January 12, 2020

Electoral college: how Trump could lose the popular vote and win again
Trump is an unpopular president – but experts say the electoral college system puts him in a good place for a second termDonald Trump has the dubious distinction of being the only US president since Gallup began tracking presidential approval ratings in 1938 to have been permanently “under water” – he has never been viewed favorably by half or more of the American electorate.Trump should, by historical precedent, be looking at a thumping defeat in the 2020 presidential election. But political scientists and strategists have told the Guardian that he could be thrown a re-election lifeline thanks to the country’s quirky approach to democracy in the form of the electoral college.The political analyst Larry Sabato has calculated that the 3 November election could see Trump being outgunned by his Democratic challenger in the popular vote – the total number of votes cast nationwide – by twice the amount that Hillary Clinton surpassed him in 2016, yet still return to the White House for a second term.“It is entirely possible that in 2020 we will once again see Republicans losing the popular vote and winning the electoral college, this time potentially by even greater margins,” he said.The electoral college was the compromise system for choosing US presidents devised by the founding fathers. Its aim was to balance the direct votes of qualified citizens with a vote in Congress.The result is that the occupant of the Oval Office is not elected directly by the American people but indirectly by state-based “electors”. There are 538 electors in total, which means that to win the White House the successful candidate must attract the votes of 270 of them.In most election cycles the electoral college results have been in sync with the popular vote. But in 2016 a dramatic gulf opened up.In the electoral college Trump won handsomely – by 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232. But in the popular vote Clinton was the clear winner with 65.9m votes to Trump’s 63.0m votes – a difference of two percentage points (48% to 46%).By Sabato’s reckoning, that rift between the electoral college and the popular vote could be stretched further in November and see Trump win again. “The 2020 Democratic nominee could easily double Clinton’s lead in the popular vote to at least three or four percentage points, and still lose, depending on where those votes came from,” Sabato said.The fear that the electoral college could give Trump four more years to transform America in his image has rippled through the Democrats competing to challenge him in the election. Several of the Democratic candidates have called for overhaul of the current system, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.The solution they propose in common is quite simple – replace the convoluted electoral college with a direct national popular vote that would hand the presidency to whichever candidate garners most votes across the country. That may look straightforward on paper, but the practicalities of switching to a new system are daunting.To change would require an amendment to the US constitution which is much easier said than done. Not only would both the House and Senate in Congress need to approve the change by a two-thirds majority, but three-quarters of the individual state assemblies would have to ratify it (38 out of 50 states) .“A constitutional amendment is out of the question,” said Alan Abramowitz, professor of political science at Emory University. “There’s no way to get two-thirds of the House and the Senate to support an amendment of any kind.”> The Democratic nominee could easily double Clinton’s lead in the popular vote and still lose> > Larry SabatoAdvocates of reform have devised clever ways around this roadblock that would essentially keep the electoral college in place but shift its method of counting to the popular vote without requiring a constitutional amendment. The most prominent of these attempts is the National Vote Interstate Compact, which seeks to persuade individual states to sign up to a collective agreement – the compact – which would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who garners the most popular votes.The compact would kick in only when enough states had joined to collectively pass the 270 electoral college votes needed to secure the presidency. Once that line had been crossed, the participating states would deliver the White House to the winner of the popular vote.The problem with this inventive scheme is that a mountain has yet to be climbed before the magic line of 270 is passed. So far the compact has been enacted into law in 15 states and Washington DC, which between them muster only 196 electoral votes – a deficit of 74.None of those jurisdictions are Republican-controlled, which is unsurprising given the electoral college has tended to be to the advantage of Republican presidential candidates.The last time the winner of a US presidential election lost the popular vote the discrepancy also helped a Republican – George W Bush, who in 2000 received 544,000 fewer votes than his vanquished Democratic rival ,Al Gore. You then have to go back to 1888 to find the phenomenon reoccurring.So rare was the anomaly of 2016, 2000 and 1888 that some experts think that a repeat “misfire”, as the disparity is known, is unlikely in November. Abramowitz has studied all 11 presidential elections since the end of the second world war in which an incumbent was running for re-election – the last being Barack Obama in 2012 – and noted there were no misfires.“If the Trump campaign is counting on the electoral college gifting them the election again, that’s a very high-risk strategy,” he said.On the other hand, as the demography of America changes, the distorting influence of the electoral college appears to be growing. The US population is becoming more diverse, and more heavily concentrated in major cities that lean strongly Democratic.That in turn is creating a tendency for Democratic votes to be “wasted” – with vastly more being cast in states like California, New York and Illinois than are needed to win the electoral votes.By contrast, Republican voters – who tend to be less diverse – are spread out more sparsely in low-density rural states in a way that is more efficient under the electoral college.David Frum, George W Bush’s former speechwriter, said the electoral college is just one of several factors that he calls “anti-majoritarian influences” in play in the US today. “It is a pervasive fact up and down, from local elections to the presidency, that electoral outcomes track voter intent poorly,” he said.Other factors include low levels of voter registration, hurdles to voting and the skewed voting system for the US Senate that apportions Wyoming’s population of 579,000 the same number of senators (two) as California’s 40 million.“The anti-majoritarian features favor rural America over urban America, light-populated over heavily-populated states,” Frum said. “That’s an issue that goes back deep into American history, but Trump is its latest benefactor.”He added: “Trump is an unpopular president. In a purely majoritarian system the election would probably not even be that close. But run his support through the American electoral system and yes, sure, it’s possible he could win.”
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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