Special Election in Georgia goes to the Republicans

Jon Ossoff lost the special election in Georgia tonight, 47% to 52%. On one hand this represents a disappointment for the Democrats, yet they did achieve a significant improvement within the district compared tot he last election held there, where current Heath Secretary Tom Price cruised in with a 23% lead. The reality of this however changes little; Ossoff alone would have never changed the orientation of the House, not with a 24 seat majority held by the Republicans, with the greatest shift being a victory for the Democrats and the Resistance, but nothing substantive.

Additionally in light of the nature of a special election, it is important to note that this loss doesn’t necessarily mean that 2018 will appear nor act the same way. It’s unlikely 51 million will be spent on each congressional race, or that the issues focused on will b the same as a conservative leaning upper middle class white district. What matters for the Dems is that they learn from the tactics shown during the election, the platforms Ossoff focused on versus what the voters focused, the attacks by the Handel and Ossoff that worked, the ones that didn’t and what they can earn from this. Hopefully those lessons will help in 2018.

(okay yeah it’s a little disappointing, sue me)

 

Citation:
Bloomberg: Special Election Results

About the London Tower Fire

Currently (19/06/17) the London police have announced that 58 deaths have occurred so far in regards to the Tower fire, though with dozens still missing there is every chance that number will continue to rise. In the wake of the fire the responses have been at once typical of the British people, raising 3.8 million for aid, resources and water provided, housing available though little in the way of privacy, and distinct due to the nature of the fire, and the residents repeated warnings regarding the building.

The issue there is complicated due, mostly as it requires an understanding of who is responsible. On one hand the governments austerity program has not helped local councils in regards to housing difficulties in much of London and beyond, yet said council is also being reported as to have deliberately ignored the warnings of the residents of the buildings, especially after the recent renovations (designed to make the building look nicer, not better suited for the residents already living there) placed new cladding that experts warned appeared flammable. Coupled with the fact this is a Labor stronghold, but the government is indeed Tory, and the complications arise.

In the end the ones responsible are the renovators and the council for failing repeatedly to heed the warnings of the residents and experts, and their favoring the wealthy in the area over concerned residents has had an terrible consequence. This doesn’t excuse the central government who could have pushed for stricter regulations in regards to building safety, nor the current Mayor of London Mr. Khan who in turn could have leveraged authority, in the event that he was aware (I am unsure of this at this time).

It is unsurprising, in the wake of this event, that angry citizens most likely shaken by yet another attack and this event have taken to the streets and to the bodies responsible to vent their rage and demand action. Whether May, who met with residents of the building after an initial stumble in regards to her response to the fire, or the local bodies can make amends for this event, and ensure it does not occur again especially in the name of cheaper renovations I cannot say.

 

Citation:
Bloomberg: 58 declared dead in wake of London Tower Fire 

Single Payer Healthcare in America might actually become a thing

So, I’ve just read a delightful little piece from Vox’s Ezra Klein regarding the potential future of a single payer system. Basically it amounts to this: if the Republicans push through the AHCA they may very well pave the way for a medicare for all program.

Why would that happen? Well firstly because the AHCA, based off what we know from the house, will cause millions of people to lose healthcare, healthcare costs to skyrocket, and inevitably massive electoral changes because of that. Secondly, Obamacare, for all it’s successes was also fairly flawed (fixable but flawed), and due to the way it passed and what it attempted to achieve many members of the democratic congress may will prefer to go for the simpler system that people are now openly advocating for.

Let me explain: when Obama and his congress were trying to pass the Affordable Care Act they did two things, and had to deal with a third (you may have noticed, I like lists):

  1. Worked with insurers to create a system they could support in a public private marketplace. The insurers then undercut the Obama administration by screwing up the pricing and participation, and then failing to stand up to republicans as we speak (primarily so they can regain control over costs and types of insurance they provide, and therefore make more money)
  2. The Dems worked with the Republicans to try and create a bipartisan bill, mostly to be polite. They didn’t have too, but instead they brought them in, allowed a number of amendments to be added and removed and did their level best to involve and respect the Republican view of healthcare. In turn the Republicans turned their backs on the arrangement and opposed the bill as best they could then.
  3. Past that, the Republican party then opposed and demonized the ACA for the next seven years, and used it to sweep themselves into office, rather than work to make it an effective bill for their constituents. Because Obama, or something.

So, basically despite their best attempts, the Dems were opposed an obstructed from making an incrementalist healthcare program work because the Republicans were basically being a bunch of dicks. So this time they might not even bother, nor might they need to, consult them in anyway and just pass single payer health care. If they can sweep the house, get the senate, which might well be possible, on a healthcare platform there is every chance they could pass such a bill. And since it would fundamentally be ‘better medicare’ people would be more open and accepting and most importantly understanding of the bill, Insurers wouldn’t be able to get in the way and Republicans would have a much harder time attacking the program.

Best of all the Democrats are openly and actively talking about this, not just the hopefuls but the moderates. They’ve seen incrementalism fail despite their best efforts, and now they have momentum. This could actually work.

So hey, silver lining for American healthcare. Maybe.

 

Citation:
Vox: Republicans are About to Make Medicaid for All Much More Likely

Election thoughts and rambles

In the aftermath of Britain’s election, with Mays fall from a majority and Labors rise as a credible party once more, with Corbyn proving a surprisingly good campaigner, another election was held beneath many peoples notice. That is, the French Parliamentary election. 

Similar to the Presidential election there are two rounds, with Macrons Republique en Marche earning 31.5 percent of the vote in the first, potentially earning his party up to 400 seats within Parliament, an massive majority. While it should be noted that voters typically provide majorities to newly elected presidents to ensure their ability to lead and enact reforms, there were questions regarding French voters willingness to support a new party and an untested president. This is an impressive lead, though it bears repeating that two round system does mean that number could change, potentially in either direction. SO no massive response from me just yet.

In regards to Labors surprise growth, that of a 10% increase in parliament, in the end I can only wonder at Corbyns ability as both opposition leader and legislator. While the latter is unlikely to be seen in a Tory government, proposals and effective opposition and leadership could provide further strength to Labor given his new national profile (regardless of what much of the media and political establishment might want). As it is, I truly know little of his actual ability to do either so as above, I’m gonna wait and see.

It’s annoying this ambivalence I have right now. I like Macron, but until he begins making reforms I have no understanding of the impact or changes he can credibly make, or how that will affect French people and economy. I’m open to Corbyns success, but I know very little of the man and I’m hesitant to latch onto any British politician at this stage.

At this stage I’m just waiting for some new leaders to step up, and hopefully prove themselves nationally and internationally. Hopefully Macrons a signal of that change, but I feel that he’ll need to succeed for that to be worth focusing on.

 

Citations:
Bloomberg: Macron Tightens Grip on Parliamentary Seats

British Election exit polls point to hung parliament

Caaaaled it.

Just saying. Anyway, it looks like the conservative party has lost the majority, needing 326 seats to maintain control of parliament and requiring a coalition government to now lead Britain(ha!). At this stage it looks likely that Labor, having gained at least 33 seats from this election, along with the Scottish Independence Party are likely contenders for this coalition, though it must be said that the lib-dems are insisting there will be “no deals, no coalitions” cause reasons. I don’t know, pride?

Also, Comey has finished his latest senate hearing, and confirmed a few things:

  1. Trump is still, as far as Comey is aware, not under investigation (which he did inform Trump of three times)
  2. Trumps actions, his attempts to force a loyalty pledge, and his attempts to shut down the Flynn probe are what concerned Comey and encouraged him to write his notes.

He also insisted that all of Trump and his teams attempts to disparage him and blame him for any concerns within the FBI are “lies, plain and simple”.

So, this may lead to a potential obstruction of justice case, though by itself it is not enough, Britain is looking at a hung government, we’ll see how that goes, and Russia remains a looming concern/threat, not only for Trump but for the US and abroad. After all Comey did say they interfered with the election, and that they will be back. I’m inclined to take him at his word.

So, there’s an election coming up.

The British Election is a weird thing. The last three that I’ve gone into detail about were in many respects considered much more serious, problematic and representative of a possible far-right, alt-right populist upswing in politics. Turkey, France, the Netherlands, all had or have problematic leaders, concerning ramifications and well, were much more interesting.

Britain’s not. Not really anyway.

Regardless of who is elected, be it a minor Conservative win or a coalition led by (most likely) Labor, Brexit will continue, there will most likely an economic downturn, and the leader will grapple with continued terrorist threats and domestic struggles relating to the above concerns. Neither May nor Corbyn seems to have that much of a grasp of the situation, and regardless of what either candidate might say, have far less influence and control over Brexit and its consequences than they might like.

The reason this is less interesting, to me anyway, is the lack of uncertainty. Regardless of who wins these are the most likely outcomes for whoever wins, no dramatic vote, no power struggle or autocratic power grab, just more British politics, with different faces. Of course, I’m also not British and I won’t really be dealing with the fallout of the Brexit deal in whatever form it takes so some of the urgency for them may not be available to me.

I’m not used to politics being boring. This is very weird.

 

Citation:
Bloomberg: UK election Winner Saddled with Lousy Economic Outlook 

Trump left the Paris Agreement.

With the withdraw of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, Trump has confirmed the fears of the environmentally conscious, the business focused individuals focusing on the developing renewable energy markets many of his own people. But, is this really a bad thing?

Bear with me for a minute this needs some unpacking.

First, Trump has announced his intent to leave the Paris Agreement, the US can’t officially leave until November 4 2020, a day after that years presidential agreement. What this really means is that the US will no longer functionally be involved with the agreement, implementing no ideas or priorities and having no influence on other nations (that is the other 199) involved.

Secondly Trump has said that he is willing to negotiate the agreement if they can reach better terms for America, which I would assume to mean either fewer requirements, or benefits for their own trade and income. Somehow I don’t see that happening.

So, the US is not involved and cannot interfere in any other nations interactions with the Agreement, unless negotiations go there way, which many of the chief nations involved most likely won’t want to happen, either because of mistrust (currently) or ambition (read: China and India). This could actually be a good thing, for one primary reason: The US has a Veto.

And they cannot legitimately use it now. SO, Trump cannot stymie, prevent or block further developments of the Agreement, attack other nations through it, or prevent action with the agreement in some attempt to benefit his nation, somehow. I don’t know. By removing a potentially disabling actor from the agreement, Trump may have inadvertently saved it from a slow death, and that would have been far worse for work against Climate Change than America leaving for now.

This might not be such a bad thing.