To the Polls! Four Takes on the US and UK Political Scenes

people on line at a polling place

Elections are dominating the headlines. The past few weeks have brought the one-two punch of the Brexit referendum in the UK and the Republican National Convention in the US, while the Democratic National Convention looms.

In a time of 24-hour news coverage we turn to blogs for personal perspectives and points of view not always seen in traditional media — these recent pieces from some of our recommended current events, culture, and political commentary sites shed new light on these now-ubiquitous stories.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery?

At The Kinfolk Kollective, blogger LaSha deconstructs the racist underpinnings of Melania Trump’s partially plagiarized GOP convention speech, in no uncertain terms:

Despite being caught with the smoking gun, any indictment of the character of this woman is preposterous. Despite Melania Trump initially taking credit for composing the speech with “as little help as possible,” somehow calling her a plagiarist is offensive. Despite Trump supporters touting this woman as the classy, wholesome First Lady this country needs, her blatant theft of Michelle Obama’s intellectual property should not be used against her. Her reputation must not be challenged even with irrefutable evidence that she is not above lying and stealing.

And there we have the #1 entry in the White Women’s Rulebook: Any mistake made or offense committed by a white woman can and should be easily excused, blamed on the head not the heart. And the #2 entry: Black women exist solely for our labor, style and intellectual creations to be adopted, copied and appropriated by white women with no homage paid, credit given or compensation offered. And the 3rd entry: Turnbout is not fair play.

GOP 2016 Convention
A camera operator is reflected in a mirrored side of a camera stand during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

All images from AP Images Spotlight.

Brexit: Post-Referendum Politics

Sam Kriss’s essays are always smart, always biting, and always provocative; his analysis of larger concerns behind the Labour Party’s rejection of Jeremy Corbyn is no exception:

In a time when political certainties have all melted into the stale fog, when loony minority propositions like leaving the European Union can suddenly surge to victory, when any monster can apparently wrench itself out of the imagination and into reality, when the quiet and dignified prude on the Clapham omnibus is now sweating omnicidal rage from every pore as the bus cooks in the July heat and small riots pop off like firecrackers in scattered corners of the city, why is centrist pabulum still thought to be what the great British public are desperately crying out for?

Read the full essay at Idiot Joy Showland.

Germany Britain
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and British Prime Minister Theresa May, left, brief the media at a news conference during a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, on May’s first foreign trip after being named British Prime Minister. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

A Cutting Convention Postmortem

At Whatever, his personal blog, sci-fi writer John Scalzi often finds himself wading into current events; never more so than in this heated US election season. His take on what happens in the campaigns post-GOP convention is damning and funny:

Guys, no. She might be good at getting out of scrapes, but no one’s that good, and not at the highest levels of scrutiny that she operates on, and has for decades.

Benghazi! E-Mail! Vince Foster! Whitewater!

Dudes. They spent millions and decades trying to pin something on her, and the best that they got out of it was that she was stupidly careless with her email. Which is not good! But it’s not a thing she should be jailed for. Or hanged from a tree for, which was a thing when spoken that Trump’s people only rather half-heartedly distanced themselves from. I could have told you she was stupidly careless with her email and wouldn’t have charged nearly as much, or taken that much time with it.

APTOPIX Campaign 2016 Clinton Sanders
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves to supporters with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., during a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., Tuesday, July 12, 2016, where Sanders endorsed her for president. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

What the GOP Didn’t Know About Cleveland

Finally, in a Longreads original, Kyle Swenson walks us through the troubled history of  his hometown — and GOP convention location — of Cleveland, Ohio:

Much of the prognostications about the upcoming RNC have been dooming and glooming over the possibility of chaos in Cleveland when Donald Trump accepts the GOP Presidential nomination. But those guesses assume the candidate himself is the wild card, the agent of possible chaos. In reality, the stage, not the players, is the x-factor here.

Learn more about Cleveland’s depressed, violent past at Longreads.

Find more provocative reads in the current events, culture, and political commentary topics.

July 25, 2016Current Events, Political Commentary