Wednesday 16 Oct 2019 | 16:04 | SYDNEY
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The 2016 US Presidential Election

Did ‘elites’ get the 2016 US election wrong?

In a recent speech to the Sydney Institute, Australian Ambassador to the US Joe Hockey said that, just before last November's presidential election, he 'simply could not shake the feeling that the signs were pointing to an outcome that was...in no way ordinary.' My congratulations to Ambassador

The merits of generals in government

As I facetiously said on a number of occasions during my recent abortive run for the Senate, you cannot have too many generals in parliament. Looking at developments in the US presidential transition, there will be a fair few retired generals supporting President-elect Trump. These include the

Is there a global wave of populism?

I was really pleased to see this new essay in The Monthy by Andrew Charlton and Lachlan Harris, because it draws further attention to the decline in public support for our two major parties, a phenomenon which is gradually reshaping Australian politics (Peter Hartcher focused on it earlier this week

The election is over, time to move on

For many outside of the US, the country that is arguably the proudest of its democracy has a very odd way of electing its president. We can understand, just, why the founding fathers' obsession with the rights of individual states led to the Electoral College. Of course it seems strange that

Trump: Not the ideal poster-boy for European populists

Sometimes luck can be so timed as to give an impression of genius. So it seemed with Angela Merkel’s announcement last week that she would stand as the German Christian Democrat Chancellor candidate for a fourth time in 2017.  The announcement itself was no surprise: Merkel’s apparent

Trump's voters will be disappointed by his economics

With all the campaign blather, posturing and hyperbole, we don’t know much about the specifics of President-elect Trump’s economic policy. One thing is clear: it is not possible to satisfy the inchoate economic expectations of those who elected him. Let’s focus on a couple of economic issues

Trump: An unimaginable president

Even with the precedent of Brexit (similar in terms of the political forces involved and the level of shock the result produced), it is forgivable that most analysts of US politics failed to see a Donald Trump presidency as the most likely result on 8 November. Absent the ability to personally

Don't give up on the US in Asia just yet

Contrary to Hugh White’s argument that we’re better off appeasing China than risk going to war with Donald Trump, we are likely to see a recalibrated version of US offshore balancing in Asia under Trump that will impose added burdens on allies, but will not mean either the careless provocation

The death of the median voter

Conventional political science wisdom since the 1950s has seen elections in America, and in other well-established democracies, as driven by the struggle for support of the 'median voter'. Well-oiled political party machines, arrayed not too far from the midpoint along a left-right spectrum, are

The real Trump-Putin connection

Among the first (and originally few) world leaders to congratulate Donald Trump on winning the White House was Russian President Vladimir Putin. But was Putin also the first to call it? After months of speculation about Russian meddling, nobody is now saying that Putin 'threw' the election

Weekend catch-up: President-elect Donald Trump

By John Gooding, Digital Editor at the Lowy Institute and Associate Editor at The Interpreter. This week saw Donald Trump clinch the US presidency by flipping Florida and several Great Lakes states. Given his erratic personality, the long-term consequences of Trump’s victory are very much

Australia must prepare for an Asia without America

Our first thoughts should be for Americans, and the damage that has been done to their institutions, their society and their national self-respect. But there is nothing to say about this American tragedy that has not been said far better by Americans themselves. So let’s leave it at that. Our

Why Trump won

This is the first of a series of posts on the 2016 election outcome. This post explains why Trump won and provides some reflections on my own journey. The next piece will be prospective on Trump’s foreign policy generally and then one directed towards the Australian government specifically. Over

What Donald Trump means for India

Like all American envoys, the US Ambassador to India Rich Verma has had a difficult job in the past forty-eight hours, as New Delhi gets to grips with the election of Donald Trump. US-India ties, he argued, transcended the ‘friendship of the American President and the Indian Prime Minister’,

Election night with the Republicans in Ohio

Spirits are high at the Cuyahoga County Republican watch party in Cleveland City. The House of Representatives is set to remain in control of the GOP and Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman has seen off a challenge from former Democratic governor Ted Strickland, meaning the Democratic party is going

There's more at stake than the White House

The presidency is just the beginning; making sure no authority is foisted upon the people is the American way, which means said people face a very long list of choices at the polling booth. County Boards of Elections exercise considerable ingenuity in the design of multi-page ballots that

Donald Trump: Straight from Plato's nightmares

Ross Douthat at the New York Times and others have raised the notion of ‘pundit accountability’: at turning points or on crucial issues, commentators should make plain their preferences and predictions, and why. US presidential elections are obviously such a moment, and this one more than any in

The gloves are well and truly off in North Carolina

US Vice President Joe Biden is sick of foreign leaders looking him in the eye and asking whether he can deliver. In a speech delivered to keep the party faithful knocking on doors, checking on friends and family and generally doing whatever they can to get out the vote ahead of polls closing

US-Russia rivalry takes the stage

Recent developments in the US Presidential race should put to rest any lingering doubt that one nation’s information warfare capabilities can fundamentally affect the politics of another. At the third US presidential debate in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton accused the Russian government of aiding

Trump: The GOP's wrecking ball

In Utah the independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin - who only entered the race in August - is polling well enough to make both Democrats and Republicans sit up and take notice. He is now a real chance to win the State and, in a remote but still possible outcome, the White House. McMullin

Republicans play risky game down ballot

Would you jump off a roller coaster ride as the car picked up speed downhill? Probably not. But that's just what dozens of Republican candidates did over the weekend as Donald Trump's presidential campaign seemingly imploded over a decade-old audio tape. The details of Trump's 'locker room'

What next for the US in Syria: The known versus the unknown

This week the Lowy Institute published a new Analysis by Thomas Wright: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Crisis of US Foreign Policy. In this, Wright drills down into Donald Trump's world view and how the world might react to a Trump presidency. Importantly, given the GOP candidate's slide in

The debate that made losers of us all

A good pitch for the next Hillary Clinton advertising campaign might be to highlight the relative ease with which she could approach negotiations with Washington’s fiercest political opponents. She has certainly gained valuable experience from taking on the combative and wildly unconventional

Some Americans already looking forward to 2020

It’s hard to imagine either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump made many converts with their performances Monday evening at Hofstra University, despite over 80 million Americans tuning in. But the debate did its job in getting Americans talking about the candidates and the issues.  By most

The first debate: The loser is the electorate

    The first of three presidential debates offered a lot of fireworks, but little to change the state of the race. Trump trounced Clinton during the first third of the debate when discussing the economy and trade. Had this continued it would have become a rout. As it was, Clinton'

First thoughts on the presidential debate

The first thing to note is that, despite the avalanche of media coverage and articles such as this one, presidential debates may not matter very much. At the very least, the evidence is mixed. The second thing is that what the candidates say is probably secondary to how they look, and how they react

What they're thinking in Ohio as the polls tighten

When Donald Trump ran a distant second to Ohio governor John Kasich in the Republican primary, few would have imagined that six months on Trump looks an even chance to win the Buckeye State in the presidential election. Sure, Kasich lost his bid to be the GOP presidential nominee but it's not as if

Powell not taking the rap for Clinton email saga

So what do we take away from the leaked emails of former US Secretary of State Colin Powell? Leaving aside the fact the emails were leaked on a site linked to the Russian government, and the consequences (don't type anything you don't want on Twitter), the revelations fall into two camps: what we

Clinton rests, the world waits

Not sure how much rest she is going to get. As we all now know, Hillary Clinton, diagnosed with pneumonia, is taking two days off the campaign trail after having a spell at a 9/11 ceremony that was captured by onlookers and broadcast to the world. While Clinton attempts to recuperate at home, the

Two months to go: It's Trump's to lose

Yes, you read that correctly. Among the political cognoscenti a tendency has emerged to discuss a 'post-Trump United States', as if the election is already over and a Clinton presidency is a forgone conclusion. This sentiment, while partly a self-protecting delusion, at least has a defendable

Why the media is getting antsy about Clinton

With Hillary Clinton's lead narrowing, there is plenty of discussion going on about media tactics in particular. The Clinton campaign has invested heavily in direct communication with voters via social media, podcasts and posting its own news stories. Not surprisingly, all of this has left

Labor Day reckoning: Soon it will be time to choose

The nightly Olympic Games distraction is over. The hamburgers and macaroni salad are on order for the Labor Day weekend cookout. Soon, the old school political scientists tell us, it will be time for undecided American voters to really tune in to the presidential campaigns and weigh the issues

Hit first, and then just keep hitting

Once upon a time, people running for office worked on making people like them. Not anymore, at least not in this presidential campaign. This one is all about making people hate the other side, or, more precisely, making sure those who dislike the other major party's nominee don't stop doing so

Roger Ailes and the dark arts

Five years ago in Rolling Stone, Tim Dickinson described Roger Ailes as 'one of the most skilled and fearsome' operatives in the history of the Republican Party. As a political consultant, Ailes repackaged Richard Nixon for television in 1968, papered over Ronald Reagan’s budding Alzheimer&

Manafort exit unlikely to end Trump's Russian fetish

At the start of this strange US presidential election cycle only a hubristic Vladimir Putin might have expected that he and the Russian-influenced world would play such a prominent role, beyond that is the usual Reaganesque invocations of the former Soviet Union’s inherently evil nature. Yet

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