US Opinion and Commentary

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Trump Transition Gets Off to Shaky Start

Posted November 15th, 2016 at 4:34 pm (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin It has only been a week since the election, but it feels like an eternity. Despite some gestures toward those who voted against him, Donald Trump appears to be having great difficulty simply putting together a team to organize the transition from the current administration. His choice of Stephen Bannon, editor of […]

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Gold Star Family Feud

Posted August 2nd, 2016 at 5:51 pm (UTC-5)
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After saying Donald Trump is “unfit” to succeed him as president, Barack Obama asked prominent Republicans “if you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John McCain among other Republican icons have denounced Trump’s reaction to criticism leveled by the Gold Star parents of an American Muslim soldier who was killed while protecting fellow soldiers and civilians in Iraq.

Khizr Khan, with his wife at his side, addressed the Democratic National Convention last Thursday, saying “if it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America.”

Trump’s tweets and remarks in an interview afterwards has consumed the political atmosphere for five days now. On Monday, Trump said U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan would not have been killed 12 years ago if he were president then because he wouldn’t have gone to war with Iraq back then.

When asked whether anything useful will come out of this feud with Trump, Khan told VOA “It really, really has come out that a significant larger number of Republicans are asking him to tone down, change those derogatory remarks about minorities, not only just Muslims but other minorities.”

The political fallout from all this is still being calculated.

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RNC Notebook: The GOP Unifies…But Around Who?

Posted July 21st, 2016 at 1:54 pm (UTC-5)
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Are Republicans more unified around Donald Trump or against Hillary Clinton?

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Trump & Clinton: Holiday on the Hustings

Posted July 1st, 2016 at 3:02 pm (UTC-5)
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Heading into the 4th of July weekend, the U.S. presidential race is still relatively close. The Real Clear Politics average of political polls puts Hillary Clinton 4.8 percentage points ahead of Donald Trump.

While it’s still too early to put much stock in polls, it’s notable that a Fox News poll shows a majority of Republicans would prefer someone other than Trump as their party’s nominee.

Trump spent the week blasting the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, taking on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, usually a reliable backer of Republican policies. He also said his former Republican presidential rivals should “never be allowed to run for public office again” because they are breaking a pledge to back the party’s nominee. Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Jeb Bush have yet to endorse Trump.

Clinton spent the week fending off two issues that claw at her credibility. Wednesday’s report from a special House of Representative committee investigating the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya and a meeting between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch as an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server is still pending.

With party conventions scheduled for the last two weeks of July, Trump and Clinton are vetting possible running mates and trying to turn around what are still the highest disapproval ratings for any presidential candidate.

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Politics, Punditry and Puffery

Posted February 26th, 2016 at 3:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Time is running out for Republican Party establishment figures to execute a “Stop Trump” strategy. Next week’s Super Tuesday primaries in 12 states will go a long way in determining whether Trump and Hillary Clinton will be the presumptive presidential nominees. And less than 24 hours after a debate in which Marco Rubio was declared the winner by most political experts, Donald Trump stole the spotlight from him by winning an important endorsement from former presidential candidate Chris Christie. Trump’s ascension — and, to a lesser extent, that of Democrat Bernie Sanders — has upended conventional wisdom in American politics. But political blind spots have allowed Trump’s anti-establishment message to take root.

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Marco Rubio Is In a Precarious Spot In New Hampshire

Posted February 9th, 2016 at 9:19 am (UTC-5)
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Even before Saturday’s debate, Rubio’s hold on second place wasn’t especially secure, and with Rubio, John Kasich, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush all huddled with support in the low teens or high single digits, even a small post-debate dip could push Rubio from second to third … or fourth … or fifth.

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Finally, Voters Speak

Posted February 1st, 2016 at 3:18 pm (UTC-5)
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We’ve heard the speeches, watched the debates, read the polls. Today, the Iowa caucuses take place and the first votes in the 2016 U.S. presidential election are finally cast. Tonight’s exercise in democracy is not tidy, requiring detailed explanation for even the savviest political junkie. But it is the start of a process to determine who will represent the Democrats and Republicans in the race to be President of the United States. The polls show the race in Iowa tightening. But it’s not just about who finishes first. Exceeding expectations can be just as important, creating momentum for next week’s primary contest in New Hampshire.

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Next Stop: Iowa

Posted January 29th, 2016 at 2:32 pm (UTC-5)
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A year ago, the 2016 presidential race was a bit of a yawn. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was the presumptive Republican nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was headed for a landslide on the Democratic side. A lot can change in a year’s time. Clinton is locked in a tight race with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump’s wildly unconventional campaign has sucked up all the air in the Republican Party. On Monday, the Iowa caucus will turn polling data into actual votes. Historically, an Iowa win has not guaranteed a White House win. But as everyone agrees, this is no ordinary American election season. And with so many other local factors – a majority white population, rural, active evangelicals, the cold weather – predicting the outcome is especially difficult.

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Debate About the Debate

Posted January 15th, 2016 at 4:14 pm (UTC-5)
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Smackdown. Fight Club. Nasty. Ugly. Surreal.

The stinging words used by pundits to describe for Thursday’s Republican presidential debate hat most observers say shrunk the 11-person field to a likely two-man race between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.Cruz seemed to effectively shut down Trump’s attempt to cast doubt that he is constitutionally qualified to serve as president, because Cruz was born in Canada to American citizens. And by dramatically recounting his 9/11 experience, Trump countered the “New York values” tarring Cruz used to question Trumps conservative credentials. The other four candidates on stage were left to try to claw their way into the fray, cast aside as the two frontrunners slugged it out.

Now, many political observers predict a two or three man race for the Republican nomination.And despite an air of resigned acceptance that Donald Trump may indeed become Republican nominee, it is important to remember this: not a single vote has been cast in the race for the White House.

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Sizing Up the U.S. Election’s Opening Round

Posted January 15th, 2016 at 10:18 am (UTC-5)
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If you find America’s presidential election campaign puzzling, you probably have a better grasp of it than those who are willing to predict an outcome. At this point, with both major parties set to choose their nominees in state-level primary elections or caucuses, there can be no predictions, only informed (or uninformed) guesses.

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GOP Candidates Gang Up on Trump as Terror Threat Dominates 5th Debate

Posted December 16th, 2015 at 2:08 pm (UTC-5)
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Some political pundits say last night’s fifth Republican presidential debate revealed two things: Donald Trump’s polling dominance may be waning, and the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino forced the candidates to engage in a substantive discussion about US foreign policy and national security. Republican Senator Ted Cruz trended upward along with former Governor Jeb Bush, who many agreed gave his best performance yet. Other observers noted that Trump appeared to pull back from the spotlight as others united to attack his controversial proposal to ban all Muslims from the entering the United States. Still others clalim Trump won the debate nonetheless; others say it was a draw. Either way, the race to win the nomination of the party is moving into a new and more serious phase as the Iowa caucus beckons.

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Christie Bets Fear of Terrorism Will Boost His Chances in 2016

Posted November 25th, 2015 at 11:17 am (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin The horrific attacks in Paris and elsewhere in the world this month are giving new energy to the campaign of New Jersey governor Chris Christie for the Republican presidential nomination. In campaign appearances in New Hampshire – site of the first primary vote next year – and on Tuesday before the Council […]

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