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US Politics

Supporters holding signs that read "Bernie or BUST".

The #BernieOrBust slogan was widely adopted in the 2016 Presidential Elections by ardent supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders. These devotees insisted that they would not vote for any candidate (namely Hillary Clinton, the eventual Democratic Party nominee) in the eventual general election showdown with Trump. Four years later, the slogan has resurfaced as a credible threat directed toward what many perceive to be a recalcitrant Democratic Party establishment. In what follows, I do not claim that “#BernieOrBusters” are morally justified (all things considered), but merely offer a possible defence for why some #BernieOrBust advocates are behaving in a rationally justified manner.  I grant two premises amenable to most critics of #BernieOrBusters: first, Trump is a highly problematic candidate in his actions and dispositions; second, whilst not …

In yet another major shake up of his administration, Trump, via Twitter, has declared that he will be replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after only fourteen months, the shortest occupation of the position in modern history. Tillerson will be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo after months of both public and private disputes between the former head of Exxon Mobil and the US President. Administration officials have claimed Tillerson was unaware of his imminent release, allegedly learning only briefly of his impending firing. For those who have been keeping up to date with the inner machinations of the controversial administration, it is concurrently unsurprising that Tillerson has met this fate, and surprising that it has taken this long. The …

A Conversation with Rakim Brooks Background: On February 26, 2012, 17 year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he was walking home to his father’s house in a community in Sanford, Florida. Unarmed, Martin was seen carrying an iced tea and a bag of Skittles candy, when 28 year-old George Zimmerman opened fire on the boy, resulting in his death. Until yesterday, under the auspices of self defence and through the protection of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, Zimmerman had not been arrested for a crime that the civil rights community insists was motivated by racial prejudice.  Public outrage regarding the handling of the incident (no doubt including the decision not to arrest Zimmerman) resulted in the resignation of …

The American Public Broadcasting Corporation’s (PBS) new installment of The American Experience: the Presidents is a biography of the 42nd President, William Jefferson Clinton, that feels more like a drama than history. Clinton paints a picture of a highly improbable president, born famously into impoverished circumstances in Hope, Arkansas, with a father who died before his birth and an alcoholic stepfather who beat his mother in front of the children. Consequently, Clinton threw all of his efforts into his studies, laboring to redeem and rescue his family, and substituting a broken home life for his ersatz, carefully managed public persona at school. Such a stratagem recurs throughout Clinton’s life: when situations become tough, Clinton pretends as though they are not happening. Unfortunately …

Super Tuesday came and went, and I’m not sure people in the ten states involved felt it was all that “super”. Despite some Republican party activists asserting this is the most important presidential election since George Washington was elected (no, really), voter turnout in several cases was lower than in the 2008 Republican Primary. Many of those who did vote were not enthusiastic about any of the candidates running. According to the Washington Post, “Barely more than four out of 10 voters in Ohio said they were strongly behind their candidate, according to exit polls”. And people aren’t enjoying the spectacle of the campaign itself either—the New York Times quotes a couple from Ohio complaining about the “barrage of ads” …

Mitt Romney won yesterday’s two primaries in Arizona and Michigan, but he didn’t win by enough to (re)establish a sense of inevitability around his candidacy. He has been the favourite for so long that everything but decisive victories ends up being framed as a bit of a disappointment. Here is Whit Ayres, a Republican political operative, speaking to the Washington Post a few days before this week’s primaries—“if [Romney] wins Michigan by double digits, especially if combined with a double-digit Arizona win, then all the chatter will die down just like it did after Florida.” But Romney didn’t win Michigan by double-digits, and the chatter hasn’t died down. Though Santorum lost both states, no one seems to really hold it …