Adam Smith Blog

Donald Trump gets the 1,237 delegates he needs for the Republican nomination

ON MAY 26th the Associated Press declared that Donald Trump has won 1,238 delegates (counting unpledged), enough to claim the Republican nomination outright. Given the conventional wisdom this election cycle has been that the Republican party is far more fractured than the Democratic, it’s been surprising to see how quickly the Republican party is rallying around their presidential nominee.

While many prominent Republicans including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have yet to endorse Donald Trump, the bulk of the party seems to be moving towards Mr Trump’s camp. A recent Fox News poll showed that 82% of Republicans supported Donald Trump, while the latest Real Clear Politics polling averages show Donald Trump has caught up with Hillary Clinton in head-to-head polling. The general election may be closer than previously anticipated.

How unpopular are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?

A GLIMPSE at how the presidential contest is developing was summed up nicely by a recent headline in the Los Angeles Times: “A Trump-Clinton general election poses a question: Which one does America hate less?” The parties’ putative candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are unloved by most voters, consistently chalking up negative favourability ratings this year. Indeed, Mr Trump has succeeded in the primaries—he won another 27 delegates in the Republican primary in Washington state on May 24th—but he is the most unpopular candidate overall in recent times. In YouGov’s latest poll for The Economist he is viewed unfavourably when broken down by gender, age, race and income groups (Mrs Clinton can take little comfort from the fact that in those categories only blacks and Hispanics view her favourably). 

The protracted primaries, and concurrent party sniping, hasn’t helped. Candidates often become more popular once it is clear that they have secured the nomination, as happened with John Kerry in 2004, and their image changes from contender to victor. This is not always the case,…Continue reading

The rise of the far right in Europe

ON MAY 22nd Europe came within 31,000 votes of electing its first far-right head of state since 1945. Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) only narrowly lost out to Alexander Van der Bellen, the former Green Party leader, in his country’s presidential election. Such a near miss, by a politician who would previously have been dismissed as a fringe candidate, is a sign of the times. Across the continent right-wing populists are on the march. Some, like the FPÖ and the National Front in France, have ditched some of their more obviously extremist positions and project a more professional image. Others, like Jobbik in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece, are overtly racist. What they all have in common is a focus on national identity and strong leadership. They are Eurosceptic, anti-migrant (albeit in varying degrees) and led by charismatic rabble-rousers. For such parties the combination of the eurozone crisis and the surge of refugees into Europe have created the perfect circumstances in which to rail against establishment politicians and other elites. Mr Hofer’s strong showing in Austria is just the latest milestone in…Continue reading

The refugee crisis — match us if you can

Undercover Economist
‘However many refugees we decide to resettle, there’s no excuse for doing the process wastefully’ Writing in the 1930s, Lionel Robbins, head of LSE’s economics department, defined economics as “the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses”. It’s the study of who gets what and […]

Countering antibiotic resistance

DRUG resistance is simple to understand yet often misunderstood. Antibiotics mostly kill bugs by either blocking the synthesis of new proteins or interfering with the making of cell walls. Any variation in the bacteria’s genome that makes one of these drugs less effective will benefit those bugs that have it, and will spread through the bacterial population. That is already happening: resistant strains of tuberculosis cause 200,000 deaths a year (more than an eighth of all deaths from the disease). Left unchecked, antibiotic resistance could drastically alter medicine. Elective surgery such as hip replacements, now routine, may come to be seen as unacceptably risky. Non-optional operations would become more dangerous. The risks of procedures which suppress the immune system, such as organ transplants and cancer chemotherapies, would increase.

Because antimicrobial resistance has no single solution, it must be fought on many fronts (see article). Prescribing fewer…Continue reading