Political Storm Top 5: Agenda Free Weekly News Update
Hello and welcome to the Top 5 by Sam Jenkins. The Top 5 consists of the top five things happening right now in politics. Be sure to click that like button, leave a comment, or let me know if I’m #FakeNews. Thank you for reading!
1 Big Thing: Family Separation
The Trump administration has separated more than 2,000 children from their parents as they crossed the southern U.S. border. From there, the children were held in a wide variety of detention centers across the country. Both sides of the aisle were outraged and captivated by the stories and images from this separation policy.
- This family separation was a part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy with respect to immigration. This policy, which refers all illegal immigrants to prosecution in the legal system, attempts to dissuade other migrants from entering the country.
- On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order that tries to keep families together. However, this order runs into other legal challenges like “the Flores Settlement,” which states children cannot be held by the government for more than 20 days.
- The future is uncertain. For example, the government is unsure how the kids, who were initially separated under the policy, will be reunited with their parents. Additionally, they are unsure of the facilities they will now place the families in.
U.S. v. China: Trade
On Monday, President Trump threatened to impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. This threat is just one battle in the U.S.-China trade war where the U.S. has threatened tariffs on $450 billion worth of Chinese goods.
- On one hand, the Trump administration argues they are imposing the tariffs on China because of the U.S. trade deficit to China and unfair Chinese trade practices like intellectual property theft. On the other hand, critics argue China’s retaliatory tariffs could hurt American farmers and consumers as well as investors’ confidence around the world.
- The U.S. and China are fighting for economic superiority today. But the trade war is also about the economies of the future. For example, both countries are seeking to protect their technological industries.
- A few weeks ago, trade talks between the two economic superpowers broke down. Now, the Trump administration is divided over whether to even try to resume discussions before the tariffs are officially enacted on July 6th.
Last Thursday, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General released a report of an investigation into the FBI’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails. Ultimately, the report stated that while FBI Director James Comey and the other investigators’ actions were improper, their conclusions were not affected by any bias or improper actions.
- One interesting development was a text message exchange between two FBI officials, who participated in the email investigation. One official questioned, “Trump’s never going to be president, right?” The other official responded, “No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
- Additionally, President Trump stated this report “totally exonerates” him. However, the report is separate from the Mueller investigation and made no conclusions about the findings of the Mueller investigation.
Democracy and the Supreme Court
Recently, the United States Supreme Court ruled on two cases revolving around central issues in democracy: voting and gerrymandering.
- In Ohio, if one doesn’t vote in two consecutive presidential elections, they are removed from the voter rolls. The conservatives on the Court upheld this Ohio law in a 5-4 vote because they claimed it ensured the accuracy of voter rolls. The liberals on the Court argued the Ohio law was targeted voter suppression.
- Gerrymandering is a process where political maps are drawn to help some people’s political prospects while hurting other’s prospects. The Court heard both a Republican and Democratic case of gerrymandering. However, the Court did not rule on the merits of gerrymandering. Instead, they sent it to back to lower courts.
World Cup Politics
The World Cup is underway in Russia. While the amazing players take the field, politics will fill the context surrounding the event. The World Cup was awarded to Russia in 2010 when post-cold war glaze still hovered over the globe. Since then, Russia invaded Crimea and meddled in foreign elections around the world. At home, many Russians are confronted with racism and homophobia. Despite this fraught political atmosphere, Russian president Vladimir Putin gets a chance to show off his country and play statesmen during the bubble of the World Cup.