American Politics, society, World Politics

The Democrats have lost their integrity – maybe the presidential election, too

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As if the mess of Hillary Clinton’s private email malpractice were not enough to embarrass the US Democratic Party, the uncovering of another abominable scandal has come back to kick them, and may even hinder the Party’s chances of election success in November’s Presidential vote. 

WikiLeaks, the organisation of radicals best known for uncovering some of the political world’s greatest scandals, has struck again – and quite rightly so. After several cyber attacks on US government email servers in recent months, the Democratic Party has found itself in hot water over its Clinton-related complacency.

It won’t be so complacent anymore, though. Over 20,000 emails have come to light which detail pro-Clinton bias from the highest ranks of the US’ biggest liberal party even before any formal judgments had been made by delegates in state primaries. The revelations have highlighted the shameful attempts of top officials to smother the election chances of popular left winger Bernie Sanders.

WikiLeaks’ uncovered emails clearly show discussions of how best to bring down Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders by publically questioning matters of his religious affiliation, and detail suggestions of circulating smears relating to Sanders’ political career in order to decrease his support. Such revelations are sure to plague the Clinton campaign irrevocably, and seriously question the integrity of the Democrat Party.

In addition, Democrat directors are shown to have pestered media outlets for maximum Democrat support in news agendas across America, and to have been secretly communicating with journalists in attempts for minimal Democrat backlash. The uncovered emails reveal also the way in which wealthy supporters are lavishly treated by the Party, detailing tactics of coercing donors into giving mammoth sums of money in exchange for considerable policy input, prestigious garden parties, and hobnobbing with the President.

This week sees the Democrat National Convention take place in Philadelphia, where the Democrats are set to firmly outline their political agenda and play their proposed prelude to the post-Obama era. Hillary Clinton was once the undisputed, sure-fire solution to preventing Republican nominee Donald J. Trump from storming the Oval Office this November. At one point during 2015, Clinton was reported to have the support of as much as two thirds of the Democrat Party.

But a couple of weeks ago, polls reported that public trust of Clinton had reached an election low, making November’s result even harder to predict. The next scandal Clinton will have to face is likely to damage her popularity in the polls to an even further extent. The appearance of the alternative Bernie Sanders has partially contributed to lower support for Clinton, but the recent marks against the former First Lady’s cards are proving much more indelible than previously thought.

After clear examples of the Democrats’ undermining of democracy, many citizens won’t be so sure of Clinton anymore. Today’s events may well leave hers and the Democratic Party’s reputations in shreds, and only boost discontent with the current campaign trail – possibly so much as to provoke swing voters to defect to the Republican camps.

Democrat National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is just one of those credited with knowledge of the party’s undemocratic activities. Footage of Schultz and her colleagues this morning attempting to calm frustrated delegates makes for extremely awkward watching. The Party Chair was reported to have been escorted off stage shrouded by angry activists who brandished pro-Sanders signs and booed to show off their deep discontent.

Isn’t such a reaction right, though? It is indeed. Key figures of the US Democratic Party have greatly undermined the principles for which they claim to advocate. WikiLeaks’ revelations have exposed shocking truths of the party’s disdain for anyone besides Clinton, hoping to protect the former stateswoman as she recovers from any potentially dangerous press ammunition.

Republican nominee Donald J. Trump’s campaign has for months centred on racist comments, controversial protectionism, and the infectious global epidemic of right wing populism. On these grounds, it was seen as the Democrats’ chance to unstoppably halt the causes of Trump, with real values of liberal democracy, social justice, equality and kindness instead. However, the tone of a great deal of the Democrat campaign has been considerably low. How can the campaign pioneered by Hillary Clinton aim to beat the scare tactics deployed by the Trump side herself and her staff involved in such fatal wrongdoing, too?

Embroiled in a scandal relating to communications secrecy during her tenure as US Secretary of State, and now in one possibly more serious relating to her party’s underhanded corruption, her election chances are crumbling. In the midst of such societal division, the Democrats had their chance to rejuvenate the US Establishment, and provide politics of unity and hope.

When will the US Presidential campaign become positive? Perhaps Bernie Sanders was the only one who advocated for progressiveness and just debate all along. It’s just too bad that now the DNC have prevented him from achieving his full potential. The pleas of other candidates at past primaries have had one defining principle – that one candidate is not another candidate, and that one does not stand for what the other does. The US Presidential debate has shown little sign of conversation relating to big social and political issues, but instead has revolved around scaremongering, controversy and anti-establishment sentiment. The Democrats’ flawed strategy won’t make US politics progressive at all, and has shown that it can competently fight battles of playground politics, too – not only Donald J. Trump.

Party officials may have believed that rigging the Democratic primaries would set Clinton’s candidacy above the storm of uncertainty which currently ravages the nation’s political sphere, had their actions gone undiscovered. Instead, the Democrats’ gamble has done more harm than good. The Party has lost its credibility, and possibly its ability to win safely in the November vote. The Democrats are sure to find that votes are harder to pick up in the all important swing states of Florida, California, Virginia, and the like. It is these votes that may decide the next President. Failure to capture floating voters, and the support of the volatile middle classes, could be fatal.

The Party also has a mission to restore confidence in its own constructs, and restore public confidence in the entirety of US politics. This mission is even greater than it were before today’s WikiLeaks scandal, given the sheer tidal wave of anti-establishment feeling which is sweeping global societies.

No matter the outcome of this year’s election, the next person to hold office will be tainted with the grave issues of their unsportsmanlike campaign. Hillary Clinton could have escaped this dark shadow easily by simply treading the moral high ground with a transparent, humble presidential bid. The sketchy outline of the truth of her email use as Secretary of State, and now the exposure of her party’s underhanded tactics, undeniably defying true democracy, will hinder her campaign’s success. Perhaps those all important swing votes will end up going to the Republicans after all.

The Democrats could have chosen to carry on from the Obama era with the principles of fairness and justice of which he will likely be most remembered. Confidence in the US Establishment is now painfully low, something which the Democrat Party could have restored, and now will have an even greater task of attempting to restore. The pathogens of corruption are currently diseasing the vital organs of the US Democrats, Clinton’s arsenal of political artillery becoming exhausted.

The Democrats seem to be a paralysed force, riddled with underhand tactics and intense political divides. The argument that Hillary Clinton isn’t Donald J. Trump lacks strength now. This election campaign ought to have been based on real political and social issues, and with pragmatism at the fore. Further to this, the Democrats ought to have offered a vision of fair play and progressiveness in order to defeat the alarming proclamations of Trump. If the Democrats can restore public confidence, they may be able to revive themselves. It will be no easy feat. Should they fail to, the very worrying politics of Donald J. Trump may be successful in November, many Democrats losing not only the election campaign, but also their integrity.

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American Politics, society, World Politics

The US election will leave Congress divided and society polarised

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If presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump must be credited with one success this campaign – and only one – it is that he has certainly engaged many US citizens with the nation’s politics. For both right and wrong reasons, his comments, hair-dos and demeanour have captivated social media and many a conversation. On the other side of the debate, the growth in support for the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders has seen the creation of a new, more radical left-wing of Democrats, similarly energising interest in US affairs amongst the electorate. But not only are citizens now gripped by intense debate ahead of the November vote.

Both the Republican and Democrat parties have found themselves in considerable quandaries over their party policy in the midst of a presidential campaign which many hoped would see unanimous support for one candidate representing each party. Donald Trump’s policies have profoundly split the GOP down the middle in ways never seen before, with many delegates attending this week’s deciding Cleveland convention seeking to change their sides.

Similarly, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has had its support snatched by those who preferred the politics of the more radical Bernie Sanders. ‘Socialism’ certainly isn’t a curse word anymore. Even though Clinton is the candidate of choice for the majority of Democrats, many new left-wingers remain dissatisfied. It is the powerful legacy of Bernie Sanders which is, in the same way as Trump has split the GOP, sure to firmly part the two camps making up the US Democrats.

There is no questioning that Republican nominee Donald Trump is a powerful speaker, and that he has gained the attention of many with his outspoken and sometimes controversial remarks. His far-right politics has pushed the party into a new era which many supporters passionately welcome. But a large section of the Republican party remains unconvinced. Even those conservatives who don’t passionately support Trump will likely end up voting for him, more repulsed by Democrat Hilary Clinton’s campaign.

However, it is important to note that a vote for a Presidential candidate and a vote for a Congressional candidate are two very different things. Presidents do not have ultimate power over Congress, and thus Trump’s policy is this year not likely to reflect the views of the entire party. The anti-establishment, far-right legacy of Donald Trump is sure to live on for several elections to come. His campaign has seen the creation of two vastly different wings – one promoting typically populist, hard-right values, and another which represents supporters of more moderate, traditionally Republican politics.

Make no mistake – this is a divide which is something a little similar to the sort that currently ravages the UK’s Conservative Party, and one which could come to greatly disrupt Republican progress. This is bad news for the GOP. Passing policy in Congress has already been difficult for them and their Democrat counterparts, the Democrats just as divided between its internally liberal and more centrist wings. For them, the appearance of Bernie Sanders is likely to accentuate their party’s problems all the more. The final years of Barack Obama’s presidency have seen huge divisions between the Houses of Congress and the US Executive, with a Republican majority Senate, a House of Representatives which has gradually moved into Republican control, and, of course, a determined Democrat as US President.

The 2016 election campaign has sadly given us no hint that these internal barriers will break down. Bipartisanship will be more necessary than ever before when it comes to policymaking. Both parties may struggle to bring themselves to it given the disarray. As the US socialist movement has gained unbelievable momentum, with still existent support for Bernie Sanders, and after Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton has become embroiled in scandals relating to email malpractice, America’s liberals are just as split as the Republicans are with the Trump phenomenon. Mid-term elections take place as well this year, the results of which likely to serve as evidence of the deeply laid party differences in both Houses of Congress – differences that are sure to hinder US political progress.

As the American liberals became delayed in Congress, and their presidential candidates began to cause divisions, the Republicans believed that they were safe. Instead, the epidemic of populism has come to set their party back, as much as it has, in some ways, transformed it. Congress will now be a battleground not only between the Democrat and Republican entities, but increasingly between the more specific factions which separate politicians of both parties internally, too.

Winning a presidential election may be doable this November for Trump. But carrying through an effective presidency which commands unity amid such dispute could mean something very different if he is to gain success. Whilst Trump controls the most part of the Republican party right now, and Clinton prevails with most – but by no means all – Democrat party support, either one of them may become US politics’ next lame duck, failing to bring together even their own party members in Congress. Passing successful policy will now be some hard feat, and is sure to require hard bargaining.

It has to be said that a win for Trump would certainly be something quite paradoxical. It is predominantly he who has nursed such an intense split in the GOP. His new politics is the reason for his success, but could be the reason for his downfall should Trump win this year, and seek re-election in 2020. At the other lectern, Hillary Clinton must not fall into a state of illusion whereby she believes herself safe. The great support for Sanders, and also her own malpractice has come to weaken her support. Both US parties remain intensely split, and this will undoubtedly come to threaten the chances of success for the next President of America.

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American Politics, human rights, society, UK Politics, World Politics

Only our governments can end invasive surveillance, but they won’t

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Geo-tagging a memorable photo, signing up for a social networking account, or sending a text message each seem like pretty innocent actions at face value. But with a fast flurry of government dogma in relation to omnipresent extremism, our civil liberties are placed at risk more and more with each day. Desperate to combat the threats of violent militants around the world, many governments have rapidly introduced intense surveillance measures, nowadays monitoring our every snap, move, and spoken word.

The continuing advent of technology is, needless to say, hugely exciting. But governments throughout many countries are getting down to curbing our freedoms on social networks, city streets, and even the most innocent of conversations to a monumental extent. The worrying facet of newly-introduced monitoring legislation is that the idea of freedom amongst global citizens is becoming something very 20th century indeed.

Enshrined in myriad global agreements, treaties and conventions, the right to privacy is precious and essential. So precious and essential, it seems, that our leaders are intent on enshrining it for only the very few – perhaps, very soon, even for none at all. It is estimated that nowadays one CCTV camera exists for every 11 people. It was reported in 2014 that many of our phone service providers willfully pass user data to surveillance bodies as if it comes on an endless factory conveyor belt.

There is no denying that extremism is becoming a frightening global epidemic which must be dealt with fast. Of course, with the most devastating of criminals, the resources that come with such intrinsic surveillance are no doubt invaluable. But already, a gargantuan range of measures which may soon veer our lives into public view for the wrong reasons have come into action.

The formidable Home Secretary, Theresa May, has built a reputation for her iron fist when it comes to the contentious issues of surveillance. For several years, the nation’s surveillance body – GCHQ – has seen a rapid increase in privileges relating to the covert monitoring of any citizen, personal communications interception, and intense collection of biometric data. In recent days, the Labour party and SNP have demanded numerous concessions be made for the next stage of the British Snooper’s Charter. Information as personal as medical records may become searchable with a warrant, and attacks on journalists becoming easier to set up could see the fabric of our free press start to fray.

Similarly, in the US, spying is becoming worryingly commonplace. CCTV figures are on the rise, and the revelations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has spoken volumes. Data archives on every citizen of some of the world’s most powerful nations are becoming vast. No matter their position in society, the biggest secrets and most private facts of our lives are at threat of unfair exposure.

With such highly personal data in the hands of some of society’s largest and most powerful bodies, interception must be highly regulated, and details of the innocent safeguarded. Global governments have shown recently, though, that they may not be competent enough to take charge of such sensitive information, and that we may never regain the sense of privacy in which we once revelled.

Society is becoming like that most dreaded by George Orwell. With an influx of technology, not only police forces and our elected officials govern us. Social networks set political agenda, filtrating the news we see, and communications services can store our every click or instant message. Reports of Facebook’s anti-right-wing bias shows the political power it wields nowadays, and without a fierce revolution the strength of its unbalanced news crusade will not disappear. To top this, the company has been embroiled in many a court case over its draconian tactics of retaining its users’ personal information. When it comes to moderating such tactics, only our national governments can preside forcefully. But the far-ranging problem is that our governments are indeed involved in the collection of citizen data.

Who, then, is able to voice concern and reinstate our precious rights to privacy? Whilst hearty protest from the people can help raise awareness of the issue, it seems that only a revolution from inside can aid the government in its new data war. The problem lies with the government and society’s elites, whom are in control of social media, multinational companies, and, of course, our legislative bodies.

Regulation of such data interception is vital, but is just too weak. This week, MI5 has been vehemently attacked for its lack of seriousness in the scrutiny of interception cases, failing to seek fully fleshed out justification. It was also reported last month in the Guardian that the US foreign intelligence body didn’t at all deny any requests for surveillance last year. Further to this, the Guardian reported recently that the US Supreme Court has just granted investigatory forces new powers for surveillance. The line of human rights allowances is being forgotten. Our governments, responsible for this implementation are those who have the ability to revoke their legislation. The lack of scrutiny of surveillance policy worldwide highlights that, without staunch opposition, our civil liberties will soon become fully eroded.

The only success in highlighting the wrongdoing of international governments in surveillance has been had by whistleblowers, however. Perhaps they are the answers. Parliamentary oppositions are proving too weak. NSA leaker Edward Snowden successfully brought to light the infiltrating spying techniques of the US government, in the same way that Chelsea Manning helped to share the truth to WikiLeaks. Julian Assange, too, is invaluable in the fight to regain civil liberties. If our governments are too slow to act, we can trust only those in public office, and those who see the first-hand effects of such a privacy invasion to stand up for the fairer option of privacy.

Our leaders are the crafty ones here. With a rise in terrorism and organised crime, our elected officials our playing to our fears. Paranoia is what fuels such an intrusive media and privacy campaign. The success of the aforementioned surveillance methods has been far and few, and opens up the possibilities of not just privacy, but other human rights becoming forgotten in the future. We cannot let international atrocities make our global society that which is desired by extremists. Those who inflict terror hope for the days when our moral integrity is brought to the knees, and the intensive monitoring carried out by out governments is providing the foundations for such an outcome.

With such a large number of those aware of Tory plans for current and increase surveillance tactics disapproving, something is wrong. This is not just a UK disease, but one taking the whole globe by storm. With the justification of crime levels rising and extremism prevailing, harsher surveillance will continue to become implemented. Vocal opponents have shown to be the only way to discourage the ethos of paranoia which is sweeping society. Only internal revolution can dissuade our leaders now. For the vast majority of citizens, invasive monitoring is wholly unnecessary. Until our MPs, courts, parliaments and leaders largely realise that society will only become more fragmented, timid and fearful, one of our greatest and most important rights will be further forgotten.

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American Politics, World Politics

Trump is showing up the US ‘grand old’ Establishment

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An experienced and frank businessman, it seems that Donald Trump’s adeptness as a multinational tycoon is translating into success as a possible US president. Whilst high-profile Republicans have for weeks dismissed the prospects Trump has for winning November’s US election, the iconic blondie has continued to sweep up success in the nation’s primaries, becoming the party’s likely candidate. His politics may be significantly controversial, but the Republican party must come to terms with his achievements. Otherwise, the GOP faces destroying its own collective success in future presidential elections.

The chances of Trump colonising the West Wing next January are growing day-by-day. As divisive as Donald Trump may be, he has revolutionised American politics in ways that even he would claim to be accidental. His surprise success has resulted in the mass mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of voters. Turnout is sure to reach great heights at the tense November election, amongst both defensive Democrats and rabid Republicans. Trump’s surging popularity has resulted in huge chances of Republican presidential power in 2017, but only if the party wakes up to its current transformation.

Politics all over the world divides communities and creates passionate oppositions. The headlines of past months have accentuated this defining characteristic of the Trump campaign very boldly. Donald Trump’s policies of a Muslim shutdown, controversial views on equality, and ideas for low tax rates have been at the eye of a raging political storm. His newfound political success is unarguable. An outspoken right-wing populist, his anti-immigration, patriotic, and truly different politics have shaken up the historic Grand Old Party in more ways than just policy.

From a neutral standpoint, the successes of right-wing populists from around the world have united large proportions of voters. Trump would definitely be no exception to this statement. Regardless of views, political engagement has no doubt seen a boost all over the States within the past year – something of a global political renaissance. Trump’s success in connecting with ordinary Republican voters has resulted in the creation of a sturdy public mandate. The Washington Post last month estimated that Trump will win more Republican primary votes than ever before, purely because of increased engagement. In ways that fellow competitors Cruz and Kasich – as well as former candidates – have failed to, Trump has attached himself to the median GOP voter extremely well. Donald Trump is a new face picking up new votes, and most importantly, has a new mandate with immense foundations. But the political divide reaches further than between only American citizens.

Myriad Republicans have proudly supported or vehemently condemned Donald Trump’s campaign since his rivals’ surrenders. With the door handle of the Oval Office becoming more tangible for Trump than ever before, his opinions are certainly creating two very different camps within the party. Paul Ryan, George W Bush, and Lindsey Graham are just a few of the most prominent Republicans deciding not to support Trump in this election.

Their rejection of his politics is, however, more dangerous for the future of the GOP than they seem to think. As expected, with the controversy of Trump’s politics, many are keen to distance themselves from him. But Trump is showing up the pre-existing Republican Establishment. His success as a populist has united swarms of American voters, and has highlighted the pitfalls of his rivals and previous candidates in doing the same.  Their ineptness in attracting substantial votes and engaging voters until now only shows that the GOP is out-dated.

The reaction to Donald Trump in this election is unprecedented in comparison to those of previous years. The fiery candidate has created a strong, new movement, and is finally leading the GOP in the direction it has failed to travel in before. The American right-wing has proven that, with the puny enthusiasm for Cruz or Kasich, and without an anti-establishment figure like Trump, the GOP would only have been annihilated by the Clinton’s crusade. Donald Trump’s revolutionary populism is the only thing that may win this election, and what has prevented previous candidates from doing so.

The politics like those of Romney and his failed revolution in 2012 surely won’t return any time soon with this frenzy. Trump’s effortless mandate has shown that the driving force of the Republicans are not the politicians, but instead the people. It seems that in some ways, right-wing populists like Trump are in fact reinforcing the need for a people-driven democratic electoral process, which has long been dominated by personality politics and strategic media coverage.

The vocal protest of the anti-Trump Republicans will do nothing to restore the GOP. As Trump highlighted a few weeks ago, he doesn’t need the unity of the GOP in order to win the election. It is truly in the hands of the people. Trump may be divisive, but he is rejuvenating the Republican party and its voters in ways never seen before. This populist revolution is a global pandemic, and America is not safe. Trump and similar politicians in other nations are showing up Establishments all over the world, governing with strong public mandates, passionate protest votes and outspoken but honest policy. Even if such impassioned politics is short-lived, it is sure to revolutionise the ethos of the Republican Establishment for a long time.

So why won’t the GOP just support him? It seems that they really are ‘fearties.’ If anything, they are holding their party back. The GOP must wake up to the realities of Trump’s irreversible success, and his opponents must realise the possibilities for real changes in their party’s politics. In many ways, our global democracy is becoming eroded. But the fact that so many American citizens themselves have favoured Trump as the Republican nominee speaks loud volumes. Trump will win based solely on the support of citizens. Republicans all over the USA must understand, however, that he reflects the average supporter, showing up their problematic Establishment – even if they don’t agree with him.

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American Politics, World Politics

The White House should be sweating over the FBI’s liberty abuse

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Over recent months, a worrying increase in organised crimes and devastating shootouts all over the United States has shocked citizens worldwide. As politicians and security officials have become hard pressed for security legislation, a balance of civil liberties and state protection has proven seemingly hard to weigh out.

The past few weeks’ events involving the formidable FBI and tech giant Apple have accentuated this conundrum all the more. No one advocates for such catastrophic terrorist attacks, but ensuring privacy when monitoring criminal suspects is vital. There is no denying that this form of criminal investigation can be valuable when enforcing the law. Serious organised crimes and terrorist atrocities are more frequent than ever, and monitoring the movements of suspect individuals is paramount for the protection of a nation’s citizens.

But there is something gravely worrying about such robust precautions. The guaranteed right to privacy of many civilians is at threat. Apple’s resilience towards the FBI’s coercive demands, however, is reassuring news for many liberals. The company’s decision not to aid US agencies in the recovery of personal data on a suspect’s phone has highlighted the need for clamping down on the state’s data monopoly.

Last week, however, with third-party support, the FBI succeeded in breaking through what used to be Apple’s impenetrable wall of security. The highest criminal investigations agency in the world had defied the passcode of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone. George Orwell must be turning in his grave. The FBI’s hacking has proven that the US government – and, evidently, many other global governments – can summon the personal details of any citizen, exposing vast details of their private life. Needless to say, technology use is widespread today. The possibility of those either wrongly or correctly accused of criminal activities having their right to privacy taken away from them is worrying likely. Apple dominates a large section of the worldwide technology market, meaning that the number of individuals who could be at threat from such stringent surveillance measures is considerably large. In the wrong hands, these capabilities could prove to be detrimental. Within myriad governments, the unwarranted tracking of citizens may now become more normal.

The United States isn’t the only nation that must be brought into focus when it comes to the liberties versus security debate. Rigorous monitoring has caused discontent across the world. The information provided by whistle-blowers like Edwards Snowden is pivotal, and shows the large extent to which the US government already spies on its citizens. Other national governments the world over have succeeded in using data monitoring as a source of crime deterrence. China’s strict internet monitoring, the United Kingdom’s ‘snoopers charter’ and the arrest of a Facebook executive in Brazil highlight the rigid surveillance measures which have emerged internationally. Individual liberties are fast becoming unduly curbed. Just because many other states’ governments have succeeded in such wide-scaled monitoring does not mean that the United States can operate a similar system which is free of controversial agenda.

Surely it is time that the White House took definitive action, standing up for its traditionally libertarian principles. There is a large potential for such invasive powers to be used wrongly, and for innocent citizens’ privacy to be crushed. In Obama’s last-minute legislative rush, he and his left-wing democrats should spend the last few months of administration over the protection individual freedoms. Attitudes towards civil liberty and national security could, of course, rapidly change under Presidents Clinton, Trump or Cruz. News that President Obama has failed to either condemn or support the probing actions of the FBI shows up his indecisiveness in relation to the matter. In order to protect his nation’s people, the US President must lucidly proclaim his stance, taking radical action.

Ron Wyden, Senator for Oregon, is just one of the high-profile politicians whom have condemned the controversial actions of the FBI. It seems that, despite the fact that there are plausible arguments for such monitoring in our growingly insecure society, the livelihoods and safety of citizens are at risk. The right to privacy is one which is becoming eroded, and one that is in danger of being forgotten. Unless global governments strike the correct balance, citizens may soon have their individuality and privileges taken from them.

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American Politics, Analysis, World Politics

Don’t shrug off Trump as just another short-term right-winger

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Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at his South Carolina campaign kickoff rally in Bluffton, S.C., Tuesday, July 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

With his forthright politics, Donald Trump has recently captivated not only citizens across the United States, but spectators the world over. As one of world’s most successful businessmen and an opinionated conservative, this is hardly surprising. His policies of closing United States borders towards Muslims, the restarting of controversial torture methods and extensive military rejuvenation have, as predicted, whetted Republican appetites. But haven’t we seen similar radical movements in other nations, and don’t they just fade away with time?

It doesn’t seem this way. Trump has become a huge threat to left-wing politics. As the gap in opinion polls narrows between himself and leading Democrat Hilary Clinton – and now this election’s wild card, Bernie Sanders, too – Donald Trump’s chances of striding into the Oval Office next January seem better than ever. Many of his policies, whilst sparking outrage on social media platforms, have suited the blend of patriotism, independence and superpower from which the Republican ethos feeds. However, this new Republican faction does indeed echo political feeling of other nations – most notably the EU’s recently emerged body of Euroscepticism.

Across several nations across the pond, right-wing populist parties have nothing but triumphed. America has, of course, had a long history of such impassioned right-of-centre politics which has fostered under strong patriotism and resulted in the creation of an unrivalled political force. But the US right-wing is running its campaigns this year on issues which are increasingly similar to those targeted in European right-wing bids. Not only low taxes, gun freedoms and lower immigration are on the cards for Republicans, but also military attacks on militant groups in Africa and the Middle East, strong border responses to surges in immigration and the implementation of controversial punishment methods.

In Europe, right-wing populist groups standing for policy similar to Trump’s have swelled in terms of their overall vote share, but their successes have come in only small doses at first-order elections. There is a broad trend showing that these groups seem less likely to lead their nations’ governments and are only ad-hoc, issue-based entities. But America seems different. Donald Trump is running a highly successful campaign, with recent polls showing that there is only 4% between he and Clinton, who was at one point said to be the only one likely to win in November.

So, why is Trump working in the States? It is clear that external issues must be coming into play. After increased attacks from various groups on the American people and in other states, it has become easy for Trump to argue in favour of increased security measures, including the development of extremely controversial policy to restrain various individuals from movement into the country.

It is clear that one of Trump’s most successful tactics is proclaiming controversial policy in order to get the electorate talking. When Trump announced his proposed shutdown of America towards Muslim immigrants, Facebook and Twitter were captivated and became nuclei of debate. Whilst many agree with Trump, the views of those in opposition have furthered conversation of his campaign. This tactic of being frank and ‘straight talking’ is a ploy seen in campaigns by the likes of the United Kindom Independence Party’s (UKIP) Nigel Farage. UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn rose to fame in the same way, presenting controversial left-wing policy and adopting a more outspoken stance than his predecessors did.

Like the strategy of the above two British campaigns, Trump has been successful in saying what the average citizen is scared to. And this similar straight-talking is something Americans are buying into in the same way that European parties, many of whom small in size, have fast appealed to mass numbers of voters. But in America, the political system does give a larger platform to such views. November’s election is not a parliamentary election, but a presidential election. In parliamentary elections, more controversial parties have been pushed to the side. But as a Presidential candidate, and representing such a large proportion of American voters, Trump possesses astonishingly wide scope of influence.

So, isn’t this just going to be another short lived campaign? No, America is different. This populist right-wing surge is being taken on by hordes of impassioned voters who are keen to protect their beloved nation. The cult of Donald Trump is working. Over the past couple of months, Trump has emerged as a very serious contender, and a serious threat to the Democrat Party’s liberal politics. Possibly, some opponents would be reluctant to use the term ‘politician,’ but the business tycoon who is now set to dominate decision making may well in fact storm the White House in a year’s time.

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