February 26, 2016

A clevr little newsletter. Edition #1

Where too much democracy is never enough
edited by Peter Fray
with works by Benjamin Wallace-Wells, Luke Brinker, Janet Hook, Philip Bump, Ezra Klein and David Wasserman
Read their full stories by clicking on their names in bold below

The battle for the Democratic and Republic presidential nomination is the greatest political spectator sport on earth: a rhetorical river that just rolls on and over this nation every night for months on end.  

Only Bruce Springsteen, 66, whose current and seemingly never-ending tour is called The River, takes on as many gigs and is so vocal. (Of course, if the Boss were to run for office, he’d be a shoo-in.)

If you care about politics, we are watching the pre-nup wrangle of the battle to become the most powerful person on earth. If you don’t, there’s Donald Trump, 69, and Bernie Sanders, 74. 

That’s too glib. Sanders and Trump have exposed a dirty and not-so-secret facet of US contemporary politics: that many voters, and not just the younger ones, appear to have lost faith in the ability of establishment politicians to deliver real solutions.
To what extent they have redefined the landscape will become clear in the next few days, when 10 states hold their primaries for both parties on what’s called Super Tuesday.

So as a primer, here are some recent articles by political journalists on three of the big themes of the election thus far:
  • Millennial voters (born post-1980) are going to have a huge say in the outcome;
  • Trump’s rise means the Republican Party is broken;
  • Marco Rubio, 44, is the only person who can stop Trump.
(Conventional wisdom has it that Ted Cruz, 45, the other leading Republican, is too right wing to gain the nomination. That remains to be seen.) 

The other great narrative in the race is Hilary Clinton, 69, who will be the subject of the next newsletter. 

Here's Benjamin Wallace-Wells, writing in the New Yorker, about the current state of play. A bit Trump-ified (as much media is right now) and perhaps too much information about South Carolina, but it outlines the landscape nicely: anyone but Trump, right? 

We'll get back to The Donald. Here's what I mean about the millennials. They're everywhere. Some say they are going to decide the left side of the race. That seems less likely. 

But here's an explanation as to why they are flocking to Sanders the socialist. He talks their language, according to Luke Brinker writing on .Mic, a journalistic upstart.

And for good measure, here's what the millennials think ails America: it's corrupt, greedy and unequal. That's certainly fertile ground for a candidate promising political revolution. 

The question of the young adult vote (if 30 plus is young) and its power has been given a sharper edge by a vital statistic: as many millennials are eligible to vote this year as baby boomers. This was explored with some precision by Janet Hook, writing in The Wall Street Journal

But is Hook overstating the case?  It might be all be a terrible misunderstanding, argues Philip Bump, the in-house political blogger at the Washington Post.

He reckons nothing much has changed and besides, talk is cheaper than action.
The real question is, will the millennials get out and vote in greater numbers than the boomers or more mature voters, the mainstay of the active US electorate?
Guess we'll have an inkling on Tuesday.

Enough about the Democrats. The nation is obsessed with Trump and his challenge to political orthodoxy, the Republican establishment and well everyone else from the Pope down.  

There's no end of material on the subject, but this analysis by Ezra Klein on Vox seems to hit the spot. So, if the Republican party is really broken, who can fix it?
Marco can? Or so suggests David Wasserman on FiveThirtyEight

But of course all that pre-supposes a fix is needed and that Trump would be a menace to democracy and virtually everything else good on American soil and beyond.
This may prove to be so. 

But the point is, there are plenty of Americans who would strongly beg to differ and come Tuesday their voice, loud as it now is, is expected to become a deafening roar.
Then what? 

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