential Campaign in the USA and the referendum run up for the Brexit vote in the UK.

We have taken baby steps to making a Negative Campaign Monitor. You are very welcome to help expand it.

donald-trump-graffiti - dirty campaign methods

Donald Trump Graffiti – Dirty Campaign Methods

 

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Is Donald Trump a Fascist ? A short little article today inspired by several people writing in with statements like “Look at the fighting at the Trump rally tonight, he is clearly a fascist“, “What Trump says about muslims is no better than what Hitler said about jews” and so forth.

However. Let us stop for a second. Fascist is such a buzzword these days. It is largely applied to anything we do not like or agree with. Does it apply to Donald Trump?

Donald Trump rally

Donald Trump rally By Marc Nozell

Fighting At Donald Trump Rally

First. Tonights rally saw thousands of Donald Trump supporters getting into skirmishes with at least hundreds of protesters inside the venue. All of it live on all the network news channels. For a while things were out of control, it seemed like punches were thrown. The protesters were shouting “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie” whilst the Trump supporters replied with chants of “USA, USA, USA

All such polarized events are cancerous tumors on the democratic process. Obviously. But they do not equate fascism. They indicate high tension, high polarization and perhaps a rhetoric gone too confrontational. It is entirely true that it is classic nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels gospel that skirmishes at political events are to be encouraged as they draw media attention, enthusiasm from supporters and nits the core of followers together. However. It is a tactic seen on all flanks of politics since the beginning of times. It says nothing about the ideology in itself.

In practical terms the events at the rally were actually bad news for Donald Trump. Last nights debate saw Donald Trump trying to be reasonable, amicable and presidential. This morning he had a joint venture event with Ben Carson in a tone of reconciliation, understanding and unity. Riots, violence and cancelled events obviously undermine such efforts.

Donald_Trump_mural

Donald Trump By Thierry Ehrmann

Is Trump a Fascist ?

Is Trump a fascist ? Basically no.

Trump has far-right views on a number of issues. His suggestion of deporting millions of illegal immigrants is obviously rather radical. His “Muslims hate America” statements are severely divisive. Building walls isolating America from other countries is nationalism and isolationism on a higher symbolic level. But again it does not equate fascism.

Fascism is a merger of conservatism and socialism whereby the good of the state stands above the good of the individual. As such production and industry for instance is allowed to function privately only as long as it serves the purpose of the state. One might say its a perversion whereby socialist thoughts and authoritarian leadership are stuffed inside the traditional conservative thought of the state as an organism.

If we pick out single issues it is possible to paint Donald Trump as a fascist. He has authoritarian views on the role of government. He is clearly influenced by nationalist sentiments and obviously uses divisive us against them rhetoric. Not only when it comes to immigrants but in terms of USA vs other countries, on trade issues and many others.

It is worth noting though that overall he does not fit the picture of a fascist. We have to squeeze him into the box of fascism by picking out issues that fit the picture. But on many other issues Donald Trump stands by liberty rights in the American constitution, he holds more or less libertarian views on plenty of other policy topics and he has a long history of supporting policy positions that would even put him on the left wing of the democratic party.

This is no endorsement of Donald Trump. Being divisive, populist and avoiding specifics of policy positions is not necessarily a good place to stand. It just does not equate being fascist. Calling Donald Trump fascist is about as accurate as calling Bernie Sanders a communist. You can make a facebook meme making it look that way by picking out a few policy issues, but it really does not fit the general picture.

Donald Trump a Fascist ? Rally  with supporters in Iowa

Donald Trump a Fascist ? By Evan Guest

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State Of The Republican Race

First they were 17. Now they are 4. The state of the republican race is more exciting and unpredictable than ever despite the winnowing of the field. Ben Carson being the latest candidate to drop out, but the battle between Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich is more intense than ever.

First of. The republican debate on Fox News was a bizarre phenomenon. Jokes about endowment. Yelling insults. Name calling. And John Kasich attempting to make political points. Basically Rubio and Cruz came armed to the teeth with attacks on Trump. Kasich came with his policies and refused to join in the mudslinging. It might all make sense in the way that this was one of the last occasions to put a stop to Donald Trumps march towards the nomination. If Trump beats Marco Rubio in Florida, John Kasich in Ohio and Ted Cruz in the upcoming southern states – its game over for the anti-trump movement.

Mitt Romney – Revenge of the Establishment

Mitt Romney chose to break all normal rules of the primary game by doing a speech slacking off Donald Trump. It is literally unheard of. The previous nominee trashing the frontrunner to be the next one. The Mitt Romney speech was a point by point indictment of Donald Trumps business history, his personality and temperament, his political positions and everything else about him.

The weirdness of it all is that Romney was chosen to do it. That he was chosen to do it at this point. And that it was deemed wise at all. First. With the speech barely over all the networks were playing Mitt Romney videos praising Donald Trump as a business genius from the 2012 election when Trump endorsed him. Couldnt the establishment have found another representative to do it? I guess George W. Bush said no at least. Second. Why do it now? It could have tilted the scales earlier on. Say before New Hampshire. Right now the effect seems dubious. And third, on the same point. Is it at all wise to tell 35% of your voter base that the guy they love is a fraudulent lunatic? Is it wise to tell voters wanting a non-establishment candidate as theyre tired of getting shafted by backroom Washington deals that you will do your best to ignore their vote and steal the nomination in a brokered convention? I think not.

John McCain and Mitt Romney  - Republican Establisment

A Brokered Republican Convention ?

Mitt Romney put words to the brokered convention idea and tactical voting. Basically. Instead of getting anyone to drop out. Help them win where they can. Then have them team up their delegates against Donald Trump at the convention if he hasnt reached an outright majority of 1237.

The suggestion was made outright. Vote John Kasich in Ohio. Vote Marco Rubio in Florida. Vote Ted Cruz where ever he is closest to beating Trump.

Is that wise or realistic ? Fact is it might be the only thing with any chance of working. From now till March 15 it is fully possible that Donald Trump settles the nomination to a degree where nothing but keeping him under 50% of the delegates. But it is far from a certain or safe thing to attempt. First of all it might not work at all. Marco Rubio is far from certain of winning Florida, Ohio isnt safely in John Kasich´ hands and several of the Southern states might well go Trump rather than Cruz. And even if the other candidates do hold out in these primaries there is a strong possibility of Trump winning anyway by sweeping most of the other states.

What is worse. If Donald Trump turns up at the convention with say 1100 delegates, everyone else being far behind, the Trump lead in the popular vote being massive … and the establishment then trying to figure a way of uniting everyone but Trump to hand the nomination to one of the other candidates – or even Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney or a similar candidate. It will be civil war. Nothing less.

The media narrative will focus on the illegitimate theft of the frontrunners nomination. The 30-40% of republican voters having supported Donald Trump will potentially not be recoverable for the general election. Trump himself might still run as third party, thus destroying the chances of any republican. Even if he doesnt he is unlikely to go home quietly, nicely or without a fierce fight.

Beyond that. Is it even possible to unite all other delegates against Trump? After the first round, wouldnt some of them go for Trump? Wouldnt especially Ted Cruz delegates be in a weird position with their candidate being unwanted by the establishment too – and prone to switching to Trump? Wouldnt a more politically savvy Donald Trump than we give him credit for actually hold most of the cards. Say, Donald Trump strikes a VP, secretary of state or supreme court deal with one or more the candidates. Or even simply with someone who could sway delegates from some of the other candidates in a second round of voting.

Donald Trump caricature - state of the republican race

Donald Trump caricature By DonkeyHotey

The State of The Republican Race

The state of the republican race ? It is chaos. By this time the state of the democratic race is largely settled. The republican race has descended into vulgarity, personal attacks and preparations for a civil war in the party. The upside for the republicans is that if they somehow settles it amicably in the end, they will have had plenty of airtime for their candidate.

Any winning nominee will have been vetted thoroughly. Being under intense scrutiny in a filthy battle for the nomination can hurt a candidate. But it can also let the air out of the balloon on bad track records. Which is the case here depends very much on who ends up chosen and how that comes about.

Would it be better if everyone united against Trump ? Well. If Rubio and Kasich dropped out and lined up behind Cruz he might indeed win a bit more delegates. But it is just as likely that anyone dropping out would bring Donald Trump closer to 50%. So far. The wisdom that those in the same lane benefit the most simply hasnt been true. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and others leaving did not elevate Marco Rubio much. It cant be ruled out that someone like Marco Rubio has a broad enough appeal that Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropping out would make him competitive. But first of all Ted Cruz has shown no sign of dropping out after his wins. Second, Rubio is already 200 delegates behind and polling poorly in his homestate of Florida.

It is all a catch 22 for republicans not wanting Donald Trump.

German Caricature of Donald Trump

German Caricature of Donald Trump

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State Of The Democratic Race

Post Super Tuesday analysis by Electomatic gives you the current state of the democratic race after an exciting night of voting.

Super Tuesday came an went. Hillary Clinton grabbed 7 wins whilst her competitor Bernie Sanders ran away with 4 victories. That may sound close. But essentially the race is over. Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead in delegates – with or without democratic superdelegates – and basically cant be caught unless a political earthquake happens.

Bernie Sanders did in fact do fairly well on Super Tuesday. He won a resounding home win in Vermont and grabbed wins in Colorado, Minnesota and Oklahoma too. That is actually better than expected based on polls. But still falls way short of being on track to win. For starters he lost in Massachuchetts, a state he should have won big. The State Of The Democratic Race is basically settled on Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton won the south. With little competition. She grabbed 7 victories total. Most of them much bigger wins in terms of %s and delegates than Bernie Sanders managed. In reality she has won.

State Of The Democratic Race

Hillary Clinton has won in all but mathematical theory. She is further ahead than Barack Obama ever was in 2008 – against her. And the calendar ahead shows no obvious opportunities for Bernie Sanders to catch up. Bernie will likely keep pulling a win here and there, but given the proportional awarding of democratic delegates he would need blowouts in several state to make up ground. It will not happen.

So – should Hillary Clinton call for Bernie Sanders to withdraw from the race?

Definitely not! It is very much in Hillary Clintons interest to keep Bernie Sanders in the race. If he drops out she will have nobody to debate, no reason for the media to follow the democratic primaries, no news cycles of the candidates debating. To keep in the spotlight, keep the excitement alive and keep sharpening the arguments it is essential to keep Bernie Sanders competing.

And Bernie Sanders is in fact the perfect competitor in many ways. He is old and idealistic but never attacks her personally or with any level of political venom. He debates the issues. Rallies his troops and keeps the democratic side rolling. On top he has plenty of his own funds that he uses on democratic advertising on the issues – no negative ads or personal attacks on Hillary Clinton. It really could not be better for Hillary Clinton and if it starts looking like he might drop out, she really should sit down with Bernie Sanders and convince him to keep running – until endorsing her in May or June.

From now on it is all about the general election for Hillary Clinton. She needs to work on the youth vote that she has lost to Sanders. She needs to work on low income and low education voters that might be tempted by Donald Trump. She needs to work on improving her approval rating which isnt that much better than Donald Trumps. There is plenty to do. But it is all about the november general election.

Hillary Clinton - Democratic Campaign 2016

Hillary Clinton By Gage Skidmore

Super Tuesday 2016 – Democratic Results

Alabama Democratic Primary
Hillary Clinton 
77.8%
Bernie Sanders 19.2%

Arkansas Democratic Primary
Hillary Clinton 66
.3%
Bernie Sanders 29.7% 

Colorado Democratic Caucus
Bernie Sanders 58.9%
Hillary Clinton 
40.4

Georgia Democratic Primary
Hillary Clinton 71.3
%
Bernie Sanders 28.2

Massachusetts Democratic Primary
Hillary Clinton 50.1
%
Bernie Sanders 48.7

Minnesota Democratic Caucus
Bernie Sanders 61.6
Hillary Clinton 38.4
%

Oklahoma Democratic Primary
Bernie Sanders 51.9
Hillary Clinton 41.5
%

Tennessee Democratic Primary
Hillary Clinton 66.1
%
Bernie Sanders 32.4

Texas Democratic Primary
Hillary Clinton 65.2
%
Bernie Sanders 33.2

Oklahoma Democratic Primary
Bernie Sanders 86.1
Hillary Clinton 13.6
%

Bernie Sanders Supporters in Iowa 2016

Bernie Sanders Supporters in Iowa 2016 By Max Goldberg

 

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Danish politics are kind of nice. The rest of the world struggles with civil wars, drugs, social decay and corruption. In Denmark they argue over cow poo. As we discussed previously in The Danish Cow Poo Gate the minister may or may not have misinformed the Danish parliament about the amount of cow poo being allowed to be led into the environment next year. Which led the small Conservative Party to declare mistrust in the minister of the environment Eva Kjer Hansen.

The Danish government left by Venstre (a centre-right party labelling themselves liberals) bases its rule on the mandates of the conservative party and as such the mistrust declared in the minister could spell early elections.

Days of crisis. Days of negotiations. Days of debates about cow poo in Denmark. It all seems resolved now with the departure of the minister Eva Kjer Hansen, who chose to resign today after heavy pressure from all sides. Søren Pape Poulsen. Leader of The Conservative Party Denmark may have gotten a victory however, but he has also destabilized the government and poisoned the working relationship between the government and its right wing backers. We might still see early elections called in Denmark.

Søren Pape Poulsen. Leader of The Conservative Party Denmark

Søren Pape Poulsen. Leader of The Conservative Party Denmark. By Lars Schmidt

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Political Message Over Money ?

For years we have debated the influence of money in politics. We have looked at wealthy businessmen and lobbyists buying elections. Studied how TV commercials flooded living rooms and turned the polls around. In America the Super-PACs came storming onto the scene after an election funding reform with more or less unlimited funds for establishment backed candidates.

Basically. We have spent our time following the money. Complaining about the money. And we might have been wrong all along. Suddenly the common knowledge that money buys victories does not seem so common sense anymore. Let us take a few examples.

Syriza won by a landslide in Greece without a euro in the bank to campaign for. The newly started left wing party Podemos in Spain didn’t have a dime but stormed into parliament in the top3. In England the far right populists UKIP scored the highest % of voters for a third party in a long while with largely no money spent. In Sweden the Swedish Democrats have gone from nothing to polling at 28% without any noticeable funding … and for that matter, Jeb Bush outspent Donald Trump many many times in the Republican primaries for the presidential election 2016.

podemos-spain-political-party

The Rise Of The Political Message !

We have debate the art of the political message. However. Our normal underlying logic would be that either the campaign messaging was tailored to where the voters already were and then boosted by spending millions on spreading the word. Or alternatively, the message was firm and millions was spent on swaying the voters to come around to it.

So why oh why are campaigns able to deliver astounding landslide victories without any funding at all?

One way of looking at it could be that diversified mass media, social networking, citizen journalism and many other such phenomenons have actually helped make the democratic processes more accessible. We are increasingly seeing movements growing out of nothing on social networks to dominate an issue, a debate or even an election. Barack Obama was obviously one example of such a movement (though he did raise plenty of funds later on, though not primarily from the usual big donor sources). The art of internet campaigning is kind of already old news though. We used to debate how to make things go viral, how to get interaction with fans and how to accumulate likes.

Thats all good, but now it is all about catching the signals coming from the souls of the people and filtering into the spiderweb of social channels – and then sending the right signals back in a diverse a way as possible. Does it sound loopy? It is quite simple to see and outrageously difficult to do. But if you look at the reason Jeb Bush failed and Donald Trump succeeded – it wasn’t the money, it wasn’t political backing, it wasn’t that one was outside the range of the voters he aspired to get support from (well if one was, it certainly was not Jeb), it wasn’t that they weren’t both active on social media.

No, it was the almost intuitive ability to catch signals and shoot them back at the voters to create a symbiosis. In the case of Donald Trump it might in fact have been a lucky punch – but he played it to perfection nonetheless. He caught the signal, turned it into political messaging and filtered it back. Jeb in contrast tailored a message he figured would resonate well with voters, he replaced Bush with ! and put together a package of traditional republican policies and then fed it all into a 100million dollar advertising campaign. And got nothing.

Donald Trump Caricature

Social Signals in Politics

You might argue Barack Obama, Syriza, Podemos, Donald Trump and many such movement phenomenons in politics have a lot in common. They either carry forward a feeling already widespread enough to launch the wave or they respond to the social signals they pick up and exploit them to ride a wave already pending. Either way. Expect more of this as media narratives splinter, our engagement on and offline diversify further and common discourse becomes harder to come by.

The internet campaign has been running for a decade and it wont stop. But look for your answers in the signals!

Syriza Greece Farleft Party

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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.

Read more

The South Carolina primary is in the rear view mirror for the republican candidates for president 2016. However, Jeb Bush took the bus(h) straight home after another disappointing result.

Basically, as we discussed prior to the primary the South Carolina republican primary was make or break for Jeb Bush – and he broke! After a ferocious campaign effort by Jeb Bush splashing out million of dollars on advertising, wheeling out his big brother George W Bush and even his mother all failed to pay off. Jeb Bush badly needed to at least tie up with Marco Rubio to have a way forward as the establishment candidate. Instead, Marco Rubio surged to an impressive 22% of the vote and a second place ahead of Ted Cruz – whilst Jeb Bush only just squeezed home a distant 4th place with 8%. Slightly ahead of John Kasich and Ben Carson.

Thus, Jeb Bush graciously suspended his campaign. Thanked his supporters. Went home. And turned the lights out for the Bush dynasty that has dominated American politics for decades.

Republican Primary Satire

Republican Primary Satire – Clown Car Parade

Republican Primary Satire - Clown Car Parade

Photo By DonkeyHotey -Republican Primary Satire – Clown Car Parade

They started out with a colorful lineup of 17 hopeful Republican candidates for presidents. Since then all but 5 have dropped out. Donald Trump leads the race followed by Ted Cruz and Marco Rubi – with John Kasich and Ben Carson still in but hoping desperately for traction.

Welcome President Trump ?

Hillary Clinton looks like the democratic nominee to be. Bernie Sanders has gotten some traction with his far-left message, enthusiast youth supporting him and a fairly positive media coverage of his campaign. However, the Sanders numbers do not add up. He can stay in the race to get his message out, but it is basically more than difficult to see a path to victory for him. His base is too narrow. The states he has a chance of winning to few.

So, right now it is looking like Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton in the general election. However. Donald Trump is far from a certain winner of the primaries yet. As the field of candidates narrow he needs to pick up support from those dropping out – and he is not first in line for it. Fivethirtyeight had an analysis showing him doing extremely poorly as second choice – meaning, he is less likely to pick up the majority of say the now homeless Jeb Bush voters, whereas Marco Rubio is in a better position to do so and thus closing the gap to Trump.

Much depends on Ted Cruz. He is very unlikely to actually win the nomination. He has a solid core of support among very conservative voters, evangelicals and so forth. But Trump eats into his base. And it is too narrow to begin with. But Ted Cruz is unlikely to drop out anytime soon – and when he does, where do his voters go ?

For now its all unknown. But a first clue will be found in the next contests. Does Rubio add approximately the volume of Jeb Bush´ to his column or are they going somewhere else? Does John Kasich gain traction or is he about to drop out too? Does Donald Trump break the 40% barrier ?

Time will tell. From what I see the field is narrowing too slowly and Donald Trump grabs solid portions of too many groups to make him an easy one to overtake – and Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Ben Carson are simply spoilers in a game that favors Donald Trump. If I was Donald Trump i would hurry up and send the Kasich super PAC a few million dollars, just to keep him going beyond super tuesday.

President Trump ? The Clinton vs Trump match up in polls are more less tied. Slightly tilting to Clinton usually. But, that is before the Republican party has to rally behind their nominee – even if his name is The Donald! Once that happens he might well have a shot at winning. Hillary is not a strong candidate and Trump has many sore points he can shamelessly attack.

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As expected UK prime minister David Cameron returned from Bruxelles with a deal giving the UK a few “special arrangements” in their relation to the European Union. Across the board David Cameron is being ridiculed for a minuscule list of achievements that basically add up to exactly nothing.

Right now David Cameron kissing EU boots is trending on Twitter and Facebook:

David Cameron Kissing Boots in Bruxelles. Defeat for UK primeminister in EU as Brexit looms

David Cameron Kissing Boots in Bruxelles.

David Cameron Kissing Boots in Bruxelles.

Defeat for UK primeminister in EU as Brexit looms. The entire idea of the new agreement was for David Cameron to make demands on the EU. Go and do some tough bargaining and bringing home a deal he could sell as a grand victory for Britain over the EU. And finally use it to call a Brexit referendum in which he would support staying in the EU.

The point of the backwards maneuvre of calling a Brexit referendum only to recoommend staying in the EU would be to close the flank Nigel Farage and his rising UKIP party of EU-scepticals along with the anti-EU wing of the Tory party itself. However, the process has been rather derailed from the very start.

  1. David Cameron realised even before the negotiations that most of the ideal demands (such as the right to close the borders and cut off eastern european immigrants) would be impossible to get fulfilled. So he submitted a very modest list of small demands that he tried to sell a important. It failed.
  2. The negotiations in Bruxelles were supposed to look long, hard and brutal. And a war torn primeminister could return with the spoils of victory. Sadly. It didnt play like that. The demands were too small to cause much debate and opening bigger debates were too lethal with Poland on the warpath and Greece wanting to attach the refugee crisis. So, instead, Cameron was basically told “Yeah, take those breadcrumbs and stop whining, go away”
  3. He was supposed to return a victor. Full of conviction being able to point to his results and say: Look, I now support staying in the EU because of this victory. Instead, he came home empty handed to ridicule in newspapers, on the internet and in every news broadcast.

Brexit Referendum

So, now there is gonna be a brexit referendum. And despite all this David Cameron is likely to get his “stay” vote. Right now the “leave” vote actually has a small lead in opinion polls but the referendum is loopsided. The entire establishment, the vast majority of the media, most of the businessworld, all political parties except UKIP and unlimited campaign funds are backing the Stay vote.

Very soon the scaremongering is gonna start from the Stay campaign. Look out for “Businesses will move abroad”, “Thousands of jobs will be lost”, “Criminals will benefit from Brexit” etc. It is the same playbook as the Scottish independence referendum and several others. And it works!

At this time – Stay 80% – Leave 20% is my take on the chances.

Read more

So … today Donald Trump decided it would be a wise move to pick a public fight with… the pope.

Yes, Trump found it ingenious to attack the pope for praying for dead illegal immigrants and holding mass on the border to Mexico … the pope answered:

A person who thinks only about building walls and not about building bridges is not a christian, it is not in the gospel, and im not saying to vote for this guy or that guy, i am simply saying that this guy is not a christian if he has said those things

This is what we call a divine smackdown !

…and what does it mean for the race? Well, so far every round of mudwrestling has been an advantage for Donald Trump. He has been pure teflon. Nothing annoys his voters. But. This time he may have taken one step too far – time will tell, but catholics tend to be rather proud of their new progressive pope and there are A LOT of republican catholics soon headed to vote in the primaries across the country … time will tell !

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