While British politics has calmed down a lot, American politics remains as exciting as ever

By the end of today, Britain will have left the European Union after being a member for 47 years. A foreign friend asked me if there was an air of excitement. I explained that, since the decisive general election of 12 December 2019, there has been a sense of resignation. Those who supported Brexit thought it should have happened soon after the referendum, while those who opposed Brexit (which includes me) are really sad at our departure.

Meanwhile, over in the United States, there has been massive media coverage of the impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives and now the Senate. As expected the Democrat-controlled House supported Articles of Impeachment, but the Republican-controlled Senate will dismiss the charges.

The only questions are: will the Senate agree to call witnesses and how damaging will the Congressional proceedings be to Donald Trump’s chances of re-election to the White House? It looks like the Senate will block the attempt to call witnesses – in which case proceedings could be over in a day or two – but then I expect that former National Security Adviser John Bolton will go public on television with confirmation that Trump did insist on a ‘quid pro quo’ with Ukraine.

Of course, we still do not know who the Democrats will field to oppose Trump in November’s presidential election, but the nomination race is about to enter a decisive phase.

Iowa will hold its caucuses this Monday 3 February; New Hampshire will have its primary on Tuesday 11 February; Nevada will hold its caucuses on Saturday 22 February; South Carolina will have its primary on Saturday 29 February. All of these four states are small and the first two are very white – so not representative of the overall electorate but maybe decisive in choosing the eventual winner. 

Vermont’s independent senator Bernie Sanders looks like doing really well in these early races and the Democratic establishment is scared that, if he eventually wins the nomination, it will be a repeat of the Jeremy Corbyn experience in the UK: a man who is enormously popular with activist party supporters but unappealing to the voters at large.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden may do badly in the early voting and his assumed support among African Americans will not help him in the first four states in the nomination contest. But he has enough money to stay in the race even if initially he does poorly.

The radical Elizabeth Warren and the centrist Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar are the other main contenders in these early polls. However, the billionaire Michael Blumberg is not running in these four states but spending an unprecedented amount on media in the states that will vote later.

So things may not become much clearer until Super Tuesday 3 March when no less than 14 states have primaries, including huge ones like California.

One Comment

  • Roger Darlington

    An American friend of mine has commented:

    “Regarding the US primaries, there is fear among Bernie supporters that the Democratic National Conventiom (DNC) is prepared to “cook the books” once again against him. The new DNC rules block the use of super-delegates but only in the first round of convention voting, Inasmuch as Bernie is not likely to have a 50%+ majority of committed delegates in the first round, the DNC, under the centrist, establishment leader, Tom Perez, would be able to pack the group of super-delegates with corporate DNC members and former Hillary (now pro-Biden) supporters. The system here is open to that kind of manipulation.”


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