Published by Al Jazeera English, Sept. 10, 2015
By Tom Benner
Singapore – Election fever is in full swing on this island nation with Singaporeans turning out by the thousands in recent days for heated rallies and stump speeches in the lead-up to Friday’s snap election.
Social media is abuzz with partisan banter, betting with bookies is brisk, and an air of unpredictability surrounds the outcome in the first national election since the death last March of founding father and political patriarch Lee Kuan Yew.
Facing its greatest challenge after half-a-century of ruling party domination, Lee’s People’s Action Party (PAP) is up against nine opposition parties in the first election in independent Singapore in which every parliamentary seat is being contested. Continue reading …
Op-ed published by International Network of Street Papers and Spare Change News, Dec. 5, 2012
By Tom Benner
Republican uber-strategist Karl Rove’s election-night meltdown on live television put a human face on the GOP’s willful self-delusion. Mitt Romney, who didn’t prepare an Election Night concession speech, ran a campaign based on yesteryear’s party values, policies, and world view. “It’s not a traditional America anymore,” moaned Fox News conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly.
The wake-up call was overdue. For the sake of a vibrant American two-party system, the GOP needs to change with the times and regroup into a party that matters to more than just the conservative entertainment complex.
That includes embracing modern demographics, expanding the party base beyond Tea Party extremists and the very rich, and some serious soul-searching over how the once-proud Party of Lincoln can be relevant in the 21st Century. Continue reading
(Photo: flickr/Tyler Driscoll for Obama for America)
International polls leading up to Tuesday’s election showed extremely strong global support for President Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. A poll for the BBC World Service showed Obama beating Romney in 20 of 21 countries; other polls showed similar results.
To the crowd watching election returns at the American Club in Singapore, reasons for that support included Obama’s international ties dating back to his youth, a general preference for political continuity, and Obama’s willingness to engage in constructive dialogue with players on the global stage.
Obama won praise for backing away from predecessor George W. Bush’s militaristic approach to foreign policy, for working to rebuild America’s stature overseas, and for avoiding the kind of reckless tough talk that Romney had for China.
Expatriate Americans understood the closeness of the race in terms of a Red State vs. Blue State smackdown, but struggled to explain to non-Americans why the race was close at all. Continue reading