This Month in Politics: October

Image: The White House via Flickr.
Image: The White House via Flickr.

Keeping up to date with developments in global politics and headlines can be time consuming and overwhelming. But yet, in our increasingly fast-paced world, knowing what’s happening is crucial. In this feature, The Yorker summarises some of the major political stories of the past month, helping to keep you feeling more informed. These stories are far from everything that happened in October and many of them are yet to reach their conclusion. However, these are some of the most notable political developments from the past month.

Kavanaugh Confirmation.

Early in October, Brett Kavanaugh was voted by the U.S. Senate to the supreme court. In what many are citing as a major victory for the Trump administration, the confirmation marked a backlash against the #MeToo movement, and met with passionate protest around the world. Having been accused by numerous women of sexual assault, Kavanaugh was sworn in after a confirmation vote of 50 to 48. Sadly, this confirmation seems to confirm that, in Trump’s America, the sexual wellbeing and broader political voices of women remain unimportant to many of those in power. Kavanaugh’s confirmation marks his ability to influence America for the next generation.

Khashoggi Murder.

Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent journalist who had been critical of the Saudi Arabian government vanished on 2nd October after a meeting at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Prior to this, Khashoggi had been in self-imposed exile in the United States, as a result of his loss of favour with the Saudi royal family. Saudi Arabia originally denied any knowledge of the whereabouts or conditions of Khashoggi, however, later in October, the Saudi state television reported that the journalist was dead. Conflicting reports over what happened to Khashoggi remain, and the Turkish investigation remains active.

US Pipe Bombs.

Prominent critics of Donald Trump, including Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton, were targeted this month by pipe bombs disguised as packages. The suspect has been identified as 56 year old Florida resident Cesar Sayoc, a supporter of Trump. Although the assassination attempts did not result in any deaths or injuries, the systematic targeting of political adversaries certainly says a great deal about the toxic political climate that is pervasive in America today.

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

On 29th October, 11 people lost their lives in a targeted shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. As further details about the suspect, Robert Bowers, have emerged, it seems that far-right views were at the centre of this atrocity. Once again, this tragic event has sparked debates on US gun control, as well as highlighting the presence of antisemitism in modern day politics.

Election of Jair Bolsonaro.

At the Brazilian elections this month, Jair Bolsonaro was elected president. Hailed by supporters as the saviour of the country, the election of Bolsonaro has met with global concern, given much of his hate-filled rhetoric on woman, immigration and the LGBTQ+ community. It appears that his presidency will prioritise ‘traditional’ values, and will undo the work of his predecessors, the left-wing Workers’ party.

UK Budget.

Perhaps the main takeaway from this year’s budget is yet another broken promise by the Conservative Party. Despite May’s claims earlier in October that austerity is finally over, Hammond’s budget seems to counteract this claim with his non-committal statement that “austerity is finally coming to an end.” Corbyn and the opposition have criticised the budget as focusing on tax cuts whilst not giving enough money to underfunded sectors such as education. This budget has been hailed by many as low-key, with a heavy reliance on a successful Brexit deal being reached.

UN global warming report.

On 8th October, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a shocking report highlighting the need for urgent global action on climate change. The report warns that we only have 12 years to keep global warming under 1.5C, with warming beyond this said to worsen the risk of extreme weather all over the globe. The report also highlighted the impact that such extreme weather and climate change will have on poverty and humanitarian issues around the world. The IPCC have also highlighted the impact of global warming on coral, insect populations and other ecological factors. Given the rise of the “post-truth” era, this report comes as a timely reminder to prioritise the issue of climate change, and ensure that this major threat to humanity is treated as seriously as it should be.