US Opinion and Commentary

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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.

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.

Is Donald Trump Really Scared of Megyn Kelly?

Posted January 28th, 2016 at 2:12 pm (UTC-5)
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The real question is how does this play with the independent voters who haven’t backed Trump so far? I can’t believe any will be impressed by Trump quitting the debate.

In the Age of Trump, Grim Warnings From Holocaust Survivors

Posted January 28th, 2016 at 8:48 am (UTC-5)
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This year’s Holocaust remembrance comes at a time when Donald Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, retweets to his nearly 6 million followers a message from @WhiteGenocideTM based in “Jewmerica,” and a time when his nearest challenger, Ted Cruz, brandishes the endorsement of a minister who says Hitler was a “hunter” sent after the […]

A Two-way Race by March

Posted January 27th, 2016 at 5:35 pm (UTC-5)
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…[W]hen it comes down to two candidates, many voters who may not have voted for Trump or Cruz as their first choice will have to choose the lesser of these two “evils.” Ironically … the nomination could go to the one who is most broadly acceptable — or least widely unacceptable.

President Bloomberg?

Posted January 27th, 2016 at 9:51 am (UTC-5)
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The former New York mayor is considering a run as an independent. His thinking reportedly is that if the two major parties shun experienced and relatively centrist contenders, there will be a big gap in the middle of the political spectrum that he could fill.

For Trump, Honesty Isn’t Best Policy

Posted January 27th, 2016 at 9:11 am (UTC-5)
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Trump seems to lie, distort or simply make stuff up about anything that fits his narrative that the country has gone to hell, that President Obama is an incompetent weakling and that immigrants are threatening to destroy the nation. When challenged with the facts, Trump almost never backs down.

The U.S. Political Turmoil is Ultimately a Strength

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 9:30 am (UTC-5)
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America often looks dysfunctional because its problems are on display and debated daily. Everything … is out there and open to constant criticism. But this transparency means that people have information, and it forces the country to look at its problems, grapple with them and react.

366 Days Away

Posted January 20th, 2016 at 3:54 pm (UTC-5)
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366 days from today — one calendar leap year — someone new will be reciting the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States. And so far, the 2016 presidential campaign has been defined by the term anti-establishment. Bernie Sanders — a self-described socialist and independent — is making a strong run at the Democrats’ establishment candidate, former Secretary of State and First Lady, Hillary Clinton. Among Republicans, the anti-establishment candidate is the front-runner. Donald Trump jumped into the lead in the polls and has yet to be toppled. While Democrats are not questioning Sanders’ party credentials, the same cannot be said for Trump and the Republicans, to the point where some icons of the conservative movement say they can envision a third party conservative candidate if Trump is the Republican standard bearer.

Palin Endorse Trump: Yea, We Saw That Coming

Posted January 20th, 2016 at 2:09 pm (UTC-5)
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Corralling Palin aboard the Trump train is like doubling down on his outsider appeal. She is still something of the darling of grass-roots conservatives.

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.

Trump is the Teflon Donald

Posted January 15th, 2016 at 2:08 pm (UTC-5)
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He also is Teflon-coated because he doesn’t have a Washington record to defend, and no one is willing to challenge his business record, which politely put, is complicated.

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.

Cruz Vs. Trump: It’s On

Posted January 14th, 2016 at 3:18 pm (UTC-5)
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“Hold your friends close and your enemies closer.” That adage is playing out on the Republican side of the presidential race. For months, Ted Cruz has been loathe to criticize front-runner Donald Trump, unlike the rest of the GOP candidates. Trump accepted Cruz’s invitation to join him in a Tea Party rally against the Iran nuclear deal on Capitol Hill in August. They shared a laugh during the last debate when Cruz suggested he’d build a wall on the Mexico border “and have Donald Trump pay for it.”

Now, the bloom is off the rose. Trump is now questioning whether Cruz constitutionally qualifies for president since he was born in Canada, albeit to American parents. Cruz shot back, saying Trump has “New York values” in the hopes that plays well with audiences in mostly rural Iowa, where the first votes of the campaign will be cast February 1. What may not play well in Iowa is a New York Times report that Cruz failed to report a large loan from New York-based bank Goldman Sachs, where his wife works. The loan appears to belie the narrative Cruz has woven that he and his wife liquidated their entire personal net worth to finance his campaign for Senate in 2012. Although Cruz has won enough support in Iowa to close in on Trump, he’s made many political enemies along the way. This act of political theater will be playing out tonight as the Republicans take the stage for yet another debate.

Our World in 2016

Posted December 31st, 2015 at 10:09 am (UTC-5)
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Predicting what the future holds is nearly always a risky pursuit. We can examine and dissect events past, trends and patterns, but do we ever really know what is to come? We do in one case: America will elect a new president in 2016, ending President Barack Obama’s second term. And experts agree overwhelmingly that the world will continue to be plagued by the threat of terrorism. But what about the global economy? Gun violence? The Iran nuke deal? Europe’s migrant crisis? Some of the world’s most pressing issues will be stubbornly familiar and hard to remedy; others are likely to emerge as new challenges in a new year.