US politics

Discord at the Democratic Convention

The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia got off to a turbulent start this week, revealing deep divisions between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The FT’s World News editor Ben Hall discusses what this means for Clinton’s campaign for the White House with Washington bureau chief Demetri Sevastopulo and Gideon Rachmann, the FT’s chief foreign affairs commentator.

By Federica Cocco

Analysts are cranking up the odds of a Donald Trump presidency, with researchers at Citigroup saying the possibility “cannot be ruled out” and the statistics site FiveThirtyEight rating the odds of the Republican candidate at 40 per cent. Read more

RNC in Cleveland 2016

The Republican National Convention culminates with a pugnacious acceptance speech from Donald Trump with a promise of keeping the country safe and its citizens better off, with an attack on the ‘rigged’ system and White House rival Hillary Clinton. This blog brings the reaction from the FT team in the arena in Cleveland, and beyond. 

It must be hard being Ted Cruz. Just when you assume there could not be more people who dislike you, your own support base turns on you. The Texas senator’s decision not to endorse Donald Trump as the Republican candidate on Wednesday evening highlighted the divisions that have been simmering in Cleveland. Mr Cruz has the dubious honour of being the first person to be jeered at this convention — after Hillary Clinton, of course — and his wife, Heidi, had to be escorted from the arena.

Depending on your perspective, Cruz’s address was petulant or noble — given the personal attacks he has endured from Trump. He attempted to address those concerns head-on with the Texas GOP delegation on Wednesday morning, explaining he was not a “servile puppy dog” to Trump. But there were plenty of detractors present. (Read our report on Cruz’s clash with his own supporters here — and watch this video of Texans opining on what he has done.) Read more

When is plagiarism not plagiarism? The saga over Melania Trump’s convention speech took another turn today with a letter released by Donald Trump’s campaign. Someone called Meredith McIver, who described herself as “an in-house staff writer from the Trump Organization” and a “longtime friend and admirer of the Trump family”, said she had written portions of Mrs Trump’s Monday evening address.

Ms McIver attempted to explain the similarities with a Michelle Obama speech in 2008: “Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs Obama’s speeches.” Read more

Happy almost Fourth of July from all of us at White House Countdown. It’s been another mad week on the campaign trail. From potential VP talk of Elizabeth Warren and Chris Christie; to a scripted Trump in Pennsylvania.

We end the week with more news from the Trump campaign, which has made two new hires: pollster Kellyanne Conway and Karen Giorno who ran the campaign’s Florida operations during the state’s primary. Read more

As speculation continues to build about who Hillary Clinton will pick as her running mate, at last we have at least one name who could fill that role for Donald Trump. And that name is Chris Christie.

Five months after he exited the Republican primary and four months after he made his first – and most surreal – joint appearance with his party’s presumptive nominee, Christie is now reported to be among those being considered for the vice-presidential spot. Read more

Another day, another study of contrasts between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

In the wake of yesterday’s devastating terrorist attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, the two presidential candidates offered very different takes on the attack and the best means to respond. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

Donald Trump’s reaction to the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando was revealing. “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamist terrorism”, tweeted the Republican party candidate for the US presidency.

By Gideon Rachman

The news that Donald Trump has in effect secured the Republican party’s nomination for the US presidency took me back to Europe in 2002. Back then it was a huge shock when Jean-Marie Le Pen, a far-right candidate, made it through to the last two in the French presidential election. I remember going to the EU press room in Brussels the morning after Mr Le Pen’s initial success, and witnessing the horror and shame of my French colleagues.

Donald, show us your sums.

At the end of a week when Donald Trump became the Republican nominee, he’s getting a taste of the ever-increasing scrutiny – if it wasn’t high enough already – that he’s going to face in the run-up to the November election. Read more

April Fools! These aren’t your real candidates. Oh, wait.

For every 2016-themed April Fools meme dominating the internet, there is yet another reminder that this campaign is very much for real. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

He has been called a phoney, a fraud and a threat to democracy — and that is just by members of his own party. Other critics have compared Donald Trump to Hitler and Mussolini. I have shared in the widespread horror at Mr Trump’s rise but at the same time, a small voice in the back of my head has sometimes asked: “Is he really that bad? Might all this hysteria be a bit overdone?”

Is Trump a threat to American democracy?
Donald Trump now looks highly likely to secure the Republican nomination for the US presidency. Gideon Rachman discusses what this means for US democracy and the rest of the world with FT columnists Ed Luce and Martin Wolf.

Antonin Scalia’s legacy and the US Supreme Court
How influential was Antonin Scalia as the longest serving Justice on the US Supreme Court? Martin Sandbu discusses his legacy and the political repercussions of his demise with FT Washington correspondents Barney Jopson and Geoff Dyer.

In the GOP race, Mr Trump remains ahead in the polls, but Marco Rubio, the Cuban-American senator, is closing the gap. The latest Boston Globe/Suffolk poll shows the New York property mogul with 29 per cent, compared to 19 per cent for Mr Rubio and seven per cent for Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who won the Iowa caucus. On the Democratic side, an average of recent polls compiled by Real Clear Politics finds Mr Sanders with a 17-point lead over Mrs Clinton. But treat the polls with caution given their record in Iowa and the fact that New Hampshire voters are notorious for making up their minds at the last moment.

The Democratic debate in New Hampshire last night was a feisty affair with Bernie Sanders attacking Hillary Clinton over her connections to Wall Street and her willingness to collect more than $200,000 a pop for speeches to financial institutions. The Vermont senator suggested that his rival would be in hock to rich people while his “political revolution” was being funded by campaigns from average Americans. But when the debate veered to foreign policy, he was no match for the former secretary of state. My colleagueCourtney Weaver has this story on the final Democratic debate before New Hampshire holds its primaries on Tuesday. Read more

​Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are taking more shots at each other as the Democrats prepare to spar in New Hampshire tonight in their last debate (which you can watch for free) before the Granite State holds its primaries on Tuesday. The Vermont socialist senator accused the former New York senator of being close to Wall Street despite her vow to clamp down on financial institutions that are taking advantage of Americans.

“You’re looking at the guy who’s not just talking the talk when it comes to campaign finance – I am walking the walk,” Mr Sanders tweeted after reports about the amount of money his rival has raised from Wall StreetRead 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.

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.

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.”