Sanders pressures Democrats to adopt progressive stance

(By Deutsche Welle) With Donald Trump now the presumptive Republican nominee, attention is shifting to the Democratic race. The contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is more about the party’s values than about the nomination.

Even if Senator Bernie Sanders loses the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, he could well win the fight for the party’s future and have a major influence on the direction of US politics.

When Sanders launched his campaign last year, he was something of a political curiosity: an independent senator from the small state of Vermont and a self-identified democratic socialist.

Socialist is normally an insult in US political parlance.

But Sanders has proven to be a major political force since voting began in February. He has won 18 states and is about 300 pledged delegates shy of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s lead.

The senator has mobilized a grassroots movement of predominantly young and working-class people. Since the start of his campaign, he has raised $182 million (160 million euros) from millions of individual small donors.

John Nichols, a reporter for The Nation magazine, has covered Sanders for 25 years. He said the senator would likely have enough delegates to contest the convention and pressure the center-left party to adopt a more progressive agenda.

“Some of the most interesting contested conventions have not been fights for the nomination,” Nichols told DW. “They have been fights to define the platform, values and program of a political party.”

The Nation, a progressive publication, has endorsed Sanders in the Democratic race. Continue reading

Loss in Ohio slows Trump’s march to Republican nomination

Long-shot candidate John Kasich has defeated Donald Trump in Ohio’s key presidential primary. Trump’s candidacy faces mounting resistance from moderate Republicans, DW’s Spencer Kimball reports from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Days after protests forced the Republican front-runner to cancel a rally in Chicago, Donald Trump has suffered a significant defeat in Ohio’s key primary.

John Kasich, the moderate governor of Ohio, managed to pull ahead in the neck-and-neck race on Tuesday, denying Trump all 66 delegates under the state’s winner-take-all rules.

The billionaire reality television star’s loss in Ohio slows, although it does not halt, his steady march toward the Republican nomination.

“Losing Ohio means he’ll have to deal with Kasich for a little bit longer, but it doesn’t end the process,” said David Nevin, a US politics expert at the University of Cincinnati.

“The way the map and the way the winner-take-all rules are set up, it’s going to get easier and easier for Trump to roll up big delegate totals from here on out,” said Nevin.

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Chicago protests force Trump to call off rally

Donald Trump’s political ascent is mobilizing fierce opposition. Days before a string of key primaries, the Republican front-runner was forced by protesters to call off a major rally in Chicago, reports Spencer Kimball.

Even for the protesters, the news came as a surprise.

Donald Trump called off his rally in Chicago on Friday, citing “security concerns” amid reports of scuffles inside the university arena where he was scheduled to appear.

“Honestly, I’m shocked they called it off as quickly as they did,” said Annelise Steele, a 20-year-old student who showed up to protest against the Republican front-runner.

A large number of anti-Trump demonstrators descended on the University of Illinois Pavilion Center, many carrying signs and chanting slogans that panned the billionaire as a fascist and white supremacist. Activists said thousands had showed up to protest.

“I feel ecstatic. I feel like I actually have a voice,” said Uber driver Robert Willard as his fellow protesters celebrated their victory.

In a press release, Trump’s campaign said he decided to “postpone” the rally after landing in Chicago and discussing the situation with law enforcement. Supporters like Tayler Fuentes were disappointed in their candidate for not showing up.

“He should have stuck it out,” said Fuentes, a 28-year-old veteran and surgical assistant. “He always projects this image of being strong. What’s he going to do when China and Russia come knocking on the door?”

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Clinton: We have to ‘save capitalism from itself’

(Deutsche Welle) It was a substantive debate focusing on income inequality. Bernie Sanders has pushed the Democrats’ presidential nomination debate to the left, but Hillary Clinton showed that she won’t be relinquishing her lead soon.

It was a strange moment in American politics. Five presidential candidates were asked during a nationally televised debate on Tuesday whether they were capitalists. The answer is normally taken for granted in the United States.

Bernie Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, has shaken up the Democratic primary and rattled American political conventions. The self-declared democratic socialist has made significant gains against Hillary Clinton in early primary states and in the third quarter raised nearly as much money without the support big donors – $25 million (21.9 million euros) compared to Clinton’s $28 million.

“There is a mood this year in the electorate of a rejection of standard political discourse and standard political candidates,” Alan Schroeder, author of “Presidential Debates: 50 years of High Risk TV,” told DW. “Bernie Sanders has this message that’s resonating with a lot of people.”

His message is about income inequality and the system that produces it. Sanders has railed against the “billionaire class” and calls the campaign finance system “corrupt.” The senator points to Scandinavian countries, with their generous social welfare states, as role models for the United States.

While it might be the year of the political outsider, the establishment will only move so far: “We are not Denmark,” Clinton said during an exchange with Sanders over the merits of capitalism. “We are the United States of America.”

But Sanders has succeeded in pushing the debate to the left. Clinton agreed that something has gone wrong in America’s economic system, that capitalism has “run amok” and created inequities. According to Clinton, the next president must “save capitalism from itself.”

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Europe follows America’s lead on FIFA, VW scandals

First world soccer, now the world’s top automaker. The US has taken the lead in prosecuting trans-Atlantic white collar crime. Has Europe dropped the ball? Spencer Kimball reports from Chicago.

FIFA’s leadership has been decimated since the US Justice Department charged world soccer with racketeering and money laundering last May.

Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s long-time president, and two of his deputies have been banned from the organization for 90 days. Powerful sponsors such Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Visa are calling on Blatter to step down immediately.

Volkswagen is next in the firing line. Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the automaker had been cheating on US emissions tests. Volkswagen’s stock value has plummeted and its chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, has resigned. The Justice Department is now investigating and criminal charges could be brought against Germany’s largest company.

Both FIFA and Volkswagen are based in Europe. Yet US regulators and investigators have been at the forefront in pursuing these white collar criminal cases. According to William Black, a former bank regulator, the US simply has more tools at its disposal than Switzerland, Germany or the EU.

“The United States, despite this record of catastrophic failure in responding to the white collar epidemics that drove the financial crisis, still has vastly better laws for regulating and prosecuting, and still has vastly greater willingness to take on powerful folks than is true in many places,” Black told DW.

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‘Americans are allowing the insanity of gun violence’

(Deutsche Welle) A mass shooting struck another school in America, this time a community college in Oregon. Jonathan Metzl, an expert on gun violence and mental health, says school shootings are on the rise in the US.

More than two years have passed since 20 children and six adults were massacred by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Americans were shocked and horrified. There was a push by President Barack Obama to pass stricter gun control laws. But those efforts failed over the opposition of a powerful gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association. In the United States, though most Americans support some form of gun control, there’s a constitutional right to own firearms.

Since the Newtown massacre, there have been at least 141 school shootings in the United States, according to the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. That’s nearly one school shooting a week.

On Thursday, it happened again. A gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. According to local authorities, at least nine were killed and seven were injured. Earlier reports had put the number of injured as high as 20.

Deutsche Welle spoke with Jonathan Metzl, an expert on gun violence and mental health, at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

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‘Clock’ incident reflects US suspicion of Islam

(Deutsche Welle) In Texas, a 14-year-old Muslim student was briefly arrested at his school after he plugged in a ticking box he later described as a clock. Muslim rights activists say this is part of a series of discriminatory events.

An audience member at a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire had a serious question for the leading Republican presidential candidate.

“We’ve got a problem in this country,” the middle-aged man said. “It’s called Muslims. You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American. We have training camps growing where they want to kill us…when can we get rid of the them?”

Trump’s response: “We’re going to be looking at that and a lot of different things.”

The man’s comment – and Trump’s failure to confront it – was only the latest in a string of anti-Islamic incidents that have taken place across the United States in recent days.

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