WASHINGTON, D.C. — There’s good news in Georgia for anyone still craving high-stakes election suspense in the wake of Joe Biden’s presidential win.
Control of the Senate is still up for grabs: Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue both face run-off elections Jan. 5 against Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
The GOP appears poised to claim Alaska and North Carolina, the two other seats still up in the air, but would remain one shy of the 51 needed for a majority.
A Republican majority would hamstring the Biden administration by thwarting legislation passed by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
A 50-50 draw, meanwhile, would give the edge to the Democrats, since it falls to vice-president-elect Kamala Harris to break ties in the Senate.
Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., says the diplomatic work of the Canadian Embassy in Washington will continue regardless of the uncertainty.
“We are continuing to work on files with the U.S. government all the time,” Hillman said in an interview.
“Even last week, while everybody was focused on how the election was turning out both in the White House and in Congress, we were doing business.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2020.
A novel's glimpse at the politics of another era – Anchorage Daily News
There are few works of fiction about American electoral politics and governance that are recognized works of art. Edwin O’Connor’s “The Last Hurrah” (1956) is one.
The novel is set in Boston in the early 1950s, but the setting should not be mistaken for mere background. Boston, in fiction and fact ruled by men with Irish surnames, is a primary character — its streets, public buildings, slums, magnificent private homes and raucous election night crowds.
Frank Skeffington, the incumbent mayor, is first among the Irish political class; he has held a variety of public offices since the 20th century began, including a term as governor of the state. O’Connor’s friend the critic Edmund Wilson succinctly described Skeffington as “the old-fashioned Irish political boss frankly corrupt and feudally benevolent.” His benevolence — providing a supplicant with a job, dispensing cash to a widow, finding a school for a troublesome teen — derives from his belief that “all successful political activity was based on quid pro quo.” Benevolence produces votes on election day.
Skeffington, a trim, handsome man just turned 72, is after yet another term. When asked in private why he is running again, he offers an explanation 87-year-old Don Young could not improve on: “I want to.” Skeffington is bright, if uneducated, and reflective. His electoral victories have provided a large home and a bountiful life, but he knows only politics and lacks the imagination for a life beyond the political realm.
“I suppose,” he says, “that I am the last of the old-style political leaders. who is still alive and moving around.”
The timeline of the novel runs from Skeffington’s reelection announcement through a few post-election days. As the campaign unfolds, Skeffington is as prepared as a field general entering combat. He has money, tested loyal lieutenants, eager supporters who benefit from Skeffington rule and will vote. He also has a realistic sense of his opponents and enemies. In particular, the leaders of the New England protestant establishment — the banker, the newspaper publisher, who loathe him as Irish scum — and hIs aging, angry Irish rivals who have fought him for control of the city for decades. A bitter but less open critic is the ancient cardinal who presides over Catholic Boston. He believes the mayor’s habitual crookedness has disgraced the Irish people.
Skeffington’s secular enemies aim to dethrone him by uniting behind a handsome young lawyer with a lovely wife and growing family — Irish, Catholic, Democrat, unsullied by sin. Kevin McClusky’s lack of knowledge of the city he was born in is obvious to all. Consequently, his sponsors steer him away from shaking hands with the voters. He campaigns from his living room through a series of television interviews, surrounded by his wife and adorable children. His television producer, with an eye for detail, has placed a portrait of the pope on the wall and rented an Irish setter who dozes peacefully on the set. McClusky, it turns out, has a near genius for never saying anything of substance — or anything generating controversy.
But this is only the story. What makes “the Last Hurrah” memorable is O’Connor skillful revealing Skeffington through differing points of view: his nephew Adam Caulfied, the scrum of aides who follow him everywhere, those desperate supplicants, the enemies and rivals who have fought him for years. They all see pieces of the man through the roles he plays, as does the reader — but the reader knows a man is his not his roles. There is performance in life, but a performance is not a life — and no one sees the whole Skeffington. He remains, at least in part, a mystery.
On election night, the early returns tell Skeffington he will lose. He senses the truth before anyone in his campaign. A majority of the voters no longer want the old boss. They want new houses, new cars, new television sets and a new government. They want the new (if unknown) McClusky, his family, and that snoozing setter. There is no place for a Skeffington; he soon will be dead.
An aged lawyer with the perfect WASP name of Nathaniel Gardiner, who has known Skeffington most of his life, muses to himself as he watches the mayor’s funeral procession wind through the narrow Boston streets. “Where there had been a Skeffington there was now a McClusky. The old buccaneer, for all his faults, had at least been a capable, vivid personality; he had been succeeded by the spearhead of a generation of ciphers.”
Perhaps this is a sentimental farewell of a departing legend, but it was a perspective many Americans apparently shared in the 1950s. “The Last Hurrah” was a bestseller and a major motion picture starring Spencer Tracy as Skeffington. Book sales and the movie made Edwin O’Connor wealthy, with a mansion worthy of the mayor he created.
Michael Carey is an occasional columnist and the former editorial page editor of the Anchorage Daily News.
How We Can Reconcile With Each Other When Our Politics Are So Polarized – The Wall Street Journal
On a Sunday afternoon earlier this month, eight Democrats, seven Republicans and one Independent attended a three-hour Zoom meeting to discuss politics. There was no screaming. No one hurled accusations or stereotypes. People thanked each other for sharing their opinions.
It felt like a miracle.
The meeting was a “Red/Blue Workshop,” conducted by Braver Angels, a nonpartisan nonprofit that was created after the 2016 election by people concerned about the increasingly polarized tone of political discourse in the U.S. The aim of these workshops is to bring people with different political views together to share their beliefs and search for commonalities. “You look for the glue, for that which binds,” says William Doherty, a marriage and family therapist, professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, and one of the group’s co-founders, who designed the workshop. “Now is the perfect time to begin this process of reconciliation.”
A majority of Americans—67%—believe it’s important to get along with people they disagree with politically, according to a recently released study by researchers at Harvard Graduate School of Education called “Bridging America’s Political Divide.” Eighty-three percent of the survey’s approximately 1,400 respondents said they could respect someone who disagrees with them politically as long as the person respected them back. And 80% said they would be “happy” to engage in conversations with people who have opposing political views—as long as the conversation was considerate, with neither party belittling or disparaging the other.
Focus on what you have in common: the shared history, goals, aspirations and values.
And yet true reconciliation will take more than good communication skills. To restore genuinely friendly relations with friends, family members and those in our communities, we need to move past our mutual hostility and heal. This will require us to listen, to try to understand why people feel differently than we do, and to find and focus on the things we have in common.
There’s an urge to break off ties right now, to claim we “can’t possibly understand” how someone could hold the views they hold. This is a personal decision. But Dr. Doherty says we should be very careful: The vast majority of people who hold different views from us aren’t bad folks. Their political opinions aren’t the only thing that defines them. And we lose a lot when we lose a relationship that was important to us.
Dr. Doherty designed the Braver Angels workshops based on techniques used in couples therapy. The group’s name was inspired by the words of Abraham Lincoln, who encouraged Americans to summon the “better angels of our nature.” It is funded by membership fees from its 13,000 members and grants from foundations across the political spectrum. In the past four years, Braver Angels has created chapters in all 50 states and run thousands of workshops, debates and presentations—first in person and now via Zoom—that bring conservative (or “red” in the group’s lexicon) and liberal (“blue”) participants together to discuss politics, as well as issues such as climate change and race.
In the Red/Blue sessions, people learn to express their views in constructive ways and listen carefully without leaping to contradict others. Just like sparring spouses, participants learn to adhere to the major tenets of marriage therapy: Speak for yourself; don’t interpret what’s going on in the other person’s mind. Accept your own contribution to the problem—and that you can only change yourself. Focus on what you have in common: the shared history, goals, aspirations and values.
“Both sides have temptations to resist,” Dr. Doherty says. “If you are happy about the election, your temptation will be toward triumphalism. And those who have lost will have a temptation for vengeance.”
So what does Dr. Doherty suggest we do? First, if your side won, don’t gloat. (Sorry.) It doesn’t foster goodwill. You also should not expect someone on the other side to apologize. You don’t need that to move on. And the goal is to restore the relationship, not punish the person.
More From Bonds
Finding Hope When Everything Feels Hopeless
October 27, 2020
Loathe Your Loved One’s Politics? Here’s Some Advice
October 19, 2020
The Art of the Pandemic Meltdown
October 6, 2020
Everyone needs an attitude adjustment. In order to repair our relationships, we need to be willing to accept our differences. We need to see our family members, friends and people in our community for more than their political beliefs. And we need to spend more time focusing on what is admirable in someone’s character. “We should remind ourselves that this is someone I care about. We have a history together. We love a lot of the same people. We have bonds that are deeper and more powerful than politics,” says Dr. Doherty.
In the Braver Angels Red/Blue workshops, participants take part in structured discussions that allow them to practice listening to one other. In one exercise, they take turns explaining why they think their side’s values and policies are good for the country, as well as what reservations they have for these policies. They break into groups—one for “reds” and one for “blues”—to explore stereotypes. And they pair up—one red and one blue—and discuss their views.
Braver Angels volunteers Steve Saltwick, a Republican, and Lynn Heady, a Democrat—who work closely together as co-directors of the group’s field operations—have tried to put the group’s advice into practice in their own friendship. When they met last year, they deliberately avoided talking about politics, bonding instead over work, family, dogs and barbecue. (He is from Austin. She is from Nashville.) But right before the election, Ms. Heady mentioned that she was upset about something she heard in the news, and the two agreed to talk about it. So she shared her views. Then he shared his. And each tried to really listen.
It went OK. And so they keep trying. If tensions rise, one of them will say: “I don’t think we are going to agree on this one. We should stop talking.” Then they return to what they have in common.
After the recent Sunday Red/Blue workshop, Howard Reitz, an 81-year-old retired music professor and violinist from St. Paul, Minn., who is a Republican, said that one of his most important takeaways “was learning that not showing one’s emotions—approval, shock, disapproval—is a valuable and necessary skill.” Teresa Collett, 63, a law professor in St. Paul, Minn., who is a Republican, said she was struck by how important it is to have a shared vocabulary around issues, such as police reform.
Martha Brown, a Democrat from Red Lodge, Mont., and Ken Goodpaster, a self-described “conservative independent” from St. Paul, Minn., were paired up during the one-on-one discussions. They discussed gun violence, immigration, racism and Covid-19. Both said they were surprised to find common ground on a variety of issues, including gun regulation, controlled immigration, police reform and the need for Covid-19 precautions to protect the most vulnerable.
“We learned a lot from each other,” says Dr. Brown, 62, a retired university administrator.
“It was exciting,” says Mr. Goodpaster, 76, a professor emeritus of business ethics. “There were a lot of themes that resonated with both of us, including the importance of unifying the country in the wake of a close election.
“We have a family here and it needs to be healed.”
Share Your Thoughts
What suggestions do you have for constructively talking with family and friends with whom you have different political views? Join the discussion below.
Tips For Talking With Someone With Different Views
Here is some advice from William Doherty, a marriage and family therapist and co-founder of Braver Angels, a nonprofit that works to depolarize Americans.
Be humble and accept responsibility. “Meaningful progress occurs when both sides see that they have contributed to the problem,” Dr. Doherty says.
Stop trying to change the other person. It rarely works and leads to endless arguing. Remember: We can only change ourselves.
Seek to understand. This means we need to talk less and listen more—a lot more. Stop explaining your point of view and try to understand why the other person sees the world as they do.
Try the LAPP Technique: Listen to understand, not reload. Acknowledge what you heard. Pivot by assessing whether it is OK to offer your views. Offer your perspective (if the person has signaled a willingness to hear it).
Use “I” statements instead of dogmatic ones. (“This is how I see it” instead of “How can you not see this?”)
Depolarize your language. Avoid labels, such as “bigoted” or “unpatriotic.” If someone offers their opinion and you put a label on it you are never going to have a meaningful conversation or mend the relationship.
Write to Elizabeth Bernstein at email@example.com or follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at EBernsteinWSJ.
5 golden rules if you end up talking politics with your family this Thanksgiving and how 4 college students spent an unprecedented fall semester – MarketWatch
Here are Tuesday’s top personal finance stories:
Janet Yellen is poised to become Treasury secretary in a Biden cabinet — and here’s what that means for cash-strapped American families
‘We are in for very, very rough economic times,’ one analyst tells MarketWatch.
Older people, Black and Latinx Americans say they would be hesitant about getting a coronavirus vaccine
Many Americans say they’re hesitant to get a vaccine, even if one was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
5 golden rules if you end up talking politics with your family this Thanksgiving
‘Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t need two headless chickens fighting over the soul of the nation’
Pope Francis takes aim at anti-mask protestors: ‘They are incapable of moving outside of their own little world’
In his new book, the pontiff asks, ‘What matters more — to take care of people or keep the financial system going?’
Artists want to turn the Sunday after Thanksgiving into Black Friday for art
Thousands of artists and organizations across the country are coming together to encourage people to shop art Nov. 29
Lucky, stressed, and ready to graduate — How 4 college students spent an unprecedented fall semester
One is taking time off, another is racing to graduate, and one took classes while living in a state park on an island.
Dr. Fauci on Cuomo’s decision to review vaccines for New Yorkers after FDA approval: ‘Trust the process’
The veteran immunologist in a Washington Post video interview: ‘The numbers can be stark, sobering and, in many cases, they can be frightening.’
From jobs to child care: How this second surge in COVID-19 can damage your finances — as well as your health
More people were having trouble getting enough food on the table in early November compared to five weeks earlier.
Under Biden, CFPB will play a role in any student-debt cancelation — and help tackle student-loan servicers
Experts expect more aggressive oversight of the student-loan industry come January.
Elsewhere on MarketWatch
Officials plan to distribute 6.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in December, aiming for 40 million doses by end of year
The U.S. government plans to initially roll out 6.4 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine next month, while it is confident in meeting its goal of distributing about 40 million doses by the end of the year, federal officials said Tuesday.
There will be a ‘huge boom’ in the second quarter of 2021 if vaccines are effective, says investment strategist David Rosenberg
Market strategist’s near-term ‘value trade’ taps utilities, consumer staples, health care, Big Tech — plus long-term Treasurys and gold.
Beware of ‘zombie’ companies running rampant in the stock market
A total of 19%, or 571 companies, in the Russell 3000 Index are considered unviable, writes William Barritt.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs iPhone 12 camera shootout: Close, but not quite – Android Authority
Coronavirus in BC: More than 940 COVID-19 cases confirmed in one day – CTV News Vancouver
Many Canadians gaining weight during COVID-19: poll – BarrieToday
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
- Art24 hours ago
The Art of Building the Impossible – The New Yorker
- Tech18 hours ago
Black Friday Sony TV Deals (2020): 60 Inch, 65 Inch & 75 Inch Sony 4K TV Deals Reviewed by Deal Tomato – GlobeNewswire
- Business22 hours ago
'This is actually terrifying': Toronto-area small businesses fight for survival as new lockdown takes effect – theglobeandmail.com
- Tech15 hours ago
Sony says that variable refresh rate feature for PlayStation 5 is in the works – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com
- Tech22 hours ago
Apple giving away up to $210 gift cards for Black Friday – MobileSyrup
- Media21 hours ago
Judge at Toronto van attack trial suggests media should stop naming killers but courts should not – National Post
- Health8 hours ago
BC health officials to provide COVID-19 update on Tuesday afternoon | News – Daily Hive
- Media22 hours ago
Social media 'out of control,' says Norfolk mayor – Simcoe Reformer