Connect with us

Ticker Views

All politics is national | ticker VIEWS



The legendary Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Thomas P. (“Tip”) O’Neill, was fond of saying, “All politics is local”

That was the key to his leading his members of the House:  to understand them and win their vote, you had to understand their home base, and shape your objectives to meet their politics.

It worked for Tip in delivering bills for President Jimmy Carter and holding Democrats to curb the worst excesses of President Ronald Reagan.

But a new era is upon us:  In the US, all politics is national. 

Bruce wolpe on ticker news

Multi-channel 24/7 cable news, multi-platform social media, Facetime/Zoom and the dark web:  they feed a homogenised bath of politics, rhetoric, cultural hot buttons and reference points. 

Everyone is playing with race, crime immigration, abortion, guns and voting rights in the same sandbox.

There were two elections for governor last week:

Virginia in the south and New Jersey in the north – but the trends were virtually identical. 

Biden carried those states a year ago by 10 and 16 points, respectively. 

Virginia saw a swing to the Republican winner of 12 points; in New Jersey it was 14 – but the Democrat barely held on. In both states, last year’s anti-Trump suburban and independent voters shifted back to the Republicans.

What happened to Biden and the Democrats?

He had an excellent start in January.  Relief that Trump was gone, a big initial economic recovery program, and unleashing the vaccine campaign. 

But as a former Ohio Republican congressman said, “You’ve had the debacle in Afghanistan, inflation, product shortages, and as a proxy for all of that, the fact that gas prices have skyrocketed.” And Delta staggered a return to normal.

Last week Biden was at 42% approval (he had been as high as 55%) and over 50% disapproval.  A near-record 70% of the country felt that America was on the wrong track.

No president can win for himself or his party from that position.

The whole Biden agenda was adrift too.  Weeks without progress.  Nothing was getting done.  EJ Dionne of Brookings wrote:  

“The warning signs were there for months. Democrats buried a series of popular initiatives under a debate over how big the program should be. They bickered and dawdled while the president’s approval ratings burned, obsessing about adversaries within while ignoring the partisan enemy outside the gates,

“Is it any wonder that so many among the party’s supporters failed to show up on Tuesday?”

As your Political Note outlined last week, the message of the Democratic setbacks was crystal clear: 

“Democrats!  You damn fools!  If you cannot govern you cannot win elections! How many times do we have to learn this lesson? You didn’t pass Obamacare early and lost the House in 2010.  So let’s pass these bills! And nothing on voting rights! If you have any hope of holding the House, what the hell are you waiting for?”

And guess what:  Biden got it.  At his day-after press conference, Biden understood: “People want us to get things done… we should produce for the American people… people need a little breathing room… we have to produce results for them.”  

And he underscored this yesterday in the White House:  

“The American people have made clear one overwhelming thing, I think — and I really mean it — all the talk about the elections and what do they mean and everything: They want us to deliver.  They want us to deliver,

Democrats, they want us to deliver.  Last night, we proved we can. 

On one big item, we delivered … But I think the one message that came across was: Get something done.  It’s time to get something done.  Stop — you all stop talking.  Get something done.” 

And that is why the infrastructure bill had to pass.  If the exquisite differences in ideological positioning among the Democrats had prevailed, and that bill had gone down, the Biden presidency would have been over. The Democrats in the House finally got that too.

But winning that battle does not mean the war is won.  Hardly. 

The $2 trillion social programs and climate bill is up next.  There will be zero Republican votes for it.  Republicans want to keep the benefits of that huge package – universal pre-k, expanded health care, senior care, clean energy and climate programs, child and earned income tax credits, affordable housing – from reaching voters. 

If Democrats fail to unite and pass it, they are eminently beatable next November, and the Republicans can take back control of Congress, and then work to get the White House back in 2024.

Biden’s most consequential battles are still ahead.

And all politics is national. 

Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

Continue Reading


Ticker News is available on podcast apps and iHeartRadio



Ticker is available on podcast apps, allowing you to hear the latest news, plus special programs.


Ticker is available as a podcast and a 24/7 radio channel on iHeartRadio.

You can catch up on the latest news, or programs devoted to special topics including U.S. politics and our Original documentaries.

Ticker CEO Ahron Young says:

“Ticker always puts the story first and we aim to make Ticker content available however our audience wants to enjoy it.”

“We are putting significant resources into Ticker content to make sure we get to the heart of the stories we cover.”

Every day, you can catch up on our news programs from Ticker News, as well as our special documentary programs.

Ticker News podcasts are available daily on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. Just search TICKER NEWS to subscribe.

How to listen



Listen here on iHeartRadio:

Continue Reading


Trump’s campaign tactic – debase and disgrace the legal process



Donald Trump, former president of the United States, hated Arraignment Day I in Manhattan two months ago, the first time a former president had been criminally charged. 

Trump was being forced against his will into a proceeding he had utter contempt for.  He was being arrested and fingerprinted and photographed under an indictment under the jurisdiction of Manhattan in New York City for allegations of hush money payments and fraudulent bookkeeping practices to conceal criminal activity. Trump heard the charges read out against him and he entered a plea of not guilty.

Trump had a terrible day. Trump wore a scowl throughout. His countenance was fearsome.  What Trump hated most about his arraignment in New York is that he had to sit at a table with his counsel side by side with him — equal to him — and with the judge above him looking down on him. Trump could not control the discussion and could not interrupt to make his points.

Trump was subordinate to the judge. He was subordinate to no one as president.

Arraignment Day II

Arraignment Day II in Miami will be worse from Trump, even more stressful.  The charges are substantially more serious:  the alleged violation of federal criminal statutes involving the alleged mishandling and illegal possession of classified documents, lying to legal authorities, and obstruction of justice.  Potential penalties run to years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

Trump throughout his business life had always crafted his affairs to avoid being a defendant. But in his term in office, he was caught up in it big time. He was a defendant in two impeachment trials – again, unprecedented events – and left office in disgrace.

But Trump does not feel disgraced. He never does.  Trump does not have a reverse gear.  He never retreats.  Never admits. Never concedes. Never yields.  Trump is never embarrassed. Trump never feels ashamed. When something goes wrong, it is always the fault of someone else.

And Trump never repents.

Trump can feel this way because Trump is waging war on behalf of his armies in “the final battle” for the future of the county. In his first, fiery post-indictment speech in Georgia, Trump said, “They’ve launched one witch hunt after another to try and stop our movement, to thwart the will of the American people.  In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you … “Either we have a Deep State, or we have a Democracy…Either the Deep State destroys America, or WE destroy the Deep State.”

It is a powerful formulation, and his true believers love it.

Hours later, In North Carolina, Trump mainlined his distilled message for the Republican crowd:

“We are a failing nation. We are a nation in decline. And now these radical left lunatics want to interfere with our elections by using law enforcement.

It’s totally corrupt and we cannot let it happen.

This is the final battle.

With you at my side we will demolish the Deep State.

We will expel the warmongers from our government.

We will drive out the globalists.

We will cast out the communists.

We will throw off the sick political class that hates our country.

We will roll out the fake news media.

We will defeat Joe Bide and we will liberate America from those villains once and for all.”

Any lesser mortal would be staggered by these events.  Any other presidential candidate would be driven from the race.  But not Trump.

Debase and disgrace

Trump is using the same playbook today as he successfully triggered after being charged in New York:  debase and disgrace the legal process by terming it completely political.  Trump said the federal indictment is “election interference at the highest level.”

Almost every other Republican running for president has adopted this line, insulating Trump from pressure to leave the field.

Trump’s chief opponent, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said after these indictments: “The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation.”

Republican congressperson Nancy Mace: “This is a banana republic. I can’t believe this is happening.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: “Democrats are arresting their political enemies. and they work together in their corrupt ways to get it done.”

Trump is using his affliction to raise millions of dollars from his base.

Trump will likely face Arraignment Day III in Georgia in August.  A state prosecutor is expected to charge Trump with criminal interference in the certification of Georgia’s vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

As of now, there is no sign of cracks in Trump’s support among Republican voters.  There is no surge to another candidate.  What remains to be seen is whether Republican voters, as they see Trump spend his days in courtrooms and his evenings at rallies around the country, reach a conclusion that this is a spectacle too far, too much to bear, and that they want to turn to another conservative populist who stands for them in the political trials— and not the criminal trials – of 2024.

Continue Reading


Donald Trump’s legal woes will serve him well



It’s not often that a U.S. President faces federal indictment, but if it’s going to happen to anyone, it might as well be Donald Trump first.

The news that Donald Trump is facing a federal investigation over the removal of secret documents from the White House in 2021 came as no surprise.

Keen watches of the Washington soap opera have seen this playbook before, albeit in a different form.

There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a Washington outsider. But as seriously damaged as he may be (thanks to the events of January 6), his support base has only grown whenever he faces scrutiny.

For his supporters, his legal woes mirror their own relationship with the government – a giant, unfair beast that picks and chooses its fights.

Trump is accused of storing sensitive documents—including those concerning matters of national security—in boxes, some even in a shower.

The documents were seized last August when investigators from the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.

The Department of Justice has historically avoided charging people who are running for public office. Whether they should do that is a debate for another day. But it’s happening now. And it’s making it all too easy for Trump to claim there is a concerted campaign to get him away from the White House.

Trump exposed the deep state. IF they exist, they probably don’t want him back in power. Whether they exist doesn’t matter really, because plenty of Trump’s supporters agree with him, and believe the secret state is working against them. Call it QAnon, call it a conspiracy – it doesn’t matter in a democracy.

The DoJ now has to go all in. Failing to secure a conviction would be a serious embarrassment for the department.

This is the second time Trump has been indicted in recent months, yet the opinion polls show he only increases his popularity among MAGA and Republican voters. It leaves the Republican party in a difficult position. Support their leading candidate or support the law?

As other Republicans rallied around the embattled candidate, Trump held on to his loyal base of supporters.

For the Democrats, and for Biden, another reality will soon sink in – if Trump becomes President, and they lose office next year, how will a Trump-run DoJ deal with them?

Broadly, the tit-for-tat one-up-manship of U.S. politics is breaking tradition and potentially breaking the country.


Continue Reading

Trending Now