Bernie Sanders and the States He’s In

Bernie Sanders, Rally at Pittsburgh University, Sunday April 14.

Tomorrow one of America’s most recognizable public figures will turn 80.  He is a former mayor of Burlington, he has been an independent senator for fourteen years, and has twice made an unsuccessful bid for the Presidency, via the Democratic Party.  He is, it is fair to say, unlikely ever to become President.  Whatever you think of Bernie Sanders, though, it is undeniable that he has had an impact on his country.  What is more, it is an impact that …

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The Opioids of the People

The United States government has launched a new anti-opioid campaign featuring true stories of people so desperate that they inflicted gruesome injuries on themselves to get another prescription. Such stories have already been more effectively told in poetry. The epidemic’s most searing skald is William Brewer, a son of Oceana, West Virginia, a post-industrial town so gripped by addiction that it is nicknamed Oxyana. We were so hungry; Tom’s hand on the table looked like warm bread. I crushed it …

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Fuelling ignorance – the key to success in modern politics?

We can’t say that we weren’t warned. In his 1928 book Propaganda, the pioneering Austrian-American publicist Edward Bernays unblushingly wrote: The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government, which is the true ruling power of our country. Bernays also coined the term “public relations”, and among his most lucrative coups as a publicist was his …

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Franks Underlings #HouseOfCards

For three seasons, ‘House of Cards’ has been the flagship drama for a new method of consuming television.Developed and produced for Netflix by former Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean staffer Beau Willimon, it has broken new ground for the web based TV service – landing Emmy nominations and also Golden Globes for its stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. But while it has worn its cynicism about US politics with pride and has attracted directors of the calibre of David …

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Republican Party’s challenge: become “a trustworthy governing party again”

For a country that is much derided for the way it exercises its hard power overseas, the US can be commended for one thing above all others: it’s huge devotion to the exercise of democracy. Kevin Anderson of our US panel: Last year, I worked with Tunisian journalists as they prepared to cover their elections. I was touched by their honesty when they said at the beginning of the training that they had never covered an election in which they …

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US Election Braindump

I am too tired and too discombobulated from number crunching to post a coherent, concise article, but there is much of interest in yesterday’s American election results. This was a decisive election for the world’s most powerful nation and, ipso facto, for the whole planet. So I’m just going to do a brain dump on lessons from yesterday. This is probably too long, and certainly insufficiently intellectually rigorous, but I would be interested in Sluggerites’ opinions (and we all have …

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Know Your Battleground States 9/9: Florida

Florida, the United States’ incredibly flat protrusion into the sub-tropics, is an enormous and rapidly changing state, perhaps about to overtake New York as the third most populous state in the Union, and by far the biggest of the battleground states with 29 Electoral Votes in play. Florida entered political legend when the 2000 Presidential contest in the state came down to just a few hundred votes out of more than 5.8 million cast. Weeks of scrutinising disputed ballots and …

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Know Your Battleground States 7/9: Virginia

History meets the modern world in Virginia. In 1607, the London Company established the first English colony in the New World in what later became the Old Dominion. For many Virginians, celebrating their history is almost an obsession, and one entirely befitting the America’s mother state. Old things in Virginia look old, even to Europeans. Yet Virginia retains a cutting edge economy, and is home to many of the institutions through which the USA dominates the modern world, most notably …

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Norman Mailer, the hipsters of 1969 and a new breed of “pyschic outlaws”…

A nice slice of Norman Mailer running for the Democratic ticket in the New York Mayoral campaign of 1969, courtesy of Adam Curtis’s BBC blog, who then goes on to make this observation of a class of person that Mailer’s (not very successful) electoral appeal drew towards, namely the ‘hipsters’: …this new breed of “psychic outlaw” could be equally a candidate for the most reactionary or the most radical of political movements. And in the film there is a fascinating …

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Romney up, GOP down, populism ailing?

There’s a good discussion to be had about the tensions between populism and parliamentary politics. If there is a side lesson to taken from the ups and downs of the Republican party, it’s probably buried in here somewhere. As Mike from PoliticalBetting notes, the famous victory of Mitt Romney in Florida (one of the big ‘swing’ states) came at a drop in turn out: In Iowa the number of self-identifying Republicans was down by 11%, in New Hampshire 15% the …

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The problem of communicating DC to DC?

Matthew d’Ancona, a friend and admirer of the late Christopher Hitchens, reaches for one of the few times he had ever spoken on the subject of David Cameron: “He seems content-free to me. Never had a job, except in PR, and it shows. People ask, ‘What do you think of him?’ My answer is: he doesn’t make me think.” D’Ancona follows up by stating: The biggest problem of perception facing this Government is that it is less than the sum …

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US election: the net changed politics if not the president

Last Tuesday night the Grand Committee Room in Westminster played host to an impressive range of speakers, each reflecting on the role of the Internet in the recent US Presidential campaign. Slugger was there to cover it… Who uses the net for politics? Professor Stephen Coleman of the Oxford Internet Institute, drew from research he’d commissioned from YouGov. Days before the US poll, a sample of 3,500 Internet users, was asked to rank the importance of various sources using a …

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