March 17, 2016

Islamic extremism, Trump's global threat and Bronwyn Bishop: my part in her rise

A Clevr little newsletter, edition #4
curated by Peter Fray
featuring the works of Aatish Taseer, Phillip Bump, Michael Grunwald, David Leser, Charles P Pierce, Simon Heffer and Douglas E Schoen
Click on the name of the journalist/author below to read the full articles
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Piece of Week
Aatish Taseer’s reflection in the New York Times on the funeral of his father’s killer is candid, chilling and heart-wrenching.  It is a remarkable insight into the power of Islamic extremism to incite mob hatred.   

Back on the Stump
The race for the White House just keeps on giving — and taking. Marco Rubio is gone, delivering on the way out a fine speech and only a mild nod rather than a full-blown endorsement to his one-time rival Ted Cruz. 

Back on the Trump
The dominant force in the race — on both sides — is Donald Trump.  The latest angles include the assessment by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit that a Trump presidency would increase global risk.  Phillip Bump, a sharp-eyed writer for the Washington Post, places a useful perspective on the EIU’s assessment: Trump is a threat to stability because he hates free trade — not because his rallies are becoming increasingly violent as he divides the nation.

Marco, what went wrong?
Rubio’s departure is old news. But with his youthful face still vaguely in mind, Michael Grunwald, penned a tart piece in Politico about what the media in general and he, in particular, got wrong about the Senator from Florida. Here’s a quick taste: 
  I don’t want to be overly defensive about my contributions to the Rubio hype machine. I did think he was the most likely GOP nominee back in 2013, and I continued to think so until a few weeks ago. . .

A personal reflection (for Australian audiences)
Grunwald’s piece reminded me that I once wrote an article for the long-defunct Bulletin magazine headlined, Will Bronwyn Bishop be Australia’s first female PM? Thank heavens for question marks, is all I can say.  
I’d also point out that David Leser’s piece on Bishop first printed by the Good Weekend in 1994, about a year after my article, and reprinted last year in honour of her political fall from grace is a far superior piece.

Trump piece of the week #1
Trump’s seemingly unbreakable hold on the Republican race is inspiring many think-pieces about the very soul of America. Veteran journalist Charles P Pierce, writing on, states that “it's time to stop treating him [Trump] like a phenomenon”. In every sense, he argues, the Republican establishment made him. The article is crowned with a smart headline: The Scariest Thing About Trump? He's Winning Fair and Square.

Trump piece of the week #2
Simon Heffer, a columnist for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph in Britain, sees Trump as a symptom of a deeply unhappy nation. Entitled, The American berserk, his piece in The New Statesman, teases out a common theme: that Trump’s ascendancy and on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders’s popularity, are deep-seated responses to decades of rule and misrule by political elites. 

Then there is Hilary
The Clinton camp has much to thank Trump for.  His financial donation to the Clinton campaign in 2008 pales into insignificance to the political cover he’s giving her now. And, while her nomination as the Democratic candidate seems more assured with every passing day, there are plenty of voices around ready to dampen any runaway hype that America is set for another Clinton presidency. Douglas E Schoen, writing in the Wall Street Journal, runs a ruler over her support base and chances under the title, Hilary the shaky favourite
The candidate’s base of support is shrinking, and it may not be broad enough for her to win a national election. Mrs. Clinton retains the core of her husband’s presidential constituency, doing best among moderates—but in 2016 these are a diminishing portion of a Democratic base increasingly dominated by more-liberal voters. Bill Clinton drew support in large numbers from white men, independents and young people. Mrs. Clinton struggles with those groups.

The full article is well worth a read.