US elections: no matter who you vote for, money always wins
Sunday 29th January 2012,
, Photograph: TJ Kirkpatrick/Corbis
Republican presidential debates are not for the faint-hearted. Last week in Jacksonville, Florida, Rick Santorum warned of the "threat of radical Islam growing" in Central and South America. Newt Gingrich advocated sending up to seven flights a day to the moon, where private industry might set up a colony, and reaffirmed his claim that Palestinians were invented in the late 70s. Mitt Romney argued that if you make things tough enough for undocumented people, they will "self-deport".
Florida GOP debate: Mitt Romney restores control
Friday 27th January 2012,
Debates, particularly by this stage, are a performance. There are few substantive questions the candidates have not been already been asked. There are few answers we haven't already heard.
State of the union: President Obama addresses inequality
Wednesday 25th January 2012,
If you want to understand the relevance of President Barack Obama's state of the union message look at where he's off to tomorrow. First, Iowa; then, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Michigan. All swing states. All, with the exception of Arizona, which was John McCain's home state, he won comfortably four years ago. It was an election speech, for an incumbent playing defence.
South Carolina's steady state GOP debate
Friday 20th January 2012,
, Photograph: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
And then there were four. The smaller fry have left – first Horny, then Crazy, Sleepy and, finally, Dopey. But while the line-up was trimmed, the central tension in this primary season held strong.
For too many African-Americans, prison is a legacy passed from father to son
Sunday 15th January 2012,
, Photograph: Ric Francis/AP
According to Jeffrey Gamble, the luckiest day of his life was when his car hit the kerb at the corner of Jefferson and National in Los Angeles while he was drunk-driving. It flew over a fence, falling 80ft into a creek below, leaving him with a broken neck and paralysed. "If I hadn't had that accident, I would be dead – or in jail for the rest of my life, just like my brothers," says Gamble, 47. Prison, for the Gambles, is as common a destination as university might be for a middle-class family. His two brothers are both in jail. Ricky, who was convicted for burglary and assault with a firearm under the three strikes law, is in for 110 years to life. Mike got life without parole for the murder of a local councillor. His father was in jail for a series of alcohol-related offences. His son, Khalif, has also been in jail for dealing drugs and possession.
Michelle Obama, reluctant presidential consort
Friday 13th January 2012,
, Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP
When asked if she found it limiting to be described as a black woman writer, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison replied:
Mitt Romney's bruising Republican primary progress
Wednesday 11th January 2012,
, Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Pity Mitt Romney. He's the first Republican in recent history to take both New Hampshire and Iowa in the primary process. His double-digit victory last night, was emphatic by any standard. Barring some cataclysmic revelation or humiliating gaffe, he will be the Republican presidential nominee in November.
The GOP’s Blatant Racism
Wednesday 11th January 2012,
In the British original of
Rick Santorum's surge in Iowa means Mitt Romney is no winner
Wednesday 4th January 2012,
, Photograph: Charlie Riedel/AP
The secret to surging this Republican primary season, like the secret to a good joke, is timing. For most of the last year, Rick Santorum has virtually been living in Iowa and the Iowans didn't seem to care. Religious conservatives and Tea Party followers fell in and out of love with Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. Each time they were propelled to frontrunner status their lead would bring the kind of scrutiny a future presidential nominee might expect. And each time that was enough to send them back to the second tier.
US primaries promise little – and this year could deliver even less
'They are in a terminal panic," said Pat Buchanan in February 1996 of the Republican establishment, as his insurgent campaign against Senate leader Bob Dole gathered pace. "All the knights and barons will be riding into the castle pulling up the drawbridge in a minute. All the peasants are coming with pitchforks. We're going to take this over the top." By March his campaign was suspended. By November he was supporting Dole.