US elections: when in doubt, do nothing

America’s Democrats sighed with relief after Tuesday’s mid-term elections, even though they look likely to narrowly lose control of the House of Representatives, and perhaps even the Senate.

Because notwithstanding high levels of voter dissatisfaction, the widely-anticipated Republican wave petered out.

We should be impressed with the ability of diverse voters and voting regimes over a sprawling continent to deliver such finely nuanced results (including decisive victories for Trump Republican rivals such as Brian Kemp in Georgia and Ron DeSantis in Florida).

Continue reading “US elections: when in doubt, do nothing”

Clamour grows for Trump to go after mob takes over the Capitol – but his days are numbered officially regardless

By the time Donald Trump leaves office on January 20, assuming he lasts that long, he will depart the White House as the most despised US president in more than a century. The appalling scenes at the Capitol on Wednesday epitomised his time in office, shocking western leaders let alone the US population.

Tweeting on what happened, PM Jacinda Adern said:

“Like so many others, I’ve been watching what’s happening in the United States. I share the sentiment of friends in the US – what is happening is wrong.

“Democracy – the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob. Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail.”

Calls grow by the hour for Trump to be impeached or removed from office. The Constitution’s 25th Amendment provide for the vice-president, the Cabinet or others to march on the White House and demand a president’s departure.  Republican Party vultures are pecking away at the carcass of the Trump administration. Continue reading “Clamour grows for Trump to go after mob takes over the Capitol – but his days are numbered officially regardless”

Republican tide turns against Trump – now let’s see if he loses protection against prosecution

Is the Republican Party, at least at the Congressional level, preparing to dump President Donald Trump after he departs the White House on January 20?

Until two days ago, no-one in the GOP would congratulate president-elect Joe Biden.  After the Electoral College effectively elected Biden on Monday with 306 votes to 232, however, the dam started to break.

First, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, until then a hard-line Trump advocate, pronounced on the floor of the Senate that due process had occurred and Biden was the appointed president, to be sworn in on January 20.

Then in a conference call with Republican senators (they control the Senate) he and other seniors warned their colleagues against trying to further challenge the result when Congress meets to ratify the vote.  Two senators, John Thune and Roy Blunt, spoke.  They argued it would be a bad vote for senators running in the mid-term 2022 elections.  It’s no surprise that both are then up for re-election.  Continue reading “Republican tide turns against Trump – now let’s see if he loses protection against prosecution”

America’s Supreme Court battle is refreshingly clear and largely predictable

There is much talk about whether the Republicans should try to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of the late Justice Ginsburg.  And much of it misses the point.

Leave aside the diversions about not filling vacancies during an election campaign or leaving it to the next president. Justices are appointed through a characteristically American political negotiation between the President and a Senate majority.  If by chance they are in strong agreement, then it is nolo contendere.

The Democrats are entitled to be grumpy that the laws of chance have not worked in their favour.  But politics does not have much room for ‘our turn now’ arguments, particularly when there is no indication that they would keep playing by the rules.

Continue reading “America’s Supreme Court battle is refreshingly clear and largely predictable”