October 30, 2019

Brexit Delayed Until After British Vote

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

Britain will hold its first December election in almost a century after Prime Minister Boris Johnson won approval from parliament on Tuesday for an early ballot aimed at breaking the Brexit deadlock.” Reuters

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From the Left

The left opposes Brexit and worries about Labour’s electoral chances under Jeremy Corbyn.

“Think of all the stockpiling and worrying and understandable stalling of investment plans that businesses have done over years of being constantly nagged to ‘get ready’ for Brexit – without ever knowing what exactly what they should be ready for. Think of all the people not hired, the expansion plans put on ice, the pay rises denied because cash had to be saved for contingencies. Think too of all the life plans put on hold by couples worried that this isn’t a good time to start a family or move house, and the anxiety gnawing away beneath the surface of so many lives. And for what, exactly?... If you wouldn’t buy a secondhand car from someone who refused to open the bonnet, then don’t buy a Brexit bill from someone who threatens a snap election the minute MPs start kicking its tyres.”
Gaby Hinsliff, The Guardian

“Even though Johnson and the Conservatives may be feeling confident in the polls right now, if Brexit has offered any lessons, it’s that nothing is predictable. Turnout might be an issue in a pre-Christmas and winter election. Smaller parties like the Liberal Democrats, on the pro-EU side, and the Brexit Party, on the pro-Brexit side, have gained in popularity as the Brexit debate has become more polarized. They could definitely make it harder for either Conservatives or Labour to win a majority outright. An election fought over Brexit is going to be contentious. But it might be the British public’s last say on Brexit.”
Jen Kirby, Vox

Some argue, “Britain’s fight about Brexit is best understood as a civil war over the country’s culture. Remainers believe that important parts of contemporary Britain are in need of serious reform. But they also tend to be in tune with the beliefs of the country’s cultural elite, and to think that its core institutions are worth preserving. By and large, they trust the BBC, think highly of the country’s universities, and believe that Britain’s place in the world—as a medium-size power exerting its influence through multilateral institutions such as NATO and the United Nations—is appropriate…

“Leavers, by contrast, feel that these institutions have come to be dominated by a left-liberal cultural establishment that looks down on them and sells the country short. They accuse the BBC of having a left-wing bias. They believe that universities serve to indoctrinate their children. And though they are confident that their country could manage on its own, they have grown convinced that most politicians are too timid to help it regain its past grandeur… [Johnson] has always understood that Brexit is as much a symbol as a cause… If he plays his cards right, he will dominate British politics for much longer than pundits expect—and inspire imitators well beyond the shores of Brexit Britain.”
Yascha Mounk, The Atlantic

Regarding Corbyn, “He is less popular than Boris Johnson among both men and women, in every socioeconomic category, whether richer or poorer, in London and Scotland as well as the Midlands and Wales and, remarkably, in every age group… Yet the curious thing about British politics just now is that, among Labour supporters, this is barely mentioned in public. To raise it is to bring social media ordure down upon on your head, as if it were improper or even sacrilegious to speak of such things – even though it is truly extraordinary that the party of opposition is not 20 points ahead of a government in office for nine years, so bitterly divided it has expelled 21 of its own MPs, including two former chancellors, and which has failed to deliver on its central promise…

“The diehards will say that to criticise Corbyn in this way is to side with the Tories against the poor and vulnerable. But the opposite is true. To stick with a path that makes five more years of Boris Johnson, and a hard Brexit, more likely is not to side with the poor and the vulnerable – it is to betray them.”
Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

Many posit that “At the end of it [all], the majority of the population is likely to end up disappointed, irrespective of how they voted on Brexit in the past and may do in the future if the government’s opponents succeed in getting a second referendum. ‘Leavers’ may well not get the promised land they were hoping for, or ‘Remainers’ will always resent losing their European citizenship, and the rights to reside and work in 27 other countries, that went with it… however long this process takes, and however it ends, Britain will have changed, and its status in the world will only have further eroded.”
James Rodgers, NBC News

“Trump’s defenders will say this evidence is all circumstantial. But circumstantial evidence is not weak evidence: it’s simply evidence based on the circumstances in which an act of wrongdoing is committed — such as the license plate of a car that speeds away from a bank just after that bank is robbed. Criminals are convicted on such evidence all the time. They will also say that there’s no explicit quid pro quo proposal here. But… ‘even when a corrupt deal is struck implicitly, the government can still prosecute extortion on a quid pro quo basis. Circumstantial evidence can be enough to prove a criminal exchange.’…

“In the absence of an explicit quid pro quo over restarting aid, the context and circumstances are what will become the focus of the investigation. There is enough here to support impeachment. Whether it is also enough to convince Republicans and lead to removal is another matter.”
Noah Feldman, Bloomberg

Some suggest that Congress “remove Trump from office, so that he cannot abuse incumbency to subvert the electoral process, but let the American people make the judgment on whether or not he gets a second term… Removing Trump from office for the remainder of his term would disable him from abusing presidential power again and protect the integrity of the electoral process from inappropriate interference. At the same time, letting him run for a second term would permit the American electorate to decide whether Trump, despite his attempt to subvert the system, should have another chance… Decoupling removal from disqualification lowers the stakes and changes the constitutional calculus. As long as Trump can run again, Republicans cannot hide behind a claim that they are [the] ones protecting voter choice by opposing impeachment.”
Edward B. Foley, Politico

From the Right

The right supports Brexit and is cautiously optimistic about the Tories winning the election.

From the Right

The right supports Brexit and is cautiously optimistic about the Tories winning the election.

“When the United States decided that NAFTA as it was no longer served U.S. interests, it had the choice of opening the treaty up for renegotiation or exiting it… The other NAFTA countries enjoyed the same right of exit. Maintaining the right of exit is the difference between using sovereignty and losing sovereignty. When the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union — rightly or wrongly, intelligently or meat-headedly, however you see it — that should have been that. But British sovereignty has become so entangled in European protocols as to render Brexit difficult if not quite impossible without the cooperation of the European Union itself. And that cooperation has not been exactly forthcoming. Brussels has worked to make Brexit as difficult, painful, and expensive for the United Kingdom as it can…

“The European Union is not the sort of repressive machine that might be described as ‘Orwellian.’ It is more Kafkaesque, a Hotel California of a superstate whose constituents can check out any time they like but — ask Boris Johnson — they can never leave… The United Kingdom is now set to go through another election in an attempt to settle a question that should have been, in principle, settled by an election back in 2016. That the United Kingdom is finding Brexit so difficult to get done is the best argument there is for getting it done.”
Kevin D. Williamson, National Review

“It’s time for the 27 remaining member states — and for the United Kingdom itself — to get on with their own business. The British voted to leave more than three years ago, and nothing suggests a major shift in public opinion. It’s time for Britain to go… In a Brexit-less world, the ruling British Conservative Party would be pursuing pro-market reforms, balancing the budget, and adapting foreign and defense policy to the world’s changing geopolitics. But as things stand now, the British political class continues to be preoccupied with one thing only: Brexit…

“Without a clear break, it is hard to see how the current high temperature in British politics can come down. An early election will not solve the problem since both major parties are internally divided over Brexit. A repetition of the plebiscite would likely pour more gasoline on the fire. And if a second referendum contradicts the result of the first one, it will give birth to a myth of a stab in the back of the British electorate and ensure that the Brexit betrayal is still debated 10 or 20 years from now.”
Dalibor Rohac, Washington Post

“On the surface, [having an election] looks like a win for Boris Johnson. It’s true that the latest polling shows his Conservative Party up by double digits. If the votes played out along those lines, he could regain solid control in Parliament and push forward with his plans. But we should also keep in mind that Theresa May held a similar polling advantage when she called for a new round of elections a couple of years back and wound up going down in a humiliating defeat… You can find a solid majority in favor of leaving the EU, but many of them only support it if they like the deal they’re getting. A No-Deal Brexit is far less popular.”
Jazz Shaw, Hot Air

Yet “Johnson’s enemies may be underestimating the depths of the public’s anger with them. Britons have endured three years of political stagnation — an enormous waste of public time and resources… Unlike Johnson, his opponents lack vision and decisiveness. Where Johnson has a very clear aim of Brexit and a clear plan to achieve it, their solution seems to be to cancel the process entirely and hope that no one ever mentions it again. This is as unacceptable as it is undemocratic, and deeply unpersuasive to boot. My own hunch is that the British people, in their wisdom, will reject it.”
Madeleine Kearns, National Review

“In terms of our national interests, this will be the most important British election in at least 100 years. Either a pro-American government will return to power with a mandate to implement Brexit or Britain will be led by the most anti-American prime minister in memory… Corbyn isn't just anti-American, he is fanatically so. A former employee of an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps TV channel and a fan of Vladimir Putin, he is devoted in his opposition to the American-led international order. Largely disliked by his own members of Parliament, Corbyn supports Russia over Britain, terrorists over Israel, and Iran over everyone else.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

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