As the year comes to close, the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast team looks back on the most significant political moments of 2019 and previews the most pressing questions of 2020. They also discuss the Democrats’ debate over health care and the events that led the House to impeach President Trump.
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US Floyd killing also rocks British politics – Anadolu Agency
UK politicians on Wednesday condemned the killing of George Floyd, whose death at the hands of US police sparked protests across the country and the world, but the government was also grilled on taking a firm stand against police brutality.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, a weekly British parliamentary tradition where the prime minister takes questions from the leader of the opposition and MPs as a whole, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer opened his line of questioning with the situation in America.
Starmer said that he was “shocked” by the death of George Floyd. In response, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he condemned what happened to George Floyd, but that people should protest peacefully.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner tweeted: “Absolutely correct that @Keir_Starmer opens up #PMQs about the death of #GeorgeFloyd asking the PM what his position was on that horrendous event and the subsequent demonstrations #BlackLivesMattter”.
Ian Blackford, the leader at Westminster of the Scottish National Party (SNP), asked Johnson what he told President Donald Trump about the killing. He also asked Johnson if he could say “black lives matter.”
Johnson said: “Of course black lives matter”, but added that protests must be peaceful.
Blackford noted that Johnson did not disclose what he told Trump, and then pressed the prime minister on whether the UK will review the export of riot gear to the US.
Johnson said he was happy to look into the matter but that British exports are covered by the most scrupulous guidance in the world.
On Wednesday, Emily Thornberry, the shadow international trade secretary, called on the UK to suspend the sale of riot equipment to the US, and review whether British-made riot gear was being used against protesters in America.
The Labour MP wrote a letter to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, which said: “If this were any other leader, in any other country in the world, the suspension of any such exports is the least we could expect from the British government in response to their actions, and our historic alliance with the US is no reason to shirk that responsibility now.”
“The British public deserve to know how arms exported by this country are being used across the world and the American public deserve the right to protest peacefully without the threat of violent repression,” she added.
Last Sunday, British Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrators filled Trafalgar Square in protests at the killing of George Floyd.
BLM protesters have called for further demonstrations in London: Hyde Park on June 3, Parliament Square on June 6, and the US Embassy on June 7.
The US has seen protests since last week when a video went viral showing Floyd being pinned down by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as he was being arrested.
Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Shortly after, Floyd appeared to lose consciousness, but Chauvin maintained his position on the victim.
He died shortly after being taken to a hospital.
His last words were “I can’t breathe,” which became the slogan of the nationwide protests.
Floyd was killed by “asphyxiation from sustained pressure,” an independent autopsy found Monday.
Greens face big challenges as COVID-19 transforms the political landscape – CBC.ca
The Green Party missed out on a golden opportunity in the 2019 federal election. The COVID-19 pandemic might rob it of another opportunity in 2020.
Poised for a historic breakthrough — at times running third in national polling, ahead of the New Democrats — the Greens made only modest gains in the last election. The party won just one more seat than it had going into the vote and increased its share of ballots cast to just 6.5 per cent, still lower than its best result in the 2008 election.
Now, with support for the federal Greens and their provincial cousins either stagnating or dropping as Canadians shift their concerns away from climate change toward the novel coronavirus pandemic and the economy it is gutting, the party faces significant challenges ahead.
Wednesday at 9 PM ET marks the deadline for nominations for the Green leadership race. As of Wednesday morning, there are six candidates officially in the running: Amita Kuttner, Dimitri Lascaris, David Merner, Glen Murray, Annamie Paul and Dylan Perceval-Maxwell.
Murray, a former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister, is the only candidate with elected experience, though all of the others have run for office under the Green Party banner at least once.
The candidates have until September to meet all eligibility requirements. The race is scheduled to conclude in October.
At the outset, the contest provided the Greens with an opportunity for renewal. Elizabeth May, who announced her resignation as leader in November, had been at the head of the party since 2006. But the pandemic has made it more difficult for the campaign to gain any traction.
It also has taken a toll on support for Green parties at both the federal and provincial levels.
Polls by the Angus Reid Institute and Léger published this week recorded national Green support at between five and seven per cent, virtually unchanged from where it was on election night. In British Columbia and Atlantic Canada, where the party holds its three seats, support was lower than it was in October.
The B.C. Green Party — which became the first Green Party in Canada to win multiple seats in an election when it took three in 2017 — had to postpone its own leadership race due to the pandemic. While polls suggest the party’s support is no higher than it was three years ago, the B.C. New Democrats under Premier John Horgan have opened up a wide lead over the B.C. Liberals; Horgan’s handling of the pandemic is getting high marks from British Columbians.
As partisanship drops, so does Maritime Green support
He’s not the only premier to experience a boost in support in recent weeks. Most premiers have — in part because the crisis has encouraged many of them to put partisanship aside and work collaboratively with other parties.
The desire for that kind of politics helped the Greens in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island make their big breakthroughs in the 2018 and 2019 elections in these provinces. But the pandemic seems to be sapping one source of the Greens’ political appeal by encouraging the governing parties to take a more cooperative, less partisan approach.
In New Brunswick, the latest Narrative Research poll found Blaine Higgs’s Progressive Conservatives leading with 48 per cent support, while the Greens trailed in third with 15 per cent. That is a drop of five percentage points for the New Brunswick Greens since February — and those are the kind of numbers that would give Higgs the majority government he was unable to win in 2018.
The poll found 41 per cent of New Brunswickers choosing Higgs as their preferred premier, an increase of 15 points since February. Green Leader David Coon fell four points to 14 per cent over that time.
In Prince Edward Island, where Peter Bevan-Baker’s Greens form the Official Opposition in a minority legislature, Dennis King’s governing PCs have surged nine points since February to 54 per cent support. The Greens dropped six points to 22 per cent, putting them in a tie with the Liberals.
While King jumped 15 points to 53 per cent as Islanders’ preferred premier, Bevan-Baker fell 10 points to 21 per cent.
Though it could be a momentary blip for the governing Tories in these two provinces (crisis-induced spikes in support don’t always last), it should worry the Greens that they appear to have taken a step back in two provinces that once showed great promise for them.
COVID-19 dwarfing climate change as an issue
But the real existential issue for the Greens might be the impact the pandemic has on Canadians’ concerns about climate change.
At the beginning of the year, Nanos Research found that the environment was being cited by 21 per cent of Canadians as the most important issue of national concern. The economy trailed in second with 15 per cent.
COVID-19 has completely dwarfed these issues; 50 per cent of those polled by Nanos in April cited the pandemic as the most pressing issue facing the country. It has since dropped down to 33 per cent, though that still makes it the top issue of concern.
The pandemic’s surge as a political issue has come at the expense of the environment, which is now listed by eight per cent of Canadians as the most important issue facing the country. But while the environment has lagged, concerns about the economy have increased — it is now cited by 23 per cent as the top issue.
It is possible that as concern over COVID-19 recedes (which may not happen soon, given the threat of a second wave in the fall), the environment will rise again as an issue. But the damage the pandemic has done to the economy makes it more likely that most Canadians will be focused on economic matters in the short- to medium-term.
The longer-term picture is harder to forecast. The last time the environment was the top issue in polling was in the mid-2000s, before the financial crash in 2008 pushed it to the back burner again. It took another decade for the environment to re-emerge as the top issue of concern for Canadians.
A survey by Abacus Data for Clean Energy Canada offered little clarity about the likely longer-term impact of the pandemic on public opinion. The poll found that 32 per cent of respondents agreed that the pandemic had led them to believe that the focus should be on the economy and health care rather than climate change. But an equal number said it made them feel that Canadians can and should make changes to how we live and work to fight climate change.
It all leaves the Greens and the six leadership candidates in a difficult spot. The progress the Greens have made over the last few years has been built primarily on two pillars: growing concern about climate change and fatigue with the old way of doing politics.
But the pandemic has shifted people’s priorities and demonstrated that traditional parties can put partisanship aside. Suddenly, those pillars look a lot less sturdy.
60 minutes of mayhem: How aggressive politics and policing turned a peaceful protest into a violent confrontation – CNN
Barr gave the order
Preparations for a speech
A violent advance
A walk to remember
A messy aftermath
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