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Old 7th March 2016, 10:50
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Is Trump a Sleeper Agent for Moscow?
STOPFAKE.ORG March 02, 2016 - 13:24s

The media are having a field day over the fact that former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke supports Donald Trump for president. Trump has disavowed him. But why does Duke support Trump in the first place? It really has nothing to do with appeals to white voters. The significance of Duke’s support for Trump consists of their similar views on Russia, Cliff Kincaid wrote for Accuracy of Media.

Trump has spoken highly of Russian President Vladimir Putin, describing him as a strong leader who defends Russian interests and who could be an ally of the United States, especially in the Middle East. Duke believes much the same thing, and has a personal relationship with a long-time adviser to Putin who has devised an anti-American “Eurasian” alliance that includes Iran in the Middle East.

Those like Republican Senator Jeff Sessions (AL) who endorse Trump because he sounds tough on immigration have an obligation to understand how Trump’s deference to Russian aggression in the Middle East will only increase the flow of immigrants into Europe and the United States.

Our military leaders understand this and are speaking publicly about it. Last week, at a hearing conducted by the House Armed Services Committee, Air Force General Philip M. Breedlove, the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and commander of U.S. European Command, said, “Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration from Syria in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve.”

The term “weaponizing” means that the Russians are deliberately using the refugee crisis as a weapon against the West.

“Russia’s military intervention in Syria has bolstered the regime of Bashar al-Assad, targeted U.S.-supported opposition elements, and complicated U.S. and Coalition operations against ISIL,” Breedlove said, referring to ISIS. “The Syrian crisis is destabilizing the entire region, and Russia’s military intervention changed the dynamics of the conflict, which may lead to new or greater threats to the U.S. and its Allies for years to come.”

Breedlove is saying that Russia’s so-called war against ISIS is a fraud, and that the military operations of the Islamic State have actually benefited from Russian intervention in Syria.

This is why Duke’s support for the Trump candidacy deserves a second look from the media and conservatives leaning in favor of the businessman.

The real significance of Duke’s support for Trump is not that Trump appeals to white people. Many mainstream conservatives and ordinary Americans think Trump has a valid point about the urgent need to control America’s borders.

Item number four in Duke’s editorial about his support for Trump is very revealing in this regard. He says that Trump will “Ensure that the USA will not go to war with Russia and create Word War III.” This absurd claim seems to be entirely based on the Russian propaganda carried by Russia Today, the global channel financed by Moscow, and other official Russian sources. To the contrary, it is Russia that is waging war in Ukraine and the Middle East and threatening America and its allies—especially NATO member Turkey, and Israel.

Duke is a former KKK leader. In recent years, however, he has functioned as a propagandist for Russia and Iran. An article on the Duke website from a Russian writer says the following about Duke:

He is has been a major force here in eliminating the last traces of that Jewish invasion of Russia. David Duke has seen that a proud and free Russian people are a key to the survival of European mankind. He is as important to this new revolution for freedom and heritage here today as John Reed was for Bolshevik enslavement 87 years earlier.

The latter is part of the Russian propaganda that Soviet communism was somehow “imposed” on Russia by international bankers, code language for Jews. Duke offers a book, “The Secret Behind Communism,” claiming Jews are the source of Russia’s problems.

Interestingly, Putin has done much the same thing, blaming the Jews for the Soviet communism that he once served as a KGB officer.

Duke has featured Iranian propaganda on his website, including a report about a 2006 Iranian government conference on the Holocaust that he attended. The conference was called by the then-President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who notoriously called for the elimination of the state of Israel. Speakers at the event cast doubt on the Nazi regime’s persecution and murder of six million Jews.

The website features a photo of Duke and Alexander Dugin, a one-time adviser to President Putin’s United Russia Party. Duke traveled to Russia and met with Dugin, calling him “one of the leading intellectuals of Russia’s patriotic movement.” Analyst Pawel Styrna, a researcher at the Institute of World Politics, says Dugin is associated with the idea of restoring Russia’s greatness through a “Eurasian empire” that includes Iran and drives an “international anti-American coalition.”

Former KGB officer Konstantin Preobrazhensky says Eurasianism was actually developed by Soviet intelligence in the 1920s, and later popularized by Dugin after the Soviet collapse. In the 1990s, he said, Dugin held seminars which were attended by the high-positioned Russian intelligence officer, Sergei Ivanov, who was later the Russian Minister of Defense and is the current chief of staff to President Putin.

The Russian-Iranian axis in the Middle East is now threatening Turkey, and Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves may be their next target. Referring to Russian aggression in the Middle East and Europe, former Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) has said in an article about increasing global conflict that he asked a European ally of the U.S. what is needed at this time, and that the reply was “American leadership.”

Trump, of course, says he wants to make America great again. But Republican Senator Ben Sasse (NE) notes that Trump has described Putin, who has killed journalists and is pillaging Ukraine, as a great leader. Sasse says he just couldn’t vote for Trump.

Trump has his own Alexander Dugin—a political operative and alleged dirty trickster by the name of Roger Stone. A “former” Trump adviser who now runs a pro-Trump Super PAC, Stone wrote a book using Russian sources that blamed President Lyndon Johnson for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. His latest book is about what he calls the “Bush Crime Family”—including the two former Republican presidents—and credits such sources as Webster Tarpley, formerly associated with convicted con man and Marxist Lyndon LaRouche. Tarpley is a prominent figure in the so-called 9/11 Truth Movement, which blames unnamed U.S. officials for carrying out the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Stone’s book accuses the Bushes of drug trafficking and genocide, among other crimes.

With figures like Roger Stone and David Duke in his corner, the conclusion of conservative journalist Fred Barnes that Donald Trump’s candidacy will destroy the Republican Party and elect Hillary Clinton as president starts making more and more sense. As the campaign goes on and Trump appears increasingly likely to get the GOP presidential nomination, the Republican candidates who have been reluctant to take him on will be replaced by news organs in the media anxious to look behind the curtain. We already know that, beyond such fringe characters as David Duke and Roger Stone, we find close associates of Putin like Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov.

Indeed, it appears that Trump’s recipe for a new Republican Party has all the earmarks of the nationalist and populist parties in Europe that either take Russian money or sing Putin’s praises. Such a development would mean the end of American foreign policy leadership and the destruction of American allies, especially in the Middle East. Is Trump a Sleeper Agent for Moscow?
Source: Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy of Media

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Old 7th March 2016, 12:22
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March 4, 2016
Letters to the Editor Cornel Osadsa
John Kasich deserves Ukrainian Americans’ votes

Dear Editor:

The last few years have seen the nation of our ancestors under attack by an increasingly aggressive Russia. This election year, we have the opportunity to change the attitude and resolve of the White House toward the crisis in Ukraine.

Recently, I spent an hour at a town hall meeting in Worcester, Mass., with John Kasich, the governor of Ohio. After listening to him speak, I am convinced that Mr. Kasich, as president of the United States, will curtail Russia’s hostilities in Ukraine. During the event, Mr. Kasich asked if there were any Ukrainian Americans in the audience. (Four of us, out of 700, cheered loudly.) At that point, he said that he, unlike President Obama, would follow the congressional mandate to send arms to Ukraine. (By the way, Mr. Kasich has learned his lesson and did not say, “the Ukraine.”)

Beyond his strongly positive attitude about defending Ukraine, Mr. Kasich transformed an inherited $8 billion budget deficit in Ohio into a $2 billion surplus. His administration helped to create over 300,000 private-sector jobs, while simultaneously increasing the average salary in Ohio, and decreasing taxes by $5 billion. These facts alone should warrant any voter’s attention.

All of this year’s presidential candidates, Democrat or Republican, have the usual “vision,” but only Mr. Kasich has quantifiable results. He is also the only candidate to abstain from the bitter insults and accusations polluting this year’s campaigns more than ever.

I urge all Ukrainian Americans, Democrat or Republican, to vote for John Kasich in their respective state primaries or caucuses.

North Grafton, Mass.
John Kasich deserves Ukrainian Americans’ votes | The Ukrainian Weekly

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Old 14th March 2016, 08:42
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Ohio Looms Large in Both Races on Tuesday

WEST CHESTER, Ohio — Unsettled by images of violence and ugliness at Donald J. Trump’s rallies, the Republican leaders pushing to stop him are desperately targeting voters in the five big states that vote on Tuesday.

The weekend of disturbances at Mr. Trump’s rallies injected more unease into the race, and the appeals of his rivals turned emotional and urgent. On Sunday, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida warned that a Trump White House would exploit hatred and stir violence. “Imagine what that means for the country,” Mr. Rubio said. “Imagine the tone it sets for our culture.”

Ohio has emerged as a critical contest, the one large state voting this week where Mr. Trump appears vulnerable. A victory here by Gov. John Kasich would complicate Mr. Trump’s attempt to gather a majority of delegates needed for the nomination.

On the Democratic side, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont hoped for a repeat of his stunning upset over Hillary Clinton last week in Michigan, as he hopscotched the Midwest to push his central message that American workers have suffered too much under trade deals.

Although the states that voted two weeks ago on “Super Tuesday” received much attention, the contests this week are potentially even more important.

A total of 424 delegates are up for grabs on the Republican side, and, for the first time, states can award all of their delegates to the winner of the popular vote.

With two polls in recent days showing Mr. Kasich with an edge over Mr. Trump in Ohio, whose 66 delegates will be awarded winner-take-all on Tuesday, Mr. Trump made multiple stops in the state over the weekend and added a last-minute return visit on Monday, canceling an appearance in Florida, where he has a strong lead.

Mr. Trump held two rallies on Sunday that were mainly free of protesters’ disturbances.

The unrest at Mr. Trump’s rallies has made the race more tense. Mr. Trump blamed Mr. Sanders’s supporters for shutting down a Trump rally on Friday in Chicago. But he has been sympathetic to his supporters who have become violent. On Sunday, Mr. Trump said he would consider paying the legal costs for a man who was charged last week with assaulting a protester being escorted from a rally in Fayetteville, N.C.

In West Chester, Ohio, on Sunday, Mr. Trump spoke on a raised platform surrounded by a cordon of uniformed and plainclothes officers.

If Mr. Kasich is defeated in Ohio, he has indicated he will exit the race. Mr. Rubio is likely to withdraw, too, if he loses his home state, Florida. That would leave Mr. Trump facing Senator Ted Cruz of Texas in a head-to-head competition, and polls show Mr. Trump is weaker in that matchup than in a multicandidate field.

Mr. Cruz, who is well behind in the polls in Ohio and Florida, focused on the other three states voting on Tuesday: Missouri, North Carolina and Illinois, where he planned to hold five events on Monday.

Mr. Cruz said he was “neck and neck” with Mr. Trump in the three states.

In the Democratic campaign, aides to Mrs. Clinton predicted tight races in the Midwestern states, where economically struggling voters have gravitated to Mr. Sanders. They were optimistic about winning Florida and North Carolina, where black, Hispanic and older voters were expected to give Mrs. Clinton a healthy edge in the race for delegates.

Mr. Sanders has linked Mrs. Clinton, in speeches and a television ad, to Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, whose record on policing and fights with public-sector unions are unpopular with progressive voters.

In Missouri on Sunday, Mr. Sanders told a crowd that he had, “from Day 1, been a leader in opposition to these disastrous trade policies.” He added, “Secretary Clinton has supported virtually all of them.”

With Mr. Sanders’s ads attacking her support of global trade deals, Mrs. Clinton has emphasized her proposals to lift employment while criticizing the Vermont senator for being short on specific plans.

Speaking at a factory in Youngstown, Ohio, over the weekend, Mrs. Clinton vowed to end steel-dumping practices by China and other nations that undermine the economy in the industrial Mahoning Valley. “I have always been committed to bringing back manufacturing,” she said. “And I’m the only candidate, on either side, who actually has a plan to do that.”

With Ohio a perennial swing state in presidential elections, and its racially and economically diverse voters fiercely fought over, it was no surprise that candidates converged here in the final hours.

Mr. Trump attacked Mr. Kasich for his support of the Common Core education standards, for a private-sector job at Lehman Brothers, whose 2008 collapse Mr. Trump said “almost destroyed the world,” and for supporting trade deals that he blamed for harming the manufacturing sector.

Mr. Kasich accused Mr. Trump of creating “a toxic atmosphere” and said Mr. Trump was on the verge of disqualifying himself to represent the party because of his divisive speech.

The world’s eyes were glued to the scenes of mayhem and discord Mr. Trump has created, Mr. Kasich said.

“Our enemies are going to take advantage of them,” Mr. Kasich told voters near Cleveland. “Our friends are scratching their heads saying, ‘What the heck is happening in America?’ ”

Mr. Kasich, who has boasted of bringing 400,000 jobs to Ohio and has visited businesses that opened under his watch, has marshaled nearly the entire elected Republican apparatus of Ohio.

On Monday, Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee who has been an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump, will appear with Mr. Kasich at two Ohio rallies.

Matt Borges, chairman of the state Republicans, warned that if Mr. Trump was the nominee, his divisiveness would cost Republicans the state in the general election. “If we don’t carry Ohio in the fall, we don’t elect a Republican to the White House,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s rally here was in West Chester, the hometown of John Boehner, the former House speaker who resigned last year out of frustration with the no-compromise wing of House Republicans. In a rare public appearance, Mr. Boehner endorsed Mr. Kasich at a county Republican dinner in West Chester on Saturday. The Trump rally on Sunday, just a few miles away, was attended by many hundreds more people.

“Kasich’s done a great job with Ohio,” said Doug Mason, a concrete laborer, but he still planned to vote for Mr. Trump. “I think Trump will be John Kasich on steroids.”

The town-hall-style event for Mr. Trump was most notable for his response to a man who said it was important “for a lot of veterans in Ohio” that Mr. Trump clarify a comment, made last year, that former prisoners of war like Senator John McCain were not heroes.

“Oh no, no, no,” Mr. Trump said. “They are real heroes.”

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Old 19th March 2016, 11:21
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NY TIMES Op-Ed Columnist Gail Collins MARCH 18, 2016
50 Ways to Leave The Donald

Rational Republicans are desperately trying to figure out a way to get rid of Donald Trump. Their desperation is so great, you’d expect someone to release a herd of crocodiles on Mar-a-Lago.

Taking an even more dire route, the former presidential candidate Senator Lindsey Graham endorsed Ted Cruz. That was a little embarrassing for Graham, who had joked, just a few weeks ago: “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.”

And if you endorsed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, people would — stare at you blankly? Move their desks to the other side of the room? Cruz, the only senator left in the race, now has the solid support of two colleagues. If it keeps going like this, by summer he’ll have enough friends to fill a closet. Even Mitt Romney, who announced he’d be voting for Cruz in the Utah caucuses, made it clear that wasn’t an endorsement or anything.

Rather than pursue the Cruz option, a lot of Republicans are plotting about a contested convention when they gather in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena. Before we go any further, let’s spend one second contemplating that name. Do you think anybody at the Republican National Committee pointed out that there could be a lot of stories about how party leaders “have all turned their thoughts to Quicken Loans …”?

It could be worse. There’s a stadium in Akron, Ohio, named InfoCision. And there’s the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. Cities have sold their souls when it comes to naming rights. I’m happy to report, however, that back in the 1970s when New York was planning its big new convention facility, officials resisted the efforts of a certain real estate developer to get it named the Trump Center.

But about the contested convention. There are 2,472 delegates, most of them pledged to vote for one candidate on the first ballot. But if nobody gets a majority — contested! Anything could happen. And you probably have questions, so fire away.

Why are there 2,472 delegates?

That’s a really terrible first question. How many would you prefer? There were only 261 electors in 1824, and they couldn’t come up with a majority — even though one of the leading candidates had suffered a paralytic stroke. And then they sent the whole thing to the House of Representatives, where John Quincy Adams won by one vote, cast by an addled representative from New York who allegedly saw a piece of paper on the floor with Adams’s name on it and thought it was a sign from God.

I don’t think that story actually has anything to do with party conventions.

No, but it’s pretty interesting, right? And Andrew Jackson, the nonparalyzed loser, never got over it. Still, he didn’t go around threatening riots in the streets.

Like Donald Trump?

Be fair. Trump has made it clear he never threatened riots if he got snookered out of the nomination. He just predicted riots.

What about his supporters?

This week a Trump policy adviser, Sam Clovis, demanded that Republicans “get on the train or they’re going to end up under the train,” which sounds pretty firm. This is a guy you want to pay attention to. Trump, you may remember, recently said his primary foreign policy adviser was himself. On the domestic front, it appears to be pretty much down to Clovis, an evangelical conservative activist and former failed candidate for Iowa state treasurer.

If Trump doesn’t get the nomination and everybody hates Cruz, who would they give it to?

Well, there’s John Kasich, who won the Ohio primary. True, he had a special advantage, what with being governor of Ohio and all. But that’s still something, right? And he’s been endorsed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and the former governor of Utah. I’m not saying Kasich’s candidacy is snowballing, but you could definitely call it a partial flake. Yet so far, the only people talking up a Kasich convention strategy appear to be immediate family members.

There’s nobody else?

That seems to be a problem. Right now, there’s a Republican rule that says the delegates can’t consider anybody who didn’t win a majority of delegates in eight states. They passed that in 2012 to make life easier for Mitt Romney. Hehehehe.

Wow, is there any way around that?

Sure. There are a lot of primaries to go. A bunch of outraged moderates could rise up and stage a write-in campaign. You know how wild-eyed and crazy Republican moderates can get. Or they could just change the rule.

Sounds like changing the rule would be more likely.

Yeah, right now we’re excited about a contested convention in Cleveland. By next month we’ll be obsessing over the meeting of the Republican National Convention Rules Committee.

I still don’t see who they’re imagining as the candidate.

There’s not exactly a long waiting line. Some people are talking about Romney parachuting in, which gives you an idea of their level of desperation. The crocodiles would seem to be more promising.

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Old 19th March 2016, 11:31
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Campaign Stops - Kasich, the Boulder Between the G.O.P. and Trump
NY TIMES Gail Collins MARCH 15, 2016

Wow, John Kasich.

The governor of Ohio is not normally a person you’d connect with a “wow.” Maybe a “jeepers.” Or a “huh!” But here he is! The medium-size, crinkly-eyed boulder between the Republican Party and Donald Trump.

Kasich got more than 40 percent of the vote in Ohio, which might be the only non-Trump-triumphant saga of the night. There was a time, people, when you would really not have been throwing confetti in the air just because a Republican governor who believes “you’ve got to help people that are downtrodden and poor” won the presidential primary in his own state. But we are where we are.

“I labored in obscurity for so long!” said the triumphant governor, whose most celebrated victory until now was coming in second in New Hampshire with 16 percent of the vote. Now he’s having dreams about a contested convention where delegates flee from the specters of Trump and Ted Cruz into his arms.

In the Republican debates, Kasich was a sort of fuzzy presence, the guy on the end who kept talking about the House budget committee in 1997. Or being positive. At times it was like a bunch of gladiators smashing into one another at the coliseum while one chipper combatant wandered around shaking his head and urging everybody to get along.

Can Kasich go all the way? Doesn’t seem likely. But then Ohio does like to call itself the Mother of Presidents. Eight came from Ohio in one way or another. True, that included Warren Harding and William Henry Harrison, who lasted for only a month. But on the plus side there’s … William McKinley.

Right now he certainly seems like the only non-appalling option the Republicans have, even though there are a lot of people in Ohio right now who are shaking their heads in stupefaction at the sight of their governor as the nation’s poster boy for moderation. He’s signed an absolute mountain of anti-abortion bills — nearly half of the clinics in the state have shut down during his tenure. His enthusiasm for giving public funding to private, for-profit schools has been scandalous. And on the economic front he has the usual conservative contempt for taxing residents according to their ability to pay.

But he doesn’t think we should ban Muslims or deport millions of immigrants. And there’s always that thing about the downtrodden. This year, it’s as good as the Republicans can hope for. And the other options are so really, really bad. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/op...n-the-gop.html

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Old 19th March 2016, 21:15
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Voting systems - How the Republicans can stop someone like Trump getting this close again
Mar 17th 2016 THE ECONOMIST

AND then there were three. The winnowing of the Republican presidential field has not proceeded as anyone would have expected last summer. Now that Marco Rubio has suspended his campaign following his disastrous showing in his home state of Florida, all the pre-primary favourites, including Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, have bowed out. Instead, the finalists are Donald Trump, a joke candidate turned dominant front-runner; Ted Cruz, the “most hated man in the Senate”; and John Kasich, a mild-mannered Midwestern governor who looked doomed (and probably still is) to a Jon Huntsman-style also-ran finish. It can be hard to see what, if anything, these candidates have in common. But upon further review, it is the yawning chasms between them that are the most revealing about the current state of the nomination process.

Mr Rubio was an on-and-off leader in betting markets on the Republican nomination because he seemed like the only candidate with a credible path to uniting the party’s disparate wings. He was sufficiently business-friendly and tax-averse to win over the Chamber of Commerce, religious enough for fundamentalist Christians and hawkish enough for the neo-cons. In the wake of his defeat, the conventional wisdom about Mr Rubio has reversed, transforming his broad acceptability from a feature into a bug. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, the “Republican Savior” was everyone’s second choice and no one’s first.

In contrast, each of the three survivors has distinguished himself by being the single most compelling candidate to one slice of the GOP electorate. Although Mr Kasich actually has a staunch right-wing record on issues like abortion and climate change, he made a wise strategic decision to run closer to the centre than any of his rivals dared. That distinguished him from Mr Bush and Chris Christie as the only true moderate in the race, and enabled him to win over enough of what used to be called Rockefeller Republicans to finish second in New Hampshire and keep his run alive. Mr Cruz’s campaign has been a mirror image of Mr Kasich’s: the government-shuttering Texas senator is one of the most conservative serious presidential candidates America has seen. And Mr Trump has revealed the electoral power of an ideology-scrambling nativist populism, channeling the ghosts of Ross Perot and George Wallace to become the favourite of a disaffected plurality of the electorate that has not had a champion in decades. In the land of a fractured Republican Party, it is the factional candidate—the divider, not the uniter—that is king.

While this trend may have upended the early consensus about Mr Rubio’s wide-ranging appeal, it should come as no surprise to political scientists who study voting systems. Mr Trump is yet to win an outright majority in a single state. The reason he has amassed such a commanding advantage is that he has consistently been a mild plurality winner—he leads Mr Cruz by 37% to 27% in the national primary contest—in a multi-way race, under delegate-assignment rules that include a healthy dose of first-past-the-post (FPTP) vote allocation (much of it by Congressional district). Unless the electorate becomes adept at tactical voting—a proposition that, judging by the befuddled reaction to the suggestion by an aide to Mr Rubio that his supporters pull the lever for Mr Kasich in Ohio, remains a long way off—FPTP all but ensures that a candidate with “deep but narrow” support like Mr Trump will beat one with a “wide but shallow” base such as Mr Rubio. As outlined in the book The Party Decides, Republican elites have surmounted this obstacle in the past by using their sway over the media, donors and the future political careers of losing candidates to clear the decks for their preferred choice. But in 2016, when the party decided not to decide, the full fury of FPTP was unleashed at last.

Given the magnitude of the fissures in the GOP, getting its bigwigs to rally around a single favourite during future “invisible primaries” before election years may be a tall order. Fortunately, such a massive behind-the-scenes coordination effort may not be necessary to reinstate the party’s speedy and orderly nomination contests of yore. All it would take is a modest tweak to the primary voting system.

Republicans are already comfortable with alternatives to FPTP, given that some states assign delegates via strict proportional representation (PR). A lesser-known method, which is widely touted as an antidote to the drawbacks of both FPTP and PR, is called instant-runoff voting (IRV). Crucially, IRV takes information about second-choice support that Americans can currently only acquire from polls—if your favourite candidate were not in the race, whom would you plump for next—and makes it explicit at the ballot box. Rather than simply opting for one contender, voters are required to rank all the candidates in order of preference. Assuming no one wins an outright majority of number-one votes, all of the ballots for the candidate with the fewest first-place backers are reassigned to those voters’ second choices. If that fails to yield a majority, the bottom-ranked candidate is again eliminated and those ballots reallocated to their next-ranked remaining option, and so on until one competitor surpasses 50%.

IRV is political kryptonite for factional, “low-ceiling” candidates like Mr Trump. They will often win the initial round by getting the highest number of first-place votes. However, if everyone who doesn’t love them hates them, then they will be mired near the bottom of the ballots of a large majority of the electorate, ensuring that they will never get enough second, third, or fourth-place support to move up from 35% or 40% to the magical 50%. In contrast, a consensus candidate like Mr Rubio, who was obliterated under FPTP, is tailor-made for IRV. Even though he might only get 10% of first-place votes, support would be transferred to him from a wide range of candidates as they were eliminated. That would enable him to race past a paralysed Mr Trump in the later rounds. A further advantage of IRV is that it maintains the flexibility to let states set different thresholds for how many ways they want to split their delegates. While a winner-take-all state would let the process continue until it yielded a single victor, a more PR-minded one might stop the process at a different point, and allocate delegates proportionally after IRV narrows the field sufficiently.

Condescending Democrats might sneer that asking knee-jerk voters for the Party of Trump to give careful consideration to their ninth-choice selection is a big ask, and that jingoistic Republicans could never stomach a “foreign” system primarily used to choose the legislatures of Australia and Ireland. But IRV is in fact more natively American than, say, the Canadian-born Mr Cruz: it was invented in 1870 by William Robert Ware, a distinguished architect from Massachusetts. And although it is currently used by only a handful of cities in America, Utah’s Republican Party deployed it in 2004 to nominate Mr Huntsman for his successful run for governor. Moreover, one of its best-known practitioners is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which selects the Best Picture winner using IRV. And given the kerfuffle over the organisation’s propensity to nominate exclusively white actors for major Oscars, Mr Trump’s less savoury supporters should have no trouble following its lead. Voting systems: How the Republicans can stop someone like Trump getting this close again | The Economist
Trump has the support of the most extreme third of Republicans. Most Republicans and Democrats think Trump is a big-mouthed buffoon running for his high school class presidency.


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Old 20th March 2016, 23:08
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Lexington - The view from the rustbelt
Even workers protected by trade tariffs feel angry and neglected
Mar 19th 2016 The Economist

AMERICA feels sick at heart this year. Can conventional politics cure that malaise, or will voters turn to those peddling radical remedies, from trade wars to high border walls? That question weighs heavily in midwestern states, where factories propelled millions of post-war workers into middle-class prosperity. Though rustbelt states like Ohio, Michigan and Illinois helped Barack Obama win the White House, this year many midwestern voters seem drawn to fiery candidates who offer the sharpest contrast with the president’s cool, headmasterly style: from Donald Trump on the right to Senator Bernie Sanders on the left.

More traditional politicians, starting with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, are moving to placate unhappy voters by promising “fair trade”, using import rules to punish unfair competition by such rivals as China. Mrs Clinton, who lost the Michigan primary to Mr Sanders earlier this month, took Ohio on March 15th after tacking to the left on trade: at an Ohio Democratic dinner shortly before the primary she promised to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a flagship trade bill supported by Mr Obama.

A day before the Ohio primary Lexington travelled to Findlay, a frayed-at-the-edges town of 41,000 people which is home to one of Ohio’s larger tyre plants. The smell of cooking rubber hangs over its streets. Twice under Mr Obama, anti-dumping tariffs of up to 88% have been slapped on imported Chinese tyres at the prodding of the United Steelworkers union (USW), to protect jobs at plants including the Cooper Tire & Rubber factory in Findlay. Mr Obama cited the tariffs in his state-of-the-union message in 2012, declaring: “Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tyres.”

Such tariffs are rare, making Findlay’s tyre-builders an unusually well-protected minority. Their plant offers a glimpse of what might happen if a President Trump (or Sanders) fulfils his promise to use tariffs and taxes to keep manufacturing jobs in America. Economically trade barriers are a bad and harmful idea, but what Findlay offers is a case study in the politics of trade.

An evening shift-change saw lines of men leave the Cooper plant, lunch-boxes in hand. Most felt that tariffs on China had helped them: one called them a “game-changer” that had saved jobs and prompted extra shifts. But, strikingly, praise for the president was mostly dwarfed by anger at the state of the country. Some workers said they were Democrats but felt underwhelmed by Mr Obama. Others, Republicans, expressed suspicion verging on contempt for the president. Mr Obama is “the worst ****ing piece of **** in this country, he should move to China”, spat a bearded worker in a camouflage hunting jacket who declined to give his name, turning back to add, pre-emptively: “And I’ve got black friends, so it isn’t that.” Another worker, Josh Wilkerson, a Trump supporter, said that anti-China tariffs were good, but he shared his colleague’s belief that, mostly, “Obama is for the people who don’t work.”

Several workers accused Democrats of scorning traditional values. Jerry Eatherton said that tariffs on Chinese tyres have “helped a ton”, and voted for Mr Obama’s re-election in 2012. But this year he will support “anybody except Hillary”. Mr Eatherton is a hunter who feeds his family with venison and other game. Mrs Clinton, he avers, would like to take away the gun with which he puts “food on my table”. Several workers were for Mr Sanders (who on primary night won Hancock County, of which Findlay is the seat). A number declared Mr Trump “scary” and backed Governor John Kasich of Ohio, a Republican who won his home-state primary (Mr Kasich’s line on trade is Clintonesque in its nuances). Yet Mr Trump has won other rustbelt primaries in Illinois and Michigan, and dominates nationwide in exit polls among white voters without a college education.

In dozens of interviews at the tyre plant, one person backed Mrs Clinton: Rod Nelson, president of the Cooper plant’s union branch, Local 207L of the United Steelworkers, and that was in the “realist” belief that she will be the Democratic nominee. At Lexington’s request, Mr Nelson gathered ten Cooper workers for a group interview. Asked to sum up Mr Obama, the men replied variously that he was a good man, a disappointment, a “great speech-giver”, a victim of Republican obstruction in Congress and a man who had failed to rein in the super-rich and their influence over politics. The president was praised for bailing out the car sector and other industries soon after taking office. He was thanked for tariffs on China, but his support for the TPP caused baffled dismay. Mr Nelson ventured that perhaps the president is using trade as “a diplomatic tool” to win allies.

Make the foreigners pay

Above all, tariffs on Chinese imports were described as too late to save thousands of jobs in American tyre factories. The men in the union hall want a new approach to capitalism, in which foreign trade partners must pay living wages and heed global environmental norms. Jeff McCurdy, a warehouse worker, described colleagues struggling to raise families on salaries of $14 an hour. “Their kids aren’t even getting the healthy food they need...and they wonder why people are pissed off,” he asked. The men in the USW hall distrusted Mr Trump’s America-first bluster, noting that his “Trump” branded clothing is made abroad. They accused him of wooing some of their colleagues with fear: at a recent union meeting a member stood up to say that the billionaire will “keep the Muslims out”.

The lesson from Findlay is that there are no short-cut solutions to the anger of blue-collar workers. Findlay’s tyre-builders have had the direct attention of a president and international tariffs signed on their behalf. Still they feel—passionately—that the economy is stacked against them, and want larger changes to capitalism than mainstream politicians can deliver. What then? The view from the rustbelt | The Economist

æ, !

Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp
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