Two Beatable Candidates Create Deadlock

The release of a new swing state poll from Purple Poll Strategies confirms what we have been seeing for months: the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney is looking like a dead heat. Romney has closed the gap nationally in this poll from a 4-point deficit to only 2 points with state polls in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado producing similar results that are well within the margin of error. Despite an avalanche of spending by both sides in these and other battleground states, neither the president nor his challenger has been able to build a statistically significant lead. That ought to leave Democrats and Republicans wondering whether there is anything they can do to create any daylight between the two contenders.

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Two Beatable Candidates Create Deadlock

Must-Reads from Magazine

Is BDS a Bust?

BDS has failed to turn Israel into a pariah state.

In 2005, a coalition of organizations claiming to represent Palestinian civil society issued a call to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel. Since then, the BDS movement has acted, in church organizations, on college campuses, and elsewhere, to make Israel the equivalent of apartheid-era South Africa; a pariah state. BDS has been active in the U.S., and COMMENTARY has covered many of its individual wins and losses. But it is worth pausing every now and again to consider its overall effect on American public opinion.

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Beinart’s Complaint

Peter Beinart makes his critics' arguments for them.

Peter Beinart is part of a cast of liberals lamenting the fact that conservatives who were skeptical of Donald Trump during the campaign have inexplicably declined to join him in the Democratic party now that Trump is president. And he is now among a more select group on the left to name names in an effort to shame such people over their seeming hypocrisy. Except he doesn’t call it hypocrisy. Rather, Beinart’s argument is that these conservatives don’t share his prohibitive focus on Trump to the exclusion of virtually every other matter of public policy relevance or political salience. And so Beinart inadvertently validates the arguments of those he sought to condemn.

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Beware Triggering the Coup Theory

Time for a national deep breath

I can’t believe I’m writing this after the administration has been in office for 26 days, but here goes. The idea that Donald Trump is now inexorably on a path to impeachment has taken almost gleeful hold in the wake of the Michael Flynn resignation among liberal elites and anti-Trumpers generally—and everybody better stop and take a deep breath and consider what might arise from this. This isn’t fire we’re playing with, it’s a nuclear war.

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Tackling Kleptocracy

Combating kleptocracy on a global scale.

Vladimir Putin in Russia. Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Iraqi Kurdistan’s Masoud Barzani. Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. The late Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Muammar Qadhafi in Iran and Libya respectively. Each has leveraged their political positions into vast fortunes ranging from hundreds of millions to tens of billions of dollars for themselves and their immediate families.

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Is Israel Top Military Aid Recipient?

There is more than one way to calculate U.S. foreign aid.

It has become a rhetorical staple for many—in the progressive left, among the libertarian and isolationist right, and among anti-Israel obsessives—that Israel benefits disproportionately from U.S. military aid and assistance. In the wake of a ten-year $36 billion deal negotiated by the Obama administration in its final months, The Atlantic tackled the subject:

Voters, however, have more mixed views on this kind of support. While more than 60 percent of Americans were more sympathetic to Israel than the Palestinians in a 2016 Gallup poll, sympathies differed along partisan lines, with around half of Democrats being more sympathetic to Israelis versus nearly 80 percent of Republicans. In a separate Brookings poll, roughly half of Democrats who responded said Israel has too much influence on the United States government. Boycott, divest, and sanction movements, which call on organizations in the United States and abroad to cut their financial ties with Israel, have long been popular on college campuses, although somewhat marginal; this year, however, they got a boost from the Black Lives Matter movement, which included statements against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in its recently released policy platform. In general, young Americans are far less sympathetic toward Israel than their older peers: A 2014 Gallup poll found that only half of those aged 18 to 34 favored Israel in the Israel-Palestine conflict, “compared with 58 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds and 74 percent of those 55 and older.” Bernie Sanders, who was extremely popular among young people during the Democratic primary season, controversially criticized Israel, winning “applause and cheers” from the audience at one debate for saying, “If we pursue justice and peace, we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time.” All of this creates an odd backdrop for a historic military-spending deal….