INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL CHANGES
Within three months in the second half of 2016, a notable
number of abrupt international political changes will take place.
Some of these have already happened.
A few days ago, the left-wing president of Brazil was removed
from office for corruption following her earlier impeachment.
She has been replaced by a conservative. Also in South America,
growing demonstrations are occurring in Venezuela, most of them
demanding the removal from office of controversial President
Nicolas Maduro, the far left successor to Hugo Chavez the
authoritarian anti-American Venezuelan leader who died in office.
The socialist regime has been on the verge of collapse as shortages
of food, electricity and consumer goods have risen dramatically.
In Europe, Spain faces its third national election within a year, as
its parliament gave a vote of no-confidence to Prime Minister Mariano
Rajoy who, for the third time failed to form a coalition government.
Two populist parties, one on the left and the other on the right, have
recently won significant numbers of seats in the parliament, and
are stalemating Spanish politics. On October 2, Austria will hold a
supreme court-mandated re-run of the final round of its presidential
election (following the original vote in June that was thrown out for
irregularities}. The far right candidate is now favored to win, and
would be the first far right chief of state elected in 21st century
Europe. On the same day, Hungary will hold a referendum on the
country’s hardline anti-immigration policies favored by its
conservative government. The vote is widely expected to support
the ruling party’s stand. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel
and her party suffered a crushing defeat in a state election, coming
in third behind the socialists and a new populist anti-immigration
party. Mrs. Merkel’s liberal pro-immigration policies have caused
her personal popularity to fall precipitously, and have sparked
protests throughout Germany. National elections in The Netherlands
are not scheduled until March, 2017, and in France until April, 2017,
but nationalist, conservative and anti-immigration parties are very
strong in polls in both countries now ruled by liberal-socialist parties.
Great Britain has a new conservative prime minister to coordinate
the withdrawal of the U.K. from the European Union following the
Brexit vote in a recent national referendum. Economic woes continue
to plague Italy, Greece and Portugal, and an aborted coup in Turkey
has provoked an authoritarian response from controversial President
Erdogan against the press, the military and his civilian opponents.
In Asia, the Uzbekistani dictator Islam Karimov has died, and he left
no successor. North Korea, Philippines, and the South China Sea area
continue to be volatile hot spots.
U.S. PRESIDENTIAL POLLS TIGHTEN
Although Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton held large and growing
leads in published polls only days ago, the presidential contest has
tightened one more time as Republican nominee Donald Trump has
pulled ahead in two major polls, and to a virtual tie or significantly
closer in most other polls. This development followed a shake-up in
the Trump campaign that led to a successful short trip to Mexico to
meet with the Mexican president, a restatement of the candidate’s
immigration policies, and unexpected appeals to black, Hispanic
and blue collar voters in the critical rust belt states. This unorthodox
GOP strategy has caused most media analysts and establishment
political consultants to denounce the strategy even as Mr. Trump’s
poll numbers to continue to rise, and the upset GOP winner continues
to dominate the news cycles.
Copyright (c) 2016 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.