Modi won the Indian election. So why does it seem like he lost?

“Overall, the BJP lost 63 of the seats it previously held in the Lok Sabha. That means that, although the BJP still has the most seats of any party in the lower house of parliament, it doesn’t have a majority. Together with its coalition partners, the BJP still has a 293-seat majority, but that’s not enough to make constitutional amendments unchallenged. Modi and the BJP will now encounter more friction — both from the opposition and potentially from within the coalition it formed as an insurance policy during the campaign.”

https://www.vox.com/world-politics/354352/modi-india-election-gandhi-bjp-uttar-pradesh-inauguration-hindutva

What Kenya’s deadly protests are really about

“parliament passed a bill increasing taxes — including on a bevy of everyday essentials like cooking oil, diapers, and bread — on a population already suffering from inflation and high rates of unemployment.
As protests increased in size and intensity, even breaching parliament’s chambers, they were met with violent repression. Nearly two dozen people were killed Tuesday.

After initial recalcitrance, President William Ruto said Wednesday he would not sign the controversial bill. His decision was a victory for the protesters, but the saga leaves the country’s future more uncertain than ever, both economically and politically.”

“Kenya’s troubles are a distillation of the problems facing several dozen developing nations, crushed under debt”

“Complicating matters are Kenya’s other economic problems. Corruption, cronyism, financial mismanagement, and the vestiges of colonialism have hobbled Kenya’s once-impressive economic development and exacerbated class and ethnic inequalities.”

https://www.vox.com/world-politics/357857/kenya-protest-tax-ruto-loans-china-imf

India’s election shows the world’s largest democracy is still a democracy

“If the basic test of whether a country remains a democracy is that the party in power can still suffer a setback at the ballot box, India passed”

“Results from the nation’s parliamentary elections — the largest in the world — indicate a shocking electoral setback for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“Setback,” to be clear, is a relative term here. At the end of the staggered six-week election, Modi will become only the second Indian prime minister to win a third consecutive term. As of this writing, the BJP-led National Democracy Alliance (NDA) has won 289 seats in the 543-seat parliament and is leading in one more. A majority requires 272 seats.

The BJP itself has won 240 seats. That’s more than any Indian party won between 1984 and 2009, when Modi first came to power, and in most elections, it would have been an amazing result. But the expectations game is real, and Modi and his party lost it.

During the campaign, the NDA had a stated goal of winning 400 seats: a supermajority that would have allowed them to push through major legislative and constitutional changes. They didn’t come close. And after winning an absolute majority on its own in the last election, the BJP will likely now have to rely on its smaller coalition partners in the NDA to form a government.

Exit polls over the weekend were also wildly wrong, with most incorrectly projecting around a 350-seat victory for Modi. (One of the more bizarre media moments on Tuesday was a prominent pollster breaking down in tears on Indian TV over his erroneous forecast and being comforted by his fellow panelists on camera. Not something you’re likely to see from Frank Luntz.)

The opposition Congress Party, which very recently looked headed for political oblivion under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, the much-mocked fourth-generation scion of India’s most prominent political dynasty, appears likely to double its tally from the last election.”

https://www.vox.com/world-politics/353785/india-election-2024-modi-bjp

India just showed the world how to fight an authoritarian on the rise

“the BJP held just 240 seats. They not only underperformed expectations, they actually lost their parliamentary majority. While Modi will remain prime minister, he will do so at the helm of a coalition government — meaning that he will depend on other parties to stay in office, making it harder to continue his ongoing assault on Indian democracy.”

“after looking at the information that is available and speaking with several leading experts on Indian politics, there are at least three conclusions that I’m comfortable drawing.
First, voters punished Modi for putting his Hindu nationalist agenda ahead of fixing India’s unequal economy. Second, Indian voters had some real concerns about the decline of liberal democracy under BJP rule. Third, the opposition parties waged a smart campaign that took advantage of Modi’s vulnerabilities on the economy and democracy.”

https://www.vox.com/politics/354424/india-election-results-2024-modi-congress-economy-democracy-liberalism

Republicans are ramping up election fraud claims ahead of November

“Forget election season; election denial season has officially kicked off.
Over the last few weeks, Republican legislators have held committee hearings as well as introduced and passed legislation preventing noncitizens from voting — something that is already illegal in state and federal elections, and very rare. Former President Donald Trump has ramped up his claims that the 2024 election will be stolen — even above and beyond his typical portending. The cast of the 2024 veepstakes have all been toeing the line on election denialism. And let’s not forget the hundreds of election-denying candidates running for election or reelection up and down the ballot.

“This effort has the effect, and perhaps has the intent, of planting the seeds of doubt about an election that some Trump supporters must think he might lose,” said David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research.

There was a moment in the weeks following the 2022 midterm elections where it felt like maybe, just maybe, the election denial trend was starting to fade. Voters had roundly rejected election-denying candidates, including in some of the most high-profile races on the ballot, and the vast majority of candidates who lost their election conceded, including even some of the most dedicated election deniers. But it’s become clear over the past few weeks that Republicans are not yet ready to abandon the election denial narrative and are instead angling to make it a central issue come November.”

“Roughly the same percentage of Americans believe the 2020 election was stolen today as did in 2021. Polling from YouGov and The Economist in April showed 36 percent of Americans said Biden did not legitimately win, similar to the 38 percent who said so in April 2021 — making it clear what kind of lasting impact this rhetoric can have on voters’ perception of an election’s legitimacy. It also raises the specter of a repeat of the violence we saw on Jan. 6; meanwhile, threats against election workers have continued in the four years since the last presidential election.”

https://abcnews.go.com/538/republicans-ramping-election-fraud-claims-ahead-november/story?id=110640715

Daniel Perry’s Pardon Makes a Mockery of Self-Defense

“It is absolutely true that the right to self-defense is vital. And to argue that Perry—who, prior to killing Foster at a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest, wrote that he wanted to “shoot the [protesters] in the front and push the pedal to the metal”—acted in self-defense is to make a total mockery of that right and those who’ve had to exercise it.”

“In July 2020, Perry ran a red light and drove into a crowd of protesters. That in and of itself, of course, is not enough to deduce that he was looking for a fight. His own statements prior to doing so, however, add a great deal of helpful context and show his frame of mind at the time. “I might have to kill a few people on my way to work they are rioting outside my apartment complex,” he wrote on social media on May 31, 2020. Also in May, he threatened to a friend that he “might go to Dallas to shoot looters.” And then in mid-June, he sent that message about going to a protest, “shoot[ing] the ones in the front,” and then careening his car through the hubbub.
This was part of a pattern. Austin police detective William Bursley testified, for instance, that Perry searched on Safari for “protesters in Seattle gets shot,” “riot shootouts,” and “protests in Dallas live.” It is not hard to connect the dots between his searches and messages.

So what about that stand-your-ground defense Abbott alleges the jury nullified? Core to Perry’s case and trial was whether he reasonably feared for his life that July evening. Foster indeed had a rifle on him—because open carry is legal in Texas. The Second Amendment does not solely exist for people with conservative views. The big question then: Was Foster pointing the gun at Perry when he approached his vehicle? For the answer, we can go to Perry himself, who told law enforcement that he was not. “I believe he was going to aim at me,” he said. “I didn’t want to give him a chance to aim at me.” But that is not a self-defense justification, as Perry cannot claim clairvoyance.

That the jury reached the conclusion they did is not a mystery, nor is it an outrage. What is outrageous, however, is that a governor who claims to care about law and order has made clear that his support for crime victims is at least in part conditional on having the “right” politics.”

https://reason.com/2024/05/17/daniel-perrys-pardon-makes-a-mockery-of-self-defense/

‘None of them have clean hands’: Dems rebuke Alito, SCOTUS over flag controversy

“Top Democrats are calling for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to recuse himself from cases related to former President Donald Trump after reports surfaced that an inverted American flag, a symbol linked to the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” movement, was flown outside his home in the days following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
According to The New York Times, the flag was seen flying on Jan. 17, 2021, three days before President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Alito told the Times: “I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag,” and said that his wife, Martha-Ann, had raised it in response to “objectionable and personally insulting” yard signs put out by their neighbors.

The report marks the latest blow to the Court as it faces heightened scrutiny over judicial ethics after a ProPublica investigation revealed that both Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas had personal relationships and financial exchanges with billionaire GOP donors. Separate reports also showed Thomas’ wife, Virginia, to be a fierce supporter of the former president.

Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who has long called for a congressionally enforced code of conduct for the Court, released a statement Friday night calling on Alito to recuse himself from cases relating to Jan. 6 and the 2020 election, reiterating a previous admonishment that “the Court is in an ethical crisis of its own making.”

“Flying an upside-down American flag — a symbol of the so-called ‘Stop the Steal’ movement — clearly creates the appearance of bias,” Durbin wrote. “Justice Alito should recuse himself immediately from cases related to the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection, including the question of the former President’s immunity in U.S. v. Donald Trump, which the Supreme Court is currently considering.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2024/05/18/alito-flag-recuse-jan-6-reactions-00158775