Inside Washington

A week in American politics

Inside Washington  |  3 March 2015

As usual, it has been an eventful week in American politics. And, as ever, everything that happens can be best understood by looking through the lens of polarisation. There is seemingly no event, domestic or foreign, trivial or of global importance, that does not end up being a shouting match. There is very little sense …

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2016 is already here

Inside Washington  |  15 February 2015

This is the pace of things in DC. One election is barely over, and the next has already begun. It is only three months since the midterms, and the new Republican-dominated Congress has just taken its oath, but all the talk is of 2016. The general election, which will pit the Democrat nominee against their …

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Why did the Republicans win so big in the midterms?

Inside Washington  |  5 November 2014

Yesterday’s midterms gave full control of Congress to the Republicans. The Democrats lost the Senate, where they had held a majority for eight years, and fell even further back in the House. It leaves Barack Obama as something of a lame duck president for his final two years, and makes meaningful legislative change in the …

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The view from America

Inside Washington  |  26 September 2014

Scotland referendum The Scottish independence referendum barely registered here in the United States before the polls of early September showed a substantial swing, even a possible win, for the ‘Yes’ vote. But after that it was the first and last thing anyone wanted to talk to me about, not only in Washington but also throughout …

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The razzmatazz of local politics in the US

Inside Washington  |  19 August 2014

Midterms The midterms are just 10 weeks away, but there has been surprisingly little coverage in the national media. That is not to say that there has not been a lot by British standards, because there has, but the abundance of world crises over this summer (including Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine and ebola) has …

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The US on Independence Day

Inside Washington  |  4 July 2014

It is always strange as a Brit celebrating American Independence Day in the United States when the event they are celebrating is when they kicked the British out of the country. When Americans bring it up I make a few bad jokes about how everyone would be better off if they were still a colony, …

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Common Core controversies

Inside Washington  |  29 May 2014

There is considerable controversy across the United States right now about the introduction of the Common Core States Standards Initiative, a drive across the majority of states and the federal government to set core standards for maths and English (or ‘math’ and ‘English language arts’, in American!). The Common Core standards have been developed over …

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Obamacare: vote-winner or vote-loser?

Inside Washington  |  11 April 2014

A bitter, protracted Maryland winter is at last coming to an end. It has been the coldest winter in decades, and, though the total snowfall was not a record, the number of snowstorms surely was. Federal employees have been asked to stay at home on almost a dozen occasions because of the treacherous conditions on …

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Washington united, the west divided

Inside Washington  |  6 March 2014

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a major foreign policy test for the west. Barack Obama has said he is ‘examining a whole series of steps – economic, diplomatic – that will isolate Russia and will have a negative impact on Russia’s economy and status in the world’. In this he might attain some degree of …

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State of the union

Inside Washington  |  29 January 2014

Last night Barack Obama gave his fifth State of the Union speech, and, while he did not perhaps hold out quite the same amount of hope and ambition as he has in some of his previous speeches, he did still announce a number of key policies that should ensure another exciting year in Washington. Obama’s …

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