ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 07/11/2018

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The New York Times – The Editorial Board / The Democrats won the House. Now what?

  • With the House of Representatives in Democrats’ control, they now have to pick policy battles wisely. Many Trump-hating Democrats might be in the mood for payback, but most Americans could easily be turned off by overt political games.
  • For the midterms, Democrats adopted a trio of policy goals: lowering health care costs, creating jobs by investing in infrastructure, and cleaning up politics via a comprehensive reform package that would tighten ethics laws and shore up the integrity of the US electoral system.
  • President Trump has explicitly expressed his own support for these three causes, which gives Democrats a chance to press him about whether he is genuinely interested in making progress on these fronts.
  • First up on the Democrats’ agenda is expected to be the reform package. But they also plan to move quickly to address the plight of the Dreamers. Huge majorities of Americans support letting the Dreamers stay, and finding a compromise path with Trump would be good policy and good politics.
  • Democrats would do well to wait and see if the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, turns up high crimes and misdemeanors before deciding whether to pursue the painful and divisive path of impeachment.

The Washington Post – Aaron Blake / Winners and losers from election night 2018

  • Republicans will pitch the midterm elections as a split decision, because they gained seats in the Senate. It’s not; the Senate map was highly favorable to them, meaning that maintaining control of it was expected.
  • It may not have been a huge surprise that Republicans held the Senate, but they did it with ease, meaning Republicans can keep confirming President Trump’s judges. And it will be even easier now, given the GOP’s majority has expanded by at least a couple seats.
  • Nancy Pelosi is another winner of the night. It’s rare that a former speaker sticks around for as long as Pelosi did after losing the gavel in 2010. Now she just needs to make sure there are enough Democrats willing to vote for her to allow her to become speaker again. It will be tough to stop her.
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) easily dispatched Rep. James B. Renacci (R-Ohio). In his victory speech, Brown left little doubt he’s eyeing the next prize: a presidential run. And, given the very long list of Democrats expected to run for president, why not Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.), who at least managed to make Texas competitive?
  • The common assumption that the economy is the most important thing at all times doesn’t make much sense when the unemployment rate is 3.7 percent and 8 in 10 voters rate the economy positively, but the party in power loses a chamber. In the end, it seems that Trump’s tough anti-immigration rhetoric did not do much to help the Republican cause.

Project Syndicate – Joseph E. Stiglitz / Can American democracy come back?

  • Democracies rightly constrain majority domination, which is why they enshrine certain basic rights that cannot be denied. But in the US, this has been turned on its head. The minority is dominating the majority, with little regard for their political and economic rights.
  • In a democratic society, the only way a minority – whether it’s large corporations trying to exploit workers and consumers, banks trying to exploit borrowers, or those mired in the past trying to recreate a bygone world – can retain their economic and political dominance is by undermining democracy itself.
  • It’s striking how difficult America makes it to vote, to exercise the basic right of citizenship. The US is one of the few democracies to hold elections on a workday, rather than a Sunday. Moreover, the system of mass incarceration that continues to target African-Americans was designed to deny those convicted of a crime the right to vote.
  • America’s ideals of freedom, democracy, and justice for all may never have been fully realized, but now they are under open attack. Democracy has become rule of, by, and for the few; and justice for all is available to all who are white and can afford it.

Financial Times – Henry Paulson / We are living in an age of unprecedented risks

  • Over the course of my 50-year career, with the exception of the 2008 financial crisis, I have never seen the public and private sectors buffeted by so much risk. In the past, successful companies could navigate through them. Now, politics threatens to disturb the foundations of the global system.
  • The most apparent risk is the power of populism and nationalism in advanced democracies. A second risk of regulatory chaos has already begun to constrict opportunities for cross-border transactions. And a third risk is the increasingly elastic definition of “national security”.
  • Governments, meanwhile, confront unprecedented business risk because the private sector generates so much disruptive innovation. Communication and data flowing through privately controlled platforms have enabled social and political mobilization that challenges the state’s role.
  • Moreover, competition for capital investment has sharpened: businesses play countries off against each other, enticing them to offer incentives. This risks a race to the bottom in which corporate profits determine policies.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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