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From Obama to Al Gore: Democrats taking stance against Trump

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Overcoming the current president of the United States has turned into the main goal of the Democrats in the United States. American Democrats who have been isolated in the last two years, and lost the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and many governorates, are now planning to win the Congress elections.

On the other hand, the public dissatisfaction raised over the performance of the US President has given hope to the Democrats for winning the midterm elections.

The president of the United States, speaking among his proponents, has warned about the Democrats’ victory in the US midterm elections. Trump has explicitly stated that if Democrats win the elections, many of his decisions will be destroyed. The US Democrats believe that if they fail in midterm elections, they won’t be able to return to power at least until 2024. Therefore, the Democrats will do their best to succeed in the upcoming elections. As we get closer to the Congress elections in November, we will see an increase in the verbal and political attacks of Democrats against Trump and his companions at the White House. Some analysts believe that if the Republicans fail in the mid-term elections, we’ll see a broad gap formed between the traditional Republicans and the Trump government. This gap exists at the moment, but the leaders of the Republican Party and its affiliated media avoid from fully disclosing it. However, it seems that if the Republicans lose the US Congress, it will be difficult for the Republican leaders to continue this game! In this case, Trump will be the main accuser of this defeat. The Democrats know well that the Republican defeat in the midterm elections will intensify the disagreement between the party members, and thus will lead to the possible defeat of Trump in the next presidential elections.

In recent days, many of the American Democrats have intensified their verbal and political attacks on President Donald Trump. Former Secretary of State John Kerry implicitly stated that he would not rule out running for president in 2020. Kerry was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004 but ultimately lost the election to former US President George W. Bush. He had also emphasized on the critical situation of the United States following the presence of Trump at the White House. Also Al Gore, the former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate, publicly called for President Donald Trump to resign. Moreover, former US President Barack Obama challenged the existing policies in the United States during John McCain’s funeral, without naming Trump. Delivering his eulogy, Obama said: “So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage.”

The fact is that one of the main goals of the American Democratic Party leaders in their recent political attacks on Trump is winning the US mid-term elections and the conquest of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Right now the republicans hold the majority of the Congress, and many members of the party, while opposing Trump’s policies, are not willing to confront him and stand up against the White House. But the Democrats, on the other hand, are trying to provide the ground for their victory in the 2020 presidential elections by explicitly criticizing, and even resisting to some of Trump’s decisions. Democrats such as John Kerry, believe that if the Republicans fail in the Congress midterm elections and lose their dominance on the House of Representatives and Senate, it will be difficult for Trump to win the 2020 presidential elections. However, if the democrats fail this time against Republicans, just like the way they did in 2016, and lose seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate, Trump will not have a difficult way to win the next presidential election. Many American think-tanks and analysts believe that the mid-term elections this year (2018) will turn into a rigorous opposition between Trump’s supporters and opponents.

It should be noted here that Democrat candidates for the presidential election in 2020 are not yet introduced. As John Kerry has announced, this is supposed to be after the Congress elections. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and John Kerry are considered as possible candidates for the next US presidential elections. However, some Democrat leaders believe that they should introduce a new figure for this battle.

It is yet not clear that who will be the final nominee of the Democrats, but it seems that many of the party’s supporters do not have much confidence in their leaders anymore! In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, Bernie Sanders became the sacrifice of the secret lobbies of the Democrats’ senior figures. Later on, it became clear that Democrat leaders had agreed on Hillary Clinton’s presence from the very beginning, and the impartial gesture in the Clinton-Sanders competition was nothing but a lie. This caused many of the American citizens to vote for Trump instead of Sanders. Anyway, this time the Democratic Party has a hard time to persuade the party’s supporters, and the Congress elections will, to a great extent, depict the political and social composition in the United States.

First published in our partner MNA

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Americas

Weather and White House Turmoil as Elections Loom

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc as it traversed the Florida panhandle.  The first Category 5 hurricane to hit the area since 1881 when records began, its 155 mph winds (only 5 mph short of Category 6) felled massive trees, blew away houses, collapsed buildings and left devastation in its wake.  Relatively fast moving at 14 mph, it was soon gone continuing as a Category 3 into neighboring Georgia and then further up its northeasterly path.  It seemed to signify a stamp of approval for the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on holding earth to a 1.5 degree Celsius warming issued a couple of days earlier.  We are at one degree now so storms can only be expected to get worse.

In northeastern Turkey, a 300-year old stone bridge disappeared overnight.  Villagers convinced it had been stolen called in the police.  Further investigation concluded it had been washed away by a flash flood caused by a sudden summer thunderstorm further upstream — clearly far more intense than in the previous three centuries.

Ever more powerful hurricanes, monsoons and forest fires point to a proliferation of extreme weather events that experts relate to global warming.  Yet President Donald Trump and his administration remain obdurate in climate change denial.

Thins are certainly warming up in the White House.  Nikki Haley announced her resignation in an amicable meeting with the president.  A staunch defender of many of Mr. Trump’s most egregious foreign policy changes, the UN Representative will be leaving at the end of the year to pursue opportunities in the private sector.  So said the announcement.  An astute and ambitious politician she has probably reassessed the costs versus benefits of remaining in a Trump administration.  Some tout her as a future presidential candidate.  Should she be successful she will be the first woman president, who also happens to be of Indian and Sikh ancestry.

The rap singer Kanye West visited the president in the Oval office.  A ten-minute rant/rap praising him was followed by a hug for which Mr. West ran round the wide desk that had been seemingly cleared of all paraphernalia for the performance.  He is one of the eight percent of blacks voting Republican.  Sporting the Trump trademark, Make-America-Great-Again red hat, he claimed it made him Superman, his favorite superhero.  And some suggested it was all further proof the place had gone insane.

A little over three weeks remain to the U.S. midterm elections on November 6th.  Their proximity is evidenced not by rallies or debates rather by the barrage of negative TV ads blasting opponents with accusations of shenanigans almost unworthy of a felon.  A couple of months of this and you lose any enthusiasm for voting.  Perhaps it is one reason why nearly half the electorate stays home.  Given such a backdrop, the furor over ‘Russian meddling’ in elections appears to be a trifle misplaced.  Others call the whole business a ‘witch hunt’ and state flatly the U.S. does the same.

The old idiom, ‘put your own house in order’ is particularly apt when we realize the beginning of this affair  was a Democratic National Committee email leak showing ‘the party’s leadership had worked to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign’.  It resulted in the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Always fair, aboveboard elections?  Not bloody likely, as the British would say.  Given the rewards, it’s against human nature.

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The hot November for Trump is arriving

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Political turmoil in the United States has become extremely unpredictable. The turn of events became worse with an op-ed at the New York Times on September 5. Former White House strategist Steve Bannon described it as a coup against Donald Trump.

The reality is that the president faces domestic problems in his second year in office. This has rarely happened in the US political history. The issue is of great importance with regard to the approaching mid-term congressional elections in November. Republicans have the majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate, but they feel the risk of losing the majority in both houses due to Trump’s record.

Indeed, a feeling has emerged among some American politicians that their country is heading in the wrong direction because of Trump’s policies. Even former President Barack Obama has joined the election campaigns by breaking his promise not to get involved in political affairs.

The situation is not also good for Trump internationally. Disagreement with the European Union – a traditional ally of the United States – over trade and political issues, trade war with China, increasing tension with Russia, exit from international treaties such as the Paris climate agreement and the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement Iran, have all made Trump to look dangerous in the eyes of the world. All these issues have made the situation unfavorable for Trump and his government at home and abroad.

But what is the answer of the president of the United States to these criticisms? The answer to this question is one word: economy. However, Trump is proud of his economic record.

According to statistics, the Labor Department published on September 8, US employment growth in August has beat market expectations, the non-farm payrolls increased by 201,000 from the previous month. Analysts were expecting growth of about 195,000.

The unemployment rate for August remained low at 3.9 percent. The average hourly wage rose 2.9 percent from the year before. That’s the highest level since June 2009. The latest figures are increasing speculation that the Federal Reserve will raise its key interest rate this month. The US economy expanded 4.2 percent in the April-to-June quarter, and is expected to grow more than 3 percent in this quarter.

But the economy cannot keep the president of the United States from the edge of criticism. Trump is in a difficult situation and worried about the result of the election and possible control of Congress by Democrats.

Issues such as the confessions of Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen on bribing women for having affairs with Trump and Russia’s possible involvement in the 2016 presidential election could possibly lead to his impeachment and his dismissal from power.

The US constitution says that the impeachment of the president should be endorsed by representatives from both chambers of Congress – the House of Representatives and the Senate. Democrats now have 49 seats in the 100-member Senate, and if they get 51 seats in the November election, they will still need at least 15 Republican senators to impeach Trump.

Still, if Democrats win the November election, even if this victory does not lead to Trump’s impeachment, it can put further pressure on him and cripple his government. According to a CNN poll, decrease in Trump’s popularity even among his supporters shows that the days following the November election will be hard times for Trump and his government.

First published in our partner MNA

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The Next Republic: The Rise of a New Radical Majority- Book Review

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As the title indicates, D.D. Guttenplan’s new book, The Next Republic: The Rise of a New Radical Majority, is about how the fledgling progressive grassroots movement can achieve lasting change in Trump’s America.  Guttenplan writes about several current progressive activist leaders, as well as the successes of activists past.

One current activist Guttenplan chronicles is Corbin Trent.  This Deep South millennial co-founded Brand New Congress and is Co-Director of its sister organization, Justice Democrats.  These two groups were founded after Trump’s election; in the short period of time since, BNC has advanced 9/30 of its US House candidates (all Justice Democrats) to November’s general election; JD has 24 House Candidates and 2 gubernatorial candidates running in November (out of 79 candidates who ran).  2 sitting Representatives, Raul Grijalva and Ro Khanna, plus Senator Pramila Jayapal, chose to become JD’s inaugural members.  This is amazing momentum for a pair of groups who are not only less than two years old, but who also refuse all corporate campaign donations.  The book document’s Trent’s rise from a burger restaurant owner to one of Bernie Sanders’ most dynamic primary campaign organizers to his current breakthroughs in American electoral politics.

Guttenplan writes a lot about the links between civil rights and labor rights.  Though the Democratic centrist line of thought tends to view racial/gender issues and labor issues as being separate and even opposed to each other, the book proves otherwise.  For instance, many of the original suffragettes got their start in activism with the abolitionist crusade.  Also, the famous sit-in protests of the Civil Rights movement were preceded by “sit-down” protests started by the IWW labor union in 1936; the labor-savvy Martin Luther King, Jr. no doubt knew about this protest legacy.  Southern cotton plantation slavery, which would appear as having been universally beneficial to white people, actually rapidly diminished workplace conditions for white textile workers in the North.   Activist Jane McAlvey summarizes this theme of the book as such,  “The civil rights movement couldn’t outvote the political establishment in the South because blacks couldn’t vote.  It was only when they could create a crisis for corporations and businesses in the South and get them to say, ‘We’ve got to stop this because it’s causing economic harm.’”

The chapter on the current mayor of Jackson, MS., Chokwe Antar Lumumba, further illustrates this link.  The son of a black separatist-turned lawyer for clients like Tupac, Lumumba won election in the heart of the Deep South on an openly socialist platform. For instance, he cites the success of the publicly owned Green Bay Packers as inspiration for his plan to open a community-owned movie theater (in a city that has none).  Lumumba and his fellow Jacksonians (of whom 4 in 5 are black) have been facing crippling de-investment since the white-flight and deindustrialization of the 60s and 70s. The city is continuing to face existential budget cuts and threats of a public school takeover from the deeply white/Republican state government.  Lumumba and his citizen-led initiatives are fighting against the state-engineered decline that has claimed many cities.

Perhaps the most illuminating chapters in the book are not about current activists like Trent and Lumumba, but those of the past.  Guttenplan has whole chapters about the Whiskey Rebellion, the Lincoln Administration and FDR’s New Deal.  The author offers brilliant insights into the existential debate the newly independent United States faced between federally minded Founders like Alexander Hamilton and state-oriented Founders like Thomas Jefferson.  This ultimately culminated in the former leading a bloody crackdown on Pennsylvanians participating in the Whiskey Rebellion, which had impacts that reverberate both in the state and nationwide, to this day.

The Lincoln and FDR chapters shed light on the complex interplay of race and economics in how these Presidents addressed slavery and the Great Depression.  The Lincoln chapter does a great job of explaining terms that are barely brushed in typical US high school curricula, such as the Missouri Compromise and the Kansas-Nebraska Act.  Guttenplan notes how the South was perpetually undermining the federal republic even pre-Secession, such as through the Fugitive Slave Act and pro-slavery rioting in the new state of Kansas.  The FDR chapter explores the rise of labor unions, civil rights and Keynesian economics.  Sadly, the book completely ignores the economics and race politics of Roosevelt’s Exec. Order 9066, which expelled 2/3 of Japanese Americans from their homes and sent them into internment camps.  The repossessed houses made many of FDR’s real estate cronies a lot of money.

THE NEXT REPUBLIC provides hope, pragmatism and strategy in equal measure.  It shows the successes and failures of many progressive initiatives, past and present.  The analysis of past eras shows how movements must grow through persistence and a bottoms-up approach, as opposed to the myth of the magnanimous leader.  There are a lot of parallels to be observed in the book on the oligarchic and racial struggles of today and yore.  Surprisingly, the author includes some of the positive populist rhetoric Trump deployed during his campaign -which the media completely ignored, but swing-state voters and former Obama voters didn’t.  Trump has mastered working class rhetoric, but ignored working class policy.  If progressives are to change the tide of America, they must not only craft working class policies (Medicare for All, ending foreign military intervention, banning corporate money in elections), but messaging that will sell it to the American people.

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