Cameron in Brussels in Effort to Secure Deal Ahead of EU Summit

Cameron EuropeBritish Prime Minister David Cameron was holding talks in Brussels with key players from the European Parliament in an effort to keep his reform demands on track ahead of a crunch summit this week.

Cameron was in the Belgian capital for discussions with the parliament’s president Martin Schulz and senior MEPs who could play a major role in scrutinising any deal on a new settlement for the UK.

The meetings in Brussels follow talks in Paris with French president Francois Hollande, where the two leaders agreed that the draft proposals for reforming Britain’s membership of the EU provide a “firm basis” to agree a deal this week, according to Downing Street.

Downing Street’s assertion suggests French concerns over protections for non-eurozone states and special treatment for the City of London have been calmed.

A Number 10 spokesman said: “They agreed that we are making good progress on the UK renegotiation and that the draft text from the European Council provides a firm basis to reach agreement at this week’s summit.”

In Brussels, Cameron was also holding talks with leaders of the centre-right EPP and the Socialist grouping, and three MEPs who have been acting as “sherpas” in the negotiations.

MEPs will eventually have to approve parts of the reform package including restrictions on EU citizens’ benefits but Downing Street has insisted any deal would be a “legally binding document under international law, entered into by the 28 leaders of member states” and that the European Parliament should deliver on that.

But the Vote Leave campaign has claimed any deal will have the “legal weight of an unsigned contract” because none of it will be enshrined in EU treaty change.

The group claimed the European Court of Justice will only accept a ratified change of EU treaties as legally binding and said the court had overriden an agreement made between Denmark and and the EU in 1992 and ignored UN Security Council resolutions.

Syed Kamall, leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Mr Cameron was determined that MEPs should back a deal.

The Tory MEP said: “We want to make sure that the deal the British people vote on is actually the final deal and that the European Parliament doesn’t make any changes.

“That’s one of the reasons that David Cameron is in Brussels today. He’s talking to the big leaders of the parliamentary groups… to try and make sure he has support to get these changes through parliament.”

On Monday, European Council president Donald Tusk warned that Mr Cameron’s renegotiation was “very fragile” and unless handled carefully could lead to the break-up of the union.

Mr Tusk is undertaking a whirlwind tour of EU capitals including Berlin, Paris and Athens to sell the package of reforms he drafted in response to Mr Cameron’s demand for change.

Britain’s renegotiation is the first item on the agenda for the two-day European Council summit in Brussels beginning on Thursday.

However, the gathering of 28 EU leaders is not scheduled to conclude until Friday lunchtime, after which Mr Cameron will call an immediate Cabinet meeting if he secures a deal.

The meeting will effectively fire the starting gun on the referendum battle, as Eurosceptic ministers will be given the green light to campaign for a Leave vote in the poll expected on June 23.

In a sign of the unease felt in parts of Europe about the proposals to curb welfare payments, Czech minister Tomas Prouza said the measures will only apply to newcomers rather than existing claimants, and he suggested that other EU countries should not be able to follow the UK’s lead.

Mr Prouza, the Czech Europe minister, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “In central Europe there has been willingness to help the UK and there still is, but the issue we have is not with the UK and David Cameron’s demands, the issue is with other countries trying to piggyback on the British proposals for their own benefit.”

He added: “The proposals are clear that the limits on in-work benefits would apply only to the newcomers as it’s a very UK-specific solution so we need the very same guarantees also for the child benefits indexation that applies only to the newcomers and only those working in the UK.

“It’s important we don’t do the changes retrospectively.

“It’s in the proposals as we understand, and Donald Tusk when he comes to Prague later today should be able to confirm it.”

 

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Jeb Finally Embraces Bush Name in Last-Ditch Bid to Save Campaign

JebGeorge W. Bush won a bruising South Carolina presidential primary on his way to the Oval Office, as his father did before him.

Now it’s his brother’s turn, and for Jeb Bush, the most consequential foreign policy decisions of his brother’s tenure are suddenly front-and-center in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination thanks to Donald Trump.

The 43rd president already had announced plans to campaign for his younger brother Monday in South Carolina, marking his most direct entry into the 2016 race to date, when Trump, the GOP front-runner, used the final debate before the state’s Feb. 20 primary as an opportunity to excoriate George W. Bush’s performance as commander in chief.

The former president, Trump said, ignored “the advice of his CIA” and “destabilized the Middle East” by invading Iraq on dubious claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

“I want to tell you: They lied,” Trump said. “They said there were weapons of mass destruction. … And they knew there were none.”

Trump dismissed Jeb Bush’s suggestion that George W. Bush built a “security apparatus to keep us safe” after the 9/11 attacks.

“The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign,” Trump said, adding: “That’s not keeping us safe.”

The onslaught “blood sport” for Trump, Jeb said was the latest example of the billionaire businessman’s penchant for mocking his rival as a weak, privileged instrument of the Republican Party establishment.

But the exchange also highlighted the former Florida governor’s embrace of his family name as he jockeys with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to emerge from South Carolina as the clear challenger to Trump, who won the New Hampshire primary, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the victor in Iowa’s caucuses.

The approach takes away from Bush’s months-long insistence that he’s running as “my own man,” but could be a perfect fit for South Carolina. “The Bush name is golden in my state,” says South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who ended his White House run in December and endorsed Jeb Bush in January.

George W. Bush retains wide appeal among Republicans, from evangelicals and business leaders to military veterans. All are prominent in South Carolina, with Bush campaign aide Brett Doster going so far as to say that George W. Bush is “the most popular Republican alive.”

After the debate, some Republicans again suggested Trump had gone too far. Bush wasn’t alone on stage leaping to his brother’s defense, with Rubio coming back to the moment to say, “I thank God all the time it was George W. Bush in the White House on 9/11 and not Al Gore.”

The attack on George W. Bush carries risk for Trump, given the Bush family’s long social and political ties in South Carolina and the state’s hawkish national security bent, bolstered by more than a half-dozen military installations and a sizable population of veterans who choose to retire in the state.

Bush and his backers certainly hope it’s the case. Right to Rise USA, a super political action committee backing Bush, is airing two television ads blasting Trump and touting Bush for taking him on, and on Friday, a committee spokesman says, a radio ad will launch that compiles multiple audio clips of Trump using profanity in public settings, most recently when he used an uncouth epithet about Cruz.

“The time is now for South Carolina to end the Trump charade,” an announcer says.

Yet Trump has repeatedly defied predictions that his comments might threaten his perch atop the field.

As he jousted Saturday with Trump, Jeb Bush said, “this is not about my family or his family.”

But the Bushes have quite a history in South Carolina. In 2000, George W. Bush beat John McCain in a nasty contest, marred by rumors that McCain had an illegitimate black child. McCain adopted a child from Bangladesh. George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, won twice here, beating Bob Dole in 1988 and demolishing Pat Buchanan in 1992.

One of the elder Bush’s top strategists, Lee Atwater, hailed from South Carolina. Last week, Jeb Bush touted the endorsement of Iris Campbell, the widow of former South Carolina Gov. Carroll Campbell, a national co-chairman of previous Bush presidential campaigns.

Yet even as he defended his brother’s presidency at Saturday’s debate, Jeb Bush found a way to distance himself from George W. Bush’s business affairs and criticized Trump at the same time. The issue: eminent domain.

Before entering politics, George W. Bush was part-owner of the Texas Rangers, and their home city of Arlington, Texas, used eminent domain to take private land and build a stadium for the team. Trump has defended such uses of eminent domain as a way to foster economic development.

Retorted Bush, who argued eminent domain should be reserved for public infrastructure projects, “There is all sorts of intrigue about where I disagree with my brother. There would be one right there.”

 

 

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United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies

ScaliaConservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died, setting up a major political showdown between President Barack Obama and the Republican-controlled Senate over who will replace him just months before a presidential election.

Obama called Scalia, who served on the nation’s highest court for nearly 30 years, a “larger-than-life presence” and said he intended to nominate someone to fill the vacant seat before leaving the White House next January.

“I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibility to appoint a successor in due time and there will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the Senate to give that person a fair hearing and timely vote,” Obama told reporters in California.

Scalia, 79, was found dead at the Cibolo Creek Ranch resort in West Texas on Saturday. He died of natural causes, according to Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara, who went to the ranch and saw the body.

Chief Justice John Roberts described his former colleague, who was known for his strident conservative views and theatrical flair in the courtroom, as an “extraordinary individual and jurist.”

Obama ordered flags at the White House and all federal buildings to be flown at half-staff.

A number of leading Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, immediately said they would oppose any attempt by Obama to nominate a new justice.

The political battle lines sharpened later at the Republican presidential debate in South Carolina, where front-runner Donald Trump and several of his rivals said it should be up to Obama’s successor to replace Scalia.

“Delay, delay, delay,” said Trump, who urged McConnell to block any Obama nomination.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said Scalia’s death highlighted what was at stake in the election. “We’re not going to give up the U.S. Supreme Court for a generation by allowing Barack Obama to make one more liberal appointee.”

Democrats lined up to push for a speedy appointment, with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid saying it should happen “right away.”

Obama could tilt the balance of the nation’s highest court, which now consists of four conservatives and four liberals, if he is successful in pushing his nominee through the confirmation process.

Scalia, who grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Harvard Law School, was a leader of the “originalist” ideology that looks at the U.S. Constitution through the lens of its framers’ 18th century intentions.

He was the first Italian-American on the court and a devout Roman Catholic who had nine children. An avid hunter who wrote the court’s 2008 landmark opinion supporting gun rights, Scalia also was a close friend of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with whom he shared a love of opera and often traveled.

His replacement would be Obama’s third appointment to the nine-justice court, which is set to decide its first major abortion case in nearly 10 years as well as key cases on voting rights, affirmative action and immigration.

Waiting for the next president to make a nomination would leave Scalia’s seat empty for at least 11 months. Obama’s first two appointments to the court, liberals Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan in 2010, both experienced relatively smooth confirmation hearings in the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats.

With Republicans now in charge of the Senate and keen to exert their influence over the process, Obama is likely to be forced into picking a moderate with little or no history of advocating for liberal causes.

The White House is also likely to consider whether to nominate a woman or a member of a minority group, or someone who fits into both categories.

It has been nearly 50 years since political wrangling between a president and Senate pushed a Supreme Court nomination into the next administration.

In 1968, Chief Justice Earl Warren made clear his intention to resign and Democratic President Lyndon Johnson sought to elevate then-Associate Justice Abe Fortas, who had been a close confidant. Senate Republicans fought the nomination, claiming “cronyism,” and Johnson withdrew it. The appointment fell to his successor, Republican Richard Nixon.

 

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Bashar al-Assad Vows to Reclaim Whole of Syria

Bashar al-AssadSyria’s President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to retake the entire country but warned it could take a “long time,” in an interview with the AFP as international pressure grows for a ceasefire.

Speaking at his office in Damascus, hours before a new ceasefire plan was announced early Friday by world powers in Munich, Assad said he backed peace talks but that negotiations do “not mean that we stop fighting terrorism”.

Regime forces backed by Russian air strikes have registered major advances in recent days, particularly in northern Aleppo province, where Assad said the army was seeking to sever the opposition’s supply route from Turkey.

The push is one of the most significant regime advances since the conflict began in March 2011 with protests against Assad’s government, before spiralling into a bloody war that has killed more than 260,000 people.

The advances have prompted consternation from opposition backers including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and Assad said he saw a risk that the two countries would intervene militarily in Syria, pledging that his forces would “certainly confront” them.

He also addressed the massive flow of refugees from his country, saying it was up to Europe to stop “giving cover to terrorists” so Syrians could return home.

Over the past week, Syrian regime forces backed by pro-government fighters and Russian air strikes have encircled Aleppo, Syria’s second city.

The advance is one of several for the government since Russia began an aerial campaign on September 30 after a string of regime losses to rebel forces and the Islamic State group.

Dressed in a dark blue suit, Assad appeared bolstered by his recent military gains, and said his eventual goal was to retake all of Syria.

“Regardless of whether we can do that or not, this is a goal we are seeking to achieve without any hesitation,” he said.

“It makes no sense for us to say that we will give up any part.”

Assad said it would be possible to “put an end to this problem in less than a year” if opposition supply routes from Turkey, Jordan and Iraq were cut.

But if not, he said, “the solution will take a long time and will incur a heavy price”.

The interview with Assad is the first he has given since the effective collapse of a new round of peace talks in Geneva earlier this month.

The talks are officially “paused” until February 25, and 17 nations agreed early Friday on an ambitious plan intended to bolster efforts for new negotiations.

The plan would see a cessation of hostilities implemented in as little as a week, and also demands humanitarian aid access to all of Syria.

Assad said his government has “fully believed in negotiations and in political action since the beginning of the crisis”.

“However, if we negotiate, it does not mean that we stop fighting terrorism. The two tracks are inevitable in Syria.”

The Aleppo offensive has been the main focus of Syrian government forces in recent weeks.

The regime has virtually encircled rebels in eastern parts of Aleppo city after severing their main supply line to the Turkish border.

“The main battle is about cutting the road between Aleppo and Turkey, for Turkey is the main conduit of supplies for the terrorists,” Assad said.

The operation has raised fears of a humanitarian crisis, with some 300,000 civilians in eastern Aleppo facing the prospect of a government siege.

Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes already, mostly from northern Aleppo province, with many flocking to the border with Turkey seeking entry.

The displaced could join a wave of more than four million Syrian refugees who have left the country since the conflict began in March 2011.

Last year, many of those refugees began seeking asylum in Europe in a major crisis that has failed to slow throughout the winter.

Assad said “any scene of suffering is painful to all of us as Syrians”, but he said blame for the influx lay at Europe’s feet.

“I would like to ask every person who left Syria to come back,” he said.

“They would ask ‘why should I come back? Has terrorism stopped?'”

Instead, he urged Europe’s governments “which have been a direct cause for the emigration of these people, by giving cover to terrorists in the beginning and through sanctions imposed on Syria, to help in making the Syrians return to their country”.

 

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Clinton and Sanders Clash Over Obama During Democratic Debate

Bernie and HIllary PBSHillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled for the crucial backing of black and Hispanic voters in Thursday night’s Democratic debate and clashed heatedly over their support for Barack Obama as the presidential race shifted toward states with more minority voters.

Clinton, who has cast herself as the rightful heir to Obama’s legacy, accused Sanders of diminishing the president’s record and short-changing his leadership.

“The kind of criticism I hear from Senator Sanders, I expect from Republicans. I do not expect it from someone seeking the Democratic nomination,” Clinton said in a sharp exchange at the close of the two-hour debate in Milwaukee. Her biting comments followed an interview in which Sanders suggested Obama hadn’t succeeded in closing the gap between Congress and the American people,  something Obama himself has acknowledged.

Sanders responded: “Madam Secretary, that is a low blow.” And he noted that Clinton was the only one on the stage who ran against Obama in the 2008 presidential race.

Long viewed as the overwhelming front-runner in the Democratic race, Clinton has been caught off guard by Sanders’ strength, particularly his visceral connection with Americans frustrated by the current political and economic systems. Clinton’s own campaign message has looked muddled compared to his ringing call for a “political revolution,” and her connections to Wall Street have given Sanders an easy way to link her to the systems his supporters want to overhaul.

Seeking to stem Sanders’ momentum, her campaign has argued that his appeal is mostly limited to the white, liberal voters who make up the Democratic electorate in Iowa and New Hampshire. Clinton’s team says that as the race turns now to Nevada, South Carolina and other more diverse states, her support from black and Hispanic voters will help propel her to the nomination.

Attempting Thursday night to boost his own support from minorities, Sanders peppered his typically economic-focused rhetoric with calls to reform a “broken criminal justice system” that incarcerates a disproportionate number of minorities.

“At the end of my first term, we will not have more people in jail than any other country,” he said.

In one of many moments of agreement between the candidates, Clinton concurred on a need to fix the criminal justice system, but cast her proposals for fighting racial inequality as broader than his.

“We also have to talk about jobs, education, housing, and other ways of helping communities,” said Clinton, who was endorsed earlier in the day by the political action committee of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The candidates both vowed to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, using the emotional issue to draw a contrast with Republicans who oppose allowing many of the millions of people in the United States illegally to stay.

“We have got to stand up to the Trumps of the world who are trying to divide us up,” said Sanders, referring to Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who has called for deporting everyone in the country illegally and constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Both Clinton and Sanders also disagreed with raids authorized by President Obama to arrest and deport some people from Central America who recently came to the country illegally.

“We should be deporting criminals, not hardworking immigrant families who do the very best they can,” Clinton said.

Both candidates were restrained through much of their head-to-head contest, a contrast to their campaigns’ increasingly heated rhetoric. Clinton is mindful of a need to not turn off Sanders’ voters, particularly the young people that are supporting him in overwhelming numbers.

Still, the former secretary of state sought to discredit some of the proposals that have drawn young people to Sanders, including his call for free tuition at public colleges and universities and a plan for a government-run, single-payer health care system. Clinton said those proposals come with unrealistic price tags. And she accused Sanders of trying to shade the truth about what she said would be a 40 percent increase in the size of the federal government in order to implement his policies.

Sanders didn’t shy away from the notion that he wants to expand the size of government.

“In my view, the government of a democratic society has a moral responsibility to play a vital role in making sure all our people have a decent standard of living,” Sanders said.

Sanders has focused his campaign almost exclusively on a call to break up big Wall Street banks and overhaul the current campaign finance system that he says gives wealthy Americans undue influence. His campaign contends that his message will be well-received by minority voters, arguing that blacks and Hispanics have been hurt even more by what he calls a “rigged” economy.

Clinton was animated when discussing foreign policy, an area where her campaign believes Sanders is weak. She peppered her comments on the Islamic State and Russia with reminders of her four years serving as Obama’s secretary of state. Sanders challenged her judgment by raising her support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a war he voted against.

In the debate’s early moments, Clinton found herself having to explain comments by surrogates, including former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, that suggested women had a responsibility to help elect the first female president.

“I’m not asking people to support me because I’m a woman,” Clinton said. “I’m asking people to support me because I think I’m the most qualified, experienced and ready person to be the president and the commander in chief.”

It was Sanders a democratic socialist who would be the first Jewish president if elected who tried to drape his candidacy in a bit of history.

“I think a Sanders victory would be of some historical accomplishment as well,” he said.

 

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Christie & Fiorina Drop Out of GOP Presidential Race

Christie & FiornaTwo more Republicans have ended their White House runs, whittling down the field as the party’s remaining candidates and Democrat Hillary Clinton look to blunt the momentum of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders down south.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina both called time on their presidential bids, one day after finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, in the New Hampshire primary.

Trump and Sanders two political outsiders with vastly different ideologies, but who have a common campaign credo of speaking what they say is truth to power, served notice in the Granite State on Tuesday with their resounding victories.

Sanders almost doubled Clinton’s tally and Trump bested second place Ohio Governor John Kasich by almost 20 percentage points.

Both results shocked the party establishments, virtually guaranteeing bitter and drawn-out races for the Democratic and Republican nominations.

New Hampshire was the second stop in the months-long process to choose the two candidates who will vie to succeed President Barack Obama on Election Day, November 8.

“I leave the race without an ounce of regret,” Christie said in a Facebook post, noting that while his message had been heard by many, it was “just not enough and that’s ok.”

Fiorina, the only woman in the Republican field, said she would “continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them.”

So where do the other candidates go from here? South Carolina and Nevada, where both parties will stage nominating contests before month’s end.

The upcoming votes will be crucial for Clinton, the former secretary of state who admitted in an uneasy concession speech that she had “some work to do, particularly with young people,” to revitalize her campaign.

Clinton is seen as enjoying strong support among black voters and Sanders, realizing the need to boost his standing with African Americans, met Wednesday with prominent civil rights activist Al Sharpton in New York.

“My concern is that in January of next year, for the first time in American history, a black family will be moving out of the White House,” Sharpton said.

“I do not want black concerns to be moved out with them.”

Clinton said she recognized the American electorate’s fury with establishment politics.

“People have every right to be angry,” she said. “But they’re also hungry, they’re hungry for solutions.”

Sanders has signaled he is in the race to win and expects the coming weeks to be even more closely fought. The next battle is in Nevada on February 20, followed by South Carolina.

“They’re throwing everything at me except the kitchen sink, and I have the feeling that kitchen sink is coming pretty soon,” he said in a buoyant victory speech.

Beefing up his ability to take the fight to Clinton for the long term, the Sanders camp announced he raised $5.2 million in the 18 hours following his New Hampshire win.

For now, he reigns supreme with young voters: Clinton received just 16 percent of the vote among people under 29, according to New Hampshire exit polls.

If the Democratic race is poised to take a more confrontational turn, then Republicans are set for all out internecine warfare.

Trump’s visceral assault on American politics brought him his debut victory after a second-place showing in last week’s Iowa caucuses.

It was a must win for Trump, after his embarrassing performance in the Hawkeye State called into question his frontrunner status and brand as a winner.

But similar levels of support for Kasich, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida governor Jeb Bush left the field in turmoil. The last remaining candidate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, finished farther off the pace.

Now the fight moves to South Carolina, a state with a lingering reputation for bare-knuckle campaign tactics.

Even before the candidates arrived, the state’s airwaves were being flooded with negative attack ads, with each man hoping to emerge as the mainstream answer to Trump.

“They’ve written me off in this campaign, over and over again,” Bush told supporters in Bluffton, South Carolina, arguing that his campaign got a new lease on life even though he finished fourth up north.

 

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Trump Crushes GOP Field – Sanders Delivers Massive Blow to Clinton in New Hampshire Primary

Trump & SandersFlamboyant businessman Donald Trump won by nearly 20 percentage points in New Hampshire’s Republican primary on Tuesday night, solidifying his status as the overwhelming favourite for the party nomination. Left-wing Vermont Sen. Trounced Hillary Clinton by about 20 points in a Democratic primary in which he had once trailed her by 40, establishing himself as legitimate contender.

The triumph of the insurgent outsiders was forecast by recent polls but unimaginable just a year ago. It represents a momentous affirmation of American anger at the political establishment and the state of the country.

“As a country we don’t win on trade, we don’t win with the military, we can’t beat ISIS. We don’t win with anything,” Trump said in a victory speech in which he called terrorists “animals” and suggested the real unemployment rate was 42 per cent. “We are going to start winning again, and we’re going to win so much, you are going to be so happy.”

“Together,” Sanders said in his speech, “we have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California. And that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people, and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their Super PACs.”

Trump’s loss to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucuses last week raised questions about the devotion of his supporters and the preparedness of his campaign team. New Hampshire provided a resounding answer: he is for real, and he will be hard to beat. He holds big leads in the upcoming primaries in South Carolina and Nevada.

And his opposition is deeply divided. What happened in the race for second place is almost as helpful to Trump as his victory and almost as troubling to the Republican establishment hoping in vain for someone to take him down.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, widely viewed as the most electable Republican, had hoped to use a strong runner-up showing to position himself as the undisputed alternative to the polarizing Trump and Cruz. Instead, he finished a disastrous fifth, not only behind second-place Ohio Gov. John Kasich and likely behind former Florida governor Jeb Bush, two men he wanted to force out of the race, but also behind Cruz, whose religion-infused rhetoric appeared to be a poor fit for New Hampshire.

Sanders now confronts the challenge that could sink his campaign: earning support from people of colour, who favour Clinton by large margins. The states voting in the coming weeks are far more diverse than lily-white New Hampshire and Iowa, where Sanders battled last week to a near-tie.

Whatever happens next, New Hampshire proved that his message is far from the fringes. Sanders, a gruff 74-year-old facing a former secretary of state backed by almost the entire Democratic leadership, won a wide victory railing about the “rigged economy,” promising Canada-style health care, and calling for a “political revolution.”

“I’m just sick of the whole system. The whole thing is broken. The elections are fixed, and the American public is starting to catch on,” said Rick MacMillan, 60, an independent who voted for Sanders in the small town of Hopkinton.

Trump made a few concessions to normal political behaviour in response to his Iowa loss, scrambling to build a get-out-the-vote operation after months of neglect. But he did not change his unorthodox style or an inflammatory race-baiting platform that includes a ban on Muslims entering the country, a giant wall on the Mexican border, and the authorized torture of terrorists.

“This country don’t need another lawyer,” said retired police officer Bob Arsenault, 64, after he voted for Trump in Hopkinton. “He tells you how he feels. I’m a good ol’ Frenchman. I’ll tell you how I feel.”

Kasich, running as a cheery compassionate conservative, proved that there is still a substantial Republican constituency for civility and governing experience. But he will be hard-pressed to repeat his success elsewhere. While he held some 100 town hall meetings in New Hampshire, he invested only barely in other states.

Bush’s Super PAC has spent tens of millions of dollars supporting his candidacy, so third or fourth place is not especially impressive. If he had finished fifth or worse, though, he would have faced pressure to quit. He can now soldier on to South Carolina, whose most prominent legislator, Lindsey Graham, has already endorsed him.

The three candidates who fared worse than Rubio, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former HP chief executive Carly Fiorina and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie might all drop out. If this was indeed Christie’s last stand, it was consequential. His Saturday debate attack on Rubio as a speech-memorizing lightweight sent Rubio into a panicked recitation of a memorized speech, a comical gaffe that appeared to cripple him in the final days of the race.

New Hampshire, a state of 1.3 million, has always been a unique political environment, largely moderate but with a rebellious streak. More than 40 per cent of voters identify as independent, and they often decide at the final moment which party’s primary to join. On Tuesday, it was not hard to find voters choosing between Sanders and Trump.

 

 

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