US politics

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Fasten your seat belts. The emphatic victories Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders scored in New Hampshire have underscored that the populist mood sweeping the country has dramatically changed the course of the 2016 presidential race. The New York tycoon got the victory that eluded him in Iowa and solidified his status as the Republican frontrunner. The potential for a President Trump can no longer be dismissed as ridiculous. Read more

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Voters are casting their ballots in New Hampshire – the Granite State where licence plates carry the motto “Live Free or Die”. Donald Trump is expected to win the Republican primary, while Bernie Sanders is preparing for a victory over Hillary Clinton, who beat Barack Obama here in 2008 but is struggling this year. Read more

(New Hampshire) – The big news today is that Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former New York mayor, told the FT he may jump into the 2016 race for the White House. That would be a huge development, which would radically alter an election that has already been completely upended by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

The candidates have been scurrying around the Granite State making their final pitches to voters ahead of the primaries on Tuesday. Mr Trump remains ahead in the Republican polls with an average lead of 16 points, according to a compilation of surveys by Real Clear Politics. Marco Rubio, the Cuban-American senator, has been trying to regain his footing after an awful debate performance on Saturday when he responded to charges that he repeats memorised lines – by repeating memorised lines. Read more

Welcome to the FT’s daily White House countdown newsletter, which we hope will keep readers on top of one of the most fascinating American elections in years. You can sign up to receive it by email here. Demetri Sevastopulo, Washington Bureau Chief

Yesterday we urged you to forget about Iowa and move on to New Hampshire. Donald Trump is clearly not reading (yet). After flying to New Hampshire on “Trump Force One” following his loss in Iowa, the billionaire wants everyone to return to the Hawkeye State to re-run Monday’s caucus because of alleged fraud by Ted Cruz. Read more

Welcome to Week 2 of White House countdown, our new daily newsletter which we hope will keep readers on top of one of the most fascinating American elections in years. You can sign up to receive it by email here. Thanks for reading. Demetri Sevastopulo, Washington Bureau Chief

DES MOINES – Donald Trump hopes his daughter Ivanka will have her baby (due in 2 weeks) today in Iowa. Chris Christie, the witty New Jersey governor, is entertaining diners at the Machine Shed restaurant with impressions of the former star of The Apprentice. Ted Cruz, the Texas senator, is coming under fire for circulating misleading leaflets which suggest that Iowan residents are engaging in “voter violation” for not participating in elections. The drama adds up to one thing – the Iowa caucuses that kick off the 2016 presidential election are here. Read more

Iowa offers first test for US presidential hopefuls
After months of build-up, the Iowa caucus will offers US presidential candidates their first chance to get ahead. Gideon Rachman reviews the chances of the Republican and Democratic rivals with Courtney Weaver and Edward Luce.

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The Republican White House contenders took the stage at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas for their fifth and final presidential debate of 2015. With 56 days to go before the first caucus is held in Iowa, Donald Trump looked to have kept his lead in the national polls despite his call to ban Muslims from entering the US. Mr Trump faced a fresh challenger in Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who has displaced Ben Carson as the property mogul’s closest rival. Jake Grovum, US social media journalist, and Emiliya Mychasuk, US Online News Editor, curated the reaction to the debate from the FT’s Washington bureau and political watchers on social media.
 

By Gideon Rachman
I have a nightmare vision for the year 2017: President Trump, President Le Pen, President Putin.
Like most nightmares, this one probably won’t come true. But the very fact that Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen are running strongly for the American and French presidencies says something disturbing about the health of liberal democracy in the west. In confusing and scary times, voters seem tempted to turn to “strong” nationalistic leaders — western versions of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

By Gideon Rachman
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, two pictures sent a powerful message about how international politics are changing. One was of Barack Obama hunched in discussion in a hotel lobby with Vladimir Putin. The frosty body language of their previous meeting at the UN had given way to something more businesslike.

Donald Trump – would not rule out the idea of a database to track Muslims in America

Watching the debate on terrorism from the US this week has been a bizarre experience. The attacks took place in France – but it seems to be the US where the political demands for ever-tougher border controls are taking hold. On November 19th (Thursday), the House of Representatives passed the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act (SAFE – get it!) which would stop resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the US indefinitely. By contrast, President Hollande has just reaffirmed that France will take 30,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years. Read more

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The Republican White House contenders took the stage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for their fourth presidential debate. There were eight contenders on the stage after Fox Business News, which co-hosted the event with media empire stablemate The Wall Street Journal, determined that Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor, and Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, did not qualify to participate under their criteria. Marco Rubio built on his momentum, while Jeb Bush did not do much to bolster a wilting campaign, and Donald Trump stood out less than in previous debates as the field narrowed. 

By Gideon Rachman
Donald Trump is so fond of the word “winner” that he even applies it to pieces of chicken. Having lunch with the FT a couple of years ago, the mogul-turned-politician pointed his interviewer towards a particularly succulent portion and declared: “That piece looks like a winner.”

Hillary Clinton Testifies Before House Select Committee On Benghazi Attacks

Hillary Clinton faced her next big challenge in her quest for the 2016 US presidential race with an appearance before a Republican led congressional committee to testify about the 2012 Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead, including US ambassador Christopher Stevens. Barney Jopson followed the action from Washington with Demetri Sevastopulo, DC Bureau Chief and Emiliya Mychasuk, US Online News Editor. A link to the live stream of the hearing is here  

By Gideon Rachman
How long can a country that represents less than 5 per cent of the world’s population and 22 per cent of the global economy, remain the world’s dominant military and political power? That question is being asked with increasing urgency in the Middle East, eastern Europe and the Pacific Ocean.

Pope Francis landed in the US around 4pm on Tuesday afternoon after a three-and-a-half hour flight from eastern Cuba, to be greeted on the tarmac of Andrews Air Force Base in suburban Maryland by the Obamas and Bidens. The Argentine pontiff then hopped into a black Fiat 500L – an incongruous sight in a motorcade of SUVs and another symbol of Francis’ modest ways – headed to the residence of the Vatican envoy to the US, on Massachusetts Avenue in northwest Washington, where he will spend the night.

His schedule will be packed over the five days of his first ever visit to America: there will be high-profile speeches to Congress and the UN, a series of masses, and appearances at a prison, a homeless shelter and an inner-city school. Read more

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The 2nd Republican presidential debate saw Donald Trump face off against 10 other GOP contenders for the White House, as the challengers tried to gain ground against the bombastic billionaire, who has surprised the pundits by leading the field by a long way. Carly Fiorina made her debut in the big league, joining the main debate for the first time. 

  • Amid the political noise, the historic nuclear deal between Iran and international powers is a victory for pragmatism in Tehran, writes Roula Khalaf
  • Greece’s creditors have destroyed the eurozone as we know it and demolished the idea of a monetary union as a step towards a democratic political union, argues Wolfgang Münchau
  • Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump offers a megaphone to the noisy minority of Americans who believe they are losing the battle with modernity, writes Ed Luce
  • Europe’s creditor-in-chief has trampled over values like democracy and national sovereignty, and left a vassal state in its wake. Which country will be next? asks Philippe LeGrain (Foreign Policy)
  • We apologise to Marxists worldwide for Greece refusing to commit ritual suicide to further the cause. We elected a good, honest and brave man, who fought like a lion, writes Alex Andreou (Byline)

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  • Scott Walker, the “regular Joe” governor of Wisconsin and Republican presidential hopeful, needs to shrug off concerns that he is a foreign policy lightweight in his run for the White House
  • Young people are shunning cocoa farming in Ghana, leading to fears that production and productivity could be harmed in the world’s second-biggest grower of the soft commodity
  • Mexico’s most wanted drug lord, known as “Shorty”, has pulled off his second sensational jailbreak in 15 years – dealing a blow to the government which had taken pride in capturing top crime kingpins
  • A full transcript of the first interview with Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, since his resignation (New Statesman)
  • A nationalist militia in Ukraine engaged in a standoff with soldiers and police following a gun and grenade attack after its fighters confronted supporters of a local MP critical of the group (The Telegraph)

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  • Japan’s golden era of karaoke may have passed, but the companies supplying technology for the pastime are pinning their hopes on a new market: the silver economy
  • International hotel groups are eyeing Iran’s tourism potential as a nuclear deal that could end economic sanctions nears
  • Marco Rubio is rattling assumptions and could upend 2016′s US presidential election, writes Edwards Luce
  • Can South Africa’s first female public prosecutor save the country from itself? (New York Times)
  • The Dominican Republic’s tortured relationship with its Haitian minority (Foreign Policy)

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The birch forests and heaths across Estonia are echoing with gunfire, explosions and the heavy crump of artillery as the tiny Baltic state holds the largest war games of its independent history

South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma is mired in scandals that have tarnished his and the ANC’s reputation, as a recent wave of xenophobic violence puts his record under fresh scrutiny

South Korea is facing a dilemma over Jehovah’s Witnesses, who conscientiously object to military service but have hope of a softening judicial stance towards their boycott

A team of Syrian investigators have risked their lives to collect secret government documents that provide evidence of war crimes by Bashar al-Assad and his regime. Will an international court ever hear their cases? (Guardian)

The most surprising event of this political era is what hasn’t happened. The world has not turned left despite the financial crisis and widening inequality, writes David Brooks in the New York Times  Read more