Christopher York   |   October 25, 2016   11:54 AM ET

We’re going to miss Obama - the most powerful man in the world yet he still finds time to laugh at himself.

And take a golden opportunity to have a crack at Donald Trump.

Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live’s ‘Mean Tweets’ segment, the outgoing President regaled the audience with some of the nastier things said to him by people on Twitter.

Including one from Trump...

To which Obama replied: “Well @realdonaldtrump, at least I will go down as a President.”


Presidential Debates Ignore The American People

Kumail Jaffer   |   October 20, 2016    7:07 PM ET

What if I told you, as you most likely have just recovered from watching two of the worst Presidential candidates in history argue over who has the right to devolve more power and wealth to the Elite, that you don't have to reluctantly place a cross in either of their boxes come November the 8th? That there are other options that may fit your views more closely? That a vote for Jill Stein doesn't add up to a vote for Trump? You certainly wouldn't know it from the two puppets on stage.

At the time of writing, the third and final debate has just ended, with both candidates giving statements that reflect the antithesis of their political positions. Donald Trump wants to "run America like a company", talking as if the corporatist shade of free market capitalism isn't already encompassing America, while his counterpart, Hillary Clinton, promised to "stand up to corporations", after taking donations from companies and Big Banks for most of her career.

In my previous article I mused how America, as a democracy, managed to stumble into a situation with two of the most hated candidates in History. We now do know; according to Wikileaks, Hillary and the DNC colluded to a great extent to push Bernie Sanders out of the running for the nomination, while Donald Trump simply took advantage of a rising tide of nationalism that stems out of failed neoliberalism. (it's interesting to note that Bernie was the antithesis of this - millions flocked to the Vermont Senator for similar reasons, in terms of policies failing working people - and perhaps a Trump vs Sanders race would have more appropriately reflected the electorate).

The debates themselves were unruly, full of lies, and presented weak and fractured policy from both parties. (And of course, the candidate that you support won all three!)
Whether it be Hillary Clinton becoming visibly rattled over Wikileaks's revelation that she rigged the DNC election, gave shocking speeches to Big Banks or took money from several 'controversial' countries before appearing to lay the foundations for another Cold War, or whether it be Trump incarcerating himself through alienating whole groups of people from his possible vote, this kind of discussion, if we can dignify it with that, is not what the American people need. Through all three debates there was very little on what needs to be done in order to transform the lives of millions of working people (failed by Establishment policies) so they are able to live their lives to an acceptable standard - perhaps the 'vote winner' in a day and age where inequality has risen to an unacceptable degree. Instead, we have Trump somehow gaining blue collar votes by proposing trickle down economics, and Hillary changing her stance (dare I say lying?) about the TPP amongst other issues.

Foreign policy was also extremely disappointing - and it's telling it took a man like The Donald to say the most sensible thing on Syria. "You funded rebels, we don't know who the rebels are!" - of course, referring to the Obama policy that funded anti-Assad insurgents who would later merge into/align with ISIS. It's clear both candidates, but primarily Clinton, are still pushing for regime change in the region - Trump for his 'Strongman' image, and Hillary to carry on US tradition. (Another aside here - it was interesting when Wallace, who was sound throughout, called for the confirmation of 'peaceful transition' from one government to another - ever heard of Pinochet, Batista, the Shah of Iran?) Still, where were the questions on Hillary's donations from the Saudi regime? Or her disaster in Haiti? Whatever your view, it's in the interest of democracy that both candidates be treated the same on their past.

The three debates reflected a microcosm of American media - frame a narrow spectrum to them all their lives, and people will rarely think outside of it. Ask yourself this, especially if you will vote on November 8th - does America need a new brand of alt right nationalism? A rise in anger towards the immigrants who only work to benefit the countries that house them? Or does it need more of the same? More flawed foreign policy, more bowing to the corporate and banking worlds?

Or, and here's a radical question - can we do better?

Southside With You (Review)

Alice Charles   |   September 23, 2016    4:22 PM ET


Since Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, the "walking and talking" romantic drama has become a staple - but none so far have featured an African American couple.

Southside With You follows the first date between Barack Obama and the then Michelle Robinson - only it's not a date, as she insists. The problem? She is an associate at a prestigious law firm and Barack's advisor and sees any relationship other than a professional one as strictly inappropriate. Barack has one evening to convince Michelle otherwise - and he is a very determined young man.

He invites her out on the pretext of attending a community meeting - but doesn't tell her what time the meeting is taking place as a ruse to spend more time with her. Michelle is less than impressed when he is late picking her up but he scores points later when he takes her to an exhibit of African American art and impresses her with his knowledge of poetry. Michelle is curious about his background. Having lived in Indonesia and Hawaii, he is a citizen of the world; she speaks French fluently but has never left the US.

When they do eventually arrive at the meeting, Barack impresses with his charisma and charm, as well as his ability to unit the crowd and galvanise their energy and passion for the greater good. Here we have a glimpse of the statesman he is to become.

After the meeting, the pair go to see Spike Lee's powerful film, Do The Right Thing (I still think Lee was robbed at Cannes when the judges awarded the top prize to Steven Soderbergh for Sex, Lies and Videotape, which is pretty much unwatchable now). And it's after the movie that things come to a head when Michelle runs into her boss and his wife.

While Obama takes the chance encounter in his stride (displaying a taste of the politician he will be), Michelle is mortified. She bridles at her boss's suggestion that the pair are an item and demands to be taken home.

All hope is lost it seems. But Obama is not to be deterred so easily. As we know, it all turns out well in the end.

A smart script by writer-director Richard Tanne delivers on a number of levels. And Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers are both excellent in the leads. There are some lovely touches - Michelle creaming her skin before leaving the house; looking through a rusty hole in the floor of Barack's car; enjoying an impromptu drumming session. Southside With You is a delightful Sunday afternoon of a film - one you will want to watch again and again.

Southside With You is in cinemas now

Aubrey Allegretti   |   September 23, 2016    3:31 PM ET

The widower of murdered MP Jo Cox has accused Nigel Farage of “spreading prejudices” and condemned the famous ‘breaking point’ poster used to campaign for Britain’s exit from the EU.

Brendan Cox spoke of the need to combat the “insidious creep of extremism” in Europe and the US ahead of a meeting with President Obama.

He took aim at Farage in a piece for the New York Times on Friday, saying that while his wife’s death was an “aberration” but other factors such as the ‘breaking point’ poster and the media’s routine “demonisation” of refugees made further despicable acts more likely.

“Members of Parliament don’t get murdered in Britain; this horrific event was surely an aberration,” he wrote on Friday.

“Yet it happened in a context that makes such aberrations more likely — one in which pro-Brexit posters featuring a picture of Syrian families seeking safety claimed the country was at ‘breaking point’ and in which parts of the media routinely demonize migrants and refugees.”

Cox also accused Farage of “spreading prejudice towards Romanians” and decried rising levels of intolerance across the world. 

“In France, the National Front leader, Marine Le Pen, smears Muslims,” Cox wrote. “In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban peddles hatred of refugees.

“In Britain, the former leader of Ukip, Nigel Farage, spreads prejudice toward Romanians. And in the United States, the Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, insults Mexicans and Muslims.”

Cox wrote his piece ahead of a visit to New York, where he is attending Barack Obama’s summit meeting on refugees. 

According to Financial Times chief political correspondent Jim Pickard, Cox and his two children are due to meet the US president.

Cox outlined in his New York Times piece how he hoped to win over the “silent majority” of people who “deplore the incitement of hatred but who may have real concerns about immigration, security or the pace of change in their communities”.

“Activists need to work more effectively — whether with labor unions or the big businesses, religious groups or sports people — to unite institutions that stand for tolerance and diversity into a cohesive block.”

The by-election to elect a new MP for Jo Cox’s former constituency will take place on October 20. The man charged with her murder, Thomas Mair, will go on trial in mid-November.

The Huffington Post UK contacted Ukip for comment but had received none as this story went live. 


Sarah Harris1   |   September 22, 2016    3:52 PM ET

A little boy has written a heart-breaking letter to Barack Obama after being moved by the plight of the young Syrian child photographed in an ambulance earlier this month.

The image of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh looking bewildered in the aftermath of an airstrike on his home in Aleppo moved people around the world.

But six-year-old Alex, from Scarsdale in New York, was determined to try to help and wrote to the US president to ask if Omran could come to stay with him.

His letter read...

Dear President Obama,

Remember the boy who was picked up by the ambulance in Syria? Can you please go get him and bring him to [my home]? Park in the driveway or on the street and we will be waiting for you guys with flags, flowers, and balloons.

We will give him a family and he will be our brother. Catherine, my little sister, will be collecting butterflies and fireflies for him. In my school, I have a friend from Syria, Omar, and I will introduce him to Omar. We can all play together. We can invite him to birthday parties and he will teach us another language. We can teach him English too, just like my friend Aoto from Japan.

Please tell him that his brother will be Alex who is a very kind boy, just like him. Since he won’t bring toys and doesn’t have toys Catherine will share her big blue stripy white bunny. And I will share my bike and I will teach him how to ride it. I will teach him additions and subtractions in math. And he [can] smell Catherine’s lip gloss penguin which is green. She doesn’t let anyone touch it.

Thank you very much! I can’t wait for you to come!


6 years old

Obama read the message out in an address to the United Nationss summit on refugees.

He said: “Those are the words of a six-year-old boy,’ Obama said after reading out the letter. ‘A young child who has not learned to be cynical or suspicious or fearful of other people because of where they come from, how they look, or how they pray.

“We should all be more like Alex. Imagine what the world would look like if we were. Imagine the suffering we could ease and the lives we could save.”

The move comes just days after Donald Trump Jnr posted a picture comparing Skittles to refugees, suggesting that the US should not accept anybody fleeing the war-stricken state for fear they were a terrorist. 

For Refugee Children, Education Cannot Wait

Tanya Barron   |   September 19, 2016   11:17 AM ET

As world leaders gather in New York for the UN General Assembly and President Obama's leaders' summit on refugees, the refugee crisis continues to spiral.

Images of refugee children - drowned Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach, and more recently five year old Omran, injured in an airstrike in Aleppo, sitting bloodied in an ambulance - have rightly shocked and horrified the world.

Spurred to respond, governments have vowed to take action as public pressure mounted. Momentarily, sporadically, the media too has championed the rights of these children.

Yet, with wearisome inevitability, momentum has slowed, newer stories break, attention is diverted and images of child refugees are soon forgotten.

But a broader crisis is building, one more hidden from the eyes of the media and the public.

More than half of the 65million people displaced globally are children. And only half of those are able to go to primary school.

Children in South Sudan, Burundi, Yemen, and the Central African Republic find themselves caught up in conflicts that are largely ignored by the media, but are having a devastating impact on their lives.

During crises like these, education is critical. It provides a safe space to ensure girls and boys can continue learning. It helps to protect them.

This protection is especially important for girls. During conflict and emergency situations, they are often at far greater risk of violence and abuse. They may be forced into marriage, and face the threat of sexual violence and trafficking. Education helps to protect them from these dangers.

This is why it's so important that global leaders meeting in New York step up and make clear, new commitments to education. The objective of President Obama's summit is to increase the number of refugees worldwide in school by one million.

We welcome this goal: Plan International UK has joined with other organisations to support a public letter to world leaders, calling for action on education in crises.

The new Education Cannot Wait: A Fund for Education in Emergencies provides an opportunity for that action. Governments must support it, making specific commitments to refugees and internally displaced children - and especially girls.

Education is essential to protecting children on the move. It improves girls and boys wellbeing, and ensures they have the skills and knowledge needed to help rebuild their societies after conflict.

Education truly cannot wait, and we need action for all children out of school. This week, the world has that chance. Let's make sure we take it.

Aubrey Allegretti   |   September 16, 2016   11:40 AM ET

A nine-year-old girl who met Barack Obama and was yesterday pictured with Donald Trump has provoked hilarity for her stunningly different reactions. 

Amariyanna ‘Mari’ Copeny, who won the title of ‘Little Miss Flint’, met the current US president in May after writing a letter to him that went viral.

The note was about her efforts to combat a public health crisis caused by the water in her hometown of Flint becoming contaminated with lead.

Her request to meet Obama or the First Lady was accepted, and she was seen beaming as she embraced the 44th President of the United States when he visited the affected community.

But Mari’s reaction could not have been more different when she met Trump - the man who called Obama the “founder of Isis”.

Her previously beaming smile and embrace this time became a look of fear and upset as she cowered for a photo with the leering Trump.

Many were quick to joke at the juxtaposition between her two reactions, commenting that they summed up the state of the US presidential debate. 

While others just used it as an opportunity to rip into Trump. 


How The Battle Of Campaign Strategy Gave Us Brexit

Abbas Farshori   |   August 29, 2016    6:29 PM ET

It has been two months since the Battle of brexit was decided, and finally there is enough distance from its hysteria for fresh reflection. The question as to why the British public leant toward the Leave campaign, and didn't wish to Remain, requires evaluating which strategies worked - and which failed. This war of words formed key campaigning battlefields, in all of which Leave won.

'Project fear' was a fashionable title, often launched from either camp. Both campaigns claimed the other was seeking to scare citizens into submission, whilst themselves upping the hyperbolic language right up until D-Day. It appeared the UK was hovering in between potential invasion and destruction for much of the final weeks.

The reason that the leave campaign's flavour of fear worked was because it was written in the language of ordinary people, tapping into their personal assumptions and observations. Remain's claims were too remote - too far from the everyday trials people face. Ipsos Mori found that it was immigration, and not the economy which forced the public's hand. The steady rise in anti-immigration sentiment had not gone unnoticed, and yet it was not fundamentally challenged. Instead, the media coverage that Remain revelled at wrote all the wrong talking points.

For Leave, the campaign leaders spoke and they were heard. The sight of David Cameron campaigning beside Jeremy Corbyn hardly constituted coherent leadership . Although factually inaccurate, more people though that Turkey were waiting for the trumpet sound of Remain to join the EU than those aware of the legal absurdity of the claim. The grander '£350m a week cost to the EU' claim struck louder chords than the Treasury's tame '£4,300 a year worse off' attempt. This was first blood for Leave; irrespective of Remain's long-term warnings, Gideon Skinner was right in saying that people cared more about sovereignty than the economy.

The public trusted people they knew more than the instructions of faceless institutions, with 46% seeing the threat of Brexit as having no personal impact on their standard of living, leaving Remain paralysed to instil their long-term projections. This would have been forgivable, if there was a reliable leader upon whose back future prosperity could rest upon.

Crucially, the public did not find that leader in David Cameron. Not in his second-hand EU stance, not in his hollow renegotiation skills, and certainly not in his feeble attempt at convincing aged or opinionated people. His resignation was inescapable.

Age is just one of the many social distinctions which Leave capitalised on, and Remain neglected. By relying on London, they forgot the bus of all buses trumping through the country before its inevitible implosion. Those 'white, not working, claiming the state pension, who described themselves as Christian' mostly preferred leave - each quality representing increasingly aggrieved parts of the country. Remain tapped into a much changed society, leaving the old one remaining bitter and angry.

Their regret immediately after the result was matched only by others' uncertainty immediately before it. Those who claimed 'buyer's remorse' chose to cure their indecision with retail therapy at the Leave shop, and overwhelmingly. Leave did not anticipate this late surge, and didn't mistrusted polling right until the last moment, when Farage was perceived as conceding a defeat his campaign never believed in. Leighton Vaughan Williams, the director of the political forecasting unit at Nottingham Business School cited the media's 11th-hour 'emotive appeals to patriotism' as essential, with the prospect of an 'independence day' appealing stronger than 'the day we remained in the EU'.

Leave's PR campaign had a tangible theme and time-sensitive strategy, using language correlating directly with escalating public concern. Remain's campaign escalation depended largely on which party was gaining internal traction over the others

The use of experts is telling example of this incompetence, the majority of whom backed Remain. Michael Gove had to appreciate industry experts' overwhelming advice to remain in order to belittle it. For Boris Johnson to racially smear President Obama, he had to contrive the President's contribution as sufficiently authoritative. But the remain campaign didn't use experts to convince their colleagues, they were intended to provide credibility to an expecting public.

But this British public lost faith in political and economic experts at the time of the most important political and economic event of the generation. Instead, perhaps for self-reassurance, there is already an attempt to prematurely negate expert forecasting post-sterling drop. This is part of the general wistful longing found today in metropolitan-based pub corners and prospective labour party leaders' speeches.

It may have been reliance on such expertise that instilled Remain with such strong self-belief, in disregarding academic objections to people's propensity to desire change in a referendum, or pollsters' already poor reputation in getting it right when it matters. Even Jo Cox's tragic death was seen as fair game - which is almost as disappointing as the fact that it nearly worked.

Looking at these points of conflict, Vote Leave's success is evident in the strategies deployed. Consistently presenting Brexit as the alleviation of a directly tortuous EU outdid Remain's often flatly-hitting claims. The leave campaign's external appeal to all parts of the country reflected an internally strong unit, strong enough it seems to counter the words of the President himself. Remain were too unsure of themselves to gain the trust of the untrusting public, who now face an uncertain future.

Can Hillary Deliver Hope For American Women?

Jack Peat   |   August 4, 2016    5:07 PM ET

'Remember hope?' Jim Geraghty of National Review probed in an article this week. After nearly eight years of the first African-American president the country's race relations have seldom been so bad. Economic inequality is rife and as Black Lives Matter drags on each day brings "fresh news of unrest to feed a ceaseless cycle of outrage and recrimination". For many African Americans, hope has become a distant dream.

When Barack Obama became the first black President of the US in January 2009 there was a palpable feeling that the country had washed its hands of its torrid past and was ready to move into a future free from bitter race relations. The New York Times called the inauguration "a civil rights victory party on the Mall," and "a watershed event in the nation's racial history - the culmination of the long struggle for civil rights."

But for many, the promise of eight years ago has failed to deliver. A recent poll found 69 per cent of Americans described race relations as bad - three times the figure in 2009 - and 50 per cent of American Adults think race relations in the country are getting worse.

So has Obama has turned back the clock on race relations? Gil Troy of McGill University certainly thinks so. "Since at least the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt managing racial tensions has been an important yardstick of presidential success", but "beyond being America's first black president.... What has Obama done to reconcile blacks and whites?"

Hope 'Back on the Agenda'

As his Presidential tenure draws to a close 'hope' is on the agenda again, but this time for American women. Hilary Clinton looks set to become the first female American President according to the latest polling and, like with her predecessor, she will carry a weight of expectation on her shoulders. The US rates 28th out of 145 countries for equality for women with the gap closing by only 4 per cent in the past ten years. At that rate, it would take 118 years to reach parity.

Here's the rub. Patience has proved to be a less than virtuous characteristic when it comes to the big issues in America, and many women will see Clinton's probable ascension to Presidency as a catalyst for change. Tammy Keith, a caseworker who lives in Brooklyn, New York, estimates she has been paid $20,000 less than her male counterparts over the past 14 years. But that will all change now. Speaking to the New York Times she says "women will get fair wages" under Clinton, change is nigh.

Obstacles To Gender Equality

But "cracking an opening in a glass ceiling is not the same as dismantling it", Marianne Cooper, a Stanford sociologist who was the lead researcher for Sheryl Sandberg's book "Lean In", said. Quoted in the same publication, she said: "To really shatter the glass ceiling would mean she was upending the forces that are barriers for women. Those are really difficult for any single individual from an underrepresented group to undo. And in four years?"

Like race relations, there is no quick fix for gender equality. We have to address equal pay, gender equality in decision-making powers, sexual violence, women in politics, education and whether family is still an obstacle for women. As Ariel Smilowitz wrote in this publication, "gender equality is an intricate mosaic, a picture that cannot be complete without understanding and exploring the dynamic regional, national and demographic factors at play".

But here's something to be really encouraged about. By November there will be three women in charge of G8 economies, which is a huge stride to take in tackling one of the biggest barriers to gender equality; our attitude towards it. A history-making president may not be enough to tackle the problem, but it is a significant step in the right direction.

Ned Simons   |   July 28, 2016    9:17 AM ET

An emotional President Obama was joined by Hillary Clinton on stage at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday evening, as he passed on the baton.

In his speech to Democrats in Philadelphia, Obama heaped praise on Clinton, his former secretary of state. “There has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America,” he said of his former rival for the White House.

“This year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me  to reject cynicism, reject fear, to summon what’s best in us; to elect Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States, and show the world we still believe in the promise of this great nation.

“There is only one candidate in this race who believes in that future, and has devoted her life to it; a mother and grandmother who’d do anything to help our children thrive; a leader with real plans to break down barriers, blast through glass ceilings, and widen the circle of opportunity to every single American – the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton.”

As he waved goodbye, Clinton joined him on stage to huge applause from the crowd.

Steven Hopkins   |   July 28, 2016    7:14 AM ET

Barack Obama’s zinger-laden speech labelling Trump a “homegrown demagogue” is being lauded as one of the “greatest of all time”.

The US President not only managed to list Trump in the same company as jihadists... 

He finally managed to change the mind of some of the Republican’s supporters..

Not to mention his great one-liners... like this one..

And simple, but effective rebuttals...

There was something for everyone... no one was left out...

Obama on Wednesday implored America to cast aside the “pessimistic vision” of Trump for Hillary Clinton who he said believes in the optimism that drives this nation. 

“America is already great. America is already strong,” Obama said, adding that “our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump”.

He said America had changed over the years, “but these values my grandparents taught me - they haven’t gone anywhere. They’re as strong as ever; still cherished by people of every party, every race, and every faith. That’s what matters.”

Obama added: “That’s why our military can look the way it does, every shade of humanity, forged into common service.  That’s why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.”

In an endorsement of Clinton that couldn’t have been more forthright, he said: “There has never been a man or woman, not me, not Bill (Clinton) - nobody more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States.

“Tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me.” 

On Trump, Obama said: “What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world.

“There were no serious solutions to pressing problems ― just the fanning of resentment and blame and anger and hate.”

Obama offered an alternative to Trump’s vision for America, one under siege from illegal immigrants, crime and terrorism, saying he felt “more optimistic about the future of America than ever before”.

After Obama’s speech, Clinton joined him on stage where they hugged, clasped hands and waved to the crowd.

Clinton made history on Tuesday when she became the first woman to secure the presidential nomination from a major party. 

Day Three at the Democratic Convention

Diane Abbott   |   July 27, 2016    8:28 PM ET

Diane Abbott's Daily Reports from the floor of the DNC: Day Three

The Democratic National Convention made history last night. It was the first time that the partner of the presidential nominee got to do anything other than look up adoringly at their beloved. Instead this partner got to speak for a whole hour eulogising their mate. But this partner was President Bill Clinton and the presidential nominee was his wife of over forty years Hilary Rodham Clinton.

The speech was perhaps a little too long. It was as if Bill realised it was his last major speech at a convention and was determined to make the most of it. But the delegates were ready to indulge him. Bill Clinton remains hugely popular with the Democratic faithful. The scandals have all been forgiven and forgotten. Instead what people remember is the prosperity of the Clinton years before the great financial crash. The heyday of Bill Clinton was before people lost their faith in bankers, markets and free trade. So it exists in the popular imagination in a permanent sun-filled glow.

But Bill Clinton's speech, if over lengthy, was genuinely touching. It was a determined attempt to humanise Hilary by the man who knows her better than anyone. And the speech began with moving line "In the spring of 1971, I met a girl..."

But yesterday was also notable for the roll call vote which officially made Hilary the nominee. In UK political conferences the result of leadership elections are read out by some sober official. But the Democratic Convention has a "roll call" vote where someone from every single state gets to read how many votes they are casting and for who. For most of these delegates this is their few minutes of fame. And over the years delegates have managed to cram more and more information in about the glories of their state, before stating what they are doing with their vote. Everybody knows what the result of the "roll call" vote is before it begins. But somehow, sitting in the convention, there is a sense of rising tension until the final state announces the votes that will put the winner over the top. Last they allowed Bernie Sanders to make the final announcement that Hilary Clinton was the official Democratic nominee. Presumably this was to avoid booing by, still fractious, Bernie supporters. If so it worked.

But later today the Convention will hear from, another truly historic presidential nominee, Barack Obama. Expect tears from the assembled delegates.

Diane Abbott is the shadow health secretary and Labour MP for Hackney North. She is currently attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as an international delegate representing the Labour Party

Domain Name Antics in the US Presidential Primaries: A Round-Up

Russell Haworth   |   July 26, 2016    2:22 PM ET

Donald Trump has emerged as the Republican nominee in the US presidential race and Hillary Clinton is almost there with the Democratic National Convention to be held this month. Amongst the drama of a spirited and polarising race, what's there to learn about protecting and promoting your reputation online? Is there, by any chance, a correlation between the savvy acquisition of relevant domain names, and success?

Particularly since Barack Obama's groundbreaking campaign in 2008, a strong digital strategy is considered integral to successful political campaigning -- in the US, and around the world. From building awareness through social media to collecting donations through a campaign website, the internet offers myriad opportunities to influence voters and build support.

The humble domain name is a small but significant ingredient in this. It's both a signpost to a candidate's home on the web, and an element of their online brand. At Nominet we have been looking with interest across the Atlantic at all this high-profile domain name related activity, and we think it's high time for a round-up of candidates' domain name strategies. Or lack thereof: the failure of some to secure relevant domains is well documented. So, in no particular order, here are the best/worst (depending on your perspective) domain name antics from the US presidential primaries.

Early Republican favourite Jeb Bush, who bowed out of the race in February, didn't manage to obtain, which for a while redirected to Trump's campaign website. He also failed to register and, both of which were used to say unflattering things about the candidate. According to the Washington Post, the former is run by "a bearded gay couple who have been 'madly in love' since 1996", to criticise Bush's position on LGBTQ issues.

Republican runner-up Ted Cruz probably wished he had purchased, a domain with a storied history. First, it redirected to the website for the Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare, against which Cruz once led a government shutdown). Next, it redirected to the Canadian Government's immigration page. It's currently being used to peddle a dating service called 'Maple Match', which "makes it easy for Americans to find the ideal Canadian partner to save them from the unfathomable horror of a Trump presidency."

Another former Republican contender, Carly Fiorina, suffered a similar experience. Visiting brought you to a page that read, "Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain. So I'm using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewlett-Packard"... via 30,000 'sad face' emoticons, which apparently take four and a half minutes to scroll through. This inspired its own hashtag -- '#domaingate'. But Fiorina fired back at media labelling it a "major gaffe" on the part of her campaign, telling reporters to check, which had mysteriously begun redirecting to Fiorina's official campaign website. It now redirects to Donald Trump's campaign website, as does

Trump himself purchased up to 3,000 domain names, in an effort to stop people discrediting him online. If you're running for president (or launching a business, product, campaign, or blog), it is a good idea to secure the most relevant domains before someone else does. But bulk-buying domain names in an effort to prevent criticism is perhaps going a bit far. It's impossible to cover all possible options, and Trump's strategy seems simply to have encouraged his detractors to get a bit more creative.

For example, comedian John Oliver started a campaign to "Make Donald Drumpf again", arguing that the name 'Trump' has a mystique not present in his original family name of 'Drumpf', and using the website, complete with a browser plugin to change every instance of the word 'Trump' to 'Drumpf'. Another example (perhaps not so creative, but emphatic nonetheless): currently redirects to the 'Donald Trump' page on Wikipedia. As the unfortunate creators of an online poll to rename a £200m polar research ship will tell you, you can't predict what will happen on the internet.

Trump Is a Psychopath: American Democracy or Twilight Zone?

Mohadesa Najumi   |   July 24, 2016    8:54 AM ET

I've been in the United States for three months now and I've had a chance to witness political fever first hand. Media propaganda is on a mass scale compared to back home in England where you might get a mail in the post about the election, but engagement here with politics is widespread. I was reading about the symptoms of psychopath personality disorder and the current billionaire GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump unsurprisingly fits them all. Most of Californians I've spoken to feel that they are in the twilight zone watching a person who Bill Maher hilariously once described as a real life "Orangutan", gaining momentum. The famous founding father Thomas Jefferson once said "When people fear their government; there is tyranny" and what is happening in the landscape of the current U.S. election is scary.

After the election of the first African-American president the success of Trump shocks many since the country appears to be in regression. Trump is an outright sexist, homophobic, racist psychopath who is more suited for a reality TV show than U.S office. How? Why? Confused Americans are asking all over the country? What did all of us good Americans do to deserve a candidate like Trump?

We all thought we had reached our comedic orgasms with the famously inarticulate George W. Bush, however Trump astonishingly makes him look like a genius, nobody thought they'd see the day that they missed Bush. Don't get me wrong, I am aware that the U.S. is more of a Corporatocracy defined by (arguably one of the greatest thinkers of our time) Noam Chomsky as a partnership of giant corporations, the extremely wealthy elite and corporate-collaborator government officials. It's funny that the U.S. has intervened in Latin American governments complaining about a lack of democracy while undermining the will of its own people through an elitist economic system and a surveillance state.

Is there really a democracy when Trump's success is largely due to his power in the media and not his abilities as a democratic leader? He's spent $100 million just on publicity and has bragged about not having to buy advertising time because he gets so much free coverage.

"He remains a one-man news cycle who spends far more on promotion than his opponents"

In his usual fear mongering ways, Trump has declared that he will create a trade war against Mexico which would not only kill millions of U.S jobs, but it would would prompt Mexico to seek trading partners with China or Russia probably causing another Cold War. Trump has shown us on several occasions that he is a bigot to racial groups, long before he called Mexicans criminals and rapists, he accused Obama of not being born in the United States.

I don't blame Americans for feeling that their elections are rigged. Pundits say that Trump is fuelled by anger, but it worries me even more that no one like Trump has ever got this far. Consider that Trump beats Hilary Clinton. If it questioned whether he would pass a sanity test, let alone all the ways he fits the profile of a psychopath, how has this man been able to run as President of one of the greatest nations on earth and furthermore, what does this say about democracy?