April 08, 2020

Bernie Sanders didnt lose because his ideas were unpopular
For a few weeks, it seemed as though Bernie Sanders was really going to win the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. He won the most votes in all three of the first states, and was leading national polls. Opinion surveys showed that he was broadly popular among the Democratic electorate, and majorities of primary voters supported his signature ideas like Medicare-for-all.But in a space of about three days, it all went sideways. Joe Biden won a smashing victory in South Carolina, all the other moderate candidates dropped out and endorsed him, and he went on to win convincingly across most Super Tuesday states. Sanders was set far back in the delegate race, and now, a little over a month later, he is suspending his campaign. The main reason he is not going all the way to the convention is surely the coronavirus pandemic, but the race was already effectively over anyway.So what happened? A full campaign postmortem will of course have to wait for more detailed investigations and reporting. But there are a few factors that undoubtedly contributed to his loss — his age, lockstep opposition from the Democratic establishment, and a hostile mainstream media.The most basic is age. Sanders would have been the oldest president ever inaugurated for a first term by a considerable margin. He also suffered a heart attack in October. The presidency is a demanding job, and all other things equal, of course voters will be hesitant to support an elderly candidate.However, Sanders did not lose to some fresh-faced youngster. On the contrary, Joe Biden is only a year younger than Sanders, and has his own history of health problems, having suffered two brain aneurysms in the 1980s. What's more, unlike Sanders, Biden has very obviously shown signs of losing a step or two mentally. Interviews with him from just four years ago sound like a completely different person.A second factor is Sanders' cranky loner personality. By his own admission he is not good at the personal side of politics. In an interview with The New York Times, he said, "I'm not good at backslapping. I'm not good at pleasantries … I take that as a little bit of a criticism, self-criticism. I have been amazed at how many people respond to, 'Happy Birthday!' 'Oh Bernie, thanks so much for calling.' It works. It’s just not my style." If he had been better at cultivating people, he just possibly could have gotten a few more endorsements — perhaps from Elizabeth Warren, who possibly doomed his candidacy by refusing to drop out and endorse him after South Carolina.However, it's extremely dubious to think that being more chummy would have won over the key establishment figures, whose intervention was decisive. Exit polls show that the size of Biden's huge victory in South Carolina (he had previously been nearly tied with Sanders in some polls) was entirely because Rep. Jim Clyburn endorsed him right before the election. Then, after Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out and immediately endorsed before Super Tuesday, Biden's national support roughly tripled.Some have argued that Sanders' lack of support among party leaders is because he refuses to join the party and because his dreaded online supporters have convinced party elites that he is a threat to their jobs and status. But the plain fact is that the Sanders candidacy actually was aimed like a torpedo directly at the corruption and policy orientation of the Democratic establishment. This is a party filled to bursting with former and aspiring corporate lobbyists, one that hands out contracts for things like running the Iowa caucus to incompetent insider dopes with a record of dismal failure. This is a party whose top staffers conduct secret meetings with Big Medical lobbyists to assure them that Sanders' Medicare-for-all plan will never happen.The Democratic Party occasionally halfheartedly tries to pass policy that would put them on the center-right of most European countries. But it is also a gravy train of jobs and influence for people who never have to actually try to pass the things they say they support or face any consequences for screwing up. Sanders was an existential threat to that comfortable arrangement. Of course he couldn't get any elite support.That brings me to the final factor: voters' pundit brain. As noted above, rank-and-file Democrats largely agreed with Sanders' platform. But their overwhelming priority was trying to divine who was likeliest to defeat Trump, and the party elite and the mainstream media, especially trusted nominally liberal outlets like NPR and MSNBC, blared forth a constant message that Sanders was an unelectable radical, and Biden the safe choice. Democrats trust their leaders and the mainstream media, and they believed the message.Now, Sanders made mistakes, and in some ways he is a poor fit with the times. He is a stubborn, elderly loner at a time when a younger, FDR-style happy warrior might have done better. But he has gone further in American politics than any open socialist in history. And the fact that the party elite and the media managed to drag Biden's shambling campaign over the finish line demonstrates that any other candidate would have had just as hard a time, if not harder. Biden was popular as Obama's former vice president, but he barely bothered to campaign, and when he did, he produced a never-ending stream of embarrassing verbal flubs and gaffes. That's probably why in the early states where he had campaigned heavily, he generally got flattened — coming in fourth in Iowa, fifth in New Hampshire, and a distant second in Nevada. He couldn't even raise that much money until he became the presumptive nominee. Conversely, on Super Tuesday he won several states where he had no field staff whatsoever.Yet none of the other moderates could beat him. Elizabeth Warren tried to thread the needle by pushing lefty policy while catering to insiders, and failed much worse than Sanders did. So long as the Democratic establishment and its allied media maintain an iron grip over the party's voters, they will continue to exercise veto power over its presidential nominees.Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here.More stories from theweek.com Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously predicts kids will return to school next fall, 'but it's going to be different' The coming backlash against the public health experts WHO director-general implores world leaders not to politicize the coronavirus pandemic
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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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