Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Georgia

What the Midterms Tell Us About How to Oppose Trump

The Midwest is increasingly the critical region in American politics. It is the only region in which large numbers of states flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016, and in the 2018 Midterms the Midwest was once again the site of many of the most interesting results. For me, this region includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. I don’t include agricultural red states like the Dakotas or Missouri, which have voted Republican in every presidential election since 1996.

Despite their shift toward Trump in 2016, many of these Midwestern states demonstrated a willingness to support Democrats in 2018. In the Senate, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, Democrats held the line against Republican challengers, losing only in Indiana. In governor races, Democrats retained Minnesota and Pennsylvania, and took Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan from the Republicans. The Republicans were able to defend their hold on Iowa and Ohio.

In much of the writing about the midterms, the focus has been on Democratic successes in the Southwest. Observers praise Beto O’Rourke for nearly beating Ted Cruz in Texas and are excited about the Democrats’ performance in the Arizona and Nevada Senate races. But I think this emphasis is a mistake. We are repeating the errors of the Clinton campaign–trying to compete nationally by demographically changing the South instead of creating messages that can win in the Midwest.

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Why Every President Tries to Make Nice With Russia and Why It Never Works

One of the things I find odd about the way the press is covering the Trump/Putin relationship is how devoid of context and historical memory it is. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, four new presidents have come to power, and each has tried to create a good relationship with Russia. Bill Clinton was briefly successful, but the way Clinton used his success poisoned the well and made it very difficult for his successors to replicate his performance. Today I’ll tell you the story of how America has tried to turn Russia into an ally and why this effort has yet to succeed.

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Relax: Turkey and Russia Will Not Go to War

Turkey has shot down a Russian jet that strayed into its airspace. The Turks claim they issued 10 warnings, while the Russians claim they never heard one of them. Over the last few days, many people have speculated on social media that this may lead to World War III. This needlessly stirs up fear–Russia and Turkey will not go to war over something like this. Instead both countries will say bellicose things to stir up support at home while trying to deescalate the situation with relatively muted, token responses. Those claiming otherwise are drastically overestimating Russia’s power and consequently its aggressiveness.

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Russia Cannot Let Ukraine Go

A deal was reached just yesterday for current Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to relinquish some presidential powers and schedule elections in May. The Russians already appear to believe that deal to be in tatters, as Ukraine’s parliament voted today to dismiss the president from office. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, says:

The opposition not only has failed to fulfill a single one of its obligations but is already presenting new demands all the time, following the lead of armed extremists and pogromists whose actions pose a direct threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and constitutional order.

If the Russians believe the opposition is not following through, that’s what matters. Russia cannot abide the defection of Ukraine to the European Union. It will take all necessary measures to prevent that outcome. Why does Russia care so much and what might Russia do next?

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