Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Donald Trump Wins US Presidential Election

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Why Bernie Sanders still matters

He wants to lead in the Democratic Party from the outside.

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As an outlier, he has shocked this political campaign with unexpected success and proposes a revolution that promises to change US politics for generations, writes Isabel [EPA]
As an outlier, he has shocked this political campaign with unexpected success and proposes a revolution that promises to change US politics for generations, writes Isabel [EPA]


Lonnie Isabel

Lonnie Isabel is a reporter, editor and journalism instructor who is covering US politics and foreign affairs.

This United States presidential election threatens to splinter the nation's two-party system, in place now for almost two centuries.
Bernie Sanders believes he can save the Democratic party from itself, a party he once called "politically bankrupt" and a "sham".
The eight years of the Obama administration has been a staring down and shouting match.
A stalemated Washington reflects an ever-deepening political void that is fuelled by the country's historic racial, geographical and social divides and by its current economic malaise.
Polls show that voters are sick of its national politicians, and this has launched the rise of two alleged outsiders, Donald Trump and Sanders.
Both the dubious billionaire and the maverick senator have reviled, defied and ridiculed the two major parties, whose banners they hoped to carry to the White House. Their successes have shaken the parties to the core.

A progressive army

Astoundingly, closed-rank Republicans have been the most virulent critics of Trump, the party's new mostly uncontrollable strongman and the champion of the suddenly disaffected.
And Hillary Clinton, who fought a political war to turn back the insurgent Sanders, is struggling to pull together a party that has always teetered on the brink of dissolution as a loose coalition of labour, minorities, progressives, centrists and younger voters.
Trump is good at quick labels, like "Crooked Hillary", but Sanders has been her most damaging political critic.
Sanders has made his intentions clear. He wants to re-imagine the Democratic party. He was to re-invigorate it with a progressive agenda that doesn't just mouth liberal ideals.

Though Sanders has been defeated for the Democratic nomination, the pugnacious former mayor remains a central figure in the campaign now little more than a month from the nominating conventions.
That he is 74, from a small, homogenous white state, that he is a socialist and a Jew, both previously toxic in national politics, and that he is not even a member of the party - none of this has been much of a hindrance. He has drawn millions of voters and small donors reacting to his call for a "political revolution".
So now, that he is out of the running for the nomination, what does Sanders want?
And how will his progressive army affect the election of the commander-in-chief of the world's most powerful military and the steward of a massive economy that impacts on the world with every twitch and stumble?
And will he be able to defy history and sustain his group of virulent supporters to change the party forever?

Clear intentions

Sanders has made his intentions clear. He wants to re-imagine the Democratic party. He was to re-invigorate it with a progressive agenda that doesn't just mouth liberal ideals.
He wants to lurch it forward from the centrist Clinton-Obama ideology to represent what he sees as the true desires of the people, particularly young people, a large part of his followers.
In short he wants to keep his movement, his revolution, alive. Ross Perot couldn't do this with a third party run in 1996; Theodore Roosevelt couldn't in 1912 when he created the Progressive party after he lost the Republican nomination; and Ralph Nader faded after running as a third party candidate in 2000.
Unlike those three, Sanders wants to sustain a movement within one of the big two parties.
In the closest thing to a concession speech, without conceding, Sanders said last week: "I also look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to transform the Democratic Party so that it becomes a party of working people and young people, and not just wealthy campaign contributors."
Sanders arrives at a campaign rally in San Francisco, June 6 [Reuters]
The implication is that the party and Clinton have been for hire, dependent on big money donors, who dominate US politics.
In 2012, Obama and Mitt Romney raised a combined $2bn and this year that number is expected to rise, if Trump can close the fundraising gap.
Sanders' comment suggests that neither Clinton nor Obama - whose two elections were in large part a result of the very progressives that Sanders has rounded up - have led the party to the benefit of "working people and young people".
Clinton supporters are furious at Sanders. Traditionally, candidates who lose the nomination endorse the nominee and stand down, as Clinton herself did after losing a bitter race to Obama in 2008.
Sanders has been called a sexist, an egoist and an obstructionist.

Shaping the Democratic Party

Sanders forces now are zeroing in on the Democratic party platform, a working political agenda that is often discarded post-election.
The platforms are the result of intricate negotiations on the wording and direction of a list of priorities on a large range of issues.
Sanders wants the party to adopt key positions he has raised on jobs, healthcare, racial justice, free college tuition, a more sceptical view of Israel in its relationship with Palestinians and regulation of the financial industry.
The negotiations are to be conducted with party officials that Sanders has heavily criticised. If there is to be a showdown at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia next month, it will be over the platform.
In the end, though, the platform will be a minor skirmish in the battle for the soul and direction of the party.
Sanders has his large group of committed voters as his leverage. Though history has shown that voting blocs are difficult to sustain to subsequent presidential elections, Sanders' David v Goliath campaign has given voice to a defiant group that wants to battle the Republican and Tea Party obstructionists with a can-do liberal populism.
Sanders wants to lead in the Democratic party from the outside. As an outlier, he has shocked this political campaign with unexpected success and proposes a revolution that promises to change US politics for generations.
If he makes that happen, losing to Clinton won't be his enduring legacy.
Lonnie Isabel is a reporter, editor and journalism instructor who has covered US politics and foreign affairs for three decades.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Source: Al Jazeera

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hillary Clinton is only up 2 points on Bernie Sanders nationally? Be skeptical. - The Washington Post

Hillary Clinton is only up 2 points on Bernie Sanders nationally? Be skeptical. - The Washington Post: "Hillary Clinton is only up 2 points on Bernie Sanders nationally? Be skeptical.
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Wisconsin votes on Tuesday. Stay caught up with the race.
Fact Checker
Trump’s nonsensical claim he can eliminate $19 trillion in debt in eight years
Of all the wildly impossible assertions made by Donald Trump, the notion that he could eliminate the nation’s $19 trillion in debt in just eight years ranks near the top. Trump suggests he can manage this feat simply by cutting better trade deals.

Read more about how the math adds up    
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Woodward on his 'very unusual' Trump interview
Play Video
Wisconsin GOP polling averages
Ted Cruz: 40%
Cruz looks positioned to be successful in the state, according to Real Clear Politics.
Donald Trump: 33%
Trump may earn fewer than half of the delegates in Wisconsin.
John Kasich: 19%
Kasich seems to have picked up some votes from dropout candidates.
Wisconsin Democratic polling averages
It's a tight race in Wisconsin for the Democrats, according to Real Clear Politics polling averages. But Sanders would have to win by a lot to make a dent in Clinton's delegate lead.
47% 45%
What's at stake in the Wisconsin primary
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The upcoming voting schedule
April 5
Wisconsin holds its primaries.

April 9
Wyoming holds it Democratic caucuses.

April 19
New York holds it primaries.

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Campaign 2016

State of the 2016 race
By Philip Bump February 5
Since Real Clear Politics started compiling national polls for the 2016 Democratic nomination contest -- which it started doing in December 2012 -- Hillary Clinton's lead over all potential opponents was usually over 40 points. Then usually over 20, once Bernie Sanders started to surge, and as of last month, over 10. The closest any poll had the race was an Investor's Business Daily poll from a month ago, showing Clinton up four."


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bernie Sanders Rally Visited By Bird; Twitter Rejoices With #BirdieSanders : The Two-Way : NPR

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders smiles as a bird lands on his podium when he addresses the crowd during a rally at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore., Friday.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders smiles as a bird lands on his podium when he addresses the crowd during a rally at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore., Friday.
Steve Dykes/AP

At a rally in Portland, Ore., on Friday morning, Bernie Sanders had an unexpected visitor.
And the crowd went wild.
If you haven't seen it yet, here's the 
The Oregonian YouTube
Bernie's evident delight, the crowd's roaring applause and the tiny bird's savoir faire were social media gold. The moment prompted a Twitter response that was completely opposed, in content and tone, to, well, the other big political conversation on social media right now.
And nearly a full day after the bird made its appearance, #BirdieSanders is still trending.
The location of the avian appearance is prompting amusement, too — because of course it was Portland.
IFC's sketch comedy show Portlandia, starring Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, famously featured a sketch called "Put a Bird On It" in their first episode.
In a case of life imitating sketch comedy, adding a bird to a political rally brought mesmerized delight — but also, as one reporter noted, could be messy.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Yoweri Museveni wins Uganda's presidential election

Instead of Democracy, Uganda Moves Toward Dictatorship Light - The New York Times

KALUNGU, Uganda — For eight hours, under a beating sun, thousands of people stood in an open field, waiting patiently.

Their flagging spirits were instantly revived when a column of huge, freshly washed Toyota Land Cruisers rolled up, the shiniest things for miles. Soldiers fanned out as Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 30 years, poked his head out of a sunroof wearing his signature planter hat and waved to those gathered for a campaign rally.

The crowd cheered wildly.

“Dictators love elections,” said Busingye Kabumba, a law lecturer at Makerere University in Kampala, the Ugandan capital.

The days of overt one-party states in Africa are over, analysts say, but the earlier pressure for genuine multiparty democracy seems to be fading.

Continue reading the main story

Opposition Candidate Briefly Held Before Uganda’s Presidential VoteFEB. 15, 2016
Leaders across the continent who have been in office for many years feel the need to hold elections and even to go through the motions of campaigning, but the outcome is rarely in question. Many of Africa’s recent elections were actually less fair than the ones of just a few years ago.
Look at Ethiopia, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan and Zimbabwe, all places where the ruling party has been in power for decades. It is no longer fashionable for rulers to appear to be authoritarian, the argument goes, so government after government has undertaken the trouble and the expense to legitimize its grip on power by organizing elections, or constitutional referendums, that few people inside or outside the country say are anything close to democratic.

Of course, this has happened in Egypt, Iraq and Russia, among other places. But in sub-Saharan Africa, the strongmen have a very specific need to appear democratically elected. This region is more dependent on foreign aid than any other, and Western donors like democracy, although there is a continuing debate about whether the donors care about it as much as they used to. Cooperation on counterterrorism and competition with China are other strategic issues the donors are now balancing.

Uganda is gearing up for elections on Thursday, and the country, a reliable Western ally and the recipient each year of $750 million in American aid, is much harder to read than the others. Analysts call Uganda “dictatorship light.” Mr. Museveni, a university-educated rebel who seized power in 1986, is still genuinely popular but at the same time repressive, acting as if his perch were shaky. Foreign journalists have recently been arrested. Opposition politicians are routinely harassed.

At the same time, Uganda feels much freer than, say, Ethiopia or Rwanda, two countries with impressive development whose opposition has been effectively neutralized. Ugandans love talking about politics, and many openly criticize their leader, which would be a very dangerous no-no in Rwanda or Ethiopia.

Mr. Museveni is known as a deft manager, and this campaign season one of his new tactics, a group the government calls the Crime Preventers, is a perfect example of how he constantly keeps people guessing. Are the Crime Preventers simply volunteer citizens organized by the government to battle petty crime and safeguard the exercise of democracy? Or is their true purpose to crush any election-related protests?


Continue reading the main story

“This is what none of us can ever understand,” said one Western diplomat with years of Uganda experience, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Museveni steals when he doesn’t need to.”

Uganda’s economy has been steadily growing. Crime in the capital is relatively low. New schools, new roads, new malls and new bridges are popping up everywhere. Bulldozers are common sights, along with the ubiquitous Chinese foreman taking a drag on his cigarette, squinting under the sun at Ugandan laborers digging a ditch or performing some other rudimentary road-building task.

These are the everyday things Mr. Museveni highlighted at the recent campaign rally in Kalungu, a bushy hamlet near Lake Victoria.“It’s good that your district is small enough and you have a grader already,” Mr. Museveni told the crowd. “We shall add you another one from Japan. We shall also give you an excavator, a road compactor, a bowser and two tippers,” referring to big trucks used to work on roads.

He paused to wipe the sweat from his face. Nearby vendors hustled posters of him with his face Photoshopped onto a muscle-bound body toting an assault rifle, making the 71-year-old president look like Rambo. Many supporters said they credited Mr. Museveni with bringing peace, nothing to sneeze at in light of Uganda’s violent history.

When Mr. Museveni went into the bush to start a rebellion in the early 1970s, Uganda was sinking into the blood-soaked thrall of Idi Amin, a buffoonish dictator accused of cannibalism. When asked about cannibalism after he fled into exile, Mr. Amin did not exactly deny it.

“I don’t like human flesh,” he told an interviewer. “It’s too salty for me.”

This election cycle, some detractors have tried to say that Mr. Museveni is even worse than Mr. Amin. The charge has not really stuck. The presidential challengers, most analysts say, are uninspiring and well-worn themselves. The leading opposition figure is a former army doctor, Kizza Besigye, who is now making his fourth bid for president and who was briefly arrested this week at a campaign event. Next comes Amama Mbabazi, a former prime minister who claims to be a new voice even though he was in the ruling party for years.

There are five other challengers; most Ugandans do not seem to know much about them.

Some analysts say the electorate is becoming lethargic, with opposition sympathizers tired of trying to defeat Mr. Museveni and concluding that elections here are mostly a sham, to bestow legitimacy. This fatigue seems to be what seeped into Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, where the most recent elections were less competitive than the ones that came before.

But others warn that Uganda may be approaching a tipping point, especially because Mr. Museveni seems to be making plans either to extend his reign beyond what is now legally possible or to hand power over to his son. One army general who complained about this was recently jailed. The Ugandan Constitution says candidates for president cannot be older than 75, meaning that this should be Mr. Museveni’s final term — unless the Constitution is changed, and there is already talk of doing that.


The leading opposition figure is a former army doctor, Kizza Besigye, who is now making his fourth bid for president. Credit Dai Kurokawa/European Pressphoto Agency

Continue reading the main story

Continue reading the main story

Then there are the Crime Preventers, more than 100,000 citizens who have been deputized to control crowds, arrest suspects, guard ballot boxes and gather intelligence. Their political bent is no secret.

Zereth Adio, a Crime Preventers zone coordinator, said her group was preparing for trouble from “those opposition guys.”

When asked which candidate most Crime Preventers supported, she said, “the Old Man” — the name many Ugandans use for Mr. Museveni. All four other Crime Preventers present said they would vote for the Old Man.

“This is what I worry about,” said Professor Kabumba, who spoke from behind his desk in a dimly lit office in central Kampala. “Just beneath the facade of democracy is a real military government. The chance of a peaceful transition of power is slim to zero.”

But then he laughed.

“You see people walking around freely,” he said. “I can sit here and say these things. That’s the genius of it all. It’s like that movie — what’s it called? — ‘The Truman Show.’ At what point will people know this is like a TV show, that it’s all being managed?”

At the end of the campaign rally in Kalungu, Mr. Museveni’s convoy left as quickly as it had materialized, zooming away in a cloud of noise and dust.

“I think the Old Man should be in power until he dies,” said Paul Ssebbowa, a farmer, as he began his long walk home.

His parting words: “There’s no one else.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Violence erupts days ahead of Uganda elections

At least one person killed as police and opposition supporters clash after presidential candidate Kizza Besigye held.

At least one person has been killed in Uganda's capital Kampala as police clashed with opposition supporters after briefly detaining a top presidential candidate twice as he tried to hold campaign rallies days before a general election.

Several people were wounded in the clashes as police fired bullets and tear gas while opposition supporters hurled rocks and erected street barricades in the capital's Wandegeya suburb, witnesses said according to a Reuters news agency report..
The main opposition leader Kizza Besigye, who heads the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, was held on Monday evening, his second brief detention of the day, after marching with thousands of supporters to a rally in Kampala.He was released soon afterwards, a party spokesperson said.
Stand-off in Kampala
Police said Besigye was held because he did not stick to an authorised route, and his diversion would disrupt businesses.
"Police can confirm one person died during the confusion today," Kampala police spokesman Patrick Onyango told the AFP news agency, without giving further details.
Opposition politicians told AFP that three people had been shot dead, but the claims could not be independently verified.
FDC spokesman Semujju Nganda said "several" supporters were injured during scuffles with police.
"We protest in the strongest terms police brutality towards our supporters

and targeting our candidate," he said.
But Frank Tumwebaze, minister for the presidency, said it was "madness" that Besigye had tried to hold a rally in the centre of the capital, saying the police had a duty to ensure calm.
He accused Besigye of "seeking publicity ... after sensing defeat ahead".

The outbreak of violence came just three days before presidential and parliamentary elections are due to take place on February 18.
Coleen Nantongo, an FDC parliamentary candidate for Kampala Central, said the unrest cast a dark cloud over the upcoming polls.
"Uganda is doomed," she said. "We cannot have a fair election when this is what the police do. Whenever there are elections they tear gas us and arrest us, so how can we be expected to have a fair competition?" 
Earlier in the day, Besigye, who has lost three disputed elections against long-running president Yoweri Museveni, was also briefly detained for leading a procession of supporters in Kampala.
Opposition supporter James Magara, 40, said that the arrests raised doubts that the election would be free and fair.
"There is no democracy in Uganda, and now the whole world will see it. Museveni does not want to lose so he sends the police after us, but this time we will not accept it. We will not let him continue like this," 
Students demonstrating at Makerere University in Uganda's capital, Kampala [Tendai Marima/Al Jazeera]
Although parts of the campaign period have been relatively peaceful in Kampala, the international community has before raised concerns over repression of opposition figures.
In October 2015, Besigye was placed under what the police called "preventive arrest" after a series of protests over high fuel prices.
Museveni has been in power since 1986.