Tulsi Gabbard, After Threatening Boycott, Will Participate in Debate

Representative Tulsi Gabbard, one of 12 Democratic presidential candidates who have qualified for this week’s televised debate, said on Monday that she would participate in the forum after raising the possibility of boycotting it to protest what she sees as a “rigging” of the election. Ms. Gabbard had argued that the corporate news media and […]

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Another day closer to impeachment

Astead W Herndon/NY Times:

How ‘White Guilt’ in the Age of Trump Shapes the Democratic Primary

The changing racial attitudes of white liberals are changing how 2020 candidates try to win votes.

White liberals — voters like Mr. Olsen — are thinking more explicitly about race than they did even a decade ago, according to new research and polling. In one survey, an overwhelming majority said that racial discrimination affects the lives of black people. They embrace terms like “structural racism” and “white privilege.”


Sheryl Gay Stolberg/NY Times:

Impeachment Support Grows, but So Does the Public Divide

Americans are as divided over impeachment as they are over President Trump. But support for the Democrats’ inquiry is building even in places Mr. Trump won, and among politically crucial independents.

An average of impeachment polls calculated by the website FiveThirtyEight found that, as of Oct. 11, 49.3 percent of respondents supported impeachment and 43.5 percent did not. A survey released this past week by The Washington Post found 58 percent said the House was correct to open an inquiry.

And polling by a group of Democratic strategists found a potential opportunity to sway the public still further: nearly a quarter of the respondents categorized by strategists as “impeachment skeptics” opposed the inquiry but were not ready to say that Mr. Trump did nothing wrong.

Also good.


This is a hell of a tale by @Will_Bunch about Rudy Giuliani’s decades of sleaziness. A lot here I didn’t know about, written by someone who was right there as Rudy rose to prominence. https://t.co/SHYfYVWLnB

— Rex Huppke (@RexHuppke) October 13, 2019

Aaron Blake/WaPo

Gordon Sondland is about to blow a hole in Trump’s Ukraine defense

Ever since former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker handed over those text messages, President Trump’s defenders have pointed to one of them as supposedly exonerating Trump. “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions,” Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told another diplomat. “The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s [sic] of any kind.”

This text has been a linchpin of the Trump Ukraine defense. But on Saturday night, the linchpin broke…

The implosion of this particular Trump defense epitomizes the broader problem his supporters have here. The vast majority of Republicans have been unwilling to go to bat for Trump, avoiding the questions or deflecting them and talking about something else (like about how there really is corruption in Ukraine). That’s largely because they have little faith that something more incriminating might eventually come out, making their defenses look silly. Trump and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, simply don’t appear to have taken much care to avoid at least the appearance of soliciting foreign influence on an American election.


Trump suffered 5 court losses on one day- court denied his appeal, must give tax returns to Dems- 3 diff courts ruled against his public rule change (1 was a nationwide injunction)- Trump diverting money from other sources to fund border wall ruled unlawfulall 5 in thread👇 https://t.co/lTCQtAbNl7

— Maggie Jordan (@MaggieJordanACN) October 12, 2019


Trump’s envoy to testify that ‘no quid pro quo’ came from Trump

The U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, intends to tell Congress this week that the content of a text message he wrote denying a quid pro quo with Ukraine was relayed to him directly by President Trump in a phone call, according to a person familiar with his testimony.

Sondland plans to tell lawmakers he has no knowledge of whether the president was telling him the truth at that moment. “It’s only true that the president said it, not that it was the truth,” said the person familiar with Sondland’s planned testimony, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic matters.

“The truth is, these aren’t very bright guys, and things got out of hand.” ~ “Deep Throat” from All the President’s Men.


As recently as March, Americans opposed impeaching @realDonaldTrump, 55-37%, per the @FiveThirtyEight tracker.Today, Americans support impeachment, 50-44%. A net shift of 24 points in seven months. https://t.co/AvtbHhLbFI

— Brandon (@Brand_Allen) October 13, 2019

Tom Nichols/USA Today:

Ex-Republican: Do we still agree on beating Trump? After your LGBTQ forum, I’m not sure.

I’m not asking you to betray your principles, but Republican culture warriors are lying in wait. Why let them divide us where we already agree?

When we watched the LGBTQ town hall on CNN recently, we had very different reactions. This is the event, you remember, where Beto O’Rourke said he’dpunish religious institutions for refusing gay marriage, and where Kamala Harris started by informing us of her pronouns, and then Chris Cuomo, after a mild and dopey joke, had to go on Twitter the next day and apologize for making light of it. This is where Elizabeth Warren fielded a question about traditional marriage by with a sneering, smug insinuation that the only people who would ask her about that are men who can’t find a woman.

You thought it was great. You saw a ringing defense of LGBTQ rights and a reaffirmation of what Democrats stand for.

I saw it and thought: Are these people insane? Are they trying to lose the election?

While I don’t agree with Tom, I get his point, which is hardball politics, not what’s right (he is not defending discrimination). The culture war is what motivates Trump voters, so play up the common ground and downplay that you’re winning it.

However, this is a really smart piece from Julia Azari, lightly edited:

see (Warren’s same-sex marriage quip captures what some find exciting — and others distressing — about her) for background. I think there are 3 things going on here, all of which ultimately ask us to look at Warren’s remarks through a power lens, regardless of what conclusions we draw: 1. multiple types of claims about disempowerment. it’s probably not exactly a secret where my sympathies lie on this one, but i want to present it as analytically as I can. One the one hand the positive reaction to the statement comes from a v real sense of marginalization of the lgbt community. I still vividly remember Al Gore stating his views against gay marriage in a 2000 general election debate. violence against this community remains real and endemic despite growing social acceptance overall. However, as @DaveAHopkins has written about, the sense of losing the culture war among conservatives is also real and based in some empirical truths. so you have clashing – if not necessarily morally equivalent – claims about who lacks power.   2. Presidential candidates and especially presidents do face different communication standards. insert all important caveats about how the presidency isn’t exactly operating under normal rules right now. But. Here’s my piece in Politico from 9/16 (which obviously envisioned a different political future) that explains how the powerful can’t make the same kinds of quips. 3. I think this is especially true when you come from a group that hasn’t traditionally held power, and that’s in play here too. talk of Warren alienating men…. someone correct me if I’m wrong but my understanding was she was running pretty even among men and women but what it does is illustrate a divide among Dems that isn’t exactly about m4a or why 2016 was a loss or whatever, but among progressive vs. preservationist visions of the party’s goals. Status quo vs. challenges. Serious reconsideration over who holds power.

You know my position on this. This is politics and doing what’s right isn’t always best when it’s done in your face. Persuasion is better than FU, we will win and destroy you. YMMV, but in my mind I want every vote against Trump to register. The bigger the win, the more progress we make. Most people support same sex marriage, and white evangelicals don’t get to decide. But there are swing voters, pay attention to them and don’t poke their eye if you don’t have to.

Yes, it is asymmetric, we have to be nice and they don’t. We do it knowing we have the majority view. That’s what winners do.

The analogy that springs to mind was the Paul Wellstone event (see Six years later, Wellstone memorial host Latimer still agonizes over event’s political fallout).


One operative worried about Warren’s answer to the WaPo: “I’m not sure how that resonates with older African American voters, especially African American women.” @Civiqs has data on this exact q! Black women 65+ support gay marriage by a 60-23 margin https://t.co/bGLQ3k1FZg pic.twitter.com/ucbvziXCBx

— David Nir (@DavidNir) October 13, 2019

Dan Balz/WaPo:

Impeachment has put Trump in a different place. He’s showing it every day.

Many Americans have become inured to the president’s volatile behavior. Yet even by the standards of this presidency, Trump has been operating beyond his often-untethered bounds. His Twitter feed has been more frantic, his public comments angrier and more abusive, his sense of victimhood more visible than ever. Including his attacks on the investigation by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, there may be no period in the entirety of Trump’s presidency comparable to the behavior now on display….

“I suspect part of what has happened,” Gingrich said in an interview, “is just kind of exhaustion. It’s a little bit like being in the batter’s box, and you endure the entire Mueller process. It disappears. You take a deep breath and think you can go out for a beer, and you’re still in the batter’s box. And there’s a cycle which I think drives him crazy.”

He added: “I think Trump’s a pretty good fighter who sort of thought in his mind we’d get to the end of this cycle. And what he’s discovered is, he can’t move on. . . . I think there will come a point where he will shift gears and go into more of an endurance mode.”

Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster, said he sees Trump as ill-suited by temperament for the impeachment test. Impeachment is a lengthy process, he said, but Trump “looks at every day as a fire sale. How many things can I do to control or dominate the day. . . . Every day is a new day and a new war.”

He’s ill-suited, indeed.


quid pro someday we’ll find out https://t.co/frdT0J72hY

— George Conway (@gtconway3d) October 13, 2019


your turnout strategy > @parscale‘s turnout strategy. That’s it, that’s the key. That’s the whole enchilada. Luckily for Ds, neg partisanship will naturally do this for them, bc not all of their potential nominees are going to get this (Biden). https://t.co/QWSMN5zAxB

— Rachel “The Doc” Bitecofer 📈🔭🗿💪 (@RachelBitecofer) October 13, 2019



— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) October 12, 2019

Schiff: Hearings Are Private To Keep Trump And His Minions In The Dark

Face The Nation’s Margaret Brennan wanted Rep. Adam Schiff to tell her when the House impeachment committee will hold public hearings. “Well, actually, you know, I think that the public attitudes have swiftly moved in strong support of the impeachment inquiry,” he said. “And you know what we were trying to do is do a […]

Warren’s Rise Hasn’t Come At Biden’s Expense

We’ve been busy the past few weeks tracking public opinion on impeachment, launching our new NBA metric (RAPTOR!) and dealing with about a million breaking news alerts a day. So I’m not going to give you one of those grandiose overviews of the Democratic primary. Maybe we’ll be more in the mood for one after […]

Back in Action at the Debate, Bernie Sanders Has Much to Prove

Senator Bernie Sanders and his advisers were not anxious before the first three televised primary debates, confident in his ability to champion his ideas and dubious that the debates would dramatically change how voters regarded him. But his aides know the next debate will be different: When he takes the stage on Tuesday night, two […]

Missing From Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 Surge: Democratic Endorsements

WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren has built her following in part by taking pictures with thousands of voters deep into evening after campaign events, but her dinner audience here one night last month was far smaller. And Ms. Warren’s guests were more interested in hearing, and politely challenging, her campaign pitch than eagerly capturing the […]

The Immigrants Trump Denounces Have Helped Revive the Cities He Scorns

Image Children in Mexican folklore outfits braving Chicago weather for an “El Dia del Nino” parade in Pilsen, Ill., in April.CreditAbel Uribe/Chicago Tribune, via Associated Press President Trump has turned repeatedly throughout his tenure and his re-election campaign to two targets: immigrants whom he has described as “invading” the country, and American cities he has […]

Wall Street’s Sky-High Expectations Are About to Collide With Reality

Wall Street’s eternally optimistic forecasters are expecting corporate profit growth to surge by the middle of next year — views that are about to collide with reality as hundreds of companies report financial results and update investors on their prospects. American companies go through this ritual every three months: sharing financial statements and holding conference […]

Open thread for night owls: Converting business to cooperatives can reduce economic inequality

In Converting Businesses to Cooperatives Just Got Easier, Isabella Garcia at Yes! magazine writes about the decision of retiring Tom Adams and George Chittenden to convert their glass-blowing business into an employee-owned cooperative:

In early 2017, the pair reached out to Project Equity, a nonprofit organization that helps businesses convert to employee-ownership. That model made sense for Adams & Chittenden, whose employees were career glass blowers, not laborers in unskilled jobs.

Project Equity was at the time finalizing its Accelerate Employee Ownership initiative, a collaboration launched in September with the Shared Capital Cooperative, a national loan fund that provides financing to cooperative businesses and housing in the United States.


The initiative aims to lower barriers for businesses converting to employee-owned models by providing access to individuals and organizations who are experienced in co-op conversions, and to lenders familiar with cooperative business models. The initiative is seeded with $5 million from Quality Jobs Fund, an initiative by the New World Foundation and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco that invests in projects committed to improving quality job opportunities for workers in historically underserved areas. It aims to perform 30 conversions and maintain quality employment for more than 1,000 individuals over the next 10 years in California, Nevada and Arizona. The initiative also focuses on the positive ripple effects employee ownership can have in a community.

“It’s harder and harder for working people to make ends meet,” said Alison Lingane, co-founder of Project Equity. “We see employee ownership as creating a stable financial situation for people and their communities. This is something that addresses a lot of issues all at once.”

According to the Harvard Business Review, employee ownership can reduce economic inequality because the primary beneficiaries of profitable businesses are working- and middle-class people. […]




“In 1492, the natives discovered they were indians, discovered they lived in America, discovered they were naked, discovered that the Sin existed, discovered they owed allegiance to a King and Kingdom from another world and a God from another sky, and that this God had invented the guilty and the dress, and had sent to be burnt alive who worships the Sun the Moon the Earth and the Rain that wets it.” ~~Eduardo Galeano, Los hijo de los días (2011)



Scientists endorse civil disobedience as last resort to prevent climate change.https://t.co/0qyniRxnjb

— Rebecca Nagle (@rebeccanagle) October 13, 2019


At Daily Kos on this date in 2010—ThinkProgress documents more foreign funding to Chamber:

ThinkProgress has a new investigation to supplement their story from last week that documented “the disclosure of fundraising documents U.S. Chamber staffers had been distributing to solicit foreign (even state-owned) companies to donate directly to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6).”

This new chapter of the investigation adds significantly to ThinkProgress’s case with very specific donations documented that are far beyond what the Chamber has publicly acknowledged in interviews.

ThinkProgress began by documenting the three ways in which the Chamber fundraises from foreign corporations, and how that money goes into its “501(c)(6) entity, the same account that finances its unprecedented $75 million dollar partisan attack ad campaign.” The Chamber has responded with a focus on just one of those avenues for fundraising—the red-herring AmChams, the network of Chamber affiliates internationally, composed of American and foreign companies. The Chamber acknowledges their existence, and that it receives money from them, but has stonewalled any attempt to determine whether or not that money is making its way into their attack ads for Republicans. To date, the traditional media has just bought that story, has accepted the Chamber’s “just trust us” line.

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International Elections Digest: New Israeli elections produce the same old problem: a standoff

The Daily Kos International Elections Digest is compiled by Stephen Wolf and David Beard, with additional contributions from James Lambert and Daniel Donner, and is edited by David Nir.

Leading Off

Israel – parliament (Sept. 17)

After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unexpectedly failed to form a coalition despite placing first in April’s elections, Israel headed back to the polls in September, only to return a Knesset even less able to form a stable majority than the previous one.​

​Netanyahu’s radical-right Likud party and its allies (parties of the far-right and Orthodox Haredi religious parties) won 55 out of 120 seats, down five seats from April, while parties opposed to Netanyahu (centrists, the center-left, and Arab-supported parties) took 57 seats, an increase of two.

The four Arab parties, running collectively as the Joint List, won 13 seats, making them the third-largest bloc after centrist leader Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party, which won 33 seats, and Likud, which took 32. In a historic move, the Arab parties, which have traditionally sat out the post-election coalition-building process, recommended Gantz for PM.

The remaining eight seats went to Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, a right-wing secular party that has sharp disagreements with the Haredi parties over the role of religion in the public sphere. While Lieberman has allied with Netanyahu in the past, he refused to enter into a coalition with the Haredim after the April elections.

However, Lieberman is also known for his racist rhetoric, and he emphatically ruled out any sort of alliance that involves the Arab parties, calling them and their leader, Ayman Odeh, “enemies.” Lieberman has instead called for a unity government between Netanyahu’s Likud, Blue and White, and his own party.

With neither the left nor the right able to command a majority, Lieberman’s unity government seems to be the only viable solution. Both sides have offered to set up a rotation, where each party’s leader serves as prime minister for two years, but the order of that rotation has prevented an agreement.

Blue and White has also refused to serve in a government with Netanyahu at its head since he is likely to be indicted on corruption charges soon. Gantz’s side would like Netanyahu to step down from both party and state leadership but would settle for him giving up the role of prime minister for two years while his legal issues progress.

Netanyahu, who is desperate to remain prime minister in order to pass a law giving him immunity from prosecution while in office, has proposed that he remain in charge for the next two years before turning the job over to Gantz. Given the stalemate, Blue and White has publicly pushed Likud to topple Netanyahu so that an agreement can be reached. Netanyahu went so far as to float the idea of holding a leadership election within Likud to prove his hold on the party, but changed his mind after popular Likud MP Gideon Sa’ar made it clear he would run, too.

Assuming Netanyahu remains Likud’s leader, it seems likely both he and Gantz will fail to form a government. After that, any MP can offer himself as a candidate for prime minister if they can garner 61 supporters. If no one can, an unprecedented third election would take place in early 2020.

Notable Developments

Austria – parliament (Sept. 29)

After getting exposed in a bombshell influence-peddling scandal earlier this year that brought an end to Austria’s right-wing governing coalition, the far-right Freedom Party suffered a heavy beating in early elections, dropping from 26% of the vote in 2017 to just 16% this year. However, the center-left and centrist opposition wasn’t able to capitalize enough to prevent the conservative Austrian People’s Party (OVP) and its 33-year-old leader, Sebastian Kurz, from winning a dominant plurality, with the OVP growing from 31.5% to 37.5% and achieving its best result since 2002.

By contrast, the center-left Social Democratic Party tumbled to just 21%—its worst result in over a century—as the Greens achieved their best-ever result, surging from just below the 4% minimum needed to win seats in 2017 to 14% this year. The centrist NEOS party also won its best result with 8%. Consequently, Kurz and the OVP hold all the cards when it comes to forming the next coalition, which could include yet another alliance with a less powerful far-right party or a grand coalition with either the Social Democrats or the Greens. However, another alliance with the FPO may be the most likely, which would mean a continuation of Kurz’s anti-immigrant policies.

Canada – parliament (Oct. 21)

Canadians head to the polls this month to decide the fate of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s centrist to center-left Liberals, who are struggling to secure a second term in power as Canada’s majority government.

For nearly two years after sweeping Stephen Harper’s Conservatives from power in 2015, Trudeau was buoyant in the polls, enjoying wide leads over both the Tories and the left-wing New Democratic Party. However, the edifice began to crumble in early 2018, with Trudeau earning rounds of embarrassing headlines over a pointlessly lavish (and controversial) trade mission to India, a major scandal involving alleged obstruction of justice to protect Quebec-based construction company SNC-Lavalin, and, most recently, a deeply cringeworthy blackface scandal.

And yet, despite enduring a political year from hell, Trudeau remains neck-and-neck with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer (whose own scandals are relatively mundane, if not stingingly hypocritical) in the polls. Some analysts still even give Trudeau the best odds of leading the next government, whether with a minority or perhaps a majority, based on an inefficiently dispersed Conservative vote.

Wildcards include an uptick in support for the Franco-nationalist Bloc Quebecois and the eco-centrist Greens, while the NDP is struggling to jockey for position. Another new factor this time around is the potential for right-wing vote splitting, with the far-right People’s Party of Canada, led by Maxime Bernier, a prominent former Conservative MP and one-time leadership rival for Scheer. However, Bernier’s upstart party, a strange cocktail of ethno-nationalism and economic libertarianism, has yet to make a measurable dent in the polls.

Canada: Manitoba – provincial parliament (Sept. 10)

Incumbent Premier Brian Pallister led his center-right Progressive Conservatives to win another term in power in this central Canadian province last month. In 2016, Pallister’s PCs ended a 17-year period of dominance by the center-left New Democratic Party, earning 53% of the vote and 40 of the legislature’s 57 seats. This time, Pallister’s party slipped to 47% of the vote but still held a majority of 36 seats. The NDP, led by Wab Kinew, the party’s first indigenous leader, won 18 seats (up four from 2016) and 31% of the popular vote.

This election marks yet another win for the right at the provincial level in Canada. Ever since Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals won a majority government in 2015, right-leaning parties have retained power or toppled incumbent centrist or left-leaning parties in the provinces of Alberta (2019), Saskatchewan (2016), New Brunswick (2018), Ontario (2018), Prince Edward Island (2019), and Quebec (2018).

Only three provinces have bucked this trend: British Columbia, where the left-leaning NDP toppled a right-wing government in 2017, and the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, where incumbent Liberal governments absorbed losses but hung on to earn new terms in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

Germany: Brandenburg and Saxony – state parliaments (Sept. 1)

The two easternmost German states held elections in September, both of which saw losses for the two establishment parties, the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), and a significant rise for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

AfD has shown considerably more strength in former East German states, which remain economically behind the rest of the country even three decades after reunification and have historically been more open to voting for parties outside the mainstream. The left-wing party known as Die Linke (“The Left”), for example, has always had greater success in the east than in the west.

Brandenburg, which covers the region outside of the country’s capital, Berlin, saw the coalition of SPD and Die Linke lose its previous majority thanks to a surge for AfD. The SPD still came in first, but only 3% ahead of AfD, which took 23.5% of the vote. The CDU and Die Linke also lost votes, while the center-left Greens saw a small increase. The SPD will likely form a three-party coalition with the Greens and either the CDU or Die Linke.

In Saxony, AfD managed to win an even higher percentage of the vote, 27.5%, though it still finished second, in this case to the incumbent CDU. AfD had actually come in first in both the 2017 federal election and the 2019 European elections in Saxony, so its strength here was not surprising. CDU had previously governed in coalition with the SPD, but with both parties losing seats, the only feasible alliance going forward involves adding the Greens.

That’s because the AfD’s continuing success in the east, and the establishment parties’ refusal to govern with it, significantly limits coalition possibilities. As the CDU also refuses to work with Die Linke, coalitions in the east are limited to either CDU/SPD/Green or SPD/Green/Die Linke unless one of the main parties can regain enough votes to make two-party coalitions viable again.

Guatemala – president (Aug. 18)

Right-wing former prison chief Alejandro Giammattei won a runoff election to become Guatemala’s next president and is expected to continue outgoing President Jimmy Morales’ fracturing of democratic norms and the rule of law. Giammattei, who was once arrested for extrajudicial killings of prisoners (charges that were later dismissed), won on an anti-crime platform that promises hard-line strategies, including bringing back the death penalty. He is also rabidly anti-LGBTQ and opposes women’s reproductive rights.

Giammattei defeated Sandra Torres, a former first lady who suffered from similar corruption concerns as Giammattei, 58% to 42%, in a low-turnout election. There was a 33% drop in turnout from the first round as many Guatemalans were reluctant to choose between two bad options. While Torres has more progressive views on some issues, both candidates supported the shutdown of a United Nations-backed anti-corruption group.

Italy – government formation

In a dramatic turn of events, Italy’s far-right League party quit its governing coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement in a bid to force early elections. The far-right had appeared within striking distance of winning a majority had such elections taken place, but things didn’t go as planned for League leader Matteo Salvini.

Salvini’s party took just 17% in the 2018 elections, but his anti-immigrant policies helped the League soar to nearly 40% in the polls this year. However, instead of early elections, the Five Star Movement chose to form a new coalition with the center-left Democratic Party, putting aside their bitter rivalry in order to stop the League from prevailing.

Consequently, western Europe’s lone populist majority coalition is no more, and with the replacement of the League with the Democratic Party, the new alliance will chart a more pro-European Union course that could entail a reversal of the anti-immigrant policies championed by Salvini. It’s unclear just how stable the new coalition is, but the continued polling strength of the League and the Brothers of Italy, its far-right ally, could deter these new governing partners from ending their coalition before the next election, which is scheduled for 2023.

Kosovo – parliament (Oct. 6)

Kosovo held early elections after the country’s parliament could not agree on a replacement for Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who resigned after being summoned to The Hague for questioning in a war crimes inquiry. Haradinaj’s right-of-center Alliance for the Future of Kosovo party (AAK) and its allies suffered heavy losses after they had become unpopular over voter dissatisfaction with corruption, the economy, and a political elite dominated by former independence fighters. Observers hailed the election outcome as strengthening democratic institutions.

Coming in first place with one-fourth of the vote was Self Determination, a leftist nationalist party that has advocated for a stronger welfare state and a referendum on unification with neighboring Albania, with whom Kosovo shares significant ethnic ties. Just behind was the center-right Democratic League, and it’s possible that the two opposition parties could form a coalition.

Poland – parliament (Oct. 13)

Poland’s election this month presents a critical test for whether liberal democracy will survive or whether the radical-right nationalist Law and Justice Party (PiS) will be able to further consolidate its grip on state institutions.

In 2015, with just 38% of the vote, PiS became the first party to win an outright majority since the end of Communist rule after multiple parties fell just shy of the thresholds needed to win any seats in parliament.

PiS has since abused its power to attack judicial independence in an attempt to rewrite the constitution without needing to amend it, and it’s launched a full-scale assault on freedom of the press, giving the party favorable media coverage compared to the opposition. PiS has also won significant public support by increasing social welfare spending and boosting the economy after taking over from the more socially liberal and economically free-market Civic Platform party. Unsurprisingly, PiS has also advanced anti-immigrant, anti-feminist, and anti-LGBTQ policies.

The leading liberal democratic opposition consists of the center-right Civic Coalition, “The Left” coalition of progressive parties, and the center-right and more rural Polish Coalition. Polls have typically shown PiS in the mid-40s, which would easily be its best-ever result. However, there’s a modest possibility that it could win fewer seats than the three pro-democracy opposition blocs. Much will depend on whether the Polish Coalition or the far-right Confederation party passes the 5% threshold for parties to win seats.

Portugal – parliament (Oct. 6)

The incumbent center-left Socialist Party won re-election with an increased percentage of the vote from 2015, cementing its status as one of the most successful center-left parties in Europe.

The Socialists had been governing as a minority after striking a deal with two smaller left-wing to far-left parties after the 2015 election returned a hung parliament. But after reversing the previous government’s austerity packages, increasing the minimum wage and overseeing an economic recovery, voters rewarded the Socialists with 37% of the vote, up 4.4% from 2015. Both of the left-wing parties dipped slightly, though the Socialists’ increase more than made up for those losses.

The Socialists will now be able to continue to govern and may have even more of a free hand, as they now need only one of the two left-wing parties to support them to have a majority. (Left-of-center parties won three-fifths of seats overall.)

The right in Portugal features two main parties, the center-right Social Democratic Party and the right-wing People’s Party, which ran as a coalition in 2015. They ran separately this year and lost approximately 5% of the overall vote from last year, taking just 28% and 4% respectively.

Spain – parliament (Nov. 10)

Despite their strong performance in April’s election, Spain’s center-left Socialist Party and the left-wing Unidas Podemos failed to reach an agreement to form a new government, leading to an early election being called for Nov. 10. This marks the fourth election in four years, and it will see Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez making a gamble that his party can improve its standing relative to Podemos to strengthen its bargaining position for forming the next government.

Even if the Socialists and Podemos had reached an agreement, they would have still needed to rely on Basque nationalist parties or Catalan separatist parties to secure a majority. In a new vote, though, it’s possible the left-of-center parties could secure an outright majority.

One complication, however, is that a more moderate faction of Podemos broke away to form a new party called More Country, risking a split on the left. Polls show the three parties together outpolling the center-right Citizens, right-wing People’s Party, and far-right Vox, but it’s unclear whether they can win a majority or will need to rely on nationalist parties again.

Tunisia – president and parliament (Sept. 15, Oct. 6, and Oct. 13)

Amid its regularly scheduled parliamentary elections, Tunisia is holding an early presidential election this year following the death of 92-year-old President Beji Caid Essebsi in July. Essebi had been Tunisia’s first democratically elected president following their Arab Spring revolution in 2011. The race to replace him saw independent Kaïs Saïed and media magnate Nabil Karoui advance to an Oct. 13 runoff with 18% and 16%, respectively in an election that has been anything but usual.

For starters, Karoui had been unable to campaign in person because he has been imprisoned since August following his arrest on charges of money laundering; a court only ordered his release on Oct. 9. Karoui’s media network and philanthropic efforts have enabled him and his Heart of Tunisia party to project a populist image as an advocate for the poor. By contrast, Saïed is an independent but has been endorsed by the main conservative Islamist party Ennahda, whose own candidate, Abdelfattah Mourou, was eliminated in the first round with 13%. However, Saïed is choosing to not personally campaign.

In parliamentary elections that took place a week before the runoff, Ennahda faced major losses, dropping from 28% to 18%, but that was still enough to make it the largest party (it was runner-up after the previous elections in 2014). Heart of Tunisia came in second with 16%, but it’s uncertain what kind of coalition can come together after five other parties each took between 5% and 6% of the vote. The secular establishment parties, including 2014 winner Nidaa Tounes, suffered huge losses following their initial alliance with Ennahda after 2014.

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