By Nick Baum
WEDNESDAY – 11/7/18
Dramatic, hard fought, and down to the end. These phrases describe the seven-hour-long midterm election last night, as dozens of house seats, as well as Senate seats, went down to the wire, many of which were too close to call.
The Democrats have flipped the House of Representatives in their majority for the first time in 8 years, as it has been two midterm elections since the Democrats had a majority in the house. They needed to gain 23 seats in order to retain a majority and was able to accomplish that early on in the night with victories in key battleground states like Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. As of now, votes are still live but House Democrats have the ability to add even more seats to their gain, as some races were too close to call from last night.
As for the Senate, the GOP will maintain their majority with a two-seat gain. Republicans managed to defeat incumbents in Florida, Arizona, Indiana, North Dakota, and Missouri while still taking losses in Nevada and Montana, in order to keep a Senate majority. However, four Senate races are still up, and The New York Times projects that the Republicans can expand their majority to 53 seats.
Sources: The New York Times, CNN, FiveThirtyEight
By Nick Baum
MONDAY – 11/5/18
The buildup for the 2018 midterm elections has reached a peak, as tomorrow, millions of Americans will be choosing their representatives in what many are calling “The most important election in years.” At stake in the midterms, is control of both lower and upper houses, with all 435 House of Representative seats up, and 35 Senate seats up, too. According to numerous polls, many American voters are treating the election as a referendum on Trump halfway through his presidency, while others will be voting within party lines or for new candidates.
In the House of Representatives, the Democrats are being projected to win, with FiveThirtyEight giving them a 7 in 8 chance of regaining control of the house as of 6:00 PM. What has caused what many call a “blue wave”, is liberal and sometimes independent backlash of President Trump, while other polls show that issues like gun violence and controversy surrounding Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh has energized voters. In order to win back the house, 23 Republican seats will need to be turned over to Democratic control, while the Republican’s strategy consists of accepting a loss in seats, but still maintaining a majority in the House of Representatives.
As for the Senate, Republicans are poised to hang on to a majority in the upper house, as many tight races are up in the air, some of which favoring the Republicans. Also, not all seats are up for election, protecting some individuals on both parties from facing tough reelection or voting out. Overall, the Senate Republicans are projected to keep the same number of seats, 51, if not gain a few more from close races in Nevada, North Dakota, Tennesee, Missouri, Florida, and even surprising upset watches like Democrat Beto O’Rourke taking on Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in Texas, or Republican challenger Bob Hugin running to replace Democrat incumbent Bob Menendez in New Jersey.
Sources: CNN Politics, FiveThirtyEight, 270toWin, Wikimedia Commons
By Nick Baum
TUESDAY – 6/12/18
Last night, US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un met in Singapore for peace talks toward denuclearization and relations. The summit, which was held in the popular resort Capella Singapore, featured an extended handshake, signing a document in terms of denuclearization, and both leaders exchanging words for a better future.
The document that was signed by both leaders, held four main points, according to journalists, but the point of it was for the North Koreans to “work towards denuclearization”, and for the United States to halt all military exercises, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While some argued that the document itself proved to be thin and underwhelming, others argue that the document only establishes the countries’ intentions, and that lots of the summit was spent working between the two administrations at a working lunch. In the working lunch, featured a mix of western and asian foods, and for dessert was the top favorite Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream.
Sources: Time, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News
By Nick Baum
MONDAY – 6/11/18
Both North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump have now arrived in Singapore, for a summit that will be held on June 12th. Kim Jong Un arrived earlier, in the morning hours of yesterday, June 10th, while Trump arrived just hours later from the G7 Summit that he skipped part of.
Today, both leaders will also be completing activities. Trump has accepted an invitation for a state visit with the Singapore government, and reports suggest that Kim Jong Un brought his own toilet, as he is conscious about it. The meeting itself is going to be held at the luxury hotel Capella Singapore, a five star venue with many activities and space for the summit.
Security footage and photos have already been shown, showing the high stakes and preparations needed for the summit. Both leaders plan to have a private conversation, a public one, and a photo op together. This is also the farthest outside of North Korea, that Kim Jong Un has ever been, and the first meeting between a North Korean and American leader in years.
Sources: Wikipedia, CNN, Channel NewsAsia, TicToc by Bloomberg
By Nick Baum
FRIDAY – 5/1/18
Last night in Spain, Mariano Rajoy was ousted from his spot as Prime Minister of Spain by the country’s parliament based on previous corruption and scandals. In fact, Rajoy has become the first Prime Minister in Spain’s modern history (1977 – Now) to be ousted by the parliament.
In return, the leading candidate of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), the main opposition of Rajoy’s party, the Popular Party, Pedro Sanchez, will become the next Prime Minister of Spain. Rajoy’s sudden replacement can be linked to previous scandals involving the Popular Party, with the party supposedly using slush funds to help fund election campaigns.
It is yet to be determined where Rajoy will be next, but prosecutors say they will investigate into previous accounts of corruption. Rajoy lost the parliamentary vote with a decent margin. Out of 350 members of the parliament, 180 voted him out, 169 voted to keep him in, and one absentee was recorded.
Sources: CNN, Reuters, Daily Mail
By Nick Baum
MONDAY – 5/28/18
Memorial Day is seen by many as a day to relax, go to the beach, and hang out in the unofficial start of summer. Barbecues are started, pools and beaches are packed, and fireworks are fired in this festive day off of school and work.
However, Memorial Day actually has a very sadder origin that many don’t acknowledge when celebrating the day. Memorial Day was first started in up state New York after the Civil War to commemorate all of the lives lost in the Union after the war. A southern version of Memorial Day was also held to commemorate the Confederate soldiers killed, but isn’t celebrated anymore.
The day has shifted from acknowledging not only those killed in the civil war, but now to remember all soldiers serving the United States that have been killed on duty, approximately 1.2 million. So, while celebrating this fun day, remember all of the lives sacrificed to give you this freedom!
Sources: Politico, BuzzFeed
By Nick Baum
SATURDAY – 5/26/18
In a referendum held yesterday, Ireland voters voted 69.4% to 30.6% in favor of repealing the country’s eight amendment, a law put in place in 1983 to prohibit abortions in most to all cases. Momentum on the repealing side grew stronger, and forced a referendum back in March, with the date set for May 25th. Polls since campaigning started in March pointed to a win for the pro-choice side, but the landslide victory drew surprise from many Irish voters.
In the days leading up to the vote, Irish born citizens living abroad traveled home to vote in the very heated referendum. Almost 200,000 tweets using the hashtag #HomeToVote was used by many traveling back to the island nation to express their choice. Other Twitter statistics showed growing momentum on the pro-choice side, with tweets for repealing the amendment were eight times more popular than tweets expressing to keep the amendment.
As of now, the landslide victory has given Irish women the ability to end their pregnancy, and the eighth amendment has been replaced with “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.”, meaning that abortions are still allowed to be reviewed by the government under special circumstances. Meanwhile, the legislation to repeal the amendment will be signed by the President soon.
Sources: The Guardian, Wall Street Journal