Saturday, December 24, 2016

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Weekend Update 24


The next major international election that will test the current
populist wave sweeping many democratic nations across the
globe will be in France in April. Three likely leading candidates
for president have emerged so far. Manuel Valls has been the
Socialist prime minister, and entered the race when the current
president, Francois Hollande, decided not to run for re-election.
He faces several opponents in a January, 2017 Socialist primary.
Thought by many to be now leading is Francois Fillon, a former
prime minister, the center-right nominee who defeated both Alain
Juppe, also a former prime minister, and Nicholas Sarkozy, a
former president, for the Republican nomination. On the right,
Marine Le Pen is the likely candidate of the populist  National
Front Party, and is the wild card in the election because she
represents many unhappy French working class voters who are
dissatisfied with the traditional main parties of the left and the
right. Many of these voters have been likened to the U.K. voters
who voted for Brexit, the U.S. voters who chose Donald Trump
and the Italian voters who forced that country’s prime minister
recently to resign.


President Trump has named all but three of his cabinet
appointees, and most of his White House staff and
advisors (only a few of whom require Senate confirmation.
Most observers, on both the left and right, were surprised
by how many strong conservatives he has chosen, and by
how adroit some of his choices have been to bring the
Republican factions, some of which did not support him
before the election, together. The former have alarmed many
Democrats who now see a major policy re-set coming to
Washington, DC, and the latter have, for the time being at least,
upset many hostile media predictions that there will be a
Republican civil war in the capital.


The difficult challenge facing Democrats in the 2018 U.S.
senate races (when 25 incumbent liberal seats are up for
re-election and only 8 GOP incumbents face the voters) was
just heightened by the announcement that Republican Ohio
State Treasurer Josh Mandel would challenge incumbent
Senator Sherrod Brown, a very liberal Democrat, who is seeking
re-election. Mr. Brown defeated Mr. Mandel in their first contest
in 2012, but since that time, the Buckeye State has gone from
blue-purple to red on the political scale, climaxed this year by
Donald Trump’s winning the state, and by Ohio’s other senator, 
Republican Rob Portman, winning re-election by a landslide. Mr.
Mandel also won the statewide Ohio treasurer’s race in 2014, and
has made much-praised strides in the state’s finances. He leads
all his potential GOP rivals by a wide margin.

Copyright (c) 2016 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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