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Stephen Colbert created an extraordinary character: a right-wing, bloviating pundit who was both outrageous and adorable. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The Stephen Colbert legacy

If you were following politics over the last few election cycles, you were most likely getting some of your information from satire. In fact, research has shown that in today’s political climate, satire…
As much as we like to think that we vote on substance – not style – studies have shown that physical appearance matters to voters. Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Welcome to Politics4K

While much of the 2014 midterm election analysis centered on the Republican takeover of the Senate, the pundits may have overlooked an important development: the end of a time when politicians looked a…
Obama announces the biggest Cuba policy shift in 50 years. EPA/Doug Mills

After a tense 50 years, Obama and Castro announce US-Cuba thaw

In the United States and Cuba’s strained relationship over the past 50-odd years, certain key flashpoints stand out: the Bay of Pigs incident, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and many more. December 17 2014…
Congress raised the cap on how much an individual can donate to political parties in its spending bill that just passed last week, giving wealthy Americans a greater voice in elections. Shutterstock

Lawmakers show indifference to Americans' needs by gutting campaign finance caps

The political system’s indifference to the needs of the American people could not have been made clearer in recent days. At a time when economic inequality is increasing and the US racial divide is ever…
Secrets out? EPA/Dennis Brack

Senate CIA torture report release: expert reaction

The US Senate has released the executive summary of a long-withheld report on harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA in the post-9/11 era. Previously undisclosed techniques have been revealed and…
EPA/Michael Reynolds

Hagelian dialectics: Chuck gets the chop

To lose one Secretary of Defense might be considered unfortunate. To have lost three and to be looking for a fourth looks like something more fundamental and systemic. The early departure of Chuck Hagel…
Barack Obama has signed into law all but two of the bills to come before him, but is likely to use his power of presidential veto more often in the final two years of his term. White House/Pete Souza

US votes for presidential vetoes, filibusters and partisan fractures

Perhaps no sentiment better defines the American political psyche than distrust of government. It prompted the constitutional framers 226 years ago to create a system of national government that separates…
Comedian Stephen Colbert at the 2010 Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Reuters

Satire might not sway votes, but that isn’t the point

John Oliver’s new program Last Week Tonight is the most recent addition to the parody news genre. Like its predecessors, the show frequently mocks American politics; for example, an attention-grabbing…
Fired up, ready to go…? EPA/Keith Bedford

How the midterm elections became such a confusing mess

The US midterm elections will decide who gets control of Congress for Barack Obama’s last two years in office. A hugely decisive moment at first glance – but in reality, the 2014 midterms have devolved…
If Democrats win governorships in battleground states, their fortunes in the House of Representatives will improve considerably – in the long term. EPA/Michael Reynolds

Why the US midterms matter – and why Democrats see a silver lining

If the polls are correct, the headlines on November 5 following the US midterm elections will proclaim that Democrats have suffered a major defeat. The Democrats will likely lose the Senate. President…
Scourge of the elite. Miguel Ariel Contreras Drake-McLaughlin

Bradlee was a bold editor who helped us understand the world

Ben Bradlee, the former editor of the Washington Post, who has died at the age of 93 was a crusading and courageous editor. He played a central role in exposing duplicity and deception at the highest levels…
Attendees photograph Hillary Clinton speaking at Pennsylvania rally in support of Democratic candidate for governor. Mark Makela/Reuters

Midterm politics: the back story is the thing

Foundation essay: This article is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the US. Our foundation essays are longer than our usual comment and analysis articles and take a wider look…
The outside is being renovated, but what about the inside? Jim Bourg/Reuters

How to make the House of Representatives representative

Foundation essay: This article is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the US. Our foundation essays are longer than our usual comment and analysis articles and take a wider look…
The blurring of the line between the military and the police, especially in the US, is now on the political agenda following recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. EPA/Roberto Rodriguez

Urban combat: Ferguson and the militarisation of police

Anyone watching the footage coming out of Ferguson, Missouri in recent days would be forgiven for thinking they had tuned into a scene from a combat zone, rather than suburban America. There has been a…

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