The presidential nomination race: Biden bounces back while Bloomberg bows out

Has former vice president Joe Biden been reading the playbook of John Howard, former Australian prime minister?  Howard was defeated in 1987, regained the Liberal Party leadership in 1995, won a general election the following year against all the odds, and then went on to win four elections in a row.

The pundits compared him with Lazarus, who, according to the Gospel of St John, arose from the dead after four days. Tasteless, yes, but our Aussie counterparts always had a flair for a great line.

Biden has been in politics for nearly 50 years, became vice-president under President Barack Obama – and till last weekend had been all but written-off after a stumbling, hesitant start to the race to become the Democrats’ presidential candidate when – frankly – his age was on display with rambling discourses on his days and achievements with Obama.

On Super Tuesday, he swept nine of the 14 states. Of the 903 delegates allocated so far, Biden has 467, Bernie Sanders 392, Elizabeth Warren 51 and Michael Bloomberg 44. Continue reading “The presidential nomination race: Biden bounces back while Bloomberg bows out”

Conundrum for the Democrats is whether left-wing Sanders can beat Trump – and if not, who can?

US politics ain’t for the faint-of-heart.  Signs of desperation are emerging in the Democratic Party as Senator Bernie Sanders surges to the lead after three key polls – and party grandees worry whether mainstream United States is ready to elect a “socialist”.

Then, Republicans fear the US intelligence agencies, labelled “deep state” by President Donald Trump, are interfering in the election campaign. Intelligence officials briefed Congress this week on indications that the Russians are once again dabbling in US politics.

This caught Trump by surprise because his own officials hadn’t briefed him on what the lawmakers would be told – and led to a blitz of weekend TV on the news that maybe, possibly, the intelligence community had passed on the right “nuance”. Continue reading “Conundrum for the Democrats is whether left-wing Sanders can beat Trump – and if not, who can?”

With an election coming next year, Zuckerberg defends free speech

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is under attack because of the consequences of too-free speech on his platform.

But it’s possible he may be a more considerable public figure than many had him down for, after he made a reasoned and principled address defending free speech (and his company’s approach to it) at Georgetown University last week.

The immediate kerfuffle was over political campaigning.  The Trump campaign put out a social media ad which implied that Democratic candidate Joe Biden had corrupt motives in helping fire a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating the Ukrainian company which employed his son.  Elizabeth Warren, another Democratic presidential contender, riposted by attacking Facebook for letting politicians run advertisements with false claims.  To prove her point and get some publicity (good for her, not so good for rival Biden), she ran a self-proclaimed false ad – on Facebook. Continue reading “With an election coming next year, Zuckerberg defends free speech”