Connect with us

Politics

Opinion | For both politics and the economy, this is our fork in the road – The Washington Post

Published

 on


We stand at a political and economic crossroads. Some things about the economy are terrific, while others are terrible. The president seems to get no credit for the former, and only blame for the latter. Our fate for the next few years could be determined by an election only nine months away — and it could go in two very different directions.

Let’s begin with the pessimistic scenario for Democrats. Right now, President Biden would like to claim credit for what has unquestionably been a rapid recovery from the pandemic recession. Economic growth has been extraordinary (5.7 percent gross domestic product growth in 2021), and over 6 million jobs were created last year, more than in any year on record.

Yet only around 40 percent of Americans say Biden is doing a good job on the economy, for a variety of reasons that include inflation, raw partisanship and the fact that we’re working our way out of a very deep hole. Republicans now give lower marks to the economy than they did at the lowest points of the Great Recession or the pandemic recession, as crazy as that is.

The bad scenario for Democrats is that this situation could persist: Even as the recovery continues, a generalized dissatisfaction could prevent voters from feeling good about the state of the country. The pandemic may fade, but it won’t blink out of existence, which could leave those ill feelings circulating like aerosolized particles of misery.

Making that worse, Democrats may continue having a hard time passing anything through Congress that might either alleviate short-term economic problems or create the kind of long-term transformation Biden was hoping for. Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) killed the Build Back Better bill, and there’s no telling what, if anything, may be salvaged from it.

And if Democrats lose one or both houses in the midterm elections, that will be the end of any legislating for the remainder of Biden’s term. All the things he promised when he ran in 2020 — increasing the minimum wage, passing pro-labor laws, creating family leave and universal pre-K, getting closer to universal health coverage — will be done for.

And if you want to really marinate in pessimism, you could even predict that Biden will nonetheless do a reasonable job of shepherding the country through the pandemic and its economic troubles — after which a Republican will become president, destroy the economy yet again and leave it for another Democrat to pick up the pieces.

That could happen in part because Democrats will have proven unable to address the fundamental inequities in the American system that contribute to the widely shared — and correct — feeling that our system is rigged in favor of those with wealth and power.

That’s because, even as we are living through extremely difficult times, the wealthy have only continued to grab a greater share of the pie. Wall Street is doing great; the chief executive of Goldman Sachs got a sweet raise to $35 million last year. Shipping companies jacked up their fees, contributing to inflation — and made record profits. Likewise, Starbucks saw its fourth-quarter profits surge by 19 percent, to over $8 billion — and announced it has no choice but to raise prices because of supply chain disruptions.

All that could contribute to the sense that ordinary people can’t get ahead — precisely what Biden had hoped to change. Then Republican populists — whose actual policy agenda will only exacerbate inequality — will come to the voters and say, “See? These Democrats never did anything for you.”

But that’s only one possible future. Here’s the other potential scenario:

A variety of factors may make this year the exception rather than the rule when it comes to midterm elections. It’s possible that the pandemic will recede significantly as we pass the omicron wave, leading to the kind of widespread optimism we felt for that brief, glorious moment last summer. Inflation could ease while strong job growth continues, allowing Biden to make a case that he’s managing the economy well.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, probably by the summer — a disaster for American women, with the potential result of Democratic voters being more motivated to get to the polls. Republicans may nominate so many deranged Trumpists and enemies of democracy to seek one office after another that the electorate recoils from them.

Which could, if Democrats are really lucky, mean they hold the House and add a couple of seats to their majority in the Senate. Should that happen, they could finally nix the filibuster and pass some of those bills that might give Americans at least some measure of the kind of economic security they now lack.

Either scenario is possible. And which one comes to pass will determine what life looks like for many years to come.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Politics

It's all about the stats: What politics and baseball have in common – CBC.ca

Published

 on


In his final column as host of The House, Chris Hall talks with three political strategists to examine the intersection between two of his favourite subjects: politics and baseball.

There’s a saying that life imitates art. But for my money, there’s another comparison that’s equally true. Politics imitates baseball.

Here’s the pitch.

Politics and baseball are filled with tradition. There are a lot of rules; some are written, and some really just time-honoured traditions. 

Today, both are becoming more reliant on modern-day metrics — data and statistics — to attract new supporters, and to win.

In baseball, those stats help managers decide when to deploy the infield shift, or put an extra person in the outfield to prevent the best hitters from getting on base.

In politics, the numbers tell campaign managers which ridings to visit and which campaign promise to promote. They know how many swing votes are available in each voting district. Parties keep data banks that tell them which address is home to a supporter, and which is home to a voter who might be convinced to join their side.

So it’s not surprising that many politicians and their strategists are also baseball fans. 

The House’s politics (and baseball) panel, left to right: Anne McGrath, national director for the NDP, Jason Lietaer, president of Enterprise Canada and the former Conservative strategist; and Zita Astravas, former Liberal spokesperson and current chief of staff to Bill Blair. (Submitted by Jason Lietaer and Zita Astravas, Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

There is a powerful connection between running the bases and running a campaign, according to Anne McGrath.

“I think that all campaigns are, or strive to be, data-driven now,” said McGrath, the NDP’s national director and a veteran of both federal and provincial campaigns.

“It is the key in politics. You have to find the people who support you and get them out to vote. So you have to know who they are and know where they are and know what they care about.”

McGrath was a die-hard fan of the Montreal Expos. The club moved years ago to Washington and she’s still not over it. But McGrath sees a lesson in the move, about the importance of not just maintaining a fan base, but finding ways to get new ones to the ballpark.

“You do have to know who your base is and you have to expand it. You have to bring more people in. And you have to do it in a way that is attentive to changing demographics and changing ways of communicating with people and getting people interested and involved and motivated,” she explained.

CBC News: The House9:32Take me out to the poll game

In one of his last shows, host Chris Hall combines two of his passions: baseball and politics. He speaks with three fellow baseball diehards who happen to be political insiders: Liberal staffer Zita Astravas, Conservative strategist Jason Lietaer and NDP national director Anne McGrath.

Jason Lietaer grew up reading baseball box scores and waiting impatiently for the weekend newspaper that included the stats for every American League player, including members of the hometown Toronto Blue Jays.

Lietaer, a former Conservative campaign strategist who now runs the government-relations firm Enterprise Canada, is a believer in mining data for insights into a player or into a campaign. But just gathering that data doesn’t guarantee victory in either baseball or politics, he said.

Sometimes the bottom of the ninth happens a month before the game even starts.– Jason Lietaer

The players on the field, or the candidates knocking on doors continue to play a key role in determining whether you win or lose. Plus, it’s important to interpret that data correctly

“And I would say in politics, we’re still sort of struggling with some of that,” Lietaer said. “You know, is there only one or two ways to read the data? How important is digital communication? How important is this piece of information?”

The Toronto Blue Jays Alejandro Kirk hits a single during a game against the Boston Red Sox in Toronto on June 28, 2022. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press)

A key lesson is figuring out what the statistics are telling you before the end of the game or before election night, to better adapt to the changing circumstances and give your team a better chance at victory.

“Sometimes you don’t realize you’re winning or losing an election [until] you’ve already won or lost it,” he said.

“Sometimes the bottom of the ninth happens a month before the game even starts.”

The politics and baseball panel was one of the last interviews Chris Hall did as the host of The House. He retired from CBC in June 2022. CBC Radio created this ‘farewell’ baseball card to mark the occasion. (Ben Shannon/CBC)

Zita Astravas is another political insider who spends a lot of time watching baseball. She’s worked on both federal and Ontario Liberal campaigns and is now chief of staff to Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair.

“I think one of the things that drew me to politics and baseball is statistics, and I think it’s one of the things that you can find common ground in,” she said.

“You do it every day on a political campaign: you look at different ridings and craft who your best candidates are, what your target ridings are, just as you do on different players.”

It’s all about finding a hidden meaning in the numbers, an edge to exploit on the field or in the hustings.

It’s all in the hopes of answering the key question, McGrath says: “Did we hit it out of the park?”

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Politics Report: The People Asked for Time and Now They Get Time Because What They Really Wanted Was Time – Voice of San Diego

Published

 on


Early Monday, our Lisa Halverstadt learned that the City Council was not going to vote on a proposed settlement over 101 Ash St. after all. Serves us right for expecting a climax in any long-running San Diego political affair. 

Maybe the settlement didn’t have the five votes it needed, maybe some new information materialized, or maybe the mayor’s explanation that they heard the public’s call that it needed more time to process the terms of the agreement was all there was too it. That last explanation would perhaps be the most exciting, since it would mark the first time in city history that a proceduralist consideration wasn’t just poorly disguised cover for some substantive difference of opinion. 

Nonetheless, former Mayor Kevin Faulconer jumped on KUSI Thursday to say he was happy that Mayor Todd Gloria had decided to delay the vote for a month until the public had ample time to fully absorb the particulars of a settlement that would have ended some city lawsuits, continue others, and lead to the acquisition of two massive pieces of downtown real estate for a City Hall redevelopment that hasn’t been planned and won’t be within the next month. The public would also then have enough time to grok the city attorney’s dissenting opinion on the settlement, or both legal and policy reasons. 

“I think you have to make sure that any proposed settlement is going to be a benefit to the city, a benefit to taxpayers and it’s not something that should be rushed,” he said. “I think we’ll hear a lot more about that in the coming months.” 

Clearly, now that we’ve made the difficult, brave decision not to rush the matter, ignoring the screaming hordes from the pro-rush caucus, we don’t need to be in any hurry to articulate whether the deal actually is a benefit to the city and taxpayers or not. The important thing is that now we have time.  

Brief CAP Opposition from the Cap’s Top Champion 

Back in Gloria’s first stint in the mayor’s office – in an interim position that didn’t really exist – Nicole Capretz led the charge within his administration for what became his landmark achievement during that time, even though it wasn’t passed until Faulconer was in office: the city’s Climate Action Plan. 

The city adopted a plan that said it would half its carbon footprint by 2035 by, among other things, transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy and getting half of people who live near transit to bike, walk or take transit to work by that same year. San Diego basked in national praise from the New York Times and elsewhere.  

This week, though, Capretz – who now runs a nonprofit group that pushes San Diego and other cities to do more within their climate plans – came out as an opponent of the updated version of the same Climate Action Plan that Gloria is now trying to pass. Even though the plan is ramping up its goals – the city would now by 2035 reach “net zero,” when the level of its greenhouse emissions are equal to the level absorbed by the environment (or new technology that removes carbon from the atmosphere) – Capretz and her group urged a “no” vote from a Council committee, because the city lacked a timeline and cost estimates for its commitments. They eventually got on board when city staff agreed to provide that by February. 

Still, it was interesting to hear Capretz, maybe the city’s top salesperson for the climate plan, acknowledge that proponents had made mistakes with the first plan by not setting clear cost and time requirements for each of the policies included in it. 

“We did not insist on an implementation plan for the first Climate Action Plan,” she told our MacKenzie Elmer. “We’re not going to make that mistake again.”  

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Murphy's Logic: Politics trumps public interest | CTV News – CTV News Atlantic

Published

 on


The initial reluctance of governments, federal and provincial, to appoint a public inquiry into the N.S. mass shooting, was difficult to understand. It took the heartfelt pleas of the victims’ families and the fast rising tide of public opinion to make the politicians act.

And now we likely know why they were so reluctant.

Imperfect though it may be, the inquiry eventually appointed has now exposed the obscene political considerations that were already at play in the days that followed the horror of April 2020.

The evidence reveals that political leaders, who should have been overwhelmed only with grief and concern for the trauma and misery wrought by a madman, instead seemed to seize an overwhelming opportunity to advance their own partisan interests in toughening gun control.

There is reason to believe the PM or his people, certainly his Ministers, were attempting to dictate, manipulate or at least influence parts of the RCMP the narrative. That’s unacceptable, a brazen display of politics put ahead of public interest, moreover, it’s heartless.

The Commissioner of the RCMP should not have been making promises to her political masters about the release of information about the sort of weapons used by the shooter but more pointedly, the politicians shouldn’t have been asking for such promises about that or anything else.

The Mass Causality Commission has already exposed many shortcomings on the part of the RCMP.

The force’s politically charged relationship with the government is yet another fault, yet another reason to demand changes in the way the RCMP operates.

The arrogance laid bare by the Trudeau government’s apparent willingness to interfere, to capitalize on the timing of a tragedy for crass political advantage, also suggests it may also be time to change the government.

   

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending