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Women Have Been Winning Elections For a While: The Politics Daily – The Atlantic



It’s Wednesday, January 15.The 2010s were the hottest decade ever recorded in the modern era, and 2019 was the second-hottest year.

Did Virginia just amend the U.S. Constitution with this afternoon’s Equal Rights Amendment vote?

In today’s newsletter: The “are women electable” question bursts to the fore. Plus: The Space Force returns.




(Robyn Beck / AFP / GETTY)

Some Democrats still shell-shocked by 2016 are turning the political logic of electability on its side: Instead of supporting the candidate they like best, they’re supporting the candidate they think their neighbors would vote for.

Which candidate does this obsession with electability seem to hurt most?

As my colleague Russell Berman writes—citing research—voters are bearish on Elizabeth Warren’s electability not necessarily because of her unabashed liberal politics, but because of her gender.

The “are women electable?” question burst to the fore this week. News reports surfaced about a 2018 private meeting between Warren and Bernie Sanders, during which Sanders said he didn’t feel a woman could win the presidency. When asked about the hubbub at Tuesday’s Democratic debate, Warren sidestepped, and then had a rejoinder: Actually, women are more electable.

The argument has some wings:

‣ Democrats snatched back control of the House of Representatives in 2018. Women led that so-called blue wave: A record number of women won big races, setting a record for the number of women lawmakers in Congress.

‣ Suburban white women—historically fairly reliably Republicans—have left the party in droves since 2016. The president’s own standing with this group seems only to have soured since then: One poll found that after the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s net support among Republican women dropped by 19 points.

‣ Blue-collar white woman could become influential. While working-class men are more firmly MAGA-aligned, “clearly the women are in a different place,” one pollster told my colleague Ron Brownstein.

—Saahil Desai



(Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

Meet some of your impeachment managers: Adam Schiff of California, Val Demings of Florida, and Zoe Lofgren of California.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her seven picks to be House of Representatives managers—they’ll serve as the prosecutors arguing the case to remove the president in the Senate trial that begins next week. Stay tuned.




1. “No one really seized the opportunity, giving Biden a sort of win by default.”

After the debate hall had cleared and the candidates had left the stage, the sense of Joe Biden’s inevitably seemed to cling in the air, David Graham argues: He’s running as an incumbent, and his opponents are treating him like one.

2.  “The candidates agree that Donald Trump has gutted traditional American foreign policy. Where they diverge is in how to respond to that destruction.”

An exchange between Biden and Warren last night over the number of troops they would leave in the Middle East is representative of a larger split between the progressives in the race and everyone else, Uri Friedman writes: What is the future role of America in a world it has thrown into chaos?

3. “Even if so, Americans should remember that whether a president intends to prolong old, stupid wars or to trigger costly new ones is less important than whether his actions have those effects.”

After last week’s conflict with Iran, the political right has had to reevaluate where they stand on Trump’s foreign policy. While the president says he wants to stop endless wars, his actions speak louder, Conor Friedersdorf argues.




Episode VII: The Space Force Awakens

The Space Force is not a joke. It exists now. Our space reporter Marina Koren writes:.

Between the holiday season and more pressing military news, the creation of the Space Force did not initially make a big impression. But the president seems pleased with his newest armed service. “Everybody’s excited about that,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Ohio last week. The crowd responded with boisterous chants of “U-S-A.” Vice President Mike Pence celebrated “America’s heritage as the world’s greatest spacefaring nation” yesterday, as he swore in General Jay Raymond as chief of space operations.

It even enjoyed its inaugural controversy.


Today’s newsletter was written by Saahil Desai, an associate editor on our Politics team and Christian Paz, a Politics fellow. It was edited by Shan Wang, who oversees newsletters.

You can reply directly to this newsletter with questions or comments, or send a note to

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We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to

Saahil Desai is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers politics and policy.
Christian Paz is an editorial fellow at The Atlantic.

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Mechanical podium, playfully dubbed ‘explodium,’ aims to even B.C.’s political field



VICTORIA — It was a sizable British Columbia political issue that called for a one-size-fits-all solution, says Premier David Eby, who at six-foot-seven is the province’s tallest leader.

The tall and the short needed evening out as matters of perception and fairness, he said.

Eby towers over most people at news conferences but is juxtaposed with Selina Robinson, minister of post-secondary education and future skills, who at four-foot-11 often needs to stand on boxes to reach the microphone.

The solution: a mechanical podium, which debuted shortly after Eby took office late last year. It can be moved up or down with the flick of a switch to suit the size of the person delivering remarks at a political event.


“You might describe me as an unusually tall person, or disturbingly tall person to some people,” Eby told reporters last week. “My colleague Selina Robinson is a much tinier person and we have a whole range of people in between, so the podium moves up and down to accommodate everybody’s ability to speak.”

The premier said people have expressed surprise — and thanks — as the podium lifts or lowers to accommodate their height.

One such person was Tracy Redies, chief executive officer at Vancouver’s Science World, who joined Eby for a news conference last month where the province announced $20 million to repair the iconic domed building’s leaky roof.

“This pulpit’s amazing,” she said. “The science, the technology.”

Eby said the podium, which has gained the nickname “explodium” at the legislature, is a functional success.

“It’s an important innovation in B.C. where we are never short of innovations or remarkable ways to solve problems,” he said with a chuckle. “When we go to events around the community, it does draw attention from speakers who aren’t used to it, especially when it moves unexpectedly. I think everybody enjoys it. It’s fun and it works.”

But, some concerns about the podium have been raised by the Opposition BC United and a communications expert who suggests the structure reinforces old-school political traditions.

BC United finance critic Peter Milobar said the Opposition has questions about the cost of the podium, but the government hasn’t provided answers.

“We all understand the premier is tall, but the fact we need these extra-wide, telescopic-type podiums just seems to be a potentially expensive thing for the taxpayer,” he said.

Milobar said it appears the podium is more of a political prop used to enhance Eby’s image.

“It’s fair to say I’m not an average-sized person, but I’m not too worried about which podium I’m standing behind to make important political announcements,” he said.

While Eby’s podium is not the biggest news story at the legislature, it symbolizes the stereotyped visual culture of politics, said David Black, a political communications expert at Victoria’s Royal Roads University.

“I think the podium, where you want to adjust for a tall person like David Eby or a shorter person like Selina Robinson, is all about just creating this necessary visual conformity so that no one is stepping on the message,” he said.

B.C.’s development of a podium that fits all sizes is a metaphor for a political culture that is resistant to change, Black said.

“When you break the visual code or political style or tamper with conservative visual culture when it comes to politics, you step on the message,” he said. “It becomes, fairly or not, read as a gaffe, sometimes a career-ending gaffe.”

Former Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day was widely criticized more than two decades ago for arriving at a B.C. lakeside news conference riding a Jet Ski, Black said.

Former U.S. president Barack Obama faced fierce criticism for wearing a tan-coloured suit, he said.

“He wore a tan-coloured suit and it was the end of American democracy,” Black said.

But federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s backyard neighbourhood video statements are signs of a politician looking to break visual codes, as was former Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s “everyman” appearance, said Black.

“My question is, in some sense, do we need to rethink the language of politics, the visual style of politics, because is it exhausted?” he said. “Is it obsolete? Has it exhausted its reassuring quality?”

Robinson said she’s pleased with the fairness of the podium, especially after years of standing on crates to raise her profile.

“Having a podium that actually fits me is great, and one that fits the premier is great,” she said.

“This is an accessibility piece of furniture and I think it works the way it’s supposed to. It’s recognizing we all come in different shapes and sizes and having furniture that fits us regardless of how tall or small we are is a good thing.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2023.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press


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Trump, DeSantis battle for Republican nomination



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Then-U.S. President Donald Trump introduces Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during a homecoming campaign rally at the BB&T Center on November 26, 2019, in Sunrise, Fla.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

It’s bombs away in the American presidential race.

There was no pause for mobilization, no early ceasefire, no “phony war,” in the struggle for the Republican campaign for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination. In only a few days’ time, the battle between former president Donald Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis has developed into total warfare.

For months, the two shadow-boxed with each other – Mr. Trump lobbing talking-point grenades into the DeSantis camp; the Florida chief executive ignoring them, as if the attacks lacked the potential to detonate.

That phase is over now, with – if you permit the expression – a bang.


The pins have been pulled, the two sides are engaged in explosive exchanges, and the political landscape of the Republican Party – as recently as two decades ago resembling nothing so much as the manicured green of the 13th hole at the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the fabled Masters Tournament – has been transformed into a battlefield.

It is well to recall that the Iowa caucuses, the first tests of the campaign, are seven months away.

And yet the campaign rapidly has assumed the character of trench warfare. Mr. Trump’s high command is accusing the DeSantis camp of political plagiarism, stealing the main themes of the 45th president. The DeSantis campaign is arguing that Mr. Trump’s time has passed and that, in any case, he failed to pass into law the principal elements of the new Republican agenda.

And like the fixed battle positions of the First World War, the two sides are settling into a situation where they may be engaged in an endless set of explosive exchanges. In terms of ideology, it resembles a race to the right. In terms of manners, it may be a race to the bottom.

Mr. DeSantis accused Mr. Trump – who, in three presidential campaigns and four years in the White House, has cultivated the Republican right – of abandoning his onetime political profile. “It seems like he’s running to the left, and I have always been somebody that’s just been moored in conservative principles,” he said.

A Trump spokesman, Steven Cheung, referred to Mr. DeSantis’s botched Twitter Space campaign debut, saying, “He can’t run away from his disastrous, embarrassing, and low-energy campaign announcement. Rookie mistakes and unforced errors – that’s who he is.”

And so it went in the first days of this new phase in the campaign.

Never in contemporary American politics has a nomination race devolved into so much bitterness so quickly.

Republican Senator Bob Dole of Kansas barked at Vice-President George H.W. Bush, demanding, “Stop lying about my record,” but that outburst occurred after the 1988 New Hampshire primary, not months before it.

Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a navy veteran of the Vietnam War, once warned that the Democrats should not nominate Bill Clinton in 1992 because the Arkansas governor had manoeuvred to avoid the draft in those years; Mr. Kerrey said the Republicans would “open him up like a soft peanut” – a tough riposte, but it didn’t occur until the last week of February, not, like the Trump-DeSantis fray, in May the year before voters get into the act.

“You can thank social media for this atmosphere,” said David Carney, a veteran Republican strategist not affiliated with either campaign and with deep roots in New Hampshire, site of the first presidential primary. “It’s easy to do, it gets coverage and it fast-forwards a back-and-forth that in other times would take a few weeks to conduct. Candidates today think they will be rewarded for this, but undecided voters are not watching Twitter.”

All this raises two vital questions: Can these two keep up the passion and decibel level of their confrontation for several more months? And will the hostilities between them create an opening for another contender, or maybe two?

If, for example, the bombardment between the two candidates leaves one of them mortally wounded, nature (and the nature of American presidential politics) abhors a vacuum. One of the other candidates – perhaps one of the South Carolinians, former governor Nikki Haley or Senator Tim Scott, or perhaps one of the sitting governors who has not declared a candidacy, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire or Glenn Youngkin of Virginia – might emerge.

And a contest that is marked by bombast and explosions might welcome the entry of former governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, famous for his debilitating attack on Senator Marco Rubio eight years ago, when he accused the Florida lawmaker of being the practitioner of a “memorized 25-second speech” that was “exactly what his advisers gave him.”

Mr. Sununu has a touch of the caustic in him, as he once said of Mr. Trump, “I don’t think he’s so crazy that you could put him in a mental institution. But I think if he were in one, he ain’t getting out.” No one wonders whom former governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas was speaking of when he said the GOP needs “somebody that brings out the best of our country and doesn’t appeal to our worst instincts.”

And in a contest where the charges of plagiarism are being tossed around – charges that forced Joe Biden out of his 1988 presidential race before the first contests of the political season – Mr. Youngkin has the moral high ground. It was his 2021 gubernatorial campaign that pioneered the notion of “parental rights” in public schools that now is part of every candidate’s portfolio.



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LILLEY: Auto workers sweat as Trudeau plays political games



The Stellantis deal in Windsor is up in the air again and that could mean trouble for thousands of auto jobs in Brampton.

No one is speaking on the record but there’s plenty of background chatter about who is to blame and, once again, most are pointing to Ottawa.

Last weekend, it looked like a deal had been struck that saw the Ford government at Queen’s Park join the Trudeau government in Ottawa to sweeten the pot to secure the Stellantis deal.

Stellantis had stopped work on their electric vehicle battery plant earlier in the week, the reason given, the Trudeau government hadn’t lived up to promises made to the company. Instead of proceeding with work on the plant, the company said they were examining “contingencies,” which is another way of saying they were looking at moving production to the United States.


The Biden administration in Washington has been offering lucrative incentives in the form of the Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit, a tax break for companies building things like electric vehicle batteries.

That’s what led to the decision by Stellantis to stop construction. Why build here when the Americans will offer more, and why build here when the government promises one thing and then reneges on it?

Shortly after Stellantis stopped construction, the Trudeau government said the real problem was that Ontario wasn’t paying its fair share for the deal. That started a public relations war between Ottawa and Queen’s Park to get the Ford government to sweeten what they were offering to Stellantis.

The Ford government had offered Stellantis $500 million to secure the facilities, including money to upgrade infrastructure such as roads and ensuring adequate electrical supply. What they hadn’t done, and didn’t normally do, was match an American federal incentive, that’s normally what the Canadian government does.

Determined to get a deal, Ford agreed to Trudeau’s terms in exchange for other concessions such as the feds easing up on opposition to Ontario building Hwy. 413 and being supportive of the Ring of Fire plans to mine critical minerals in Northern Ontario.

According to sources close to Stellantis, the deal the federal government presented to the company was effectively the same deal as the previous one but now with Ontario bearing some of the federal burden.

The Biden administration is offering companies a production credit of $35 per kilowatt hour for battery cells and an additional $10 per kilowatt hour for battery modules. The Trudeau government is just offering the $35 for cells and not matching the additional $10 for modules, making the U.S. a more lucrative place to make the modules.

For Stellantis, that could be as simple as moving module production across the river to Detroit or perhaps going somewhere deeper inside the U.S. That would mean the loss of about 300 jobs at the Windsor plant once construction is complete, but the impact wouldn’t be limited to Southwestern Ontario.

There are worries by some in the auto sector that if Stellantis pulls the module plant they will also pull production from their auto assembly plant in Brampton, which employs just shy of 3,000 workers. That’s not a view shared by all the players involved but it is a concern.

Prior to the Stellantis announcement that they would expand in Windsor, there was widespread concern the Brampton plant would close for good. The plant has been producing the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger but was expected to switch over to an EV SUV of some sort in 2025 after undergoing a retooling in 2024.

Some auto industry types now believe that is up in the air as Stellantis looks at all contingencies.

Stellantis and Unifor, the union representing workers at all the plants involved, declined to comment when contacted Friday. Requests for comment by various representatives from the Ford and Trudeau government were ignored.

Meanwhile, workers in Windsor and Brampton worry about their future.

Political games are being played and, once again, it’s the people working the line who may pay the price.



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