Politics

Instant Opinion: ‘Don’t write off’ Trump’s 2020 re-election chances just yet


The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Gerard Baker in The Times

on how the electoral system could come to the president’s rescue

Don’t write off Trump’s re-election chances

“Mr Trump has good reason to fear the result in November. With little more than 100 days to go, he trails his Democratic opponent Joe Biden by a wide margin. A recent average of polls by the website Real Clear Politics gives Mr Biden a lead of around 49 per cent to 41 per cent. At this stage in the campaign the only incumbent presidents in the last 50 years to trail their opponents by margins like this were Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George HW Bush in 1992. All three lost. [But] pollsters, even Democratic ones, caution that there are several reasons to resist an early coronation of Mr Biden… President Trump could lose the popular vote by as much as 3 or even 4 percentage points and still win the electoral college thanks to the fact that almost all states allocate their electoral votes on a winner-takes-all basis. In the biggest states the Democrats are likely to pile up massive popular numbers in California and New York while Mr Trump could win narrowly in Florida and Texas.”

2. Patrick O’Flynn in The Daily Telegraph

on the PM’s first twelve months

Boris Johnsons 1st year in Downing Street has been an epic motion picture

“A few days ago, I asked someone who is by no means a political anorak but takes a sensible and proportionate interest in politics how long they thought Boris Johnson had been Prime Minister. ‘Oh, about two and a half years I would think,’ came the reply. And going by the sheer number of epic moments his premiership has already encompassed that would be about right: just getting the keys to No 10 after multiple predictions that Tory MPs would block him; being slaughtered by the Supreme Court; stripping the likes of Ken Clarke and Nicholas Soames of the Tory whip; getting the EU to re-open and amend the withdrawal agreement; somehow persuading opponents who appeared to have him cornered to agree to a snap general election; winning it by a landslide; leaving the EU; losing a Chancellor; getting divorced; becoming a dad again; nearly dying; presiding over the worst viral pandemic in over a century and the disappearance of a fifth of the UK economy.”

3. Aditya Chakrabortty in The Guardian

on everday discrimination

There’s a hidden epidemic of racism in UK schools – but it’s finally coming to light

“I started school at my mother’s primary in Hackney, east London, until she fell badly ill and I was moved to my local primary in Edmonton, north London. It was topsy-turvy: from holding my mum’s hand to being handed to a childminder, from multicultural inner London to (then) white-working class outer suburb. As almost the only Indian-origin kid at the new school, I went out on that first break into the playground to find what seemed like every single boy in the school hanging off the fence and chanting ‘rubber lips, nigger lips’ ­– and worse. I was friendless, helpless. This continued day after day, so I went to a teacher who shrugged that they’d eventually get bored. Again, the helplessness… That was back in the 1980s, and I’d assumed things had got better. In many places I’m sure they have, but to read this dossier is to see why in a poll published by ITV last week, 62% of black Britons agreed that the education system had a culture of racism.”

4. Anna Cale in The Independent

on creativity becoming more intimate

Lockdown has changed the way we consume culture and TV may never be the same again

“When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the inevitability of a global lockdown became clear, theatre, television and film production came to a shuddering halt. Performers and production crews were sent home, confined to their own individual households just like their audiences, with little indication of how creative industries could continue. However, a new approach to creating content has begun to emerge from the ruins of normality. Creative output has become more intimate, with a focus on individual experiences replacing high production values. In some cases, artists are seizing the means of production and distribution themselves. This could lead to a small screen revolution, paving the way for permanent changes to the way we tell and share stories.”

5. Esau McCaulley in The New York Times

on weighing children’s safety against the need for freedom

How to Give Children Joy, Even During a Pandemic

“This mixture of safety and peril and difficult decisions about a child’s freedom to play: It is familiar to me. Covid-19 has given all parents a small taste of what it is like to be a Black parent. Having our bodies as potential threats because of the coronavirus has introduced all of America to what it is like to be perceived as a problem merely by our presence. The major difference is that some of us do carry an unknown virus, while blackness is simply one manifestation of God’s creativity. Nonetheless, the perceived danger has given others insight into what it is like for Black bodies, even children’s bodies, to be a source of fear. Pandemic parenting involves a similarly challenging calculus that those of us who raise Black and brown children have faced for centuries. How do we balance the need to protect from danger with the desire to let them be young and free?”



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