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.
You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.
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Love in the Time of Trump: How Do You Approach Politics on Dating Apps? – The New York Times
Americans are watching an impeachment trial against their president unfold, just as the country prepares for the Democratic primaries and caucuses. We’re living in an era of heightened politics and divisiveness, and, for many, where you stand politically can feel as important a part of your identity as your religion or profession.
Enter dating apps.
With just a few words and an emoji, you can indicate whether you’re for or against President Trump, how you’ll vote in the next election and what belief system you’re looking for in a partner.
Here are a few recent examples my editor and I spotted on Bumble: “Monthly donation to Bernie.” “Moderate.” “Jesus on my team 🏆.” “Just another immigrant in USA.” “I’m fond of progressive/lefty politics and social justice.”
Likewise, guessing potential matches’ political beliefs through clues in their bios — American flag emojis, campaign slogans, religious references — can determine how you swipe.
If you’re on the apps, we would like to hear how you convey where you fall on the political spectrum and what signs (positive and negative) you look for when interpreting others’ profiles.
And if you’re rolling your eyes at all of this, we also want to hear that — tell us if and why you think politics should have nothing to do with dating.
Please fill out the form below. We may publish a selection of the responses in an upcoming article.
Bill de Blasio's bagel gaffe and the fraught politics of food – The Conversation US
If New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hadn’t already dropped out of the 2020 presidential race, #bagelgate might have been the nail in the coffin.
His Jan. 15 tweet praising a toasted bagel on National Bagel Day instantly set off hardline bagel devotees-cum-voters. De Blasio quickly amended his tweet to delete the word “toasted.” But the damage was already done. Purists scorned the very idea of toasting a bagel, calling into question his bona fides as a New Yorker.
The outrage over bagel protocol may seem silly. But few acts are as personal as eating, and food is closely intertwined with place and culture.
For a politician, food might seem like a low-hanging fruit. Is there an easier way to appeal to the masses? Everyone, after all, eats.
But when politicians wade into local food customs, they do so at their own risk. My research on presidents and first ladies suggests that uninformed assumptions about food often get candidates and elected officials in trouble.
Bill de Blasio isn’t the first politician to run afoul of food norms and face the wrath of voters. And he certainly won’t be the last.
Culinary campaign calamities
Most political wannabes try hard to bridge the gap between their wealthy backgrounds and the rest of us. It rarely works.
During the 1976 presidential campaign, incumbent president Gerald Ford, before the eyes of bewildered Texans, peeled back the aluminum foil – but not the corn husk – and took a giant bite out of a tamale. Ford never lived it down.
According to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, “The Great Tamale Incident” sealed Ford’s loss to Jimmy Carter in the Lone Star State.
In 2003, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry unwittingly broke food norms when he ordered Swiss cheese for his Philly cheese steak instead of Cheese Whiz. Nine years later, Republican Mitt Romney asked for a “sub” in Pennsylvania, where, as locals will tell you, they call them hoagies. And Romney again made himself an easy target for mockery in 2019, when the millionaire businessman claimed his favorite type of meat was a hot dog.
Pizza is treacherous terrain: Republicans Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and John Kasich have all faced withering criticism for eating pizza with a fork. Bill de Blasio made the same mistake, too, in what was dubbed “forkgate.”
But no food has a greater potential for campaign catastrophe than the corn dog. The optics of state fair corn dog consumption are never good. The web is full of wince-worthy photos of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Bernie Sanders all struggling to maintain their dignity while biting into a battered, oversized wiener popsicle.
Better to be a vegan like Cory Booker – and avoid them altogether – than be seen on the wrong side of the corn dog. That may be one rule that a majority of voters can agree on.
You’re out of touch…
Other politicians are either unaware – or don’t care – about their elitism.
In 1972, the beer-swilling, working-class regulars in a Youngstown, Ohio bar cringed when Democratic vice presidential candidate Sargent Shriver hollered, “Make mine a Courvoisier!”
In 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis suggested to debt-ridden Iowa farmers that they grow Belgian endive, a bitter, leafy green seldom found outside of gourmet restaurants. Almost 20 years later, fellow Democrat Barack Obama told those same farmers that arugula might bring in more profits than corn and soybeans.
Obama also made the mistake of asking for Dijon mustard – and no ketchup – for his cheeseburger. Fox News host Sean Hannity let him have it, calling him “President Poupon.”
The producers of an infamous 2004 attack ad damned Democratic presidential aspirant Howard Dean for his elitism. Not surprisingly, food played a role.
Dean, the ad sneered, was a “latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show.”
These gastronomic tales show how the semiotics of what and how we eat matter profoundly to millions of people.
On the one hand, to transgress is to risk looking inauthentic, disrespectful or foolish – none of which is sound politics.
On the other hand, unabashedly embracing the latest health food trends can get a politician ridiculed as elitist and out of touch.
Perhaps the best outcome is simply to win. A president can indulge in guilty gastronomic pleasures. Ronald Reagan loved his jelly beans, George H.W. Bush couldn’t put down his pork rinds and Bill Clinton, until his heart surgeries, was irresistibly drawn to McDonald’s.
For political candidates, however, a shrewd understanding of American eating habits is the recommended minimum daily requirement on the campaign trail.
[ Like what you’ve read? Want more? Sign up for The Conversation’s daily newsletter. ]
Opinion: American Politics Is Messy. But Here's A Little Global Perspective – NPR
American democracy can seem messy in a week like this. Impeachment hearings looming, six-headed debates, people snapping, sniping, and all the costly, time-consuming, and chaotic accouterments of polls, fund-raising and campaign rallies.
It’s one way to run a country. But this week might also offer a little perspective from around the world.
Just this week in Russia, Vladimir Putin shifted power in the government so when he leaves that office in 2024, he can continue to rule and enrich himself, as he has for 20 years.
President Xi Jinping ended term limits on China’s leaders in 2018. You don’t even have to mention Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, or any other authoritarian government to see how all over the world, leaders left and right-wing just hold on to power.
Hugo Chavez eliminated Venezuela’s presidential term limits in 2009. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, has kept his grip on the government with elections the Venezuelan National Assembly and the Organization of American States call fraudulent, after opposition candidates and electoral observers were excluded.
Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan took power as prime minister in 2003 — was elected president in 2014, then established an “executive presidency” in 2017. He has suppressed a free press, and arrested political opponents and academics.
In Africa, Isaias Afwerki led the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front to victory in 1993 — and has been president of Eritrea ever since, a distinction no doubt made easier by outlawing all other political parties and locking up political prisoners.
The Council on Foreign Relations also says at least 17 other African heads of state have tried to change their country’s constitutions since 2000 to stay in power.
Viktor Orban is strengthening his hold on Hungary.
Prime Minister Netanyahu wants the Israeli parliament to give him immunity from prosecution on bribery and fraud before Israel’s next elections in March.
Today’s world abounds with examples authoritarians and autocrats, tightening their grip in chaotic, confusing times.
This week, there may have been a message in all the American messiness.
Legislators have real powers and responsibilities. A free press can break important, critical stories about people in power. Even an imperfect democracy can give dissident voices the chance to be heard and keep open chances for change.
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