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Fading Rhetoric: Trump’s Shift from ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’ to Domestic Issues

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In 2016, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was heavily punctuated by a vow to combat “radical Islamic terrorism.” This phrase was a cornerstone of his rhetoric, reflecting and amplifying public fear and concern about Islamist terrorism. Fast forward to 2024, as Trump seeks a return to the White House, this once-prominent phrase has all but vanished from his lexicon, replaced by an emphasis on immigration, crime, and other domestic issues.

On Sunday, a coordinated terrorist assault in southern Russia, which left at least 20 people dead, failed to elicit any response from Trump on his social media platforms. This silence marks a significant departure from his previous tendencies, where such incidents would trigger immediate and fervent responses.

Experts suggest that the shift is a strategic move, driven by two main factors: a decrease in public concern about terrorism and a calculated effort to appeal to Muslim American voters. Brian Levin, an extremism expert, notes that Trump, being “more of an opportunist than an ideologue,” is aligning his rhetoric with the issues that currently resonate more with voters.

In the lead-up to the 2016 election, foreign-inspired extremism ranked high among voter concerns. The Islamic State controlled significant territory, and a series of IS-inspired attacks heightened American fears of terrorism. Trump’s campaign capitalized on these fears, with frequent references to “radical Islam” and sweeping declarations of intent to combat it.

Today, however, the landscape has shifted. The threat of international terrorism, while still present, no longer occupies the forefront of American public concern. Domestic issues such as the economy, democracy, crime, and immigration dominate the political discourse. Consequently, Trump has adjusted his rhetoric accordingly, focusing on these areas to garner support.

The potential for gaining Muslim votes in key battleground states might also influence Trump’s toned-down rhetoric on Islamist terrorism. Gabriel Rubin, a justice studies professor, suggests that Trump’s silence on the issue might be a tactical decision aimed at not alienating Muslim voters who could be pivotal in swing states.

President Joe Biden’s strong support for Israel during its military campaign in Gaza has strained his relationship with many Muslim voters. This tension presents an opportunity for Trump, who could potentially attract disaffected Muslim voters by avoiding inflammatory rhetoric and focusing on shared concerns.

Despite the shift in focus, the threat of terrorism has not disappeared. U.S. officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, have warned of increased potential for terrorist attacks, especially in the wake of the Gaza conflict. However, a Gallup report from April indicates that overall concern about terrorism remains lower than during the peak years of 2015 and 2016.

During his first campaign and early presidency, Trump’s rhetoric included claims such as “Muslims hate us” and calls for a “complete and total shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S. This harsh stance resonated with his base but also drew significant criticism and accusations of Islamophobia.

Since then, his focus has shifted dramatically. An analysis of Trump’s recent social media activity shows a significant drop in references to “radical Islamic terrorism.” Instead, his statements are now more centered on border security, illegal immigration, and other domestic issues.

One of Trump’s most controversial actions was the implementation of the “Muslim ban,” which Biden repealed upon taking office. However, Trump has vowed to reinstate the ban if re-elected, signaling that his stance on Muslim immigration has not fundamentally changed. This promise remains a point of contention and concern for many in the Muslim community.

As Trump navigates his 2024 campaign, his rhetoric has evolved to address the current priorities and concerns of the American electorate. While his focus on “radical Islamic terrorism” has waned, his strategic shifts aim to capture the votes needed to reclaim the White House. The changing landscape of voter concerns and the complex interplay of domestic and international issues continue to shape the political narrative as the election approaches.

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Rwandan President Kagame seems to be coasting toward fourth term

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Despite Criticism, Kagame’s Stability Efforts and Firm Rule Set to Secure Another Victory

In Rwanda’s presidential race, President Paul Kagame, in power since 2000, is expected to secure a fourth term. Kagame’s tenure has been marked by significant infrastructural development and efforts toward internal peace following the 1994 genocide. At a recent rally, Kagame emphasized the progress made under his leadership, citing roads, electricity, and other achievements, while promising further advancements if re-elected.

Critics argue Kagame’s rule has been characterized by a stifling of dissent and a tight grip on power. Yet, his approach to governance has resonated with many Rwandans who prioritize stability and security. Eric Ndushabandi, a political science professor, notes that Kagame’s focus on stabilization aligns with the aspirations of many Rwandans scarred by the genocide.

Opposing Kagame are Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party and independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana. Both challengers have campaigned on platforms advocating for political diversity and change. Habineza criticizes Kagame’s prolonged rule and calls for new political programs and visions. Mpayimana, while acknowledging the progress made, believes he can further advance the country.

However, the disparity in popularity, resources, and political clout between Kagame and his opponents is stark. Kagame’s critics, like Diane Rwigara, have faced significant barriers, including disqualification from the race under contentious circumstances. Rwigara, barred for allegedly not meeting candidacy requirements, expressed her frustration on social media, accusing Kagame of denying her the right to campaign.

Despite allegations of creating a climate of fear to suppress opposition, Kagame enjoys considerable support in Kigali. Residents, while recognizing the country’s progress, express desires for solutions to pressing issues like joblessness. With Rwanda’s unemployment rate at 14.9% in 2023, the call for job creation is loud. Economic analyst Teddy Kaberuka highlights the need for long-term investments in education and industry to address unemployment effectively.

Kaberuka outlines Rwanda’s post-genocide economic journey through three phases: laying a foundation for development, investing in growth, and navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. As Rwanda enters a new phase, the electorate must decide whether to continue under Kagame’s established leadership or seek new directions with his challengers.

Kagame’s administration has undoubtedly brought stability and development, but the suppression of dissent remains a contentious issue. The upcoming election will not only determine Rwanda’s leadership but also test the country’s democratic maturity amidst the tension between stability and political freedom.

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Obama and Pelosi Quietly Express Doubts Over Biden’s 2024 Prospects

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Top Democrats Secretly Mull Over Biden’s Challenges in Beating Trump, Seek Clarity and Unity

Behind closed doors, two of the Democratic Party’s stalwarts, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, have privately voiced concerns about President Joe Biden’s chances in the 2024 election. Both the former president and the ex-Speaker of the House are troubled by Biden’s waning ability to defeat Donald Trump, leaving them uncertain about the best course of action.

The Democratic Party, desperate to end internal discord, is calling on Obama or Pelosi to intervene. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer lacks Biden’s trust, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries doesn’t have the close relationship needed to deliver the message.

Conversations with over a dozen members of Congress and operatives reveal a grim outlook for Biden’s candidacy. Many believe it’s just a matter of time before his campaign collapses, despite recent reassurances. If Obama and Pelosi disagree with this sentiment, they must make their stance clear soon to prevent further damage, especially with the election looming.

Pelosi’s colleagues hope she can quell the recent turmoil, possibly by convincing Biden to step down. Although she has spoken to Biden post-debate, Pelosi remains non-committal about his decision to continue, and her office has declined further comment.

Obama’s silence for two weeks has left leading Democrats feeling abandoned. After Biden’s poor debate performance, Obama’s supportive social media post was carefully orchestrated to echo Biden’s talking points. Yet, Obama’s deepening skepticism about Biden’s reelection chances is an open secret in Washington.

Sources suggest that when history reflects on this period, Obama and Pelosi’s influence will be evident as they navigate a party in panic. One long-time Democrat, under anonymity, shared that Obama and Pelosi are waiting for Biden to decide his fate independently.

Obama has been more of a listener than an advisor in recent weeks, avoiding any position that might leak and cause more chaos. This approach was evident in his call with Biden post-debate, where Obama played devil’s advocate without taking a firm stance.

Their complicated relationship, marked by long periods of limited communication, adds another layer of complexity. Obama’s reluctance to push Biden stems partly from a shared history. After Biden’s son Beau died in 2015, Obama subtly discouraged Biden from entering the primaries, a move Biden perceived as unsupportive.

Obama’s public neutrality also aims to avoid giving Trump any ammunition. Known for his unifying presence, Obama has not yet committed to steering the party through the current turmoil.

Pelosi, in a calculated move on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” cast doubt on Biden’s candidacy. Her comments, coming during a show Biden often watches, were perceived by many Democrats as a signal to speak out. Pelosi’s private advice to colleagues to avoid embarrassing Biden during NATO’s visit contrasts sharply with her public statements.

Pelosi’s longstanding relationship with Biden, along with her stature and credibility, positions her as a potential decisive figure if Biden steps down. One House Democrat noted that Pelosi could become the most significant Democratic leader in this scenario, given her generational credibility and deep ties within the party.

As Democrats grapple with the uncertain future, the roles of Obama and Pelosi will continue to shape the narrative. Their private concerns and public actions reflect the high stakes and deep divisions within the party, setting the stage for a dramatic political showdown.

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Trump’s VP Choices: Conflicting Foreign Policy Views to Shape Future GOP Vision

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Burgum, Vance, and Rubio: How Trump’s Possible Picks Could Influence His Second Term

Donald Trump is on the verge of selecting a running mate for the upcoming general election, with Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio emerging as frontrunners. Each candidate brings unique perspectives to foreign policy, likely influencing both Trump’s potential second term and the future of the Republican Party.

Doug Burgum, the least known among the trio, lacks formal foreign policy experience. As North Dakota’s governor, he rarely discussed international issues, sticking instead to conventional hawkish stances. His campaign rhetoric centered on strengthening the U.S. military, especially against China, echoing Trump’s own stance. However, Trump’s interest in Burgum seems driven more by personal attributes—wealth, loyalty, and connections—than by policy alignment. The Wall Street Journal’s favorable view of Burgum underscores his political safety but suggests a continuation of hawkish policies.

Sen. J.D. Vance aligns closely with Trump on several foreign policy issues. A vocal critic of military aid to Ukraine, Vance is also a staunch China hawk and a hardline supporter of Israel. Representing the party’s populist wing, he often argues that resources should focus on China over Ukraine. Despite his limited experience, Vance’s foreign policy skepticism resonates with Trump’s core supporters, potentially offering a less interventionist approach than other GOP figures.

Marco Rubio is a well-known figure in U.S. foreign policy circles. Since his 2010 election, Rubio has been a consistent advocate for interventionist policies, supporting actions like the Libyan intervention and opposing troop withdrawals. His relationship with Trump has evolved since the contentious 2016 campaign, with Rubio influencing aggressive stances such as the regime change agenda in Venezuela. A Rubio vice presidency would likely push Trump’s foreign policy in a more hawkish direction, signaling a potentially aggressive second term.

Trump’s vice-presidential choice will be telling. Burgum, Vance, and Rubio each bring distinct foreign policy views, reflecting broader GOP divisions. Burgum offers safety and continuity, Vance aligns with populist skepticism, and Rubio represents interventionist hawkishness. This decision not only influences Trump’s potential second term but also hints at the future trajectory of the Republican Party’s foreign policy.

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Cameroon’s Election Delay Sparks Accusations of Power Grab by President Biya

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Cameroon’s opposition claims President Paul Biya’s move to delay parliamentary elections is a ploy to cling to power. Critics argue the extension is undemocratic, hindering opposition leaders’ chances in upcoming presidential elections.

In a controversial move, Cameroon’s lawmakers, under the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), passed a law extending their term by one year, sparking accusations from the opposition that President Paul Biya is orchestrating a power grab. Originally elected in 2020 for a five-year term ending in March 2025, the lawmakers’ term will now extend into 2026, thanks to a bill pushed by Biya.

With CPDM controlling 156 out of 180 seats in parliament, the extension was easily approved. Government officials assert that Cameroon’s constitution grants Biya the authority to consult the Constitutional Council and seek parliamentary approval for such extensions when deemed necessary.

Joshua Osih, leader of the opposition Social Democratic Front, vehemently disagrees. He condemned the extension as undemocratic, arguing that the government had ample time to prepare for the 2025 elections. This maneuver, he claims, is a deliberate attempt to entrench Biya’s grip on power.

The opposition and civil society groups believe the extension serves a more sinister purpose: to thwart key opposition figures, such as Maurice Kamto of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM), from participating in the 2025 presidential elections. Kamto, who maintains that Biya stole the 2018 presidential election from him, leads a party that boycotted the 2020 local and parliamentary elections, protesting against alleged plans to rig the vote in favor of CPDM.

Under Cameroonian law, a presidential candidate must belong to a political party with at least one municipal councilor or parliamentary representative. CRM currently holds neither, having planned to gain such positions in the now-postponed 2025 elections to legitimize Kamto’s candidacy.

Kamto argues that the parliamentary extension and the postponement of local elections are tactics by the 91-year-old Biya to secure lifelong leadership. He warned that his party would not tolerate these manipulations and threatened to disrupt the elections if his rights are infringed, though he did not specify how.

The government maintains that joint local and parliamentary elections will be held in 2026, following the 2025 presidential election. Kamto highlights the difficulty for non-party-endorsed presidential candidates to meet the legal requirement of 300 endorsements from influential figures, many of whom are either intimidated by or aligned with Biya.

Biya, in power since 1982 and the world’s oldest head of state, has not confirmed his candidacy for the 2025 elections. However, last March, CPDM supporters rallied, urging him to run again, arguing that only Biya can maintain peace and development in Cameroon.

Critics, however, accuse Biya of ruling with an iron fist and refusing to relinquish power, suggesting he intends to remain president until his death. If re-elected, Biya would serve until 2032, at which point he would be 98 years old.

The extension of parliamentary terms and the delay of elections have ignited a fierce debate about the future of democracy in Cameroon. As the political tension escalates, the eyes of the nation—and the world—are on President Biya and the opposition, waiting to see how this contentious power struggle will unfold.

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Russia’s Election Meddling: Boosting Trump, Undermining Biden, US Intelligence Warns

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Kremlin’s Covert Campaign to Influence 2024 US Presidential Race

In a disquieting revelation, American intelligence officials have disclosed that Russia is employing a familiar playbook to influence the upcoming U.S. presidential election. The Kremlin aims to boost former President Donald Trump’s candidacy by disparaging the campaign of incumbent President Joe Biden. This strategic interference, according to a new threat assessment shared Tuesday, mirrors previous election cycles, emphasizing Russia’s persistent interest in shaping the U.S. political landscape.

An intelligence official, speaking anonymously, confirmed that Russia’s preference for Trump remains unchanged, largely due to Biden’s policies toward Ukraine and broader Russia relations. This warning echoes the sentiments expressed nearly four years ago, when similar meddling was detected in the 2020 elections.

Back then, Moscow employed a variety of tactics to denigrate Biden and what it perceived as an anti-Russia establishment. William Evanina, the then-head of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, highlighted Kremlin-linked actors boosting Trump’s candidacy through social media and Russian television.

A post-election assessment in March 2021 reaffirmed these findings, stating that Russian President Vladimir Putin had authorized operations to undermine Biden while supporting Trump. Despite ongoing contact between U.S. intelligence and both presidential campaigns, details of shared information remain undisclosed.

The Trump campaign swiftly dismissed the intelligence assessment, with national press secretary Karoline Leavitt arguing that Putin favors Biden, whom he perceives as weak and easily bullied. Leavitt contrasted this with Trump’s presidency, which she claimed deterred adversaries through strength.

Moscow’s meddling is sophisticated and multifaceted. The Kremlin employs a “whole of government” approach, outsourcing efforts to commercial firms to obscure its involvement and laundering narratives through influential U.S. voices. These operations target swing states crucial to election outcomes.

Recent actions by the U.S. Department of Justice underscore the scale of Russia’s influence operations. On Tuesday, the department announced the seizure of internet domains and nearly a thousand social media accounts, part of an AI-driven venture by Russian intelligence and RT, Russia’s state-run news network. These AI-created accounts mimicked U.S. individuals, promoting pro-Russia messages.

A joint advisory from the U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands warned of expanding AI-fueled influence operations on social media. An intelligence official described AI as a “malign influence accelerant,” noting its likely use by China in Taiwan’s recent elections.

For now, U.S. intelligence sees little evidence of Beijing’s interference in the 2024 U.S. elections. China appears to view both U.S. parties as containment-focused, but officials remain vigilant for potential shifts. The Chinese Embassy in Washington has denied interference allegations, labeling the U.S. the “biggest disseminator of disinformation.”

Adding to the complexity, Iran emerges as a “chaos agent” in the U.S. electoral landscape. Tehran seeks to stoke social divisions and undermine confidence in democratic institutions. Newly declassified intelligence shows Iran exploiting pro-Gaza protests in the U.S., with actors posing as activists and providing financial support to encourage demonstrations.

National Intelligence Director Avril Haines warned that Americans interacting with these Iranian actors might be unaware of their foreign connections. This underscores the pervasive and insidious nature of foreign influence operations targeting U.S. elections.

As the 2024 election approaches, the stakes are higher than ever. The integrity of democratic processes is under threat, and the need for vigilance and countermeasures is paramount. The U.S. must navigate this treacherous landscape, ensuring that its electoral system remains robust and resilient against foreign interference.

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Will Joe Biden Step Aside? The Debate That Shook the Democratic Party

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Calls Mount for Biden to Exit 2024 Race Following Faltering Debate Performance –

President Joe Biden’s mental fitness is under scrutiny after a lackluster performance in a presidential debate against Republican candidate Donald Trump. The 81-year-old president’s faltering presentation during the June 27 debate has raised serious questions about his ability to lead for another term. Biden appeared to lose his train of thought, at times looking exhausted or confused, fueling doubts about his capacity to handle the demanding role of president.

In the wake of the debate, Biden and his supporters have launched a damage control campaign, scrambling to assure voters of his fitness. However, dissatisfaction is brewing within the Democratic camp, with a growing list of representatives calling for Biden to step aside.

The debate’s most significant impact is the intensification of doubts about Biden’s capacity to win the presidential election in November. Experts point out that this adds to existing dissatisfaction over his handling of inflation, the Gaza war, and immigration issues at the southern border with Mexico. An Ipsos poll revealed a drop in voter confidence in Biden’s mental fitness from 28 percent to 20 percent post-debate.

Historically, presidential debates have been pivotal in US elections since first airing in 1960, often shifting voter support towards the better speaker. Following the June 27 debate, voter preferences shifted towards Trump by an average of 3.5 points, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution. Before the debate, Trump led Biden by an average of 1.5 points. Another Ipsos poll showed post-debate voter support for both candidates tied at 40 percent.

Analysts emphasize that even small shifts are crucial in what is set to be a tight election in a deeply polarized country. Within the Democratic Party, five members of the US House of Representatives—Seth Moulton (Massachusetts), Lloyd Doggett (Texas), Raul Grijalva (Arizona), Mike Quigley (Illinois), and Angie Craig (Minnesota)—have openly called for Biden to step aside.

A separate group of Democrats, convened by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (New York), discussed how to pressure Biden to step down during a virtual meeting, as reported by The Associated Press.

If Biden were to drop out, it would be nearly unprecedented for a nominee to step down so close to an election. In such a scenario, the Democrats would need to field another candidate. Biden could nominate Vice President Kamala Harris to continue, but her approval ratings are not significantly higher than Biden’s, casting doubt on her ability to defeat Trump.

Harris would inherit Biden’s campaign funds, whereas other nominees would start from scratch. If Biden steps down before the August 19-22 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the party could nominate another candidate, a method last used in 1968 after Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Alternatively, the Democratic Party could invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows for the removal of a president deemed unfit by the vice president and a majority of Congress. If contested, the matter would be decided by a two-thirds majority vote in Congress.

Donors also wield significant influence. Some Biden campaign donors, including former PayPal CEO William “Bill” Harris, are calling for Biden to step down. Harris, who donated $620,000 to Biden’s 2020 campaign, has described Biden’s departure as “inevitable” and is leading a group of donors pledging $2 million to fund debates among Democratic candidates to find a replacement.

Hollywood producer Damon Lindelof, in an opinion piece on Deadline, urged fellow donors to impose a “DEMbargo,” withholding donations until there is a change at the top of the ticket. Lindelof wrote, “When they text you asking for cash, text back that you’re not giving them a penny and you won’t change your mind until there’s change at the top of the ticket.”

The pressure on Biden is mounting from all sides. His debate performance has not only shaken his campaign but also the confidence of his party and its supporters. As calls for his replacement grow louder, the future of the Democratic ticket hangs in the balance. The coming months will be critical in determining whether Biden can retain his position or if the Democratic Party will face the unprecedented challenge of nominating a new candidate so close to the election.

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Replacing Biden, Winning, and Saving America

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As discussions about President Biden’s potential withdrawal from the 2024 election gain momentum, it’s crucial to focus not on whether he should step down, but on how to navigate such a transition effectively. A poorly executed change could lead to chaos, while a well-planned strategy could reinvigorate the Democratic base and secure a victory. Here’s a five-step plan to achieve this.

Step One: Appoint Barack Obama as Temporary DNC Chairman

Barack Obama’s appointment as the temporary chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic National Convention is crucial. His unparalleled credibility and ability to unify the party are essential. Obama’s involvement would ensure that the process of selecting a new nominee is trusted and respected across all factions of the party, especially given the sensitive issue of potentially bypassing Vice President Kamala Harris.

Step Two: Enforce the Political 11th Commandment

Obama would need to enforce a rule similar to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Democrat.” All candidates must focus solely on their positive attributes and plans, refraining from negative campaigning. Party elders would publicly condemn any breaches, and Democratic consultants engaging in negative ads against fellow Democrats would face future exclusion from party work. This ensures a united front and a positive image for the party.

Step Three: Create Mini-Conventions

Instead of a rushed series of primaries, hold mini-conventions in each state or region. State party members would vote on their preferred candidates, providing grassroots legitimacy to the process. Although these votes would be non-binding, they would influence the final decision at the national convention. This approach mitigates perceptions of backroom deals and highlights broad support within the party.

Step Four: Bring the Cameras

Jeffrey Katzenberg, a Hollywood producer already involved with the Biden campaign, could produce the lead-up to the convention as a major media event. This would include debates, town halls, and behind-the-scenes content. By turning the selection process into a reality TV spectacle, the Democratic Party could capture public interest, increase candidate visibility, and address the nominee’s name recognition problem swiftly and effectively.

Step Five: Utilize All Available Funds

President Biden’s campaign committee would be converted to a political action committee (PAC) focused on running independent expenditure ads. This PAC would work in tandem with the new nominee’s campaign, ensuring a unified and powerful messaging strategy. Despite higher ad rates for independent entities, the combined resources from Biden’s PAC and the new nominee’s campaign funds would create a formidable war chest, enabling a comprehensive and creative advertising blitz.


This five-step plan outlines a structured approach to replacing President Biden while maintaining party unity and increasing the chances of a Democratic victory in 2024. By leveraging Obama’s leadership, enforcing a positive campaign rule, engaging grassroots support through mini-conventions, creating a media spectacle, and maximizing financial resources, the Democratic Party can navigate this complex transition effectively.

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Iran’s New President: Masoud Pezeshkian’s Victory Amidst Challenges and Skepticism

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Amidst low voter turnout and internet outages, Pezeshkian’s presidency faces doubts about real change under Supreme Leader Khamenei’s control

Former health minister Masoud Pezeshkian emerged victorious in Iran’s runoff presidential election, defeating the more hardline former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. Pezeshkian’s victory, however, comes amid reports of low voter turnout, internet outages, and widespread skepticism about his capacity to fulfill his campaign promises under the tight control of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Pezeshkian, a 69-year-old heart surgeon, ran on a platform of negotiating more closely with the West, loosening the country’s strict headscarf law, and restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. With 16.3 million votes to Jalili’s 13.5 million, he secured the presidency, but the road ahead is fraught with challenges. The Supreme Leader holds the final authority in the Islamic Republic, and his administration is heavily influenced by hardliners.

The election, which saw 30 million people vote according to the Interior Ministry, was marred by a significant lack of participation. Many Iranians, disillusioned with the political process, chose to abstain. Observers and citizen journalists reported empty voting stations, and there were widespread internet outages in cities like Tehran, Ahvaz, and Rasht, which some speculated were intended to prevent the dissemination of information about the low turnout.

The U.S. State Department criticized the election, stating it was neither free nor fair, and that the significant number of Iranians who chose not to vote reflects a deep dissatisfaction with the system. The State Department also reiterated that the election would not change U.S. policy towards Iran, as strategic decisions in Iran are made by Khamenei.

In the days leading up to the election, internet access was disrupted in several cities. This move was seen as a tactic to control the narrative and prevent the spread of information about the lack of voter engagement. Social media users reported a substantial reduction in internet speed and accessibility, further fueling the perception of governmental interference.

Despite his electoral victory, Pezeshkian faces immense challenges. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, fears of Tehran’s uranium enrichment reaching weapons-grade levels, and the strong influence of hardliners within the government pose significant obstacles to his reformist agenda.

Pezeshkian’s promises to negotiate with the West and loosen domestic restrictions are ambitious, but many doubt his ability to deliver. The Supreme Leader’s control over major state matters means that any significant change will require more than just presidential promises.

The election was held to find a successor to the late President Ebrahim Raisi, who was seen as a potential successor to Khamenei. Raisi’s tenure was marked by strict adherence to conservative principles and a firm stance against Western influence. His death in a helicopter crash in May left a power vacuum that Pezeshkian now seeks to fill.

Masoud Pezeshkian’s presidency begins under a cloud of skepticism and uncertainty. While his victory represents a potential shift towards a more moderate stance, the reality of Iran’s political structure, dominated by Supreme Leader Khamenei, suggests that significant change may be elusive. The low voter turnout and internet disruptions highlight the challenges of governance in a country where many citizens feel disenfranchised and skeptical of the political process.

Pezeshkian’s ability to navigate these challenges and deliver on his promises will determine whether his presidency can bring meaningful change or if it will be another chapter in Iran’s complex and often turbulent political landscape.

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