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Former President Trump Leading Only Republican Opponent in Her Home State

The two-person contest for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination comes this weekend to South Carolina, where former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley hopes for an upset victory in her home state over former president Donald Trump. VOA’s Congressional Correspondent Katherine Gypson has more from the Southern state.

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By Polityk | 23/02/2024 | Повідомлення, Політика

Why Are Americans Likely Stuck With a Biden-Trump Rematch in November?

washington — In an election year beset with uncertainties, one thing is clear: Americans find a November rematch between U.S. President Joe Biden and his leading Republican challenger, former U.S. President Donald Trump, even less appealing than the first time around in 2020.

A January Reuters/Ipsos poll showed most Americans do not want Biden and Trump to run again and that they are tired of seeing the same candidates in presidential elections.

Trump is besieged by legal woes, and both he and Biden are seen as too old, although polls show more Americans worry about Biden, who would be 81 on Election Day, than Trump, who would be 78.

So, why are Americans in this predicament?

The short answer, according to analysts, is that both Biden and Trump want another term, and they operate in a political system geared to favor incumbents.

Trump wants four more years

A second term could deliver vindication for Trump who since losing to Biden in 2020 has pushed baseless claims that the election was stolen, said Thomas Schwartz, a presidential historian with Vanderbilt University.

Trump’s critics accuse him of running not for the good of the country but to stay out of prison, something he denies. Trump faces 91 criminal charges under four indictments: for falsifying his business records in New York, for withholding classified federal government documents in Florida, and for attempting to overturn the 2020 election in two separate cases in Washington and the state of Georgia.

These indictments have not hurt his poll numbers, said Clifford Young, president of Ipsos Public Affairs in the U.S.

“Trump has a very strong connection with his base,” Young told VOA. “It’s almost unbreakable.”

Revisiting grievances that resonate with MAGA (Make America Great Again) Republicans, Trump dominated the primaries — the statewide voting processes in which voters select a party’s nominee who will compete in the general election — held so far. He is expected to handily win the rest, capitalizing on a system that amplifies the most ideologically fervent voices of the electorate.

This is particularly true in states with “closed” primaries where voters must register with a party before voting. The process shuts out independent and unaffiliated voters, and candidates win by taking on the most ideologically extreme positions.

“You have an overwhelming vote for Donald Trump among Republican primary voters,” Schwartz told VOA.

But even “open” primaries, where registered voters regardless of their political affiliation can vote for any candidate, reflect only a small share of the electorate. In U.S. elections since 2000, the average turnout rate for primary elections is 27% of registered voters, compared to 60.5% for general elections.

Biden wants four more years

Like any incumbent American president, Biden sees a second term as a vindication of his achievements, Schwartz said.

Biden secured a series of legislative wins, led the Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and presided over an economy where recession fears have eased, growth and job gains are beating expectations, and inflation is cooling.

“It is possible for Joe Biden to declare himself a successful one-term president and step aside. He just doesn’t want to,” Schwartz noted, citing Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson who decided not to run again in March of 1952 and 1968 respectively. “And the party is not strong enough to tell him to do so.”

Democrats see Biden as the best barricade against their biggest fear — another Trump administration, Schwartz said. Had Trump not been in the race, he added, they would have been more willing to challenge Biden.

“What I’m hearing is, we’re riding with Biden,” said Democratic strategist Corryn Grace Freeman.

This despite progressives’ frustration with the president’s inability to fully cancel student loan debt and his response to the Israel-Hamas war, she told VOA.

“There are many people that cannot support this president, who also don’t like Donald Trump, who just feel like the Democratic Party consistently fails us,” she said, adding that support from Blacks and Latinos “is beginning to dwindle because of how this president has shown up.”

Democrats are now stuck in an extraordinarily high-risk gamble where a potential health or other age-related incident could further discourage voters, Schwartz warned. But despite Biden’s weak poll numbers and questions about his age, there is no Plan B for Democrats.

“No viable alternative got into the race,” said Elaine Kamarck, senior fellow in Governance Studies and the director of the Center for Effective Public Management at Brookings Institution. “You can’t beat something with nothing,” she told VOA.

This notion was put to the test early, during the January New Hampshire primary that Biden skipped because he had promised South Carolina Democrats that their state would host the first primary. The president was not on the New Hampshire primary ballot, but the majority of voters there wrote in his name, delivering his overwhelming victory over two longshot challengers, Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson, who were on the ballot.

System favors incumbents

Both essentially running as incumbents, Biden and Trump have huge influence over their party apparatus and resources. They also benefit from a primary system where a small number of states have outsized influence and candidate choices are locked in far in advance of the election, even if they become less popular.

The latter feature of the system is the unintended result of efforts to fix the former, said Geoffrey Cowan, a professor at the University of Southern California.

During the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Cowan pushed for reform to ensure voters in all 50 states are represented, replacing a system where fewer than 20 states held primary elections and caucuses and presidential nominees were mostly selected by party leaders during their convention.

“I put together this commission which said that all delegates to the 1972 convention would have to be picked through a process open to full public participation in the calendar year of the election,” Cowan told VOA.

In mandating that primaries are held the same year, the commission did not anticipate that state rules would evolve to lock in candidates early, even if voters’ attitudes about them change, Cowan said.

Most states now require candidates who want to run in a party’s primary to register by the first week of election year. States also race to hold their primaries as early as possible, a process known as frontloading.

This means by the third week of February, it would be difficult for a candidate to launch a campaign against Biden or Trump even though there are still more than 250 days to the election. Primaries have been held in critical states such as New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, and candidacy filing deadlines have passed in many others.

Which means, unless one of them drops out and the party scrambles to nominate a replacement during the convention, Americans are stuck with either Trump, who will be the Republican nominee by championing MAGA grievances, or Biden, because he is seen as the only one who can beat Trump.

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By Polityk | 23/02/2024 | Повідомлення, Політика

Former US President Jimmy Carter Surpasses One Year in Hospice Care

chicago, illinois — A year since The Carter Center announced that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was receiving end-of-life hospice care, Carter continues to defy the odds.

He quietly celebrated his 99th birthday on October 1, and last appeared in public on November 29 to attend the funeral of his wife, Rosalynn Carter.

“He is very old and very frail,” said author Jonathan Alter, who chronicled Carter’s life in the book “His Very Best.” “When you are 99, various systems in your body start breaking down, but it’s very important to understand that he does not have any underlying health condition like heart failure or cancer.”

The Carter family’s decision to announce that the 39th president was entering hospice care has raised awareness about end-of-life care giving, which Alter compares to the decades-long efforts of the former president and first lady to remove the stigma associated with mental illness.

“They did this very intentionally to give a boost to the hospice movement,” Alter told VOA in a recent Skype interview. “I don’t think there was any expectation that he’d still be in hospice a year later, but they were very, very interested in spreading the word about hospice.”

“Once again leading by example, [the Carter family] is showing us how to embrace a stage of life that people don’t want to think about — that people don’t want to talk about,” Ben Marcantonio, interim CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, explained during an event his organization sponsored in New York’s Time Square in August, recorded live on Facebook.

“They’re showing us how hospice helps patients live life to the fullest to the end of life, and that’s why we’re gathered here today to publicly thank President Carter and his family.”

While now out of the spotlight, the global nonprofit Carter Center continues to “wage peace, fight disease and build hope” around the world. One of Jimmy Carter’s key efforts leading the center — the complete eradication of parasitic Guinea worm infections — marked a steady number of infections in the last several years.

“Thirteen human cases reported in 2023,” said Adam Weiss, director of The Carter Center’s Guinea worm eradication program. “With such few human cases, the biggest risk is about the reinfection of humans from some of the animal infections that are occurring primarily in Chad, Mali, Cameroon and Angola.”

“While nine of those 13 cases were in Chad, four of those nine cases were in one family,” explained Dr. Donald Hopkins, one of the architects of The Carter Center’s Guinea worm eradication efforts.

Hopkins encouraged Carter to take on the neglected tropical disease in the center’s early days and added that while the annual number of infections did not decrease this year, the total number of infections globally are dramatically different from where they were when the effort began in the 1980s.

“There were an estimated 3 ½ million cases, mostly in Africa, but some also in India, Pakistan and Yemen,” said Hopkins. “Having only 13 human cases now annually means that a lot fewer people are suffering.”

Middle East conflicts

In recent months, The Carter Center has called for a cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas, which threatens to undo a pillar of Jimmy Carter’s legacy. The genesis of the center’s efforts to promote peace and democracy around the world was the success of the Camp David Peace Accords, which Carter brokered between Egypt and Israel during his presidency in the 1970s.

“This treaty between Egypt and Israel is the most successful, durable treaty of the postwar era,” Alter told VOA.

The tense and difficult negotiations Carter hosted at the Camp David Presidential Retreat for 12 days in September 1978 between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin resulted in a treaty that ended decades of conflict between Israel and one of its most powerful neighbors.

“Israel turned back hundreds of thousands of acres of land in the Sinai Peninsula and pulled the Israeli settlements in the Sinai Peninsula as they turned that land back to Egypt. In exchange for that, they received a promise from Egypt it would not attack Israel as it had four times in the previous 30 years. It was understandable why it would be durable. It was a land for peace swap,” Alter said.

But as Israel presses its offensive against Hamas in the Gaza strip, the Egyptian government has threatened to suspend the 45-year-old treaty.

“Given the stakes, this is a big deal and obviously very much on the mind not only of the Israelis who understand its importance, but also the United States,” Alter said.

He said it also underscores Carter’s unrealized dream of broader peace in the Middle East.

“If Jimmy Carter were just a few years younger, you can bet he would be in the region right now trying to make peace,” Alter said.

While Carter holds the records for the longest-living occupant of the White House and the longest marriage of any president and first lady in U.S. history, he marks another first this year.

The White House Historical Association unveiled its annual Christmas ornament on Wednesday, this year featuring Carter — the first time a living president is honored with an ornament.

“Both the front and reverse side of the ornament feature peace doves, symbolic of President Carter’s work for peace in the Middle East, and perhaps most significantly, the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty signed on the North Lawn of the White House on March 26, 1979,” the association describes on its website.

On the reverse side of the ornament is the Seawolf-class USS Jimmy Carter. Commissioned in 2005, it is the only submarine to be named for a living president. The globe at the center refers to Carter’s lifelong work on environmental conservation. At the base of the anchor is a garland of peanut flowers, a reminder of Carter’s years as a farmer and businessman in Plains, Georgia.

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By Polityk | 23/02/2024 | Повідомлення, Політика

«Укрзалізниця»: пасажирів, які запізнилися на поїзд через протести в Польщі, довезуть наступними рейсами

«Ті пасажири, які не встигнуть на свій поїзд через перекриття трас, впродовж доби можуть сісти на інший поїзд «Укрзалізниці» з Перемишля, Любліна й Хелма до України з квитками на свій пропущений рейс»

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By Gromada | 22/02/2024 | Повідомлення, Суспільство

«Відпочинок» українських дітей в «ідеологічних» таборах Білорусі у 2022 році співфінансував фонд ООН ЮНІСЕФ

Журналісти відзначають, що у серпні 2022 року для дітей із окупованих регіонів України білоруський ЮНІСЕФ спільно із білоруським Червоним Хрестом організовував їхнє розміщення у літніх таборах «Берьозка» (Гродненська область, Білорусь) і «Липки» (Вітебська область, Білорусь)

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By Gromada | 22/02/2024 | Повідомлення, Суспільство

Biden’s Team Challenges How President Is Portrayed in Press

NEW YORK — Occupants of the White House have grumbled over news coverage practically since the place was built. Now it’s U.S. President Joe Biden’s turn: With a reelection campaign underway, there are signs that those behind the president are starting to more aggressively and publicly challenge how he is portrayed. 

Within the past two weeks, an administration aide sent an unusual letter to the White House Correspondents’ Association complaining about coverage of a special counsel’s report on Biden’s handling of classified documents. In addition, the president’s campaign objected to its perception that negative stories about Biden’s age got more attention than remarks by Donald Trump about the NATO alliance. 

It’s not quite “enemy of the people” territory. But it is noticeable. 

“It is a strategy,” said Frank Sesno, a professor at George Washington University and former CNN Washington bureau chief. “It does several things at once. It makes the press a foil, which is a popular pattern for politicians of all stripes.” 

It can also distract voters from bad news. And while some newsrooms quickly dismiss the criticism, he says, others may pause and think twice about what they write. 

The letter from Ian Sams, spokesman for the White House counsel’s office, suggested that reporters improperly framed stories about the February 8 release of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report. Sams pointed to stories by CBS News, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press and others emphasizing that Hur had found evidence that Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified material. Sams wrote that much of that so-called evidence didn’t hold up and was negated by Hur’s decision not to press charges. 

He said it was critical to address it when “significant errors” like misstating the findings and conclusions of a federal investigation of a president occur. 

It was Sams’ second foray into press criticism in a few months; last fall, he urged journalists to give more scrutiny to House Republicans and the reasons behind their impeachment inquiry of Biden. 

“Everybody makes mistakes, and nobody’s perfect,” Sams told the AP. “But a healthy back and forth over what’s the full story helps make both the press and the government sharper in how the country and world get the news they need to hear.” 

Kelly O’Donnell, president of the correspondents’ association and an NBC News correspondent, suggested Sams’ concerns were misdirected and should be addressed to individual news organizations. 

“It is inappropriate for the White House to utilize internal pool distribution channels, primarily for logistics and the rapid sharing of need-to-know information, to disseminate generalized critiques of news coverage,” O’Donnell said. 

In a separate statement, Biden campaign spokesman T.J. Ducklo criticized media outlets for time spent discussing the 81-year-old president’s age and mental capacity, an issue that was raised anew when Biden addressed the Hur report with reporters. He suggested that was less newsworthy and important than Trump’s NATO comments. 

Americans deserve a press corps that covers Trump “with the seriousness and ferocity this moment requires,” said Ducklo, who resigned from the White House in 2021 for threatening a reporter. 

To be fair, deadline times likely affected the initial disparity in coverage that Ducklo pointed out. And Trump’s remarks have hardly been ignored by media outlets. 

The criticism comes amid the backdrop of unhappiness among some journalists about how much Biden is made available for questions — an issue that surfaced again when Biden turned down an opportunity to appear before tens of millions of Americans in an interview during the Super Bowl pregame show. 

The 33 news conferences Biden has given during the first three years of his presidency is lower than any other American president in that time span since Ronald Reagan, said Martha Kumar, a Towson University professor emeritus and expert on presidents and the press. Similarly, the 86 interviews Biden has given is lower than any president since she began studying records with Reagan. By comparison, Barack Obama gave 422 interviews during his first three years. 

Instead, Biden prefers more informal appearances where reporters ask a few questions, with comparatively little opportunity for follow-up, she said: The 535 such sessions that Biden conducted was second only to Trump’s 572. 

One example followed Biden’s remarks Friday after the death of Russian dissident Alexey Navalny. Another was Biden’s early evening availability following the release of Hur’s report, a chaotic scene where reporters tried to outshout one another. The president’s performance, and remarks about his forgetfulness that were made in Hur’s report, led to more questions about the impact of age on his ability. 

“It did not serve him well,” Kumar said. Some on Biden’s team, meanwhile, believe the president showed a combativeness in the face of criticism that Americans will appreciate. 

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By Polityk | 22/02/2024 | Повідомлення, Політика

Лубінець повідомив про повернення 11 українських дітей з окупованих територій і РФ

За його словами, серед повернутих дітей – шестеро дівчаток, зокрема рідні дворічні сестри-двійнята, а також п’ятеро хлопчиків, найменшій повернутій дитині – 2 роки, найстаршій – 16 років

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By Gromada | 20/02/2024 | Повідомлення, Суспільство

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From Trump-Allied Lawyers Over 2020 Election Lawsuit

Washington — The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal from Sidney Powell and other lawyers allied with former President Donald Trump over $150,000 in sanctions they were ordered to pay for abusing the court system with a sham lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results in Michigan. 

The justices did not comment in leaving in place the sanctions against seven lawyers who were part of the lawsuit filed on behalf of six Republican voters after Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory over Trump in the state. 

Among the lawyers is L. Lin Wood, whose name was on the lawsuit. Wood has insisted he had no role other than to tell Powell he would be available if she needed a seasoned litigator. 

The money is owed to the state and Detroit, for their costs in defending the lawsuit. The sanctions initially totaled $175,000, but a federal appeals court reduced them by about $25,000. 

In October, Powell pleaded guilty to state criminal charges in Georgia over her efforts to overturn Trump’s loss in the state. She pleaded guilty to six misdemeanors accusing her of conspiring to intentionally interfere with the performance of election duties. 

Powell gained notoriety for saying in November 2020 that she would “release the Kraken,” invoking a mythical sea monster when talking about a lawsuit she planned to file to challenge the results of the presidential election.

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By Polityk | 20/02/2024 | Повідомлення, Політика
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