Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Olympics Finally Started

The Olympics is mostly about and for the athletes and that is the main explanation for it finally starting after a one-year postponement and a continued pandemic. But, there is a lot of politics and economics, and the Crossley Center, working with the Japanese Consulate in Denver, presented a program explaining the history and extraordinary backstory of the Olympics movement. View it now.

Video Now Available on Sports and International Politics – Olympics and Tokyo

Nations fight to host an Olympics and Japan’s intent on its delayed event being a success. Hear a presentation from Professor Koji Murata of Kyoto, Japan, and Professor Tim Sisk from the Korbel School discuss what the Olympic Games mean for countries, athletes and the world.

The March 23, 2021 program was supported by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver.


Does Bipartisan Infrastructure Have a Chance?

The Senate and President Biden are both approaching a final chance to pass the bipartisan infrastructure package. Time is running out before Congress’ August recess, and in September competing priorities and the 2022 election begin to dominate.

Most importantly, this is the bipartisan movement. Along with Biden, the main Senate Republicans legislators leading the effort are retiring or have primaries. The replacements – Republican or Democrat – are not likely to be for compromise, but for partisan battle. Senator Rob Portman (Ohio) and Richard Burr (North Carolina) are retiring and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) has a primary.

The American people of both parties believe that infrastructure investment is a priority, they like the job Biden is doing on it and strongly support investments on roads, bridges, parts and water quality.

Infrastructure Investments
AP-NORC, July 22, 2021

  • 59% improving infrastructure should be a high priority by Washington (50% Republican, 69% Democrat)
  • 55% approve of Biden’s handling of infrastructure
  • 83% support roads, bridges and parts as part of infrastructure package
  • 79% support pipes that supply drinking water as part of infrastructure package

President Biden speaks outside White House with bipartisan group of senators
after meeting on infrastructure, June 24, 2021 | Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

What Issue is the Top U.S. Priority? Depends: Immigration for Republicans and Health Care Access for Democrats.

A new AP-NORC survey highlights the public’s contribution to the lack of progress in Washington and the widely different emphases of the two parties. When the public was asked what should be the highest priority for the federal government, the party differences were dramatic.

There is some agreement on reducing crime, but disagreement as to how to do it, and general agreement that job and economic growth is a priority, but stark differences on control of borders, access to health care and climate change (see table).

Monday, July 26, 2021

Is Newsom in Trouble?

California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivers his State of the State
address from  Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles California,
March 9, 2021 | Mark J. Terrill/AP
The conventional wisdom is that Governor Gavin Newsom’s recall had failed to attract sufficient support or even interest to remove him. He got an election date in mid-September assuming his popularity would be stronger than waiting longer, and importantly, he kept other Democrats off the ballot. In fact, the field has no one with any statewide popularity – Republican, independent or celebrity. Democrats had been able to label the recall a Republican-Trump strategy – deadly in a state with nearly two-to-one Democrat and Donald Trump lost by 29 points.

But a statewide poll from July 20 shows the recall has tightened from the mid-30 percent in earlier polls to 43 percent, with 48 percent against the recall in the new Emerson College/Nexstar Media poll.

None of the candidates on the recall ballot have significant support. Over half the electorate is undecided (53%), 16 percent list Larry Elder, a conservative radio host. Top Republicans John Cox and Kevin Faulconer received 6 percent each and reality TV start, Caitlyn Jenner, received 4 percent.

Newsom’s primary concern is to get his voters to return ballots.

No Consensus on Immigration

Americans are deeply divided on the right direction on immigration as the issue continues to bedevil the Biden administration. Gallup reports that the public is divided into three near equal camps concerning the amount of immigration: increase immigration (33%), decrease (31%) and keep at present level (35%).

It reflects change in the last ten years (see chart above, 2009-2021), with the “decrease immigration” group declining and reaching its lowest level in 2021 and the “increase immigration” trending upward. But, there is still no majority and extreme factions that want near open borders or zero immigration are camped in both the increase and decrease groups. Also, while Hispanic citizens are more in favor of increased immigration than most, there are still many in the decrease (25%) or keep same (33%) camps. Not surprising, the biggest differences are in party identification, with 50 percent of Democrats for increased immigration, but only 10 percent of Republicans. A majority of Republicans (57%) prefer decreased immigration (only 12% of Democrats).

Monday, July 19, 2021

“Denver Water Sues Boulder County” and “West is Baking, Burning and Drying Out”

Two recent Colorado Sun headlines explain the political conflict in Colorado that is hampering a storage project that would provide water to millions in the Denver metropolitan area. Boulder County commissioners have made clear that they oppose the expansion of Gross Reservoir regardless of planning, mitigation and public input. Denver Water has spent millions and years in preparing the project for federal approvals, which are eminent. The County, in a desperate attempt to stop it, is now simply delaying their decision by requesting more and more information. The Boulder County strategy is not unique. Several cities and counties attempt to use land use regulations to stop projects from even being considered for approval.

As the West and Denver area “bake, burn and dry out,” people should remember who stopped the water storage.

The parched landscape around Eads, Colorado, after an extended
summer of extreme drought | Marc Piscotty/COLab

Denver Water is planning major expansion of the reservoir that will increase
height of the Gross Reservoir Dam outside Boulder by 131 feet and water
storage by 77,000 acre-feet | Chris Schneider, Special to The Colorado Sun

Friday, July 16, 2021

Merkel Ends 16-Year Chancellorship; She Outlasted Them All

As Angela Merkel became chancellor in 2005, some of her G7 colleagues were George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac and Silvio Berlusconi. Eleven years later in 2016 during President Obama’s last year, many of her G7 colleagues were also about to lose office, including David Cameron, Fran├žois Hollande and Matteo Renzi (see picture). And although this is her last year in office, she again was at the G7 discussion table with a new array of colleagues discussing China, climate change and the Western alliance.

She leaves office highly popular in Germany and as the most respected leader in the world. Merkel has had many outstanding moments, but actions, such as working hard to maintain EU unity, helping southern Europe in the Great Recession and welcoming immigrants during the crisis of 2015, were the most memorable.

An incredible record. As former President Bush just said, “she had character,” and we’ve become much more aware of how important that is.