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Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Sanatorum Dropping Out

In Democracy, Elections, The United States on April 10, 2012 at 6:37 pm

It looks like Santorum is dropping out (finally). He had an interesting, crazy run, but it looks like Republicans finally accepted Romney.

Now I’m wondering what Ron Paul will do, if anything. It will be interesting to watch it unfold.

Gingrich should quit, actually he should have threw in the towel a long time ago. But looks like his long-term friend is ready to accept Romney.


The Republican Implosion

In Democracy, Elections, The United States on April 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I’m waiting to see who else gets kicked off the island, paraphrasing President Obama on the Tonight Show, when asked when he would start his campaign.

And that’s true. Everyone who has been involved or even cared to follow the Republican Primary knows it has been a circus. And a circus is putting it mildly.

With all the eccentric personalities, the lead changes, the absolutely crazy assertions that some candidates made, makes quite a few people think that the Republican Party is full of lunatics. Not really. But it does reveal something interesting.

Let’s be clear. The American take all system cannot possibly allow for a third party. Money, resources, and energy are at stake for the race to the top. But it does make you think.

With the big win in Wisconsin, many Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief that perhaps this thing is over. Yes, they probably do not like Mitt Romney, view him as being the best of the worst, but at least this thing is coming to an end. Not quite.

Newt Gingrich has vowed to fight on, and so has Santorum, in a last ditch effort to take as many delegates as possible. Romney is the obvious winner, and now we are in for a power struggle, back room deals deciding who gets what cabinet or position should Romney be elected. This is the danger for many Moderate Republicans who have a distaste for social conservatism; a simple repeat of the 2008 elections where the moderate McCain bowed down to conservative pressure and appointed a neo-conservative female (something that, believed at the time, covered all the bases) as Vice President, which ultimately cost him the election. There is a large debate at the moment, even if it is just a tiny thought in the back of your mind, that the Republican party is finished, or on a long, slow slide toward the dark abyss.

Not necessarily.

For we forgot one individual who is still in the race. Ron Paul. He is the great force of nature that everyone should be scared of. He has been steadily picking up delegates as well, and on top of that, he has a very loyal base. The biggest question everyone should be thinking about, is which way is he going to turn? Will he run as an independent, and if so, is he taking votes from independents who are disenchanted with the previous four years away from President Obama or is he going to appeal to those moderate, fiscally conservative Republicans that make-up Romney’s staying power. There is a large cloud looming over the country, we just do not know where it will rain, or where lightning will strike.

The Republicans are struggling, but it’s a familiar one. Two powerful ideologies, some even argue that are fixated on opposite poles, are always in conflict. Fiscal responsibility and social conservatism. The Republicans are well adapted at handling this beast. They did it during the last primary where Mitt Romney quickly bowed out and allowed John McCain to move forward as he was picking up delegates and becoming more popular with voters. But before has it been like this? Where so many different ideologies have combated each other until the bitter end? One can argue that even at this point, with the flip-flopping and the flag waving of who is the most conservative, the race to the middle, and then the race back to the far right, that this is actually pretty unique. At least in its duration.

And this is where Ron Paul comes in. Though Republican (who used to be a Democrat) he has not been afraid to come out as the black sheep, even being booed at debates, he sticks to his guns and is very stubborn. The Republicans have a choice. Ron Paul will more than likely run as a third candidate, he has the support, the money, and the energy. There are many who state that this is a danger to Obama but I highly disagree. It’s more of a danger to the Republicans. Santorum won a lot of delegates and he has some bargaining power. Plus he plays into the traditional struggle between the moderates and the conservatives. Romney may have no choice but to give Santorum the VP slot and that would be a disaster. If the Republicans want a shot in November they would be wise to give it to Ron Paul. That would do the most damage to Obama and take a powerful third contender out of the race, giving the Independent votes to the Republicans. Plus if Gingrich decides to run as a third candidate, he will probably just be ignored, vying for attention like that kid you knew who wanted to be popular but never had a chance.

But, if you are someone who has followed politics for quite a while, it becomes second nature. The characters may change but the story stays the same. And so does the ending.

German elections – 2009

In Elections, Europe, Germany on August 31, 2009 at 1:59 am

For those of you who missed it, elections are well underway in Germany.

Alex Harrowell over at Fistful of Euros, has a good description of what the heck is going on, as well as a good overview of how the election process works in the country, in terms of coalition building.

I will just shed a little light on a few interesting tidbits.

In the eastern realm of the country, there always exists a pretty good turnout for die Linke (“The Left” – the old communist party of yore) and the NPD (the NSDAP, or so one could argue, in its current form). These elections hold true so far. Die Linke is showing a strong performance in both Sachsen and Thüringen, and also, which is always an interesting case study, in Saarland, giving the SPD a run for their money. The NPD are making an appearance in the election results in Thüringen and Sachsen, which shows that they are garnering enough votes to be counted in the results. This will without a doubt be comparable to the other Bundesländer in the east.

The financial crisis has hit Germany very hard because its economy is mainly focused and driven on exports. Therefore, the rather poor performance of the SPD mirrors the troubles that they are having in terms of identity. The CDU has been leaning left, and it seems the German population views them to be doing it a lot better than the traditional workers’ party.

Local European elections always sort of mirror the main issue on the continent today, or rather two issues at present. The first is immigration and the second is of course the financial crisis. There have been talks of a fortress Europe systematically emerging, which is a debate in its own right, but the fact is that Europe is having a lot of difficulty with integrating its large immigration population. Being a social-welfare state, government institutions are just not built to allow easy movement of peoples between various classes, and social mobility for immigrants is rather low, compared to the United States whose institutions are founded upon it, though they are obviously not perfect.

There have been comments that globalization is the United States, and globalization is Americanization, to use it in the negative sense. Immigration policy is a major reason why the U.S. has benefited quite a lot. It still attracts the brightest students from abroad, and still dominates the globe in terms of advanced education, (though the U.S.’ secondary education is in a dire state) which is a major drive for entrepreneurship that increases its ability for innovation. Though after 9/11 there have been major setbacks in this endeavor, and any non-U.S. citizen wanting to work or reside in the country for longer than three months will be able to attest to the rigorous (and outright embarrassing) application process, nevertheless Europe has a tougher job. It has to reform itself entirely from a country that is based on homogeneous principles, to accepting those who become naturalized citizens, who have newly acquired a European passport, to also be German, British or Italian.

Read Harrowell’s article. But in essence, the SPD and CDU (Angela Merkel’s party)  are going to lose a few seats, but the latter will still be the dominant party. The biggest winner will be the FDP, Germany’s “catch-all” party, which really shows confusion and a bit indifference regarding the state of affairs in the country. Without the SPD being able to fully capitalize on the financial crisis, which truthfully makes it difficult to point the finger at the other party that they happen to be in a grand coalition with, the status quo will be more or less upheld. What is important is how many votes the FDP will acquire, and what sort of direction they will take when the time comes to build a coalition.

Die Zeit is keeping a tally on the scores for the Bundesländer, in which voting is underway. You don’t need to have a knowledge of German to understand the graph and the results.