Davos Newbies Home

Bring back Gladstone 

Edward Miliband, one of chancellor Gordon Brown’s two most trusted aides, visits the New Hampshire primary. “For someone who has been involved in British election campaigns, the contests in Iowa last week and New Hampshire today seem more akin to the Gladstone era than anything we have today.”

What I found most interesting were his comments on Dean. He recognises that Dean has the most committed supporters. But he worries about what will happen to them if Dean doesn’t win the nomination (and Miliband doesn’t think he will).

“Why should progressives care that these people are involved? It is worth caring if you think politics is about more than winning elections and also about winning arguments. To win those arguments, you need committed people who can make your case.

“For 20 years or more, the Republican party has built these networks, in their case through movements such as the Christian Coalition and the National Rifle Association. The Democrats have no equivalent. As a result, Democratic politics becomes a once-every-four-year moon-shot against significant cultural and political difficulties. Defeat, as with Al Gore, leads to paralysis and depression. But even victory leads to a president who has to wrestle with a normally unfavourable Congress, and powerful corporate special interests. President Clinton had no network to call on when his healthcare plan was challenged in 1993-94.”

The red and the green 

Nazi vote: Map shows the influence of religious conviction on the Nazi vote for the Reichstag election in July 1932

Joerg Wenck on Bonobo Land posts this extraordinary map showing how different constituencies in Germany voted in the 1932 Reichstag elections which brought Hitler to power.

Elevation shows the Catholic/Protestant mix (higher = more Catholics) and colour shows Nazi vote share (more red = higher Nazi share of the vote).

More Davos comments 

Billmon provides his final Davos 2004 notes, and they demand reading.

“The problem in trying to get a read on what’s really going on — and what kind of consensus is likely to emerge among the global power elite about the USA’s vulnerability on the dollar-deficit question — is the same as at every conference of this sort: The Americans say the sky is the limit, the Europeans say the sky is falling, and the Asians, whose views are in many ways the most important, say as little as possible.”

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