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23 Oct 2018 23:23
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  •   Home > News > International

    The week in US politics featured Kanye West, Taylor Swift, the Supreme Court and a hurricane

    It felt like 2009 all over again, as Kanye West stormed the US politics stage to take the attention away from Taylor Swift.


    "This is our president. He has to be the flyest."

    That's Kanye West in a peak 2018 moment in the Oval Office, in which he also said that his Make America Great Again cap makes him feel like Superman.

    "I tell you what, that was pretty impressive!" the President remarked at the end of the rapper's monologue. "That was quite something."

    "It was from the soul," West replied before giving Donald Trump, and others, a hug.

    Kid Rock also popped in.

    Kanye's White House lunch (which was supposedly to talk prison reform) concluded a week in which Brett Kavanaugh was elevated to the Supreme Court, Nikki Haley said she's quitting the UN, Florida was smashed by Hurricane Michael and tens of thousands registered to vote because Taylor Swift instagrammed.

    The timing of it all is a bit weird

    Remember that long-held feud between Taylor and West that's been simmering since he invaded the stage when she was getting an MTV award for best video clip in 2009?

    This week she got her own back when she declared her Democratic allegiance on Instagram and caused a spike in voter registrations. (Remember that voting isn't compulsory in America so getting people to register and then actually vote is half the battle.)

    Swift has endorsed two Democratic candidates in her home state of Tennessee and criticised Republican Marsha Blackburn's voting record on women and LGBT issues, saying the candidate's attitude "appals and terrifies me".

    President Trump defended Blackburn and accused Swift of being ignorant. He's previously been a fan but says he "likes her 25 percent less now".

    Republican Mike Huckabee (father of @pressec Sarah Huckabee Sanders) fired off this tweet in response.

    "So @taylorswift13 has every right to be political but it won't impact election unless we allow 13 yr old girls to vote," Huckabee tweeted.

    Except according to Vote.org, an organization that aims to increase voter registration, more than 65,000 people signed up to vote within the 24 hours after Swift posted on Instagram. (The post came as voter registrations were closing so that may have also been a factor.)

    Note that Jay-Z and Katy Perry endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, even performing at her campaign rallies, and we all know how that went.

    Also, having heard it at rally after rally that year, if I never hear Katy Perry's "Roar" again it will be too soon.

    Maybe Democrats should adopt "Shake it off" as their new anthem? Just saying.

    Speaking of shaking it off, Brett Kavanaugh is now a Supreme Court justice

    After a helluva lot of hullaballoo.

    Yes, in case you've been living under a rock, President Trump's controversial nominee was officially sworn in at a ceremony in Washington on Monday.

    After several weeks battling sexual assault allegations, taking a blistering walk down memory lane through stories of drunken parties, global analysis of his high school yearbook, hours long Senate committee testimony, an FBI investigation, protests and argument between Republicans and Democrats — Trump finally got his man.

    The new Justice probably wanted to have a good lie down but alas, he's started his new job already.

    As for Christine Blasey Ford, the Judge's highest-profile accuser, she's reportedly still been unable to return to her home due to death threats. She's also been receiving postcards from women all around the world to her work address, says the BBC.

    So, will the whole horrible saga affect the midterm elections, because it's all about politics, right? A poll conducted by NPR/PBS Newshour found 45 per cent believe Dr Christine Blasey-Ford, who alleged that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the 1980s, compared to 33 per cent who believe him.

    A recent CNN poll indicated a Blue Wave is coming:

    • Democrat 54 per cent
    • Republican 41 per cent

    Among women:

    • Democrat 63 per cent
    • Republican 33 per cent

    And analysts say that suburban women will decide the outcome for a lot of seats in the US Congress.

    But Donald Trump predicts Democrats will start voting Republican, saying that the Democratic base has shifted so far left that the US will turn into Venezuela:

    Note that there's also some evidence that polls have tightened in favour of the Republicans as voters mobilise due to fury with the Democrats over Kavanaugh.

    So, as we like to say around here since 2016, polls schmolls.

    Trump got his man, but the President lost one of his favourite women

    Nikki Haley is jumping ship after two years as US ambassador to the UN.

    Trump praised Haley, saying she has done an "incredible job" and is a "fantastic person" who is very intelligent.

    And he's not the only one who thinks so.

    Haley received a 63 per cent approval rating in a recent poll. (There go those polls again!) That's 63 per cent among Republicans AND Democrats in possibly the most polarising era of American politics. Take note.

    Even her fellow colleagues at the UN expressed how much they will miss her leadership. Australia's ambassador to the UN Gillian Bird said it was a pleasure working with Haley.

    As to why she resigned?

    Haley says she believes in term limits and that it was time to give someone else a chance. However, a White House source says it's more to do with her capacity to earn more money in the private sector.

    We think, like the terminator, she'll be back.

    The US mainland was whacked by yet another massive storm

    Michael, the worst hurricane to hit the Florida panhandle in over 100 years, made landfall as a category four storm on Wednesday, killing several people, smashing buildings and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power.

    It packed winds as strong as 250kph, pushing a wall of seawater inland. Those high winds obliterated beachfront homes in Mexico Beach. The entire town is now wiped out.

    "So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything. Homes are gone; businesses are gone. Roads and infrastructure along the storm's path have been destroyed," Florida Governor Rick Scott said.

    "This hurricane was an absolute monster, and the damage left in its wake has yet to be fully understood."

    Hurricane Michael has already slammed Georgia and is dumping heavy rain on North and South Carolina, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month.

    "Michael isn't as bad as Florence but adds insult to injury," North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

    What I'm reading and watching:

    Speaking of the rust belt, we're looking forward to heading out of DC next week to test the mood ahead of the mid-terms.

    Stay tuned.

    © 2018 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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