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A big night for Trump, Clinton and Kasich is Rubio’s last

Mié, 16/03/2016 - 08:10

VOTER turnout in Illinois appeared to have beaten the record set in the primary elections of 2008, when Barack Obama, who had adopted Chicago as his hometown, and Hillary Clinton, who was born in Chicago, were opponents on the Democratic Party’s ballot. In other election years both parties had pretty much settled on their candidate by the time Illinois—as well as Ohio, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and the Northern Mariana Islands’ commonwealth—got to vote. This time was different, because voters realised how much was at stake. The vote on March 15th would determine whether Donald Trump could be stopped as Republican nominee and whether it would make sense for his rivals, John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, and Marco Rubio, a senator from Florida, to stay in the race. It was also to decide whether another insurgent, Bernie Sanders, has a realistic chance to wrest the Democratic crown from Mrs Clinton. 

In the course of the evening it became clear that one of the most controversial candidates for the presidency in Republican history will probably be the party’s nominee. Mr Trump won Florida, which netted him 99...Continue reading

The depressing spectacle of Donald Trump’s rallies

Lun, 14/03/2016 - 07:45

IT MUST be painful for President Barack Obama to see some of the worst incidents of racial tensions and violence of his presidency erupt during its last few months. On March 12th, in offering his assessment of the violent clashes between supporters of Donald Trump and protesters, the president struck a sombre tone. Those who aspire to be our leaders should be trying to bring us together, speak out against violence and reject efforts to spread fear, he said at a fundraiser in Dallas. “And if they refuse to do that, they don’t deserve our support.”

Mr Obama didn’t mention Mr Trump by name. He didn’t have to. The day before his speech in Dallas, the increasingly ugly violence at Trump rallies induced a paroxysm in Chicago, the president’s adopted hometown. Mr Trump was scheduled to speak at the nearly 10,000-seat pavilion of University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), which has a racially diverse student body and is located on the ethnically mixed west side of a city that is a Democratic stronghold. He never showed up in the lion’s den, deeply disappointing thousands of his red-capped supporters, who had queued for hours to hear him...Continue reading

The Supreme Court delivers a win for gay adoption

Vie, 11/03/2016 - 20:10

MOST front-page Supreme Court stories involve fraught cases, closely divided votes and biting dissents. But the justices achieve unanimity much more often than they find themselves split 5-4 (or this spring, with their depleted bench, 4-4) and occasionally those unanimous rulings are big news. Such is the case with V.L. v E.L., an interstate dispute involving a row between two women who were sweethearts for nearly 17 years and co-parents for 13 years before their falling out in 2011. In an unsigned 6-page “per curiam” ruling this week, the Supreme Court, without dissent, upbraided the Alabama Supreme Court for failing to honour a neighbour state’s adoption order that gave V.L. and E.L. joint custody of their children 9 years ago.  

Here are the facts. E.L. and V.L. began a relationship in 1995; E.L. gave birth to a child in 2002 and to twins in 2004. Three years later, V.L. legally adopted the children during the couple’s brief...Continue reading

Louisiana's new governor tries to narrow the budget shortfall

Vie, 11/03/2016 - 15:44

THE POLITICS surrounding Louisiana’s deepening budget crisis might be entertaining if the situation wasn’t so dire. The state has a cash shortfall of nearly $1 billion that must be made up in just a few months, with an even bigger deficit looming in 2017. And it mostly falls to Louisiana’s newly minted governor, John Bel Edwards—a Democrat in one of America’s reddest states—to fix it.

When Mr Edwards won in a surprise landslide in November it was the first time since 2003 a Democrat had claimed the state’s top office. Some saw the result—in which Mr Edwards, a little-known state representative, crushed the Republican senator David Vitter—as a sign that the political pendulum in Louisiana was swinging leftward. It seems more likely, however, that the vote was simply a repudiation of the unpopular Mr Vitter.

But if Mr Edwards was lucky at the polls, he didn’t exactly win the lottery. Louisiana’s budget was in such rotten shape that he had almost no choice but to begin proposing new taxes as soon as he had taken the oath of office in January. He complained, with good reason, that the...Continue reading

The Republicans broke form to affect civility

Vie, 11/03/2016 - 08:02

FISTICUFFS? Mooning? A hand-measuring contest? Had Thursday’s Republican debate at the University of Miami followed the tonal trajectory of the previous 11, who knows what depths of taste and egomania it might have fathomed. But, from the candidates’ opening statements, in which Donald Trump went after Hillary Clinton, eschewing his attacks on Lyin’ Ted [Cruz] and Little Marco [Rubio]—epithets that remained unspoken throughout the evening—the atmosphere was different. Next came reasonably serious discussions of trade and visa policy. Perhaps concerned for her channel’s ratings, CNN’s moderator asked Mr Cruz:  “Did you just compare Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton?” “I’ll let Donald speak for himself,” Mr Cruz tamely replied.  “I cannot believe how civil it’s been up here,” Mr Trump observed.

Neither could anyone else. It felt as if, between the candidates, there must have been some sort of deal, to use Mr Trump’s favourite expression. (A word cloud of the evening might reveal that his top usages were “deal” and “many”, the latter with reference to his Israeli friends, his Cuban friends, and...Continue reading

A last-ditch attack

Jue, 10/03/2016 - 20:02

ANTI-TRUMP groups are spending millions on negative advertising ahead of key primaries on Tuesday

Bernie Sanders and Univision force Hillary Clinton to the left

Jue, 10/03/2016 - 08:51

IF ANY moderate Republicans appalled by Donald Trump tuned in to the Democratic presidential debate held in Miami on March 9th, what they heard cannot have made it easier for them to consider lending their vote—for one election at least—to Hillary Clinton. From the start Mrs Clinton was under pressure to tack to the left and woo her party’s core supporters in this, her last scheduled TV debate with her populist rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. On some big questions, and especially on immigration, she gave in to that pressure and staked out radical positions which she can expect to see played in Republican attack ads again and again, once the general election is under way.

Some of the pressure on Mrs Clinton was exerted by recent events. Just 24 hours earlier she had suffered a surprise defeat in Michigan’s presidential primary election, with Mr Sanders notably buoyed by support from voters who told exit polls that they think free trade costs America jobs. Though the former first lady, senator and secretary of state is still on course to be her party’s nominee, her underwhelming performance in a big, Midwestern rustbelt...Continue reading

Hulk Hogan goes to the mat

Mié, 09/03/2016 - 19:46

HULK Hogan made a career out of pummelling his rivals while wearing flamboyant outfits. On March 8th, the 62-year-old man less well known as Terry Bollea, clad in sombre black on a Florida witness stand, said he was “completely humiliated” by a video published in 2012 by Gawker, a media company that trades in celebrity gossip. The opening day of Mr Bollea’s trial came a day after Erin Andrews, a sportscaster for Fox, won a $55m verdict from a jury in Nashville for a secret video recording showing her in the nude in 2008; the hotel and the voyeur were both found responsible.

The edited, 90-second excerpt of a longer video that was accessible on Gawker for months depicted Mr Bollea, now 62, having sex with Heather Cole Clem, the now ex-wife of Bubba the Love Sponge, his former friend. It was accompanied by 1,400 words of prose vividly describing the encounter. The former WWE heavyweight champion of the universe says Gawker invaded his privacy and caused him emotional harm by posting the misbegotten footage of his tryst and owes him $100m. Gawker replies that...Continue reading

Trump strides through Michigan, where Clinton falters

Mié, 09/03/2016 - 10:35

HEADING into the primary votes in Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii on March 8th, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton appeared to be headed in opposite directions—and so it turned out. Mr Trump pulled off his second super Tuesday in a fortnight; he won the two biggest states, Mississippi and Michigan by big margins, thereby completing a near sweep of the South and opening a new front for his populist campaign in the Midwest. Mrs Clinton had a more mixed experience; she won easily in Mississippi but lost narrowly to Bernie Sanders in Michigan, where polls had put her more than 20 percentage points ahead.

Yet this was the opposite of the divergence expected of the Republican and Democratic front-runners. Going into the primaries, Mr Trump had had maybe his worst week of the campaign. He had talked up the size of his penis in a television debate and whipped up a crowd in Orlando to pledge allegiance to him while making a gesture that looked far too close for decency like a Nazi salute. He had been castigated by Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee in 2012, as “a phony, a fraud,” who was “playing members of the American public for...Continue reading