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Sweet Jones Alabama?

December 10, 2017

This Tuesday sees the state of Alabama go to the polls to elect a new senator. But can Democrat Doug Jones really have  a chance in this deeply Republican state? The accession of Jeff Sessions – Alabama’s former senator who Donald Trump picked as his Attorney General – created a need for an election that […]

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Georgia’s Sixth: Democrats First Test for Sunbelt Strategy

April 2, 2017

On 18 April, the southern US state of Georgia sees a ‘special election’ to find a new congressman. The election could be a key indicator for the way forward for the Democrats. One of the key questions for the Democrats to face in the aftermath of its electoral defeats last November is its election strategy […]

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US primaries #11: Super Tuesday

February 28, 2016

Tuesday sees the biggest test for the Presidential hopefuls: Super Tuesday where a quarter of the delegates for both parties are up for grabs. So far, the Democrats have elected a total of 156 delegates, and the Republicans a total of 130, through the February primaries. Tuesday’s haul dwarfs those figures: in a single day, […]

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US primaries #8: the Nevada results

February 26, 2016

This week’s primaries in the Silver State cemented the lead positions for both the Democrats and Republicans Last Saturday, I posted on the Democrats’ primary caucus in Nevada. On Tuesday, it was the Republicans’ turn. So, how did it all pan out? 1. THE DEMOCRATS A month ago, Saturday’s Democratic caucus looked like an easy […]

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US primaries #6: Nevada

February 20, 2016

Today, Nevada’s Democrats caucus to decide who their presidential candidate should be. It looks close. Nevada may be the Silver State, but neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders will be happy with a silver medal from today’s primary caucus there. The Silver State Nevada is a rapidly growing part of the nation, and with its […]

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2016 US primaries: #4 – New Hampshire results

February 14, 2016

Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary election was the last thing that either of the party establishments wanted, not only because of the victories of somewhat maverick insurgent candidates but also the nature of those victories. For the Democrats, Bernie Sanders not only beat Hillary Clinton, he trounced her. On the Republican side, Donald Trump not only […]

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2016 USA primaries: #3 – New Hampshire

February 8, 2016

Tuesday sees the next contest in the US presidential primary season, and the first true primary election, as opposed to caucus. New Hampshire is very proud of this, and likes to boast that this is the first true primary. Outside the state capital in Concord, the pavement has a timeline showing the contests, their winners […]

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2016 USA primaries: #2 – Iowa results

February 7, 2016

You know the results: despite the polls, Trump did not win and Clinton only just did. So, why did the polls appear to get it wrong? First, it is worth remembering that caucuses are difficult to poll for: FiveThirtyEight said on the eve of the caucuses that they understated their real margin of error and […]

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2016 USA primaries: #1 – Iowa

January 31, 2016

Tomorrow sees the first test in the 2016 US presidential race: the Iowa caucuses. THE HAWKEYE STATE Of the 48 contiguous US states, the Hawkeye State is the one I’ve spent least time in: a train journey across the south of the state and a few hours in Council Bluffs. For many Americans, they will have […]

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Week 42: Hero – Barack Obama

October 20, 2013

This week’s hero of the week award goes to Barack Obama for refusing to back down against the Republicans over Obamacare, the shutdown and the debt ceiling. In doing so, the Republicans eventually conceded defeat, and the US Congress endorsed the last minute bipartisan legislation to end the budget crisis, pulling America away from the […]

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Obama: What have the Romans ever done for us?

May 31, 2013

After a week’s half term holiday largely spent in the sunshine and also in the company of good friends, I have barely even glanced at the news, social media, emails or texts. It has been a liberating experience. I have however, been lured into a few deep political discussions with friends from all sides of […]

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US Elections Wash-Up #2: The House

November 11, 2012

I promised yesterday to pick up on the results of the House of Representatives elections.  As you know the Republicans, as predicted, held on with a fairly sizable majority. As I explained last week, this is in part because the Republicans got to draw up the district boundaries in many states.  These boundaries are now […]

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US elections: The Wash Up

November 10, 2012

President Today, the result of the presidential election in Florida was officially confirmed, bringing Obama’s total electoral college vote to 332, against Romney’s 206. If the four days it took to announce this seems a long time, it is worth remembering that it took eight days in 2008 to finalise the outcome in Missouri. Whilst […]

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Don’t Believe The Hype: The Republicans Will Win The House

November 3, 2012

This evening, I’ve received an excitable email from the Democrats (I signed up to something a few years ago) quoting a New York Times poll putting the Democrats 2% in the lead for the House of Representatives elections (48%-46%) and suggesting that this could give them a majority there in next Tuesday’s election. Don’t believe […]

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The one the Democrats definitely should win: The Senate

October 14, 2012

In August, before the party conventions, it looked as if Obama was ahead in the presidential race, but that the Republicans were posed to take control of the Senate and could increase their hold on the House of Representatives, thanks to district boundary changes. Since then, we have been on a roller-coaster with Obama: at […]

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Guide to the US elections #4: The West

September 16, 2012

For the final post in our series running through how each of the US states are likely to vote in November, we take a look at the West. In 2008, the West and the Midwest both had 124 votes (EVs) in electoral college.  But as the Midwest has lost EVs this time around, the West’s […]

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Guide to the US elections #1: The North East

September 12, 2012

With the party conventions out of the way, polls currently show a narrow but consistent lead for Barack Obama.  FiveThirtyEight put his chances of re-election at around 80%. For the first time since the month following Bin Laden’s death, Obama is now registering a 50% approval rating in Gallup’s weekly polls. Perhaps as impressively, it […]

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USA Journal 2012 #11: Louisiana

August 27, 2012

Baton Rouge Louisiana’s 6th congressional district For the eleventh installment in my journal travelling around the US South in election year, I have reached Louisiana, just as (currently) Tropical Storm Isaac looks to be about to do the same.  Naturally enough, it is the all-encompassing story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune (my favourite US paper […]

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USA Journal 2012 #10: We’re goin’ to Jackson…

August 27, 2012

… look out Jackson town! Jackson Mississippi’s 2nd 3rd congressional district A briefer entry in our journal today, from Mississippi’s capital. Jackson is a weirdly empty place at the weekend, and seems a lot smaller than its 230,000 inhabitants would suggest: walking down the main road in downtown felt post-apocalyptically deserted.  The late, great Johnny […]

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USA Journal 2012 #9: Mississippi

August 24, 2012

Clarksdale Mississippi’s 2nd congressional district For the ninth in my series of posts from the USA in election year, I have reached the Delta region of the Mississippi, the pancake-flat alluvial plains formed by the continual flooding and new courses of the Mississippi River that stretch between Memphis and Vicksburg. That makes it fertile earth, that led […]

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USA Journal 2012 #8: Tennessee

August 23, 2012

Nashville Tennessee’s fifth congressional district For the eighth installment in my series of posts as I travel around the US in this election year, I’m in Music City. It is hard to believe that it has been five years since George East and I had a couple of nights carousing through the music bars of Nashville.  What’s […]

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USA Journal 2012 #7: Louisville

August 21, 2012

Louisville Kentucky’s 3rd congressional district Leaving Lexington, I have travelled west through the horse-breeding hills and bourbon stills of central Kentucky to the state’s largest city, on the banks of the Ohio.  I’m in Louisville. Not Louie-ville, and certainly not Lewis-ville.  It’s pronounced ‘Luhr-vul’.  When I got of the train in Cincinnati all bleary-eyed in […]

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USA Journal 2012 #6: Kentucky

August 20, 2012

Lexington Kentucky’s 6th congressional district For the sixth installment in my travel journal around the States, I have crossed the River Ohio to travel on to Kentucky’s Bluegrass region. Lexington, the state’s second largest city, is an affluent place which in England would be thought of as a medium-large town rather than a city.  As […]

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USA Journal 2012 #5: Ohio

August 19, 2012

Cincinnati Ohio’s 1st congressional district After travelling by train across the Appalachians, I am now in Ohio.  Like Virginia, it is one of the key states for November’s presidential election. Cincinnati sits in woody hills on the banks of the Ohio River and was founded by veterans of the American Revolution: when George Washington retired […]

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Hope for Obama from Arizona Special Election?

June 13, 2012

Yesterday saw a special election take place in Arizona’s eighth congressional district, to replace Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  Democrats will be taking some comfort from their victory by an increased, if still narrow, margin.  Below is a chart showing yesterday’s result (right-hand side), comparing it to the Mid-term election result (left-hand) from November 2010. As you […]

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Obama’s Route To Victory?

September 6, 2011

According to Gallup’s weekly tracker, Obama’s terrible approval ratings may have finally turned a corner.  It isn’t great progress: his approval rate from Gallup’s polling last week was only 42% against 51% disapproval, a net disapproval rate of 9%.  But the same tracker had his approval rate flat-lining at 40% for the last three weeks […]

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Off The Rails #5: the view from South Dakota

August 11, 2011

A brief update from Rapid City today, with the continual roar of Harleys in the background… First, the Democrats have now chosen their House representatives for the debt panel. Nancy Pelosi appears to have responded by the right-wing choices of the Republicans by showing a bit more steel than Harry Reed has in the Senate: […]

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Off The Rails #3: US Market Meltdown from Minnesota

August 9, 2011

I’m in Minneapolis, at the heart of what is probably the state with the nicest people – their stereo-type nationally is ‘Minnesota Nice’ and it fits. Nice, in a polite Lutheran kind of way, which is different to the back-slapping friendliness of the South. Here, they allow a bit of distance: they aren’t trying to […]

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Off The Rails #2: Democrats and Republicans unite to trash S&P

August 8, 2011

After a morning in the Art Institute of Chicago, this afternoon has been taken up travelling by train to Minneapolis. I’m making the most of it as my travelling in the next week takes the far less comfortable form of coaches across the Great Plains and Rockies. If Kerouac’s On The Road is often an […]

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US Budget Crisis Has No Winners

July 30, 2011

It is difficult to see who comes out of the US budget mess without a tarnished reputation. It has damaged the reputations of Obama, the Republican House majority and the Tea Party, although the last of these will probably not care much about that. President Obama The damage to Obama has been twofold: first, he […]

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