Politics

Political news from WNPR

As the presidential race shifted to Nevada with Democratic caucuses last week and Republican caucuses Tuesday night, more young voters had a chance to chime in to the political process. Nevada is a state with a huge young, diverse population.

But there is the perennial question: Do young people matter in politics?

In every recent election, you've probably heard some iteration of the same generational critique: "Young people don't vote."

Rik Stevens / New Hampshire Public Radio

In Nevada, Donald Trump cruised to an easy victory in the state’s caucuses. This hour, our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse spends some time wondering whether the Trump juggernaut and the resurgent Hillary Clinton campaign might render our little state’s primary moot (again). 

Any doubt that Senate Republicans would hold the line behind their leader's decision to block President Obama's Supreme Court nominee has been erased.

"I can now confidently say the view shared by virtually everybody in my conference, is that the nomination should be made by the president the people elect in the election that's underway right now," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters.

Donald Trump has won the Nevada Republican caucuses, giving the billionaire his third victory in two weeks and a huge surge of momentum heading into Super Tuesday.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio held a narrow but decisive lead for second place over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. With all caucus votes in, Rubio had 23.9 percent to Cruz's 21.4 percent, according to the Associated Press.

But it was Trump who towered above his two top rivals, nearly doubling the support of his nearest competitor with 45.9 percent of the vote.

Hillary Clinton wants you to know that she was doing health care before health care was cool.

"You know, before it was called Obamacare it was called Hillarycare," Clinton said recently at a rally in Elko, Nev.

It's a stock line these days in her stump speeches and debates.

The term Hillarycare was coined back in the 1990s, when Clinton tried and failed to restructure the U.S. health care system during her husband's first term as president. It was supposed to be an insult, but now she's embracing it.

Director Spike Lee became the latest black celebrity enter the battle of presidential endorsements ahead of this weekend's Democratic nominating contest in South Carolina. On Tuesday, the Bernie Sanders campaign released a radio ad called "Wake Up" featuring Lee.

Kathleen T. Rhem / Creative Commons

A military justice expert from Yale Law School said the president’s comments on closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay are a first step in an effort to get the American people behind him on the issue.

In any ordinary year, Donald Trump's big win in South Carolina on Saturday night would all but anoint him the Republican presidential nominee. That's especially true after his big win in New Hampshire, where he won with support across various age and income groups in the party.

U.S. operation of the Guantanamo Bay military detention center in Cuba is "contrary to our values" and is seen as "a stain on our broader record" of upholding the highest rules of law, President Obama said Tuesday as he announced plans to close the facility.

When Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders stumps for health care for everyone, it always gets huge applause.

"I believe that the U.S. should do what every other major country on Earth is doing," he told a crowd at Eastern Michigan University on Feb. 15. "And that is, guarantee health care to all people as a right."

The Democratic presidential hopeful basically wants to nationalize the U.S. health insurance industry, and have Uncle Sam foot the bill for medical bills, office visits and prescriptions.

Get rid of copays. Get rid of deductibles. Get rid of lots of forms.

Jamelle Boule / Creative Commons

Donald Trump's win in this weekend's South Carolina primary was bigger than most establishment Republicans, and the media, want to admit. It comes after a week that would have sunk the other candidates; he tangled with the Pope, said the Bush administration didn't protect us from 9/11, and almost supported Obamacare's health care mandate, before he took it back. Are his supporters irrational, or do they just not care about his gaffes? Can anyone really still stop him?

David Shankbone / Creative Commons

Connecticut lawmakers are getting public input on several possible changes to state liquor laws.

Jeb Bush is ending his campaign for president after a disappointing showing in the South Carolina primary.

"The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision," the former Florida governor told his supporters gathered in Columbia on Saturday night. "So tonight, I am suspending my campaign."

"I congratulate my competitors, that are remaining on the island, on their success in a race that has been hard-fought, just as the contest for the presidency should be because it is a tough job," he continued.

Donald Trump has won the South Carolina primary, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio appears to have edged out Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for second place.

"There's nothing easy about running for president, I can tell you. It's tough, it's nasty, it's mean, it's vicious, it's beautiful," Trump declared to his supporters at his victory rally in Spartanburg, S.C.

Trump took 32.5 percent of the vote, while Rubio and Cruz were nearly even with 22.5 percent and 22.3 percent, respectively.

Hillary Clinton will win the Nevada Democratic caucuses, the Associated Press is reporting.

With 84 percent of the precincts reporting, Clinton has 52.5 percent of the vote, compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders' 47.5 percent.

"Tens of thousands of men and women with kids to raise, bills to pay, and dreams that won't die — this is your campaign," she told a crowd at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. "And it is a campaign to break down every barrier that holds you back."

The photo op at the end of Marco Rubio's Greenville rally Thursday morning was the stuff GOP dreams are made of.

The young Latino presidential candidate many top party leaders believe would be their best standard-bearer smiled and cheered, flanked by South Carolina's Indian-American female governor, the state's young black Republican senator and the congressman who's led the investigation into the Benghazi attacks and Hillary Clinton's involvement.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut lawmakers met with Department of Motor Vehicles officials on Friday after a year of backlogs, long lines, and other problems developed following a major computer overhaul at the state agency. 

Another big caucus day and primary night on Saturday, when Democrats go to their caucus sites in Nevada, and Republicans go to the polls in South Carolina. Here are five things we'll learn from the results:

1. Is insulting the Bush family — and getting into a fight with the pope — a good idea or not?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy seems to be at odds with his transportation commissioner over the issue of congestion pricing. It’s a way to discourage drivers from using highways, but its place in the state’s comprehensive transportation plan is uncertain.

In the battle for primary votes, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are locked in a tight battle.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Before delivering his "State of the State Address" two weeks ago, Gov. Dan Malloy said his budget proposal would be "austere" and that's what he delivered. His proposals include sweeping cuts across state government and he has heard from some critics of those cuts during town hall meetings. This hour, the governor stops by WNPR to discuss the state budget and other issues facing Connecticut.

Obama To Visit Cuba Next Month

Feb 18, 2016

Building on the opening to Cuba he launched 14 months ago, President Obama will visit the island as part of a multi-nation Latin America trip planned for next month.

According to Thursday's formal announcement by the White House, the president and first lady will travel to Cuba on March 21-22. "In Cuba, the President will work to build on the progress we have made toward normalization of relations with Cuba — advancing commercial and people-to-people ties that can improve the well-being of the Cuban people, and expressing our support for human rights," the statement read.

Connecticut Senate Democrats

After five terms in the state senate, Andrew Maynard announced he will not seek re-election. The Democrat from Stonington is recovering from two head injuries in the last two years and questions have been raised about his ability to serve.

What Does the Word "Caliphate" Mean?

Feb 17, 2016
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The word “caliphate” has been repeated multiple times during the 2016 presidential race. But the word is often misused, a local Islamic scholar said, giving undeserved legitimacy to the so-called Islamic State.

This past Sunday during 11 a.m. worship service at Bible Way Church of Atlas Road in Columbia, S.C., there was a short celebration of Black History Month. The church honored John Wesley Matthews Jr., a long-serving black state senator.

After Matthews accepted an award, the pastor of the church, Darrell Jackson Sr., took time to acknowledge another special guest.

Steve Petteway / Creative Commons

The political ramifications of Antonin Scalia's death became immediately apparent on Saturday. President Barack Obama said he will make his Supreme Court appointment and Senate Republicans said they will block confirmation. Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse considers this political puzzle in Washington. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Hartford are working on what has become their annual puzzle: the state budget.

President Obama backed a bill in Illinois last week that would automatically register people to vote when they apply for a driver's license or state ID.

"That will protect the fundamental right of everybody," he said. "Democrats, Republicans, independents, seniors, folks with disabilities, the men and women of our military — it would make sure that it was easier for them to vote and have their vote counted."

Last year, an Iranian economist named Mohammad Mehdi Behkish was extremely optimistic about prospects for a nuclear deal that would end many economic sanctions on his country.

"Personally, I would say it can't be that there would not be a deal," he told me when I met him in Tehran.

The alternative, he said, was disaster.

Behkish leads Iran's International Chamber of Commerce. When I met him again this month in his Tehran office, he sounded even more optimistic.

President Obama said Tuesday that despite Republican vows to block him, he will nominate a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly on Saturday.

Obama spoke during a news conference after a summit with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Rancho Mirage, Calif., but the first questions from reporters were about filling the empty Supreme Court seat.

Connecticut Senate Republicans / Creative Commons

Advocates are urging Connecticut lawmakers not to allow the governor to move to a system of block grants to government agencies. They worry this new way of dealing with the budget might eliminate public hearings.

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