The media has adopted a narrative of Sanders as the wild-eyed idealist and Clinton as the pragmatist.
On Monday the first official leg of the presidential nomination process took place in the Iowa caucuses. As results came in throughout the night, the Democratic race was as close of a nail-biter as can be imagined. At the time of this writing, Hillary Clinton maintains an extremely slim lead of less than half a percent over Bernie Sanders. Whatever the outcome this showing is undeniably a boost to Sanders’s momentum, making it clear he’s got a shot at winning the nomination overall.
With an intense race still to be run, a narrative has been forming over the last couple months. It holds that Hillary Clinton is the pragmatic, sensible choice for Democrats – a centrist with the political clout to make moderate changes. Sanders, meanwhile, is a naïve idealist proposing lofty, transformational reforms that will never see the light of reality. Better, then, that voters choose Clinton.
There’s a subtext in this analysis that often goes unspoken: It’s as though everyone who believes it is saying, “Sure, we would like to see Bernie’s policies implemented, but we just know it can’t happen.” For a presidential candidate especially, this is a depressingly cynical tack to take, and certainly no example of strong leadership. Continue reading
Map showing the distribution of governor’s mansions by party. Via Wikipedia.
There’s a popular phrase that’s become a meme. Generally it’s sarcastic. It can be used when the price of gas goes up, when it goes down, when a football team loses, or when terrorists strike: “Thanks, Obama.” But the truth is for all the power of the Democratic presidency, the United States is an overwhelmingly Republican-run country.
Not counting any non-state US territories, Republicans control 35 state senates, 32 state houses, 31 state legislatures in their entirety, and 31 governor’s mansions. In the 114th Congress, there are 54 Republican senators to 44 Democrats and in the House of Representatives 246 Republicans to 188 Democrats. Twenty-three US states have Republican governors and legislatures compared to seven states under total Democratic control. Continue reading
America has just finished another midterm election, and the results were overwhelmingly in the Republicans’ favor. The GOP picked up a majority in the Senate and strengthened its majority in the House, holding more seats there than they have since 1928 with 248. Republicans were also given a great deal of control in state legislatures and governor’s offices.
This map shows just how dominating the Republican performance was, particularly in the House of Representatives.
This, predictably, has led to fretfulness in liberals. Many are reading the huge Republican victory as a rejection of the policies of President Obama. That’s certainly a big element. But what the election results really signify is a population that is utterly confused and desperate for a solution. Public approval for elected representatives and the way the country is moving remain at dismal lows, so it’s not hard to imagine that any change must be for the better. Republican victories are as much a reflection of the left’s disillusionment as they are of the right’s continued mobilization. Continue reading
In September, hundreds of thousands of climate activists marched on Manhattan to bring attention to – and demand action from leaders on – environmental degradation and climate change. By now, just about everyone recognizes these as civilization-threatening problems requiring our attention. Even the Republican position on the issue is slowly evolving. As the overwhelming evidence implicating human activity mounts and the disastrous consequences of climate change are being experienced firsthand around the world, the question is finally turning from, “Is it happening?” to, “What are we going to do about it?”
Yet there are still plenty of holdouts in the political and business sectors who are stalling environmental progress. One of their favorite canards, and probably the single-silliest argument that can be made against environmental action, is that it will cost America jobs. Continue reading