It’s China and Iran vs Russia in US Elections

The United States 2020 elections is becoming more divisive as countries started to align with Presidential candidates. According to US intelligence community officials, China and Iran are working against re-electionist President Donald Trump while Russia is working against the election of Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The claim is being confirmed by National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina who said that “Many foreign actors have a preference for who wins the election, which they express through a range of overt and private statements; covert influence efforts are rarer.”

Evanina claimed that “China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China.”

It should be noted that Trump, too, had been critical of China accusing the latter of many things including currency manipulation and the spread of Coronavirus disease-19.

Russia, meanwhile, is using a variety of measures to denigrate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ahead of the November election because the former Vice President is seen as pushing for an anti-Russia ‘establishment.’ Biden had been noted for “his role in the Obama Administration’s policies on Ukraine and its support for the anti-Putin opposition inside Russia,” Evanina added.

Trump, however, disputes the findings of the intelligence community saying that Russia is disparaging Biden. “I think the last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because nobody has been tougher on Russia than I have — ever,” he said.

The US President, however, agrees that China is inclined to support Biden.

With these developments, the US intelligence community is expecting the surge of fake news and the milling of propaganda machine to either of the candidates.

Top 7 Elections to watch out for in 2020

At least 90 elections are scheduled in 2020 – all of them set to challenge the status quo either at the local or at the national and even the international level. While we still expect some surprises and un-scheduled elections to be held particularly in the second half of the year, almost all the elections have been set with some waiting for the specific dates to be finalized.

Conceptually, all elections are equal. However, there are a few that stands out. TheVote.Net lists the ten that are rather interesting because of the context that surrounds them.

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Trump Raises $165 Million With Party in July, Outpacing Biden

NYTimes | Aug. 6, 2020

President Trump raised $165 million in July for his campaign and shared committees with the Republican National Committee, outpacing Joseph R. Biden Jr., who raised $140 million last month as a record-setting pace of money continues to flood into the presidential campaign.

Mr. Biden had out-raised Mr. Trump in the two previous months, the first time that the presumptive Democratic nominee had out-raised the Republican incumbent. Mr. Biden had raised $141 million in his shared accounts with Democratic National Committee in June, compared to $131 million for Mr. Trump with the R.N.C.

US President Donald Trump

The sums for both parties are far higher than four years ago, when Hillary Clinton raised $89 million with the party in July and Mr. Trump collected $80 million.

Mr. Trump released his July figure in a statement on Wednesday evening. Mr. Biden’s campaign announced his fund-raising haul also that evening.

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Biden builds lead as Trump goes from trailing to flailing

By DAVID SIDERS | Politico.Com | 07/04/2020

As recently as one month ago, Donald Trump was merely losing. Now he is flailing, trudging into the Independence Day weekend at the nadir of his presidency, trailing by double digits in recent polls and in danger of dragging the Republican Senate down with him.

But there are still four months before the election — and any number of ways for Biden to blow it.

US Presidential aspirant, Joe Biden. (Source: Politico.com)

Even the best campaigns “can get f—– up,” said Kelly Dietrich, founder of the National Democratic Training Committee, which trains candidates across the country. “There are a million ways to lose.”

Dietrich, like even the most circumspect observers of the 2020 campaign, does not predict that Biden will fall apart. But Democrats carry checklists in their minds of the universe of things that could alter the course of the campaign.

Biden might say the wrong thing at a debate, or have an awkward moment in an interview or at a press conference. Trump’s massive advertising campaign might begin to resonate, hurting Biden’s favorability ratings. Biden’s campaign might make poor decisions about spending allocations in the battleground states, or the coverage of his campaign may sour if he loses even a percentage point or two in polls. Presidential candidates with large leads have all suffered from less.

And then there are the factors outside of Biden’s control. It is possible that Trump before November will announce a coronavirus vaccine, whether real or imagined. And it is possible that the economy will improve, a prospect Republicans are pinning their hopes to.

So much has changed over such a short period of time — so far, much of it to Biden’s advantage — that it’s impossible to rule out any kind of black swan political event.

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View from Japan: South Korea’s Pandemic Elections

By Tadashi Kimiya | The Diplomat

In elections held in South Korea last week, the ruling liberal Democratic Party and its satellite Citizen Party won 180 seats of the 300 seats in the National Assembly. The conservative opposition United Future Party and its satellite Future Korea Party were meanwhile left with just 103 seats.

Credit: (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The resounding win frees the government from the limitations of the National Assembly Advancement Act, so that it is now able to legislate anything other than constitutional amendments. This was a historic election, even more so when taking into consideration that it took place under the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some observers have argued that South Korean politics might be transitioning from a conservative/liberal two-party system to a liberal-predominant party system, like the conservative LDP-predominant party system that existed in Japan during the Cold War. However, if we look at voter turnout for candidates in single-seat constituencies, it was 49.9 percent for the liberal ruling party and 41.5 percent for the conservative opposition party, hardly a crushing difference. Moreover, in proportional representation constituencies, the other conservative opposition party actually finished first with 33.8 percent, leading the other liberal with 33.4 percent, a low figure even when accounting for the split in the liberal group.

Given these numbers, it is premature to conclude that we are at the start of an era dominated by a single party. Indeed, it is worth remembering that conservative votes accounted for more than 60 percent of the results in the 2007 presidential election 13 years ago, giving the conservatives a landslide win over their liberal opponents, despite a split between the conservative candidates, and bringing about a change of government.

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Democracy wins over Covid-19 pandemic

Even the Coronavirus disease (Covid)-19 has no match for the South Korean voters when they turned out to vote for the members of their National Assembly. 66.21% of the 43.99 million voters went out to cast their votes despite the ongoing pandemic — the highest turnout since 1992.

The National Assembly elections in the country is a combination of first-past-the-post elections for the 253 constituencies and proportional party list system for the 47 members of the parliament. The liberal Democratic Party bagged 163 of the seats while its satellite party, the Together Citizen’s Party, won 17 seats. Together they occupy 180 or 60% of the 300 National Assembly seats.

Meanwhile, the conservatives made their worst performance since 1960 with the United Future Party and its satellite Future Korea Party gaining only 103 seats.

With the election results, the liberals are seen to have the freehand to legislate anything other than constitutional amendments. Being a mid-term elections, the results also reaffirm the leadership of South Korean President, Moon Jae-In.

Allocation of seats in the new electoral system
Red: 253 constituency seats under first-past-the-post
Blue: 30 proportional seats under the compensatory additional member system
Green: 17 proportional seats under the parallel voting system
Source: King Wither

‘We need to bring the party together’: Yang endorses Biden, calls for Democratic unity against Trump

William Cummings | USA TODAY

Former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday night and called for Democrats to unite behind Biden ahead of the general election. 

Yang, now a CNN contributor, made his endorsement on live TV as the results from six more primary contests showed Biden widening his delegate lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. 

“I believe that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee, and I’ve always said I’m going to support whoever the nominee is. So I hereby am endorsing Joe Biden to be not just the nominee for the Democratic Party, but the next president of the United States,” Yang declared. 

Yang, who supported Sanders in 2016, called the self-described democratic socialist “an inspiration,” but said the delegate math made it clear that he was not going to win the Democratic presidential primary race. And he said it was time for Democrats to focus on their main objective. 

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1 African, 2 Latin American countries elect more women parliamentarians

AM Buita | March 7, 2020

In the world where women are still struggling for equality, three countries went out and voted more women than men at least in terms of legislation. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, women occupy 61.25% and 53.08% of the parliamentary seats in the lower chambers of Rwanda and Bolivia, respectively, and 53.22% in the single-chamber legislative branch of Cuba.

United Arab Emirates ranked four as voters awarded to women half of the seats in the single-chamber parliament .

Others that made it to top ten in terms of the percentage of women members in the parliament are Mexico with 48.2%, Nicaragua with 47.25%, Sweden with 46.99%, Grenada with 46.67%, Andorra with 46.43% and South Africa with 46.35%.

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Elizabeth Warren, Once a Front-Runner, Drops Out of Presidential Race

By Shane Goldmacher and Astead W. Herndon | NYTimes.Com | March 5, 2020

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Senator Elizabeth Warren entered the 2020 race with expansive plans to use the federal government to remake American society, pressing to strip power and wealth from a moneyed class that she saw as fundamentally corrupting the country’s economic and political order.

She exited on Thursday after her avalanche of progressive policy proposals, which briefly elevated her to front-runner status last fall, failed to attract a broader political coalition in a Democratic Party increasingly, if not singularly, focused on defeating President Trump.

Her departure means that a Democratic field that began as the most diverse in American history — and included six women — is now essentially down to two white men: former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders.

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Michael Bloomberg Ends Presidential Bid, Endorses Joe Biden

By  | Bloomberg.com

Michael Bloomberg endorsed Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination as he ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday and pledged to continue working to defeat President Donald Trump.

Bloomberg said in a New York speech that after the results of the Super Tuesday voting, he no longer had a viable path to the nomination and didn’t want to hurt the party’s chances.

He had spent a record $687 million of his own money on the effort, but Biden dominated the Super Tuesday vote, winning 10 states of 14. Bloomberg earned at least 53 delegates, compared to at least 566 for Biden.

“I entered the race for president to defeat Donald Trump,” Bloomberg said. “And today, I am leaving the race for the same reason – to defeat Donald Trump, because staying in would make it more difficult to achieve that goal.”

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Biden keeps distance from Sanders in Super Tuesday

AM Buita | March 5, 2020 | 11:00 PM GMT

Joe Biden is seen garnering more delegates and keeping his distance from Bernie Sanders based on the latest count of the Super Tuesday votes.

With 9 states completely counted out of the 15 that voted last Tuesday, March 3, completely counted and only 152 delegates to be awarded, Biden kept his distance from the rest of the Democrat aspirants maintaining a lead with 82 delegates on his side.

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