Typical Musings from Dems Meetings

By Rachel Neuburger

The UC Dems meet on Thurdays at 6:00 pm in Harper 145. Come out tonight to hear from Daniel Comeaux (BA ’14), a UC Dems Alum who now works at Civic Consulting Alliance!

Last Thursday, the UC Dems met in Harper to chat about the state of the 2016 presidential race. In the age of the 24-hour news cycle where headlines, soundbites, and punditry inundate us from all corners – media social, traditional, and virtual alike – it was nice to take some time to go over the results, think about the implications, and to evaluate how the way we consume the news and the people who provide it to us change campaign narratives. What follows is a summary of a few of the things we discussed.


We hope these two continue to duke it for the rest of the school year!

First, we looked at this table of the New Hampshire primary results:

Trump 35.3% 10 delegates Sanders 60.4% 15 delegates
Kasich 15.8% 4 Clinton 38% 9
Cruz 11.7% 3 O’Malley (!) 0.3% 0
Jeb! 11% 3
Rubio 10.6% 3
Christie 7.4% 0
Fiorina 4.1% 0
Carson 2.3% 0
Gilmore & Co. 0% 0

A few interesting points, as Mike Allen and various other news sources have written: First of all, pollsters predicted wins for Bernie and Trump in New Hampshire; these results show that the era of the pollster has not come to an end, as so many people have repeatedly predicted. The political milieu lives to fight another day! People are still voting for O’Malley. Gilmore is still running for president. As the New York Times so delicately (and, as much as it pains me to say it, condescendingly) put it, Trump voters actually exist

Then there are the drop-outs: Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina. We pretty much agreed with what a lot of us were reading online — that Christie contributed quite a bit to Rubio’s breakdown (down, down goes the rising star of the GOP) without actually doing anything constructive for the field or pushing the political conversation in a positive direction. He received only 7.4% of the vote in a state where he had the endorsement of a major newspaper. In New Jersey, his approval ratings are their lowest ever. We wondered if we’ll see him on the national stage again — will the tough-talking governor with prosecutorial experience be as appealing four years from now?

And, of course, we are faced with the sad fact that it is 2016 and in a field of nine candidates, only one is a woman. Farewell, Carly.

Journalists have been talking about the two “lanes” of candidates within the GOP field: the establishment lane (Kasich, Jeb!, Rubio) and the anti-establishment “outsider” lane (Cruz, Trump, Fiorina). Within these lanes are questions about appealing to evangelicals, moderates, independents, members of minority groups, and a whole lot of other demographics. What we learned in New Hampshire, though, is that intra-lane competition is far from over, and will continue until the very last days of the contest. With Kasich vying for the nomination like never before, Jeb Bush suffering from (some) highs and (mostly) lows that seem to come on a daily basis, and Rubio as rising star, then bruised gaffe-sufferer, and now up-and-coming South Carolina contender once again, the victor of the lane will not be resolved without an extended fight. Will a strong establishment contender (with the financial and communications backing of more traditional GOP-goers) arise to fight back the Trump/Cruz crazy? Who knows. Is the answer to this question very, very important to whomever wins the Democratic nomination? On this, we were unanimous: without a doubt.

Regardless: on to the South!

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Trump gestures towards rivals Rubio and Cruz during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston
Le Sigh


Rachel Neuburger is a second-year in the College. She is from Chappaqua, NY

Scotland: Not Your Ordinary Secessionists

Separatist and nationalist movements are gaining steam across Europe these days, and Scotland is listed among those nations seeking secession. Despite voting down secession in 2014, the Scottish National Party (currently headed by Nicola Sturgeon, the first woman to lead the SNP) won 50 seats in the 2015 parliamentary elections, leaving one Scottish parliamentary seat to the Labour party. Separation is increasing as powers devolve, with some votes in parliament only being voted on by the MPs from the country affected by that law (“English Votes for English Laws”). Something is up indeed in Scotland.
Once a Labour stronghold, now Scotland is just one big block o’ SNP.
But political sentiment in Scotland is rather different than the typical zealous patriotism and xenophobia often characteristic in nationalist movements. While the UK (particularly many English) are threatening to leave the EU, the Scottish staunchly want to stay. Muslims in Scotland are very likely to identify as Scottish, while those in England are much more likely to identify as British (rather than English). Scotland has taken in 1/3 of the refugees David Cameron pledged the UK would take, even though Scotland has less than 10% of the UK’s population. Indeed, the Scottish have set up many support systems in order to welcome the refugees and make the transition as smooth as one could hope, given the circumstances. Of course, I don’t want to claim all Scots have been welcoming and open-minded (there are certainly exceptions), but though attention is around secession in Scotland, Scotland has been cultivating a much broader European identity than increasingly jingoistic England.
The Scottish Parliament viewed from the Radical Road (that’s the name, I kid you not)
Other recent developments in Scotland are interesting in light of the America 2016 presidential campaigns. Much like Bernie Sanders’ proposition, Scotland has had free college for years. It’s a cornerstone to the Scots’ deep dedication to equality, but economically it seems to help the opposite people you’d think it would — it resulted in a net transfer in wealth from the poor to the wealthy. This doesn’t mean “free” college doesn’t work, but the way the policy is done matters. America would be wise to learn from the unintended consequences of policies in places like Scotland, so that we can make a truly equal opportunity higher education system.
Imagine going here…for FREE. The perks of being Scottish.

On the other side of the spectrum, the antics of one familiar (half-)Scot have not been confined to the US: Donald Trump (whose mother is Scottish) built a huge development in Scotland, but, according to one Scotsman, “He promises the earth, delivers nothing. As far as that goes, he’s in a good position to be a politician. But as far as the real world goes, no, do not trust this man with anything.” Trump also sued to stop the building of off-shore wind in Scotland because it would disrupt the view from his golf courses. Apparently, Trump just runs around insulting and threatening his neighbors. In fact, the petition to ban Trump from Britain originated in Aberdeen, Scotland.  Alex Salmond, former head of the SNP, has Trump about figured out: “I wish somebody had said no to him when he was a wee boy, because I think he would’ve turned out better.”


If this Scot could see her son now…

Victoria Mooers is a fourth-year in the College. She is from Edmond, OK.

Canada: A Closer Look At Your Northern Escape Plan


“The True North Strong and Free” (O Canada National Anthem)

SO, if you’re reading this blog, you’re most likely into politics. if you’re into politics, you’re most likely following both the Democratic and Republican primaries. If you’re following the Republican primary, you’re most likely looking for an escape plan in the event that one of them becomes president. Well, have no fear, because just like a nice stewardess or the video that plays in theaters before your movie starts, I’m here to show you the closest exit: Canada.

It’s relatively close, the drinking age is 18, and you’re already used to the cold. But perhaps most importantly, they’ve just elected a super liberal prime minster, and they’re doing super great super liberal things up there. Or are they? Here’s a rundown.


Liberal (and Literal) Hearthrob Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Young and **hunky** Justin Trudeau was elected prime minister in November 2015, and in a very “first 100 days” like fashion, he began with a liberal reboot of the country. He called for tax cuts, pension improvements, and the legalization of marijuana. He also personally welcomed 163 Syrian refugees in December and proclaimed that Canada would accept thousands more. So, nothing like America right? Well…

…You might find some things in Canada to be recognizable. Canada is not faring so well economically. As the American economy is surging, the value of the Canadian dollar is declining. This isn’t great for the average Canadian household – prices of certain commodities (like fresh vegetables) has tripled, and it’s natural resource sector is “ailing.”

Something else that is, unfortunately, recognizable? School shootings. 4 were killed just two weeks ago, making it the first school shooting since 2007. The deadliest school shooting to date occurred in 1989, when 14 women were killed in an engineering school in Montreal. This led to the establishment of a national registry for rifles and other guns – something that was dismantled by the Conservative government that was voted out in October.

And on the Canadian foreign policy front, Trudeau has withdrawn six of its fighter jets from the American-led military coalition against ISIS, leaving an aerial refueling tanker and two long-range surveillance aircrafts. Trudeau, in fulfilling what was a campaign promise, said airstrikes would not achieve “long term stability.” While this would appear to be a blow to American efforts to combat ISIS, for some reason various actors in the Obama administration have stood by the actions, including Obama himself. “The President welcomed Canada’s current and new contributions,” the White House said in a press release.

To close out this nice wrap-up, I leave you with this: Trudeau talking about feminism at the World Economic Forum. Did I mention he’s hunky?

‘Nuff said

Maya Kliger is a second-year in the College. She is from Chappaqua, New York.

Bloomberg? Probably not.*

By Hadiya Hewitt


Former longtime Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg announced four days ago that he was considering running for president in 2016. Disliked by conservatives for his views on gun control, global warming, and abortion, but criticized by liberals for his stop-and-frisk policies and close ties to Wall Street, Bloomberg is likely most popular among New York’s moneyed elite, several of whom, including billionaire hedge fund investor Bill Ackman, have implored the former mayor to consider a run for president. A significant portion of his support from Wall Street is derived from policies he pursued as mayor and his status as a fellow financier and executive. In 2005, Bloomberg and former Governor George Pataki successfully wooed Goldman Sachs to stay in New York with $150 million in new city and state tax credits. Bloomberg himself is the CEO, founder, and majority stakeholder of Bloomberg LP, a news and data company with revenues of approximately $9 billion. An analyst to the former mayor suggested to the Wall Street Journal that the former mayor “has been upset by what he sees as extremist rhetoric from Republicans in the race, as well as a leftward turn from Mrs. Clinton.”

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