Democracy in America

Checks and balances under siege

Charlie Samuda  |  6 February 2017

The first fortnight of Donald Trump’s presidency has been an unrelenting series of man-made horrors, writes Charlie Samuda Netflix’s show Designated Survivor is not very good, but it does make a point about the different sources of political power in the United States. In the very first episode an attack on Capitol Hill during the …

0 Comments Read more

Clinton and Trump double down

Charlie Samuda  |  27 September 2016

A debate in which there is disagreement over the basic facts is unlikely to produce an agreed winner. But in a conventional sense it certainly seems like Hillary Clinton had the upper hand in last night’s presidential debate. Although it was perhaps a little overdone at the start Clinton projected capability without condescension. She offered …

0 Comments Read more

Details matter

Charlie Samuda  |  29 July 2016

Before she took the stage last night to accept the Democratic nomination for president there was every indication that Hillary Clinton’s speech would be a very personal one. Becoming the first female nominee is a historic achievement as well as an individual one. Plenty of pundits and doubtless some of her staff had been advising …

0 Comments Read more

The sleepwalkers

Charlie Samuda  |  19 July 2016

Late last year, shortly after the protests at Yale, our professor took his students out for a beer to try to have a genuine conversation about America’s race problem. It is a conversation that has come to mind repeatedly as events in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas have provided grim evidence that such problems have gone nowhere. …

0 Comments Read more

There are many reasons to oppose Trump – but pick one

Charlie Samuda  |  10 June 2016

Now that Bernie Sanders has all but dropped out of the race and with Barack Obama’s endorsement Clinton can turn her full attention to what at first might seem to be a simple question: What exactly is wrong with Donald Trump? It is, many of us would be tempted to conclude, obvious why Trump should …

1 Comment Read more

All shook up

Charlie Samuda  |  17 May 2016

A noted American political pundit once said that using nationwide polls as a predictor of presidential elections was like trying to measure the wealth of Warren Buffet by counting up the value of the suits in his wardrobe. Since the electoral college – a system where candidates earn points for each state weighted by population …

0 Comments Read more

Confirmation bias

Charlie Samuda  |  14 April 2016

If you are looking for a case study of contemporary American politics, forget the campaign trail for a while and take a close look at the fortunes of Merrick Garland. Apparently Garland, Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, has a resume that ‘makes you want to cry’. In his high-flying 40-year judicial career he …

0 Comments Read more

Nothing super about Super Tuesday

Charlie Samuda  |  2 March 2016

Americans often do a much better job of naming things than Brits. If the title of the Apollo Project, the Grand Canyon or the Empire State Building had been decided in the United Kingdom, each would doubtless have sounded a lot less dramatic. ‘Super Tuesday’ is a case in point: the name makes last night’s …

6 Comments Read more

The long haul is just starting

Charlie Samuda  |  2 February 2016

The morning after the 2008 Iowa caucus, Hillary Clinton held a painfully awkward conference call with her campaign team. Having just lost badly to Barack Obama in the race for the Democratic nomination she asked each of her advisers what the next step was, only to be greeted with stony silence. Imagine how awkward that …

0 Comments Read more

Unfinished business

Charlie Samuda  |  12 January 2016

America, usually so familiar, can feel very foreign sometimes. A few days after enrolling at an American university my fellow students and I had to attend an information session euphemistically titled Active Shooter Preparedness. Repetitive for the American students, bewildering for the international ones, the event provided guidance on what to do in the event …

0 Comments Read more