There’s a search for a fifth meat- and 19 other things podcasts taught us in 2016

Whether its asking what happens when you watch Sexuality and the City 2 more than 50 days or which Oscar has won an Oscar, theres no question a podcast somewhere hasnt answered

1 Richard Ayoade used a ThunderCats duvet cover until he was in his late 20 s

Where we learned it The Adam Buxton podcast

Adam Buxtons life-affirming, jingle-packed ramble chats with his celebrity guests are a constant pleasure. In this two-parter, the multi-talented Ayoade went into everything from the height of pillows to the reaction to his notoriously awkward interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy. As funny as the pod is, you will learn a lot, too from Buxtons honest discussions of heartbreak when his dad succumbed to how upsetting Sara Pascoe sees it when people induce clicky sticky noises with their mouths.

Other lessons from this podcast Louis Theroux does a fine rendition of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Ellie Violet Bramley

Malcolm
Journalist and writer Malcolm Gladwell. Photograph: Anne Bailey

2 One of the biggest auto recalls in history may have been caused by drivers pressing the wrong pedal

Where we learned it Malcolm Gladwells Revisionist History

If you are familiar with Gladwells run, then Revisionist History is both a treat and familiar province. The New Yorker writer often takes assumptions and things we might think to be true and unravels them to end up in a different place altogether. In his bestseller Blink, he explained why it might not have been so unusual that an unarmed man was shot 41 periods by New York police. In the best episode of Revisionist History, Gladwell looked back at Toyotas sudden unintended acceleration phenomenon, which led to a gigantic fine for the car manufacturer. The conclusion when you are listen to a 911 call in which a man is driven to his death by a vehicle that wont slow down was not that the cars accelerators were sticking, but that drivers unfamiliar with certain autoes were having a brain malfunction that entailed the latter are physically unable to differentiate between the brake and the accelerator.

Other lessons from this podcast American colleges with the nicest canteens are the worst choices for poor students; if you want to score the most free-throws in basketball, do them underarm. Will Dean

3 One day, everyone in Sweden switched to driving on the opposite side of the road

Where we learned it 99% Invisible

You neednt be an architecture or design fanatic to enjoy Roman Marss gentle unpicking of how the world around us came to look and function as it does. As well as tales about the origins of the inflatable humen they have outside automobile traders in the US, and why they used to publicize missing children on milk cartons, you are able to learn about Hgertrafikomlggningen , or H-day 3 September 1967 when everyone in Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right.

Other lessons from this podcast Californias Salton Sea was formed by mistake; 20 years ago, the world became obsessed with a phone booth in the middle of the Mojave desert. Leah Harper

4 Having your own podcast wont win you an election

Where we learned it With Her

How do we know that Hillary Clinton enjoyed a Cuban sandwich and a brew at the end of a day on the road? Well, she had her own campaign podcast, about the little details of being on the road. In the first episode, Max Linsky, of the podcast Longform, talked to her in Miami about what she was going to have for dinner that evening. As the first presidential nominee to have a campaign podcast, Clinton tried to harness the power of the medium to proves a more personable side of herself. Suffice to say, it didnthave the desired effect.

Other lessons from this podcast Clinton is a TED talks fan and has to ration her Elena Ferrante novels. EVB

My
The hosts of My Dad Wrote a Porno.

5 Theres more than one way of motivating your sales force

Where we learned it My Dad Wrote a Porno

Pots-and-pans sales supremo Belinda Blumenthal can find lust in any situation even when she is lost in an ornamental labyrinth. The superstar of the erotic fiction written by comedian Jamie Mortons father has taught the world that a regional marketings conference has just as much possibilities for naked fun as a business trip-up to Amsterdam. Other things she has appropriated into her libidinous realm include a charity tombola, Herb Alpert, a chalet, a pomegranate, a horsebox and any sentence involving the words further access. What she has taught listeners about her ridiculously sexy life may be unsavoury, but via Mortons podcast it has brought a whole lot of mirth.

Other lessons from this podcast There is such a thing as a vaginal lid; never read erotic fiction written by your dad. Hannah Verdier

6 Sacha Baron Cohen has been known to use a getaway car

Where we learned it WTF

Marc Marons WTF can be off-putting: the hosts 15 -minute opening monologue and guitar jams are often enough to deter new listeners. But when it comes to teasing out colorful details from the careers of some of Hollywoods funniest and finest, Maron is the master. Grimsby may have bombed in the cinema, but it was worth it for the interview Baron Cohen did with Maron to promote the cinema. The best bits were the details of the logistical difficulties of attaining Brno, from how a redneck battle crowd were deceived into watching a homoerotic romp to how Baron Cohen managed to escape Kansas police after being caught with, among other things, a pedal-powered sexuality machine in a hotel room.( He had a auto waiting outside with the engine running .)

Other lessons from this podcast Asking what peoples parents were like rarely gets a dull answer; if you have the US president over to record in your garage, youd better have nice neighbours; William Friedkin is the best storyteller in Hollywood. WD

Alix
Alix Fox looks into peoples sexuality lives. Photograph: Ken McKay/ Rex/ Shutterstock

7 Having two vaginas doesnt mean you can have vaginal sex with two men at the same time

Where we learned it Close Encounters from the Guardian

Alix Fox pries into the complicated and fascinating lives of people for whom sex is not always entirely straightforward, from a polyamorous couple to a human paralysed from the waist down just before his honeymoon. An extraordinary interview with double-barrelled Hazel, who talked openly about the effects her condition has had on her and may have on her if she wants to have children is the standout so far.

Other lessons from this podcast Russian-doll-style dildos can cure vaginismus; having cold feet can help to delay an orgasm. LH

8 The search for a fifth meat continues

Where we learned it The Beef and Dairy Network podcast

The centuries-old assumption that there are only four meats beef, lamb, pork and chicken is crumbling after unconfirmed reports that the European Space Agency has identified a mysterious fifth meat. The Beef and Dairy Network podcast, produced by comedian Ben Partridge, is the No 1 podcast for those involved or only interested in the production of beef animals and dairy herds. Featuring guest appearances from agricultural experts such as Josie Long, and attracting fans including Miranda Sawyer, it is a surreal beefstravaganza.

Other lessons from this podcast According to Beef and Dairy Network sponsor Mitchells, 90% of cattle can kick through a vessel hull after just a few months of taking hoof-strengthening supplement Steel Hoof Deluxe. EVB

A
Dont put this cow in your ships hull. Photograph: Brian Brown/ Getty Images

9 John Oliver is not dead

Where we learned it The Bugle

For a decade, long-time comedy partners John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman set the world to rights via the medium of their audio newspaper for a visual world. Their riffs on anything from civil liberties( Like puppies, John, we love our own, but we get genuinely vexed when other peoples civil liberty keep shitting on our lawns) to Texas barbecues( All I know is this, Andy: if I was a cow, and I knew that I could savor like that, Id find it very hard to make a coherent example for not being immediately killed and slow-cooked) often attained the indicate the funniest thing you could get on Wi-Fi. With Oliver having left the Daily Show to front his own display on HBO, the Bugle went into satirical hibernation. It awoke in mid-October, just in time for a political event so ridiculous that even Zaltzman at his most surreal couldnt have imagined it. The pods Have I Got News for You-style rotating guest co-hosts now include US comics Wyatt Cenac and Hari Kondabolu, as well as Brit Nish Kumar and brilliant Indian standup Anuvab Pal. They dont know each other as well as best friends Zaltzman and Oliver, but perhaps the other co-host, Andys sister Helen, could claim an advantage on that front. The Bugle is dead, long live the Bugle.

Other lessons from this podcast Bashar al-Assad bought LMFAOs Im Sexy and I Know It as the Syrian civil war raged. WD

10 A bloke operating a driving school in Acton, west London, was also helping to prop up the death penalty in the US

Where we learned it More Perfect

In a residential area of west London, inside a house with a banner that reads Elgone Driving Academy, is a guy in his 50 s who seems a bit like William Hurt and who was the one-man operation helping to provide the narcotics used for capital punishment in the US. That was until a human rights charity alerted the UK government to his pharmaceutical broom closet of death. In the inaugural episode of More Perfect, a Radiolab spin-off looking at how US supreme court cases affect lives miles away from the bench, the presenters explored those three little terms from the American constitution: cruel and unusual.

Other lessons from this podcast An unusual 911 call made in Houston, Texas, in 1998, led to one of the most important LGBTQ rights decisions in the courts history, effectively building homosexual relations a basic civil right. EVB

11 The political insiders word for people panicking about a Trump win was bedwetters

Where we learned it Keepin it 1600

A politics podcast hosted by Barack Obamas former speechwriter and a senior communications consultant ought to scream wonkishness, but Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer may be the two most engaging analysts of a bonkers election campaign. Having been at the heart of two US election blizzards, they alongside other hosts Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor know, inside-out, how this world runs and share it. Their near certainty about a Clinton win up to the morning of general elections induced 1600 one of the most reassuring political podcasts you could listen to and construct their morning-after mea culpa on 9 November all the more extraordinary. Now its actually time to wet the bed.

Other lessons from this podcast The Obama team realised it was impossible to refute crazy lies about its candidate after Fox News said in 2008 that the young Obama had been raised a Muslim when the team complained, they were told that it was an amusement show. WD

12 Billy Joel has really soft hands

Where we learned it Two Dope Queens

Comedians and co-podcast hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams went where two black women have never gone before a Billy Joel concert. They sneaked in their ros in suntan lotion bottles bought on Amazon the kind that get white daughters, watching the Shins, through Coachella. And, having been given front-row tickets because Billy likes to see fairly girls up at the front, they got to shake his baby-soft hands. If thats not informative enough for you, listen to the other episodes of this snort-out-loud-funny podcast from WNYC and hear some of New Yorks best female comedians talking about sexuality, romance, race, hair journeys and living in the city.

Other lessons from this podcast Pierce Brosnans volcano thriller Dantes Peak has a lot to tell us about how far we have come since the 90 s; talcum powder is the best method to deal with boob sweat. EVB

13 Tar heroin reeks just like capers

Where we learned it Guys We Fucked

Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson host the anti-slut-shaming podcast, featuring interviews with everyone from Jon Ronson to Stoya( and, as the title gently suggests, people with whom they have had sex ). Their interview with Wendi Kent or, as they call her, White Precious who photographs protesters outside abortion clinics, exposed the same reasons she can no longer feed capers and what its like to have sex when youre homeless. But its not all heavy-going. The episode titles alone are a treat good luck disguising You didnt go to France because you wanted to masturbate ?, His pubes were haunted? and Period sex: supposes? from fellow commuters.

Other lessons from this podcast DIY HIV tests can be done at home( or on-air) with a mouth swab; comedians on the circuit all hook up with one another. LH

Sex
There is such a this as too much SatC2 I mean, you knew that already, right? Photograph: Allstar/ Warner/ Sportsphoto Ltd

14 You can watch Sex and the City 2 too many times

Where we learned it The Worst Idea of All Time

A lot of time, effort and fund, especially money, went into making this film, says Guy Montgomery. Weve just opened up the most disgusting can of worms. Theres no need to watch SatC2 because he and Tim Batt have done it more than 50 times for the sake of their podcast( they did the same with Grown Ups 2 ). Mirandas nanny Magda is a spy who is gradually poisoning her, Charlotte is the other one and the whole thing is crying out for the kind of dialogue that attained the Tv series great.

Other lessons from this podcast We Are Your Friends is next on your hatewatch list. HV

15 You can have a podcast about a podcast

Where we learned it Slates Serial Spoiler Specials

Slates week-by-week analysis of Serial, 2014 s podcast preoccupation, is perfect for when everyone you know is listening far too slowly offering story recaps, whodunnit hypothesis and critiques of the host, Sarah Koenig. Not to mention digging deep down into Reddit rabbit pits about the two cases encompassed so far.

Other lessons from this podcast The cow birth in season two can be seen as an agricultural metaphor for the militarys have responded to Bowe Bergdahls disappearance; its almost impossible to map a timeline via audio. LH

16 Moby is a CD thief

Where we learned it Heavyweight

Jonathan Goldsteins Heavyweight aims to the tell the stories of people whose lives have taken a wrong turn somewhere. One of these was to reunited his 80 -year-old father with his elder friend before it was too late. Another was to reunite his friend Gregor who is haunted by the moment he loaned a box of Cds to a techno-producer friend. The friend, was, of course, Moby, who utilized many of them as the basis for his squillion-selling Play. Gregor doesnt want royalties he only wants his Cds back. And Goldstein helps him get them.

Other lessons from this podcast Tracking down your school bullies is an uncomfortable eye-opener( as demonstrated by Julia in episode seven ). HV

17 You can have an -Alist cast in a podcast drama

Where we learned it Homecoming

Although Serial was essentially a piece of investigative journalism, its format have also shown that podcasting didnt need to be limited in its sort. Gimlet Media, functional specialists podcasting company, emerged around the same period as that NPR made and proved its aspirations in the field. Its scripted drama, Homecoming, aimed straight for the stars with a cast including Catherine Keener, Star Wars Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer. The story flips between Keeners characters work at an experimental facility that helps soldiers integrate back in local communities and her present-day life as a waitress. There are plenty of cliffhangers helping to tell the story of what happened in between.

Other lessons from this podcast You dont mess with David Schwimmer. As Colin Belfast, he oozes fury and has the air of a human on the edge. HV

18, 19, 20 France buys in most of its frogs legs only one person called Oscar has won an Oscar Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck were more reprinted comic book characters( that arent superheroes) of all time

Where we learned it Answer Me This !

Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann( plus Martin the soundman) solve listeners queries on a fortnightly basis with questions ranging from the practical to the ethical to the ridiculous. Suffice to say, you will learn more listening to them while doing the washing up than from Heart FM. You will also learn that drunken voicemails are welcome, especially from Dave from Smethwick and Graham from Canada.( Its Oscar Hammerstein II, by the route .) LH

The Guardian publishes a wide range of award-winning podcasts daily, from Football Weekly to the Guardian Books podcast, all of which are available on our site , iTunes and other leading podcast platforms .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Clinton’s remarks on the Reagans and Aids demand more than apology

It is hard but important for those who care about Aids to blame the frontrunner of the Democratic party, who takes the support of lesbian voters for granted

Talking about former first lady Nancy Reagan on MSNBC on Friday, current leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton credited chairperson and Mrs Reagan in particular, Mrs Reagan, for having started a national conversation about Aids.

Aids historians, LGBT activists and anyone who cares about little things like the truth were subsequently enraged at Clintons false claims. Ronald and Nancy Reagan were no more leaders discussing Aids in the 1980 s than Republicans are at championing abortion access today.

It may be hard for your viewers to recollect, Clinton said, how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/ Aids back in the 1980 s.

She didnt lie there. Indeed, it was difficult to talk about Aids throughout the 1980 s largely because of the stillnes from the White House. In April 1987, activists unveiled a poster that said Silence= Death a month before Reagan would eventually devote a speech to the years-long epidemic. That slogan would become the motto of the group Aids Coalition To Unleash Power( ACT-UP ), and according to their website, the slogan was asking Why is Reagan silent about Aids? What is really going on at the Center for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Vatican?

Its easy to denounce Reagan out of office for 27 years and dead for more than a decade with the distance of history. Its also easy to blame Republicans continuing love of abstinence-only sex education and opposition to gay rights as a continuing attempt to erase faggot people today.

But for those of us who care about Aids and LGBT people, it is much harder and important to blame the frontrunner of the Democratic party, who takes the support of lesbian voters for awarded. Why, in 2016, did the Democratic frontrunner engage so blithely in the erasure of the people who actually did start the national conversation about Aids? Was it because they were gay humen of the in-your-face variety of activism many of whom succumbed of the virus?

When Clinton said the Reagans led the way on Assistances when nobody wanted to do anything about it, she is erasing these people from history in an ugly and dismissive manner. People initially get HIV in this country through IV drug use, blood transfusions and sexuality. But while the Reagans looked the other route even when a friend asked for help it was was queer activists who were loud as hell in New York and San Francisco who forced the nation to face the plague.

Clinton said she could really appreciate Nancy Reagans very effective low-key advocacy that penetrated the public conscience on Aids. But current realities is, the people who really started the conversation are still not low-key. They were not polite. They were not quiet in any way. They staged die-ins. They shut down streets. They threw the cremated ashes of their loved ones, already killed by Aids, over the fence of the White House to demand action.

Clinton subsequently apologized, saying she misspoke about the Reagans on HIV/ Aids. But what was she trying to gain by praising the Reagans in this way in the first place? I fear that she was engaging in a kind of dog-whistling, utilizing the moment of Nancy Reagans death to appeal to voters who nostalgically loved the Reagans and dream of morning in America again. I fear by invoking a false Aids history, she was appealing to those who want a simpler time before homosexuals get uppity. Perhaps she wants to peel off some of the white men voting for Sanders in the primary. Perhaps she is trolling for Reagan Democrats who might consider her over Trump in building America great again.

I have been frightened for some time that the crisis of AIDS is not over, especially for black America, and yet it has again largely been erased from our national political consciousness. Aids, which is projected to infect one in two black lesbian American men, is virtually invisible from the presidential race. And now even the Democratic frontrunner has diminished Aids history herself.

Will gay voters and political groups, especially the Human Right Campaign( which endorsed the other HRC months ago) demand that Clinton do more than say sorry, but demand that she audibly start their own nationals conversation on Aids in America in 2016 a day when it is still hard to talk about HIV? Will they question her praising Reagans Aids policies as a harbinger of deadly incremental things to come, devoted her claims to pragmatically run across the aisle in a manner that is she says Bernie Sanders never, ever could? Will they hold their own, in this time, to as high a standard as they do the deceased leader of their opposition party especially given her own pathetic past opposition on lesbian rights? This would be the only sincere way to begin to undo the damage Clinton has done to the men and women who fought, and still fight, Aids in the vacuum of political leadership.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Hillary Clinton Is Botching Her Best Chance To Win

Conventional wisdom, 2007: Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination in a cakewalk. Conventional wisdom, 2015: Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination in a cakewalk.

Everybody knows what happened to the conventional wisdom once 2007 turned to 2008. Surely Clinton does. This time around, even as she amassed advantages that may still prove insurmountable, her campaign put forth a strong message: “We get it. We’ve changed.”

But after a promising start, Clinton’s campaign has taken an abrupt, confounded, strategic turn. And a familiar crassness has returned to a campaign that now appears to be bent on ensuring a repeat of 2008 in 2016.

On this week’s edition of “So, That Happened, ” we grapple with how this came to be.

Recent polling indicates her challenger for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders( I-Vt .), is not only ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire, but is neck-and-neck, perhaps even ahead, in Iowa. That these early states are shaping up as competitive shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. Voters violate late — many aren’t paying close attention until a few weeks before their state’s contest.

And yet, Clinton has responded to the adversity by doing, frankly, what Clintons always tend to do — going on the attack. That’s not inevitably a bad thing, as long as those attacks make sense in the context of a Democratic primary. What Clinton has come up with, however, is strategic madness.

Perhaps the most astounding misstep Clinton has constructed, in recent days, is the way she’s gone about vying with Sanders on the issue of health care. Sanders favors a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system. Clinton would prefer to stimulate incremental expansions to Obamacare.

But instead of persuading voters that she’d be the more politically effective candidate in this situation, Clinton’s gone all the way ’round the bend and has decided to ramp up unnecessary fearmongering, dispatching her daughter to New Hampshire to darkly caution that Sanders is gonna take everyone’s health care away 😛 TAGEND

“Sen. Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantles the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare, and dismantle private insurance, ” she said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “I worry if we dedicate Republicans Democratic to be allowed to do that, we’ll go back to an era — before we had the Affordable Care Act — that would strip millions and millions and tens of thousands of people off their health insurance.”

Hillary Clinton herself doubled down on her daughter’s remarks on ABC News Thursday morning, and campaign aides have done the same. Of course, this is not true. Under a single-payer system, everybody get health care. That’s the entire point, as Hillary Clinton well knows. Chelsea Clinton knows it too. As Alex Pareene points out: “Chelsea Clinton has a masters degree in public health from Columbia. She knows exactly how what she’s saying obfuscates the issue.”

This is well beyond the level of vitriol that is needed in the primary. More importantly, it’s stupid. The Democratic Party has been advocating for a single-payer health care system since the Truman era. Hillary Clinton herself worked to establish one in 1993. Legislator don’t win races by trying to pull the fleece over their potential supporters’ eyes about core policy faiths they have held for decades.

But Clinton’s cynical, dishonest assault on single-payer is consistent with the weird, sinister turn her campaign made at the outset of 2016. Earlier this month, Clinton attempted to smear Sanders as being soft on Wall Street, is recommended that he doesn’t have a plan to take on “shadow banking.” This is daffy any route you look at it. As we’ve noted before, Sanders favors aggressively breaking up the large financing institution that engage in shadow banking. He would buttress those efforts by reinstating Glass-Steagall and made those shadow banks that remain unaffected with a tax on their transactions.

Since the crisis, financial reform advocates have worked to make “break up the banks” the core Democratic Party message on Wall Street. Feigning that the guy who is tough on “too big to fail” is weak on Wall street doesn’t actually register with anyone outside the class of former and potential Clinton advisers.

This is not a battle of notions; it’s an investment in cynicism. And it’s hard to avoid a few ugly conclusions. Clinton has not learned from the mistakes of 2008. She does not understand the Democratic Party’s base. She does not respect the activists and intellectuals who have fought to establish the party’s economic policy agenda over the past 50 years. And she thinks voters in early primary countries are dumb enough to fall for obvious dishonesty, merely because they already like her.

The truth is that Clinton has a solid situate of prescriptives on both health care and darknes banking. But here’s a hard truth: No Democratic chairperson is going to be able to legislate any version of his or her policy agenda with a Republican Congress. Either Sanders or Clinton will be playing defense on Obama’s legacy for at least one term in office. There is almost no chance of actual liberal legislating before 2020.

The Democratic primary is two things. One, an authenticity contest, in which Clinton and Sanders try to show die-hard Democrat that they are really, really like them — even though both are career legislators. Two, a statement of the party’s purpose. Here is the dream, even if it can’t be enacted anytime soon.

Clinton’s recent domestic policy offensive fails on both fronts. Nobody really believes that a woman who served on the board of Walmart when her husband was governor of Arkansas and who attained millions of dollars devoting speeches to big banks and private equity firms is a populist Democrat. And nobody truly believes that a woman who previously advocated for single-payer now thinks it will destroy Medicare. Party activists also don’t believe that her incrementalism is more legislatively plausible, because no actual Democratic attempts are going to be possible for years to come.

But Democrats like Clinton because she has been fighting outrageous Republican attacks for more than 20 years. She’s still got it( insure: Benghazi hearings ), and it’s Democratic primary gold( see: post-Benghazi-hearing polls ). That’s Clinton’s best argument for the nomination. Smearing policy proposals that Democrat have expended years fighting for? Not so much.

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com

Hillary Clinton Makes Her Pitch To Black Voters

NEW YORK( Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton courted the critical black vote on Tuesday as she met with civil right leaders in New York and promised in a speech to tackle “very real barriers” confronting African-Americans.

Clinton is seeking to maintain her result among black voters over U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, her rival for the Democratic nomination for the Nov. 8 election to succeed Democrat Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president.

Andrew Burton via Getty Images
Hillary Clinton campaigned with Rep. Charlie Rangel( D-N.Y .) on Tuesday.

The Clinton campaign said last week: “It will be very difficult, if not impossible, for a Democrat to win the nomination without strong levels of support among African-American and Hispanic voters.”

Clinton’s status as the Democratic front-runner was jolted this month when the former secretary of state beat Sanders by less than a percentage point in Iowa’s caucuses and lost to him by more than 20 phases in the New Hampshire primary. More than 90 percent of people in those states are white.

Clinton met for more than two hours on Tuesday with a half-dozen civil rights leaders at the New York headquarters of the National Urban League.

“I thought that the secretary demonstrated an ease and intimacy with many of the issues we discussed this morning, ” National Urban League President Marc Morial said afterward.

The Rev. Al Sharpton joked with Clinton in the hallways afterwards, indicating to reporters he had told her which candidate he would endorse.

“My lips are sealed! ” Clinton, who did not take any media questions, responded with a smile.

At a press conference later, Sharpton said Clinton was “candid and open, ” but he added he had yet to decide who to subsistence and that no nominee should take the support of black voters for awarded. “We are not a monolithic people, ” he said.

Clinton’s campaign team has argued that Sanders’ growing subsistence among Democrats is very likely falter as voting for a party nominee moves to more racially diverse states in the coming weeks.

Both Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have traditionally had solid supporting from blacks, a key component of the Democratic electorate.

Opinion polls prove Clinton with a strong lead over Sanders in South Carolina, where blacks are likely to make up more than half the voters in the state’s Democratic primary on Feb. 27.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sen. Bernie Sandersreceived the endorsement ofErica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner, who was killed by New York City police. The two appeared together during a town hall at the University of South Carolina, on Tuesday.

Sanders has said Clinton’s polling lead among blacks is partly a result of her being more famous than he is. He believes many non-white voters will be drawn to his message of fighting economic inequality as they get to know him.

He is scheduled to meet with civil right leaders in Washington on Thursday.

SPEECH IN HARLEM

Later on Tuesday, Clinton, a former U.S. senator from New York, gave a speech in the historically black New York City neighborhood of Harlem on breaking down the barriers that black families face. She was joined onstage before her statements by New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Eric Holder, the first black U.S. attorney general.

“There are still very real obstacles holding back African-Americans from fully participating in our economy and national societies, ” Clinton said, citing disparities between blacks and whites in earnings, health and criminal sentencing.

She said that if elected, she would expend$ 2 billion to encourage public school districts with a high number of troubled students to hire social workers and other experts to help young people before they get entangled in the criminal justice system.

Sanders, who frequently denounces the country’s high incarceration rate, also met with Sharpton earlier this month, and was endorsed by Benjamin Jealous, former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who said he could not supporting Clinton in part because of her support of the death penalty.

Clinton was endorsed last week by the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee, which said Clinton had a long history of working on issues that affect black Americans.

( Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Frances Kerry and Peter Cooney)

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com

What kind of first lady will Bill Clinton be if Hillary becomes chairwoman?

If Clinton becomes USs first female chairwoman, she wont be the only one breaking a gender obstacle: her husband will step into a role no man has held before

Rolled oats propelled Hillary Clinton to victory in 1992. They were the game-changing ingredient in her recipefor chocolate chip cookies, which she submitted to Family Circle magazine in a bake-off against then-incumbent first lady Barbara Bush.

The bake-off was an attempt to appeal to stay-at-home moms following her controversial response to California governor Jerry Browns criticism that she owed her professional success to her husband, Bill. I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had tea, she told a reporter in a soundbite that was reported around the world. But what I decided to do was fulfill my profession. Many women responded with outrage, and perhaps thats why, shortly thereafter, Clinton participated in the traditional Family Circle first lady bake-off. And won.

Clintons cookies are good: my best friends mom used to make them for her school lunches. No doubt Hillary could have won any number of bake-offs with her recipe, but politics have paid off far more for her: in less than a year, she may be the first female president of the United State. But if that happens, she wont be the only one violating a gender barrier: her husband Bill will step into a role no human has ever held before. So what kind of first lady will Bill Clinton be?( Besides, of course, a manly one ).

The role of first lady is officially unofficial: theres no constitutional requirement that the president have a partner, and the person occupying the role has never received a salary. The task has evolved over the years. In the 18 th and 19 th century, the first lady was primarily expected to be a lovely and capable hostess, just like any spouse of a distinguished, wealthy American man. These women were expected to bake cookies, host teas, select china patterns, manage household staff and smile graciously at fancy dinners. In the 20th century, however, things began to shift, and some first ladies began to dig in to more substantial issues than menus and flower arrangements.

First
First ladies of the United State: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Eleanor Roosevelt, Florence Harding and Edith Wilson. Photograph: AP

Different girls leveraged the position in different ways: some argue that Lady Bird Johnson was the first to modernize the job when she campaigned on behalf of her husband Lyndon B Johnson in the mid 60 s, but others exerted significant political clout before her. Eleanor Roosevelts run as a novelist, activist, public speaker and social reformer is perhaps most famous. But other notably hard-working first ladies include Florence Harding, wife of Warren G, a passionate suffragette who edited all of her husbands important speeches and pushed hard to influence his appointments.

But when Hillary Clinton moved into the White House in 1993, she was not awarded the same flexibility. As the chair of the Task force on National Health Care reform, she was slammed in the press for stepping beyond the reaches of her role, in spite of her clear qualifications to work on policy: the implication was that she was being unladylike. To many Americans, the revelations about her husbands extramarital sexual proclivities confirmed their notion that Hillary was failing to fulfill the remit of the first lady: to be a pleasant and decorative hostess who represents a traditional and anachronistic household: a man in charge, a faithful and helpful woman by his side( even though a number of other presidents and first dames have also had notable affairs ). Indeed, Clinton blamed the affair in part on herself for failing as a wife.

Michelle Obama also a highly-qualified lawyer, and an expert in health care has, by contrast, taken a less policy-oriented approach to the role. Shes championed family-oriented causes like healthy eating, and maintained her distance from Capitol hill.( In this, she followed more closely the model set by her predecessor Laura Bush, who campaigned for literacy and rarely expressed an opinion .) But Obama has nevertheless been the subject of gendered and racist criticism: of her clothes, of her hair, for being scary, for devoting Queen Elizabeth a hug and for needing to drop a few pounds. Thats a lot to take for a volunteer task.

Ultimately, the base nation of the job of first lady is gendered, a model of wifeliness. The women who have given the role breadth and depth have done so by reimagining or extending the role of a spouse a role that only exists because of a relationship to a husband. What, then, will happen to this anachronistic role if its filled by man?

Former
Former US president Bill Clinton speaks to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clintons advocates during a rally in Bridgeton, Missouri on 8 March 2016. Photograph: Michael B. Thomas/ AFP/ Getty Images

The idea of a former chairman championing Americas dental health, giving tours of White House Christmas decorations or pledging to take care of the president as Jacqueline Kennedy did, seems preposterous. Its notable, but not surprising, that the male partners of female global leader arent burdened with the same kind of responsibilities that females are. Though hed be smashing the glass floor for men in America by becoming the first gentleman( which would be his official title ), Bill Clinton would be far from the worlds first first human. In Germany, Angela Merkels husband, Joachim Sauer, has continued his run as a chemistry prof, although he does attend country occasions alongside her. Earlier, Margaret Thatchers husband, Denis Thatcher, was known for his total devotion to his wife, his remove from politics, and his expression of hard-right positions in private. No one ever cared about what he wore.

The Clintons have alluded to some possible roads that Bill could take: in September, Hillary even told appointing himas her vice-president had crossed her intellect. More recently, at the Democratic debate in South Carolina, she stated that hed be one of her key advisers: Im going to ask for his ideas, Im running ask for his advice, and Im going to use him as a goodwill emissary to go around the country to find the best notions weve get, because I do believe, as he said, everything thats wrong with America has been solved somewhere in America, she said. What hell be called in that role remains unclear: Bill himself has suggested Adam, after the biblical first man.

American girls are increasingly taking the breadwinning roles in their households, but is the model of the dominant wife and supportive husband one that were ready to find palatable in the White House? Since the conclusion of his presidency, much of his time has been taken up with his eponymous foundation, which is run out of an office in New York: its raised nearly$ 2bn. Would propriety and tradition genuinely involve him to step aside from his work during his wifes term in office, as Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton gave up their jobs to move to Washington with their development partners? In an America that had achieved gender equality, one might hope that this would happen. But thats not an America in which we live. It seems unlikely that anyone is going to ask Bill Clinton for his best cookie recipe, and not just because hes a vegan.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

READING BREITBART FOR 48 HOURS WILL CONVINCE YOU THE WORLD IS TERRIBLE

I spent two days ingesting news exclusively from the rightwing website and observed its genius lies in the clever packaging of far-right narratives

When Donald Trump hired Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon to lead his presidential campaign, many immediately wondered: what can we expect from the new Bannon-led campaign? And what is Breitbart News?

Bannon has been described variously as the most dangerous political spy in America and the Leni Riefenstahl[ a Nazi propagandist] of the Tea Party motion.

To gain clarity following yet another Trump campaign shakeup, I read Breitbart exclusively for two days, eschewing all other news sources.( The Guardian included. Apart from its soccer coverage .)

It offered an insight into not only the popularity of Breitbart the site boasted 31 million unique visitors in July but also how it appeals to its readers. And its not as simple as you might imagine.

The first thing you notice when visiting Breitbart is its idiosyncratic presentation. Every headline is in capitals. It implies a sense of significance and dire importance.

It shrieks at you. THIS IS IMPORTANT, is the effect. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. THIS IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THIS COUNTRY GOING TO HELL IN A HANDCART.

The last of those phases is an example of how well Breitbart knows its audience.

This doomsday approach makes it seem like Breitbart readers want to feel that everything is rotten. They want to feel irate. They want to feel that catastrophe is impending unless their guys can fix it.

But compared to the caps-lock screaming, the actual articles are quite benign. They could have been published on a liberal news site. Seem at this one from Wednesday, to provide information on the response of Clintons campaign manager, Robby Mook, to Bannon being hired by the Trump campaign.

Mook: Only Fitting For a Bully Like Trump To Hire a Bully To Run His Campaign, it reads.

Mook told us that. Its true. The article itself is opinion-free. It could appear on the Guardian. It simply quotes Mook directly. A later article on the same subject quoted Mook more extensively, then included a replies from Breitbart at the bottom. Thats essentially what any news site would have done.

Thats not to tell Breitbart is objective. It merely pushes its rightwing message with a surprising subtlety.

An extensive profile of Bannon by Bloomberg Politics discloses some of that reasoning. Facts get shares, opinions get shrugs, Bannon tells. And thats largely how it works.

On the front page, at least, Breitbart presents readers with articles it knows will make them angry. The Mook article is a prime example it gives readers an outlet to rip into liberal politicians and liberal media.

If Breitbarts success is from publishing articles that it knows will upset its readers, the key is to publish the tales that present the perfect combination of facts to fuel rightwing fury. For example, a story about homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson, who visited Louisiana following the recent floods, telling Obama could not also attend because he has a very busy schedule. It is true he did say that. But the article is illustrated with a picture of a smiling Obama on a golf course, and the text notes the president is on vacation.

For all the veneer of objectivity, readers are merely presented with stories that further rightwing narrations. Reading it for two days, I learned a number of things I never knew. Many of them about Hillary Clinton.

I discovered that a number of recent tales have focused on questions about Clintons health.

According to articles presented by Breitbart, Clinton is tired and ailing. In a piece about inundating in Louisiana, I learned that Clinton requires extensive rest over the weekends.

From one headline, I learned that Dr Drew VH1s resident celebrity doctor is gravely concerned about her health care.

The message is clear: Clinton is the elderly grandmother who comes round for tea and biscuits and then has to be driven home when she falls asleep in front of Jeopardy.

Apart from Clintons troubling health, I learned that there was a new gun control notion. The notion, according to the Breitbart headline, is to take away guns from senior citizens.

The narrative is actually presented straight. After an examination of the quotes, however, which came from an academic at Johns Hopkins University, the article didnt match the bluster of the headline.

We dont exactly know what to expect yet from the Bannon-led Trump campaign. But its a fair bet that it will be cleverly packaged, well liked by Trump supporters and not very nice.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

From Circe to Clinton: why powerful women are cast as witches

A misogynist insult in Washington and Westminster, a force for good in Hollywood for centuries, witches have represented dread of assertive girls. But why does the stereotype persist?

During the 2016 US presidential election, American social media was inundated with images of Hillary Clinton wearing a black hat and riding a broom, or else cackling with green scalp. Her opponents named her The Wicked Witch of the Left, claimed they had sources witnessing that she reeked of sulphur, and took particular delight in depictions of her being melted. Given that the last witch trial in the US was more than 100 hundred years ago, what are we to construct of this?

In the late 19 th century, the suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage asserted something revolutionary. The persecution of witches, she told, had nothing to do with opposing evil or resisting the demon. It was simply entrenched social misogyny, the goal of which was to repress the intellect of women. A witch, she said, wasn’t wicked. She didn’t fly on a broomstick naked in the dark, or consort with demons. She was, instead, likely to be a woman” of superior knowledge “. As a thought experimentation, she suggested that for “witches” we should read instead “women”. Their histories, she intimated, operate hand in hand.

Obviously, she was on to something. When we say witch, we almost exclusively entail woman. Sure, men have also been accused of sorcery, but the objective is by far the minority. Further, the words used to describe men with magical powers- warlock, magus, sorcerer, wizard- don’t carry the same stigma.

A better parallel to “witch” is the word “whore”. Both are time-honoured tools for policing females, meant to dishonor them into socially prescribed behaviour. A harlot transgresses norms of female sexuality; a witch transgresses norms of female power. Witches are often called unnatural because of their ability to threaten men. With her spells, a witch can transform you into a swine, or defeat you in combat. She can curse you, blight your crops, dismis you, refuse you, correct you. Penalise witches achieves two things: it ends the threat and stimulates others afraid to follow in the unruly woman’s footsteps.

Yet, despite all the attempts to stamp out witches, they are as strongly with us as ever, from Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch in the Avengers movies, to the recent film The Love Witch , to the television series American Horror Story , to non-fiction books such as Stacy Schiff’s The Witches: Salem, 1692 . The stereotypical image of the witch- green skin, pointed hat, warts, black cat- has become entrenched, but beneath that surface lies a dazzling variety; a rich diversity of women who have frightened, possessed and inspired us over the centuries.

Bones
Bones of contention … montages of Hillary Clinton as a witch have inundated social media

Let’s start with the classic: the evil, aged crone. This image took firm root in the Christian era, when witches were women who consorted with the demon; but old and ugly witches predated Jesus. Roman literature portrayed witches as pathetic creatures with false teeth and grey hair, who dug in the ground by moonlight, tore animals with their teeth and used the organs of boys they starved to death for their spells. They had two main pastimes: making love potions, and casting curses. The poet Ovid blamed a disappointing sexual performance on a witch using a kind of Roman voodoo doll to take away his effectivenes.( Sure Ovid, that was my first supposed, too .)

The most famous of this kind is necessary Shakespeare’s weird sisters from Macbeth . They are repulsive” midnight hags”, with skinny lips, chapped fingers and beards. Their spells- eye of newt and toe of frog- are as disgusting as their appearances and curse anyone who traverses them. The classic fairytale witch, like the one in the story of Hansel and Gretel who eats infants, also fits into this category, as does the Slavic Baba Yaga, and the Wicked Witch of the West from L Frank Baum’s Oz series, made famous by actor Margaret Hamilton. The role was originally offered to the glamorous Gale Sondergaard, but she turned it down because she didn’t want to appear ugly.

Spellbound
Spellbound … Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, who was accused of sorcery. Photograph: Allstar/ 20 th Century Fox

And ugliness, of course, is key. The haggish outsides of these witches are meant to match their evil insides, and testify to their unnaturalness, since women are supposed to be as neat, attractive and young as possible. But the association with age also contains a kernel of truth: many of the women accused of sorcery were so-called ” wise females”, older figures, often poor widows, who scratched out a living in the community with their experience as midwives, herbalists and hedge-doctors. Their solitary, vulnerable status and unusual knowledge made them perfect targets for people’s fury and fear when crops failed or newborns died.

Foreign girls were also vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft, and the association between immigrants and sorcery goes back at the least to Greek mythology. The witch Medea was the princess of Colchis, on the eastern edge of the Black Sea, which to the notoriously xenophobic ancient Greeks was alien and suspect. When Jason and his Argonauts came to claim the Golden Fleece from her parent, Medea fell in love with Jason and aided him with her spells, so that he and the Argonauts were able to seize the fleece and escape. In gratitude, Jason married Medea, but back home in his kingdom she was shunned, her sorcery and foreignness merging into a single undesirable trait. The notion seemed to have been: no wonder she’s a murderous sorceress, she’s from the east.

This type of nativism also pops up in Shakespeare’s The Tempest . Sycorax, the witch mother of Caliban, is from Algiers, and though she never appears in the play, she is a harrowing, hideous figure, a” blue-eyed hag “, who is hunched over with” age and envy “. She was cast out from Algiers( the implication is that she was too wicked even for them ), and came to the island, where she “litter[ed]” her deformed son, practised her magic and worshipped her pagan-sounding deity, Setebos. Towards the end of the 17 th century, the slave Tituba, who may have been South American, was is the responsibility of leading the innocent( white) daughters of Salem into evil. Her experience as an outsider among the witch-hysterical Puritan is brilliantly imagined in Maryse Conde’s novel, I Tituba, Black Witch of Salem .

Fears of sorcery grounded in racism persist even today. The Roma, longtime outcasts in Europe, have frequently been accused of evil magical. And African-influenced voodoo is routinely used by Hollywood as a horror movie plot point.

But it wasn’t just vulnerable women who described accusations of witchcraft. It was also women with serious political power. Joan of Arc led the French to victory against the English and was renowned in France for her purity, cleverness and religion in her “voices”. When the English leadership couldn’t beat her, they undermined her, crediting her success to demonic means, since, of course, a young lady could never perform such wonders on her own. When she was captured, they tried her for sorcery, quoting as partial proof of her unnaturalness the tremendous courage she presented in combat, and her they are able to outwit her examiners in debate.

Magic
Magic circle … the new Wrinkle in Time film features Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit. Photograph: Atsushi Nishijima/ Disney/ Kobal/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Cleopatra and Anne Boleyn were likewise accused of witchcraft, with rumors that Anne even bore physical marks of her compact with the devil, such as a third teat, moles and a sixth thumb on her right hand. Such accusations were a clever and effective style for a woman’s political adversaries to smear her since, as countless other women accused of witchcraft learned, it is impossible to offer definitive proof that one is not a witch. Perhaps what is most shocking about this catch-2 2 is the way in which it continues to be played out today. Aside from Hillary Clinton, who has been called a witch since she was first lady, there was also the case of Julia Gillard, first female prime minister of Australia, who met with tauntings of” ditch the witch” from protesters. Nancy Pelosi, the minority speaker of the US House of Representatives, has faced similar witch-related insults, and lately Theresa May was filmed laughing loudly, and her so-called ” witch’s cackle” speedily ran viral. The misogyny of all this is obvious. Debating and defeating these leaders politically isn’t enough- as women who demonstrate ambition, they are abominations who must be deemed evil and cast out.

From
From JW Waterhouse’s portrait of Circe Invidiosa. Photograph: Alamy

The tradition of the sexy witch, who lures men with her beauty, is beloved by modern-day adult costume-makers, but goes all the way back to the first witch in western literature: the divine sorceress Circe. She first appears in Homer’s Odyssey , after Odysseus and his crew have washed up on her island, exhausted and grieving for the loss of their comrades. They run searching for inhabitants and find a palatial house with tame lions and wolves lolling around in the garden. A glistening goddess comes to the door, and invites them in. She devotes them food and wine which she has narcotic with spell-herbs, then lifts her wand and turns them into pigs.

Circe’s story brings together many classic witchy motifs: a ability with herbs and potions, a magic wand, control over animals. But what is most notable is her moral ambiguity- though she begins the episode as a figure of menace, after she and Odysseus become fans, she transforms his humen back and offers vital resources and advice to Odysseus for his journey home. Not all seductive witches indicate a similar ambiguity( CS Lewis’s White Witch surely does not ), but Morgan le Fay, Morticia Addams and Melisandre from Game of Thrones all fall into this category.

This brings us to our last form: the good witch. Before we get to the famous examples, let’s start with the unknown ones- the countless women of history who employed their knowledge of herbs, mending and midwifery to serve their communities as de facto doctors and chemists. In times when reliable medical treatment was scarce and expensive, they offered the first, and often merely, help a suffering person would receive. Matilda Joslyn Gage, in her treatise Woman, Church and State , hailed this local herb-woman as” the profoundest thinker, the most advanced scientist” of her age. Gage’s name is largely unknown now, but her work lives vibrantly on: she was the mother-in-law of Baum, and directly influenced his creation of Glinda, one of the most iconic good witches in popular culture. Glinda is a sparkly, memorable presence in the 1939 movie, and plays a meaty role in the books, protecting the good people of Oz with passion and wisdom. We may likewise watch Gage’s spirit in Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked , which reimagines the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, as a heroic, misunderstood character.

Of course no discussion of good witches can be complete without the superlative Hermione Granger. Throughout JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Hermione’s intellect, kindness, sense of justice and determination build her a role model for young girls- and boys- everywhere. And she’s only one of dozens of fascinating witches Rowling created, who operate the gamut from good( Minerva McGonagall) to cruelly wicked( Bellatrix Lestrange ).

Rupert
Rupert Grint, left, and Daniel Radcliffe with Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban( 2004 ). Photograph: Allstar/ Warner Bros

Which brings us back to the multiplicity and diversity of witches. The truth is that witches cannot really be contained by forms; they leap over boundaries, bursting out of categories as fast we build them. They are constantly changing as we change, reflecting our notions about females back to ourselves.

If this is so, then there is much to feeling encouraged by. The image of the very best witch is ascendant in popular culture( aside from Hermione, as exemplified by the Scarlet Witch, Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer , and the new A Wrinkle in Time movie, prominently featuring Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit ). Women have attained powerful strides towards equality, and we are seeing an unprecedented awareness of sexual harassment, assault and the stillness of women. More of these secret abuses are coming to light every day, and more of the perpetrators are being removed from power.

Despite this progress, there is also sobering news. In the past several decades, United Nations officials have reported an increase in women killed for witchcraft across the globe. In India the problem is particularly well-documented, with older girls being targeted as scapegoats or as a pretext for confiscating their lands and goods. In Saudi Arabia, women have been convicted of sorcery in the courts, and in Ghana they have been exiled to so-called ” witch camps”, an injustice movingly dealt with in award-winning cinema, I Am Not a Witch . And in the United States, a Gallup poll found that 21% of people believed in witches( and not the Hermione Granger kind ).

We stand therefore at a crossroads- which is fitting, since crossroads are sacred to Hecate, Greek goddess of witchcraft. Will we continue to fear and penalize women with power? To call them evil? Or perhaps we are capable of at last celebrate female strength, recognising that witches- and women- are not going away *

* Circe by Madeline Miller is published by Bloomsbury( PS16. 99 ). To b uy it for PS12. 99 go to guardianbookshop.com .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

There’s a search for a fifth meat- and 19 other things podcasts taught us in 2016

Whether its asking what happens when you watch Sex and the City 2 more than 50 times or which Oscar has won an Oscar, theres no question a podcast somewhere hasnt answered

1 Richard Ayoade employed a ThunderCats duvet cover until he was in his late 20 s

Where we learned it The Adam Buxton podcast

Adam Buxtons life-affirming, jingle-packed ramble chats with his celebrity guests are a constant delight. In this two-parter, the multi-talented Ayoade went into everything from the high levels of pillows to the reaction to his notoriously awkward interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy. As funny as the pod is, you are able to learn a lot, too from Buxtons honest discussions of sorrow when his daddy died to how upsetting Sara Pascoe observes it when people attain clicky sticky noises with their mouths.

Other lessons from this podcast Louis Theroux does a fine rendition of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Ellie Violet Bramley

Malcolm
Journalist and writer Malcolm Gladwell. Photo: Anne Bailey

2 One of the biggest automobile recollects in history may have been caused by drivers pressing the incorrect pedal

Where we learned it Malcolm Gladwells Revisionist History

If you are familiar with Gladwells run, then Revisionist History is both a treat and familiar province. The New Yorker novelist often takes assumptions and things we might think to be true and unravels them to end up in a different place wholly. In his bestseller Blink, he explained why it might not have been so unusual that an unarmed man was shot 41 times by New York police. In the best episode of Revisionist History, Gladwell appeared back at Toyotas sudden unintended acceleration phenomenon, which led to a gigantic penalty for the car maker. The conclusion after we listen to a 911 call in which a man is driven to his death by a car that wont slow down was not that the cars accelerators were sticking, but that drivers unfamiliar with certain automobiles were having a brain malfunction that meant the latter are physically unable to differentiate between the brake and the accelerator.

Other lessons from this podcast American colleges with the nicest canteens are the worst selections for poor students; if you want to score the most free-throws in basketball, do them underarm. Will Dean

3 One day, everyone in Sweden switched to driving on the opposite side of the road

Where we learned it 99% Invisible

You neednt be an architecture or design fanatic to enjoy Roman Marss gentle unpicking of how the world around us came to look and function as it does. As well as narratives about the origins of the inflatable humen they have outside automobile traders in the US, and why they used to publicize missing children on milk cartons, you can learn about Hgertrafikomlggningen , or H-day 3 September 1967 when everyone in Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right.

Other lessons from this podcast Californias Salton Sea was formed by mistake; 20 years ago, the world became obsessed with a phone booth in the middle of the Mojave desert. Leah Harper

4 Having your own podcast wont win you an election

Where we learned it With Her

How do we know that Hillary Clinton enjoyed a Cuban sandwich and a beer at the end of a day on the road? Well, she had her own campaign podcast, about the little details of being on the road. In the first episode, Max Linsky, of the podcast Longform, talked to her in Miami about what she was going to have for dinner that evening. As the first presidential candidate to have a campaign podcast, Clinton tried to harness the power of the medium to show a more personable side of herself. Suffice to say, it didnthave the desired effect.

Other lessons from this podcast Clinton is a TED talks fan and has to ration her Elena Ferrante novels. EVB

My
The hosts of My Dad Wrote a Porno.

5 Theres more than one way of motivating your marketings force

Where we learned it My Dad Wrote a Porno

Pots-and-pans sales supremo Belinda Blumenthal can find lust in any situation even when she is lost in an ornamental labyrinth. The superstar of the erotic fiction written by comedian Jamie Mortons father has taught the world that a regional sales meeting has just as much potential for naked fun as a business trip to Amsterdam. Other things she has appropriated into her libidinous realm include a charity tombola, Herb Alpert, a chalet, a pomegranate, a horsebox and any sentence involving the words further access. What she has taught listeners about her ridiculously sexy life is a possibility unsavoury, but via Mortons podcast it has brought a whole lot of mirth.

Other lessons from this podcast There is such a thing as a vaginal eyelid; never read erotic fiction written by your papa. Hannah Verdier

6 Sacha Baron Cohen has been known to use a getaway car

Where we learned it WTF

Marc Marons WTF can be off-putting: the hosts 15 -minute opening monologue and guitar jams are often enough to deter new listeners. But when it comes to teasing out colourful details from the careers of some of Hollywoods funniest and finest, Maron is the master. Grimsby may have bombed in the cinemas, but it was worth it for the interview Baron Cohen did with Maron to promote the cinema. The best bits were the details of the logistical difficulties of inducing Brno, from how a redneck fighting crowd were deceived into watching a homoerotic cavort to how Baron Cohen managed to escape Kansas police after being caught with, among other things, a pedal-powered sex machine in a hotel room.( He had a auto waiting outside with the engine running .)

Other lessons from this podcast Asking what peoples mothers were like rarely gets a dull answer; if you have the US president over to record in your garage, youd better have nice neighbours; William Friedkin is the best storyteller in Hollywood. WD

Alix
Alix Fox looks into peoples sexuality lives. Photograph: Ken McKay/ Rex/ Shutterstock

7 Having two vaginas doesnt mean you can have vaginal sexuality with two men at the same time

Where we learned it Close Encounters from the Guardian

Alix Fox pries into the complicated and fascinating lives of people for whom sexuality is not always altogether straightforward, from a polyamorous couple to a man paralysed from the waist down just before his honeymoon. An extraordinary interview with double-barrelled Hazel, who talked openly about the effects her condition has had on her and may have on her if she wants to have infants is the standout so far.

Other lessons from this podcast Russian-doll-style dildos can cure vaginismus; having cold feet can help to delay an orgasm. LH

8 The search for a fifth meat continues

Where we learned it The Beef and Dairy Network podcast

The centuries-old assumption that there are only four meats beef, lamb, pork and chicken is disintegrating after unconfirmed reports that the European Space Agency has identified a mysterious fifth meat. The Beef and Dairy Network podcast, produced by comedian Ben Partridge, is the No 1 podcast for those involved or only interested in the production of beef animals and dairy herds. Featuring guest appearances from agricultural experts such as Josie Long, and attracting fans including Miranda Sawyer, it is a surreal beefstravaganza.

Other lessons from this podcast According to Beef and Dairy Network sponsor Mitchells, 90% of livestock can kick through a ships hull after simply one month of taking hoof-strengthening supplement Steel Hoof Deluxe. EVB

A
Dont set this cow in your ships hull. Photo: Brian Brown/ Getty Images

9 John Oliver is not dead

Where we learned it The Bugle

For a decade, long-time comedy partners John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman set the world to rights via the medium of their audio newspaper for a visual world. Their riffs on anything from civil liberties( Like puppies, John, we love our own, but we get genuinely vexed when other people civil liberties keep shitting on our lawns) to Texas barbecues( All I know is this, Andy: if I was a cow, and I knew that I could savour like that, Id find it very hard to make a coherent suit for not being immediately killed and slow-cooked) often constructed the present the funniest thing you could get on Wi-Fi. With Oliver having left the Daily Show to front his own depict on HBO, the Bugle went into satirical hibernation. It awoke in mid-October, just in time for a political event so ridiculous that even Zaltzman at his most surreal couldnt have imagined it. The pods Have I Got News for You-style rotating guest co-hosts now include US comics Wyatt Cenac and Hari Kondabolu, as well as Brit Nish Kumar and brilliant Indian standup Anuvab Pal. They dont know each other as well as best friends Zaltzman and Oliver, but perhaps the other co-host, Andys sister Helen, could claim an advantage on that front. The Bugle is dead, long live the Bugle.

Other lessons from this podcast Bashar al-Assad bought LMFAOs Im Sexy and I Know It as the Syrian civil war raged. WD

10 A bloke running a driving school in Acton, west London, was also helping to prop up the death penalty in the US

Where we learned it More Perfect

In a residential area of west London, inside a build with a banner that reads Elgone Driving Academy, is a guy in his 50 s who looks a bit like William Hurt and who was the one-man operation helping to provide the narcotics used for capital punishment in the US. That was until a human rights charity alerted the UK government to his pharmaceutical broom closet of death. In the inaugural episode of More Perfect, a Radiolab spin-off looking at how US supreme court cases affect lives miles away from the bench, the presenters investigated those three little words from the US constitution: cruel and unusual.

Other lessons from this podcast An unusual 911 call made in Houston, Texas, in 1998, led to one of the most important LGBTQ rights decisions in the courts history, effectively building homosexual relations a basic civil right. EVB

11 The political insiders term for people panicking about a Trump win was bedwetters

Where we learned it Keepin it 1600

A politics podcast hosted by Barack Obamas former speechwriter and a senior communications adviser ought to scream wonkishness, but Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer may be the two most engaging analysts of a bonkers electoral campaign. Having been at the heart of two US election storms, they alongside other hosts Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor know, inside-out, how this world works and share it. Their near certainty about a Clinton win up to the morning of the election attained 1600 one of the most reassuring political podcasts you could listen to and stimulate their morning-after mea culpa on 9 November all the more extraordinary. Now its genuinely time to wet the bed.

Other lessons from this podcast The Obama team realised it was impossible to refute crazy lies about its candidate after Fox News said in 2008 that the young Obama had been raised a Muslim when the team complained, they were told that it was an amusement demonstrate. WD

12 Billy Joel has really soft hands

Where we learned it Two Dope Queens

Comedians and co-podcast hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams went where two black girls have never gone before a Billy Joel concert. They sneaked in their ros in suntan lotion bottles bought on Amazon the kind that get white daughters, watching the Shins, through Coachella. And, having been given front-row tickets because Billy likes to see pretty females up at the front, they got to shake his baby-soft hands. If thats not informative enough for you, listen to the other episodes of this snort-out-loud-funny podcast from WNYC and hear some of New Yorks best female comedians talking about sex, romance, race, hair journeys and living in the city.

Other lessons from this podcast Pierce Brosnans volcano thriller Dantes Peak has a lot to tell us about how far we have come since the 90 s; talcum powder is the best method to deal with boob sweat. EVB

13 Tar heroin smells just like capers

Where we learned it Guys We Fucked

Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson host the anti-slut-shaming podcast, featuring interviews with everyone from Jon Ronson to Stoya( and, as the title gently indicates, people with whom they have had sexuality ). Their interview with Wendi Kent or, as they call her, White Precious who photographs protesters outside abortion clinics, revealed the reason she can no longer feed capers and what its like to have sex when youre homeless. But its not all heavy-going. The episode titles alone are a treat good luck concealing You didnt go to France because you wanted to masturbate ?, His pubes were haunted? and Period sex: supposes? from fellow commuters.

Other lessons from this podcast DIY HIV tests can be done at home( or on-air) with a mouth swab; comedians on the circuit all hook up with each other. LH

Sex
There is such a this as too much SatC2 I mean, you knew that already, right? Photograph: Allstar/ Warner/ Sportsphoto Ltd

14 You can watch Sex and the City 2 too many times

Where we learned it The Worst Idea of All Time

A lot of period, attempt and fund, especially fund, went into making this film, tells Guy Montgomery. Weve just opened up the most disgusting can of worms. Theres no need to watch SatC2 because he and Tim Batt have done it more than 50 periods for the sake of their podcast( they did the same with Grown Ups 2 ). Mirandas nanny Magda is a spy who is gradually poisoning her, Charlotte is the other one and the whole thing is crying out for the kind of dialogue that induced the TV series great.

Other lessons from this podcast We Are Your Friends is next on your hatewatch list. HV

15 You can have a podcast about a podcast

Where we learned it Slates Serial Spoiler Specials

Slates week-by-week analysis of Serial, 2014 s podcast preoccupation, is perfect for when everyone you know is listening far too slowly offering tale recaps, whodunnit theories and criticisms of the host, Sarah Koenig. Not to mention excavating deep down into Reddit rabbit pits about the two cases covered in so far.

Other lessons from this podcast The cow birth in season two can be seen as an agricultural metaphor for the militarys response to Bowe Bergdahls disappearance; its almost impossible to map a timeline via audio. LH

16 Moby is a CD thief

Where we learned it Heavyweight

Jonathan Goldsteins Heavyweight aims to the tell the stories of people whose lives have taken a wrong turning somewhere. One of these was to reunited his 80 -year-old father with his elder friend before it was too late. Another was to reunite his friend Gregor who is haunted by the moment he loaned a box of CDs to a techno-producer friend. The friend, was, of course, Moby, who employed many of them as the basis for his squillion-selling Play. Gregor doesnt want royalties he just wants his CDs back. And Goldstein helps him get them.

Other lessons from this podcast Tracking down your school bullies is an uncomfortable eye-opener( as demonstrated by Julia in episode seven ). HV

17 You can have an -Alist cast in a podcast drama

Where we learned it Homecoming

Although Serial was basically a piece of investigative journalism, its format proved that podcasting didnt need to be limited in its sort. Gimlet Media, a specialist podcasting company, emerged around the same hour as that NPR made and proved its ambitions in the field. Its scripted drama, Homecoming, aimed straight for the stars with a cast including Catherine Keener, Star Wars Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer. The story flips between Keeners characters work at an experimental facility that helps soldiers incorporate back in local communities and her present-day life as a waitress. There are plenty of cliffhangers helping to tell the story of what happened in between.

Other lessons from this podcast You dont mess with David Schwimmer. As Colin Belfast, he oozes rage and has the air of a human on the leading edge. HV

18, 19, 20 France buys in most of its frogs legs only one person called Oscar has won an Oscar Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck are the most reprinted comic book characters( that arent superheroes) of all time

Where we learned it Answer Me This !

Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann( plus Martin the soundman) solve listeners queries on a fortnightly basis with questions ranging from the practical to the ethical to the ridiculous. Suffice to say, you are able to learnt more listening to them while doing the washing up than from Heart FM. You will also learn that drunken voicemails are welcome, especially from Dave from Smethwick and Graham from Canada.( Its Oscar Hammerstein II, by the way .) LH

The Guardian publishes a wide range of award-winning podcasts daily, from Football Weekly to the Guardian Books podcast, all of which are available on our site , iTunes and other leading podcast platforms .

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From Circe to Clinton: why powerful girls are cast as witches

A misogynist insult in Washington and Westminster, a force for good in Hollywood for centuries, witches have represented fear of assertive females. But why does the stereotype persist?

During the 2016 US presidential election, American social media was flooded with images of Hillary Clinton wearing a black hat and riding a broom, or else cackling with green scalp. Her foes named her The Wicked Witch of the Left, claimed they had sources witnessing that she reeked of sulphur, and took particular delight in depictions of her being melted. Dedicated that the last witch trial in the US was more than 100 hundred years ago, what are we to induce of this?

In the late 19 th century, the suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage asserted something revolutionary. The persecution of witches, she said, had nothing to do with fighting evil or defying the demon. It was simply entrenched social misogyny, the goal of which was to repress the intellect of women. A witch, she said, wasn’t wicked. She didn’t fly on a broomstick naked in the dark, or consort with demons. She was, instead, likely to be a woman” of superior knowledge “. As a thought experiment, she suggested that for “witches” we should read instead “women”. Their histories, she intimated, operate hand in hand.

Obviously, she was on to something. When we say witch, we almost exclusively mean female. Sure, humen have also been accused of sorcery, but the objective is by far the minority. Further, the words used to describe men with magical powers- warlock, magus, sorcerer, wizard- don’t carry the same stigma.

A better parallel to “witch” is the word “whore”. Both are time-honoured tools for policing females, meant to dishonor them into socially prescribed behaviour. A harlot transgresses norms of female sexuality; a witch transgresses norms of female power. Witches are often called unnatural because of their ability to threaten men. With her spells, a witch can transform you into a pig, or defeat you in battle. She can curse you, blight your harvests, dismis you, refuse you, correct you. Penalise witches accomplishes two things: it ends security threats and builds others afraid to follow in the unruly woman’s footsteps.

Yet, despite all the attempts to stamp out witches, they are as strongly with us as ever, from Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch in the Avengers movies, to the recent movie The Love Witch , to the television series American Horror Story , to non-fiction volumes such as Stacy Schiff’s The Witches: Salem, 1692 . The stereotypical image of the witch- green skin, pointed hat, warts, black cat- has become entrenched, but beneath that surface lies a dazzling assortment; a rich diversity of women who have frightened, possessed and inspired us over the centuries.

Bones
Bones of contention … montages of Hillary Clinton as a witch have inundated social media

Let’s start with the classic: the evil, aged crone. This image took firm root in the Christian era, when witches were women who consorted with the devil; but old and ugly witches predated Jesus. Roman literature portrayed witches as pathetic beings with false teeth and grey hair, who dug in the ground by moonlight, tore animals with their teeth and used the organs of boys they starved to death for their spells. They had two main pastimes: making love potions, and casting curses. The poet Ovid blamed a disappointing sex performance on a witch employing a sort of Roman voodoo doll to take away his potency.( Sure Ovid, that was my first guessed, too .)

The most well known of this kind must be Shakespeare’s weird sisters from Macbeth . They are repulsive” midnight hags”, with skinny lips, chapped thumbs and beards. Their spells- eye of newt and toe of frog- are as disgusting as their appearances and curse anyone who crosses them. The classic fairytale witch, like the one in the story of Hansel and Gretel who fees infants, also fits into this category, as does the Slavic Baba Yaga, and the Wicked Witch of the West from L Frank Baum’s Oz series, built famous by performer Margaret Hamilton. The role was originally offered to the glamorous Gale Sondergaard, but she turned it down because she didn’t want to appear ugly.

Spellbound
Spellbound … Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, who was accused of witchcraft. Photograph: Allstar/ 20 th Century Fox

And ugliness, of course, is key. The haggish outsides of these witches are meant to match their evil insides, and testify to their unnaturalness, since women are supposed to be as neat, attractive and young as is practicable. But the association with age also contains a kernel of truth: many of the women accused of witchcraft were so-called ” wise girls”, older figures, often poor widows, who scratched out a living in the community with their experience as midwives, herbalists and hedge-doctors. Their solitary, vulnerable status and unusual knowledge built them perfect targets for people’s rage and dread when crops failed or newborns died.

Foreign females were also vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft, and business associations between immigrants and sorcery goes back at least to Greek mythology. The witch Medea was the princess of Colchis, on the eastern edge of the Black Sea, which to the notoriously xenophobic ancient Greeks was alien and suspect. When Jason and his Argonauts came to claim the Golden Fleece from her parent, Medea fell in love with Jason and aided him with her spells, so that he and the Argonauts were able to seize the fleece and escape. In gratitude, Jason wedded Medea, but back home in his kingdom she was shunned, her witchcraft and foreignness merging into a single undesirable trait. The notion seems to have been: no wonder she’s a murderous sorceress, she’s from the east.

This type of nativism also pops up in Shakespeare’s The Tempest . Sycorax, the witch mom of Caliban, is from Algiers, and though she never appears in the play, she is a harrowing, hideous figure, a” blue-eyed hag “, who is hunched over with” age and jealousy “. She was cast out from Algiers( the implication is that she was too wicked even for them ), and came to the island, where she “litter[ed]” her deformed son, practised her magic and worshipped her pagan-sounding divinity, Setebos. Towards the end of the 17 th century, the slave Tituba, who may have been South American, was is the responsibility of resulting the innocent( white) daughters of Salem into evil. Her experience as an foreigner among the witch-hysterical Puritan is brilliantly imagined in Maryse Conde’s novel, I Tituba, Black Witch of Salem .

Fears of sorcery grounded in racism persist even today. The Roma, longtime outcasts in Europe, have frequently been accused of evil sorcery. And African-influenced voodoo is routinely used by Hollywood as a horror movie plot point.

But it wasn’t just vulnerable women who depicted accusations of witchcraft. It was also women with serious political power. Joan of Arc resulted the French to victory against the English and was renowned in France for her purity, cleverness and faith in her “voices”. When the English leadership couldn’t beat her, they undermined her, crediting her success to demonic entails, since, of course, a young lady could never perform such wonders on her own. When she was captured, they tried her for witchcraft, citing as partial proof of her unnaturalness the tremendous fearlessnes she presented in combat, and her they are able to outwit her examiners in debate.

Magic
Magic circle … the new Wrinkle in Time film features Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit. Photograph: Atsushi Nishijima/ Disney/ Kobal/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Cleopatra and Anne Boleyn were likewise accused of witchcraft, with rumors that Anne even bore physical marks of her compact with the demon, such as a third teat, moles and a sixth thumb on her right hand. Such accusations were a clever and effective route for a woman’s political enemies to smear her since, as countless other women accused of witchcraft learned, it is impossible to offer definitive proof that one is not a witch. Perhaps what is most shocking about this catch-2 2 is the way in which it continues to be played out today. Aside from Hillary Clinton, who has been called a witch since she was first lady, there was also the case of Julia Gillard, first female premier of Australia, who met with tauntings of” ditch the witch” from protesters. Nancy Pelosi, the minority speaker of the US House of Representatives, has faced similar witch-related insults, and lately Theresa May was filmed giggling aloud, and her so-called ” witch’s cackle” promptly ran viral. The misogyny of all this is obvious. Debating and defeating these leaders politically isn’t enough- as women who show aspiration, they are abominations who must be deemed evil and cast out.

From
From JW Waterhouse’s portrait of Circe Invidiosa. Photo: Alamy

The tradition of the sexy witch, who lures men with her beauty, is beloved by modern-day adult costume-makers, but goes all the route back to the first witch in western literature: the divine sorceress Circe. She first appears in Homer’s Odyssey , after Odysseus and his crew have washed up on her island, exhausted and grieving for the loss of their comrades. They run searching for inhabitants and find a palatial home with tamed lions and wolves lolling around in the garden. A shining goddess comes to the door, and invites them in. She gives them food and wine which she has drugged with spell-herbs, then lifts her wand and turns them into pigs.

Circe’s story brings together many classic witchy motifs: a skill with herbs and potions, a sorcery wand, control over animals. But what is most notable is her moral ambiguity- though she begins the episode as a figure of menace, after she and Odysseus become fans, she transforms his men back and offers vital resources and advice to Odysseus for his journey home. Not all seductive witches demonstrate a similar ambiguity( CS Lewis’s White Witch surely does not ), but Morgan le Fay, Morticia Addams and Melisandre from Game of Thrones all fall into this category.

This brings us to our last type: the very best witch. Before we get to the famous examples, let’s start with the unknown ones- the countless women of history who used their knowledge of herbs, healing and midwifery to serve their communities as de facto doctors and chemists. In hours when dependable medical treatment was scarce and costly, they offered the first, and often only, help a suffering person would be given. Matilda Joslyn Gage, in her treatise Woman, Church and State , hailed this local herb-woman as” the profoundest intellectual, the most advanced scientist” of her age. Gage’s name is largely unknown now, but her work lives vibrantly on: she was the mother-in-law of Baum, and directly influenced his creation of Glinda, one of the most iconic good witches in popular culture. Glinda is a sparkly, memorable presence in the 1939 movie, and plays a meaty role in the books, protecting the good people of Oz with passion and wisdom. We may likewise watch Gage’s spirit in Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked , which reimagines the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, as a heroic, misunderstand character.

Of course no discussion of good witches can be complete without the superlative Hermione Granger. Throughout JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Hermione’s intellect, kindness, sense of justice and determination make her a role model for young girls- and boys- everywhere. And she’s only one of dozens of fascinating witches Rowling created, who run the gamut from good( Minerva McGonagall) to cruelly wicked( Bellatrix Lestrange ).

Rupert
Rupert Grint, left, and Daniel Radcliffe with Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban( 2004 ). Photograph: Allstar/ Warner Bros

Which brings us back to the multiplicity and diversity of witches. The truth is that witches cannot really be contained by types; they leap over borders, exploding out of categories as fast we build them. They are constantly changing as we change, reflecting our ideas about women back to ourselves.

If this is so, then there is much to feel encouraged by. The image of the good witch is ascendant in popular culture( aside from Hermione, as exemplified by the Scarlet Witch, Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer , and the new A Wrinkle in Time movie, prominently featuring Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit ). Women have constructed powerful steps towards equality, and we are seeing an unprecedented awareness of sexual harassment, assault and the silencing of women. More of these secret abuses are coming to light every day, and more of the perpetrators are being removed from power.

Despite this progress, there is also sobering news. In the past several decades, United Nation officials have reported an increase in females killed for witchcraft across the globe. In India the problem is particularly well-documented, with older girls being targeted as scapegoats or as a pretext for confiscating their lands and goods. In Saudi Arabia, women have been convicted of sorcery in the courts, and in Ghana they have been exiled to so-called ” witch camps”, an injustice movingly addressed in the award-winning cinema, I Am Not a Witch . And in the United States, a Gallup poll found that 21% of people believed in witches( and not the Hermione Granger kind ).

We stand therefore at a crossroads- which is fitting, since crossroads are sacred to Hecate, Greek goddess of witchcraft. Will we continue to fear and penalize women with power? To call them evil? Or perhaps we can at last celebrate female strength, recognising that witches- and women- are not going away *

* Circe by Madeline Miller is published by Bloomsbury( PS16. 99 ). To b uy it for PS12. 99 go to guardianbookshop.com .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Republicans for Hillary? Clinton campaign woo those lost by Trump

Prominent GOP figures have forged an array of groups to support the Democrat but some experts doubt the Republican rank and file will follow suit

Hours before Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the partys convention in Philadelphia, Doug Elmets strolled on to the stage. Simply 18 months ago, his speech would have been unthinkable.

Its an honor to be here, and candidly, its also a shock, told Elmets, a former spokesman and speechwriter for Ronald Reagan.

The existence of Republicans who support Clinton, such as Elmets, is one of many plot spins in an extraordinary presidential election cycle. Conservative men and women have rejected their natural nominee in favor of a candidate their party has expended two decades tearing down.

With less than 100 days left before election day, the Clinton campaign is accelerating its drive to recruit GOP donors, business leaders and foreign policy experts. According to people familiar with the effort, a visible alliance of independents and Republican backing Clinton will make it easier for conservatives dismayed by Donald Trump to cast their votes for a Democrat.

The Clinton campaign has been preparing for its Republican outreach attempt for months. Around the start of the conventions, it went into gear. Since then , notable Republican, military leaders and one GOP congressman have abandoned Trump and cast their lot with Clinton. Framing their defections as a moral imperative, the converts are advising fellow Republican and independents to set country over party and join them on 8 November.

Donald Trumps demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character, Meg Whitman, president and CEO of Hewlett Packard and a prominent Republican donor, said in a statement. America needs the kind of stable and aspirational leadership Secretary Clinton can provide.

Whitman was joined this week by billionaire hedge fund director Seth Klarman, who donated to Jeb Bushs primary campaign; GOP representative Richard Hanna of New York; and Sally Bradshaw, a top consultant to Bush who said she would vote for Clinton if the race is close in Florida.

On Friday, Clinton was endorsed by Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA, who used a New York Times op-ed to call Trump a threat to our national security and an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.

The Trump campaign did not return a request for comment.

Doug
The former Reagan official Doug Elmets and the founder of Republican Women for Hillary Clinton, Jennifer Pierotti Lim, walk offstage after dealing with the DNC. Photo: Scott Audette/ Reuters

Ever since Trump claimed his partys nomination, Republican-backed groups for Clinton have cropped up. Among them are Republicans for Her 2016, founded by the lobbyist Craig Snyder; Republican Women for Hillary, led by Jennifer Pierotti Lim, director of health policy for the US Chamber of Commerce; and a grassroots group, R4C16, led by John Stubbs and Ricardo Reyes, former officials in the George W Bush administration.

This year, the threat posed by Mr Trump compels us to consider what many of us never have: supporting the Democratic nominee for President, R4C16 wrote on its website. The group has also documented the backlash its received without converting. If youre a Republican and you vote for Hillary do us all a favor, go straight to Hell! one poster wrote.

It is not just by design that a commotion of Republican are abandoning their party. Trump has had an extraordinarily bad week, beginning where reference is belittled the Gold Star family of a fallen American soldier.

Trump was also described by Barack Obama as unfit and woefully unprepared to become president; initially refused to endorse House speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain in their primaries; falsely claimed to have watched a video presenting $400 m being unloaded from a plane in Iran; expelled a weeping newborn from a rally in Virginia; accepted a purple heart from a veteran though he did not serve himself; indicated his daughter would find another career if she were harassed at work; and seemed unaware of that Russia had invaded Ukraine two years ago. Questions is likewise raised about whether his wife, Melania, had worked illegally in the US before 1996. The work in question was a collecting of nude photos, republished by the New York Post.

This all came after a week in which the Republican nominee for chairwoman called for Russia to hack and release the missing emails from the private server Clinton use while secretary of state, and asserted that Nato member countries should pay their fair share if America was to contribute fully to the alliance.

The noise arising from Trumps self-inflicted disputes virtually drowned out criticism of Clinton for her claim that FBI director James Comey said her past statements about her email use were consistent and truthful. Republican have employed the controversy to raise doubts about her fitness for office and to indicate she operates above the law. Clinton said on Friday she may have short-circuited the characterization of Comeys comments.

Paul Manafort, Trumps campaign chair, has deflected criticism, insisting that the campaign is in good shape. In July, the campaign told, Trump took his largest fundraising haul yet $80 m but his campaign still fights to match Clintons fundraising apparatus.

One veteran Republican consultant, Reed Galen, doubts Clintons campaign can overcome 25 years of mistrust among Republican voters, especially those who remember her husbands administration.

The trend of traversing party lines is happening among GOP elites the establishment kinds and GOP elected officials who are in safe districts or retired, Galen told. I cant consider there being a whole lot of crossover from rank-and-file Republicans.

According to the latest McClatchy-Marist poll, if the election were held today, only 6 % of voters for Clinton would identify as Republican. That number is unchanged from last month, ahead of the conventions. Galen said, however, that this could change dramatically depending on what Trump does in the three months and as many presidential debates remaining before Election Day.

Read more: www.theguardian.com