This Week in American Politics: Trump’s Fall in Iowa Rally, Debt Crisis, and How American Politics Inspired Squid Game

Welcome to your weekly drop of all the big news, weird rules and interesting events from US politics.

The Midwestern state of Iowa produces more corn than anywhere else in the United States, is where sliced ​​bread was invented and has a state fair with a selection of delicacies named things like “Chicken Bacon Ranch Cruncholi” and “Flaming Hot Cheeto Funnel Cake”.

It is also known for being “first in the nation” when it comes to the primary process that determines the candidates who will run in general elections each election year.

That’s why anyone with the slightest intention of running to the White House will find an excuse to visit Iowa to test the waters long before the race even begins.

And folks, last weekend Donald Trump went to Iowa for a rally.

An estimated 20,000 Iowans turned up to hear the former president speak. (Reuters: Rachel Mummey)

You are all extremely familiar with the blink-blink-blink-nudge-nudge game that Trump has played to announce his 2024 intentions so far, but on the scale of subtlety, this was the rally at the end of the spectrum’s Flaming Hot Cheeto Funnel Cake.

Actually, The Washington Post has reported that the former president was ready to announce his candidacy for 2024, only to be taken out of it because of the limits he would suddenly be below in terms of fundraising, campaign funding and equal time rules for TV appearances.

America’s non-partisan Capitol Hill broadcaster CSPAN withdrew when it said the silent part out loud, marking its coverage of the event as “Campaign 2024”.

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The rally itself was full of common false claims about the 2020 election that he trotted out at previous events … except this time he was flanked by lots of elected Republicans from the state.

That includes Senator Chuck Grassley, who grinned as he accepted the former president’s approval to run for re-election in 2022 at the rally. If you want a reminder of how long nine months are in politics, after the riots on January 6, Grassley said this in a statement:

“He [Trump] belittled and harassed elected officials across the country to get their way. He encouraged his own loyal vice president, Mike Pence, to take extraordinary and constitutional action on behalf of the Electoral College.

Apart from that, the former president revealed that if he ran (blink-blink-push-push), he would already have a slogan ready.

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Trump’s current “I run but I do not say officially” position makes life … at best difficult … for other Republicans’ slate who thought they would take a turn in the White House when their first presidency was convincingly exhausted by American voters at last election.

One of them is Pence, who will make his own visit to Iowa in a few weeks.

Another is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which led a new survey among potential Republican challengers in 2024 without Trump in it.

South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott – as you may remember from his speech at the 2020 Republican Congress – has quietly raised $ 8.3 million ($ 11.2 million) for a possible bid.

But almost all of these otherwise strong challengers are expected to keep their powder dry if Trump really decides to run.

Which leaves us political viewers in this strange limbo where candidates get ready to drive because Trump has not said anything yet, but at the same time refuse to say anything that might give the impression that they are running not to upset Trump’s legion of supporters … who they need to win.

A challenger who has not kissed the ring at Mar-A-Lago is a former Trump ally-Chris Christie.

He told a podcast he “does not intend to postpone to anyone” when he decides to run or not, and in a speech in September at the Ronald Reagan Library where he spoke of “where we must go as a party if we are to win back the voters we obviously lost in 2020”.

“We must stop wasting our time, our energy and our credibility on statements that will never, ever convince anyone of anything,” In Christie.

“Pretending we won when we lost is a waste of time and energy and credibility.”

The former president did not listen. At his rally in Iowa, Trump proposed his strategy to help the Republicans in the middle term and a (blink-blink-nudge-nudge) potential comeback in 2024 is to talk about … the 2020 election.

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A tactic it even his most ardent supporters, and people in that Iowa audience last week, are not really warming up.

The ICYMI debt ceiling crisis was averted

For the moment, at least.

This week, the House Democrats, without the support of any Republicans, managed a short-term increase in the US debt limit, temporarily postpone the prospect of a global financial disaster until 3 December.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill soon.

So that means we’ll have the same battle again in just a few weeks as the world’s financial markets are once again nervously waiting to see if American politicians can come to terms with it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California is taking a question from a reporter
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has had a hard time arguing with her Democratic colleagues in Congress late.(AP: Andrew Harnik)

You should not expect that the mood between the two camps will improve with the extra time that this bill provides.

Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats were playing “Russian roulette” with the economy and urged President Nancy Pelosi to travel to Europe.

“I can only assume that she hopes the full faith and honor of the United States will be resolved,” McConnell said.

Keep an eye on … Biden’s approval rating

President Joe Biden enters the White House after arriving at South Lawn aboard Marine One
President Joe Biden is facing increasing pressure on his lagging approval ratings.(AP: Evan Vucci)

You could call it a slump. Maybe a tumbling. If he was a golfer, you would say he has the Japs.

But no matter how you want to spin, the president is not well.

You know that when it comes to approvals, it is always wise to wait for the trend to show before drawing conclusions.

We have now waited and the trend is bad news for Biden, who has not been able to return to a positive approval zone since the US troops withdrew from Afghanistan.

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FiveThirtyEights average 49.2 percent of Americans disapprove of their job, ahead of 44.5 percent of Americans who approve.

The same experts attribute the case to a number of factors, with the resuscitation of the coronavirus due to the Delta variant being the most erroneous.

Press secretary Jen Psaki said there was “no doubt” that the pandemic weighed on the president’s approval.

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It’s a problem for Biden just as it was a problem for his predecessor. Trying to fix the pandemic was once described to me as turning on an aircraft carrier – no matter how hard you try, it will not turn around quickly.

The difference is that Biden has just over a year left until voters go to the polls, but Donald Trump only had a few months.

Democrats who will soon begin their re-election campaigns in earnest will soon hope that the president has already started turning that wheel.

Breaks the internet

A person in a pink outfit with a triangle on his black mask holds a gun.
Squid Game has taken over the internet too late.(Delivered: Netflix)

If you, like most of the planet, have enjoyed the Netflix smash hit Squid Game, you can partly thank former President Donald Trump.

IN an interview with IndieWire, the show’s creator Hwang Dong-hyuk talked about the process of getting the show done, even though he had ideas for it as far back as 2008.

Among other things, the emergence of IT giants and young people investing their money in cryptocurrency, Dong-hyuk said that Donald Trump’s presidency convinced him that now was the right time to finally release his passion project to the world.

Spoilers for Squid Game will follow if you have not seen it.

In the same interview, the creator said that there were no plans for a sequel yet. But as you now know, Trump has not yet confirmed whether he will run in 2024 as well.

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