Manic Monday Markup 12/21/15…
…And the World:
We begin today in Spain, where a fractured election result leaves the leaders of that country scrambling to form a government. The incumbent center-right Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy won the most seats, but lost its majority in Madrid. Rajoy’s party and the rival Socialists had been the country’s main parties for years, but a weak economy and austerity have pushed many Spaniards away from the traditional blocs in parliament.
The entry of Podemos (We Can), a left-leaning anti-austerity party, and Ciudadanos (Citizens), a centrist outfit which takes ideas from across the spectrum, has upset that status quo. King Felipe IV will consult with the parties before naming someone, likely Rajoy, to begin negotiations to form a government. The Guardian says Spain needs a broad consensus to address the country’s problems. The New York Times profiled Rajoy last week.
The Times also reports that the Aung San Suu Kyi, who led her party to a romp in Myanmar’s election, is quietly working on the transition of power to her party from the ruling juntas…and picking up litter.
The United Nations approved a new framework to end the Syrian Civil War in a 15-0 vote.
A Chinese landslide in a Shenzhen industrial park leaves rescue workers scrambling to find dozens who are missing.
In Russia potpourri, officials in Moscow say the black box from a fighter jet downed by Turkey is not readable. Meanwhile, the Kremlin is retaliating against the Ukraine over a new free trade deal with the European Union. Ukraine has also suspended debt payments to Russia.
Slightly to the West, protests have erupted in Poland against the new government led by the Law & Justice party. It is try to impose its nominees on the Constitutional Court, even though the vacancies and appointments occurred before Law & Justice won power.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has dropped out of the Presidential contest.
Over the weekend, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders buried the hatchet—for now—over the discovery that a Sanders staffer had breached the Clinton campaign’s voter database due a flaw in software both campaigns use (the national Democratic party, in reply, cut Sanders off from the software in a possible breach of contract, temporarily). While Clinton accepted Sanders’s apology, her campaign is worried some valuable data was exported from Votebuilder, the software used widely by Democratic campaigns and developed by NGP VAN.
As for the debate itself, there was no sign it changed the dynamics of the race. As has been her habit, Clinton trained her fire on Republicans primarily.
For a good idea of the seriousness of this situation, we recommend this blog posting from an Iowa campaign consultant and an analysis from a veteran Democratic activist in California, published on Washington Monthly’s website.
While the Democratic party has defended its cutting off the Sanders campaign from the voter database software temporarily—it has since been restored—the public nature of the imbroglio has put attention back on Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman.
A moderate GOP Congressman from upstate New York is retiring potentially giving Democrats a pickup opportunity.
Jimmy Carter’s grandson, Jeremy, 28, died over the weekend.
The Washington Post has some great things to say about Ocean State governor Gina Raimondo.
The State of Things:
Selfies and “stuff?” The Boston Globe looks at Gov. Charlie Baker’s affinity for smartphone self-portraits, while blogger “Hester Prynne” compares this (effective) attempt at relatability to Baker’s proclivity to use the word stuff. (Hat tip to Massterlist for linking to Prynne’s piece).
New England Public Radio looks ahead and back in reporter Henry Epp’s conversation with State House News Service reporter Matt Murphy. Meanwhile, Carrie Healy, hosting the Short List this week, spoke to Reminder Managing Editor Mike Dobbs and WMassP&I’s editor-in-chief Matt Szafranski about the big (and not-so-big) stories of 2015.
Worcester Magazine bids farewell to two of its home city’s School Committee members.
Politico Massachusetts runs down the ballot questions that have passed the latest signature round to appear before voters in 2016 and 2018.
Move over Alex Morse! WBUR profiles Fall River’s young new mayor. Jasiel Correia, 24, will take over one of the commonwealth’s largest city’s (by population, Fall River is a little more than twice the size of Morse’s Holyoke). Being a first generation American of Cape Verdean origin, Correia also represents one of the commonwealth’s ascendant populations.
Chicopee councilors honored colleague George Moreau at the body’s last meeting for the year (and Moreau’s last as a councilor).
The Fourth Estatements:
The New York Times considers the investments a German old media company made in digital that paved the way for it to reinvest itself.
Despite being on the Saturday before Christmas, ABC says early results for its Democratic debate’s ratings were not terrible.
Labor and management face tough talks in the steel industry. US Steel is near a pact, but issues remain.
Springfield renames a park after Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan who died in the Chattanooga recruitment station shooting earlier this year.
Mayor Domenic Sarno opens another front with bar owners, this time against an establishment in Liberty Heights. The Republican editorial board weighs in, while leaning toward Sarno and Police Commissioner John Barbieri, rightly noting that the two sides need to talk with and not past each other on this subject.
ICYMI: Our analysis of the opportunity the Springfield City Council has in the next term to show its strength.
For all the sturm und drang between their campaigns before Saturday’s debate, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders acquitted themselves properly when the question of the data breach came up. To Sanders’s credit, he also apologized to his supporters for his campaign’s behavior, saying it did not live up to the standards they should expect. It is critical for Sanders’s supporters to see the warts of their candidate’s campaign as well. Clinton supporters, for the most part, see the faults of their candidate and her campaign everyday—and those that don’t are damn fools that are hurting her bid. The point is this breach should be taken seriously and not dismissed because of the DNC did not handle the situation correctly. Boston Globe columnist Michael Cohen makes this point well, noting that the reaction to what an ex-Sanders staffer did pales in comparison to how the media would howl were it Clinton’s camp in the wrong.