Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden: The corrective to an unhealthy trend in his party and country. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

US Politics: After messianic Trump and Obama eras the US could do with less emotion

Joe Biden: An eerily stable frontrunner in first primary and then national polls. Photograph: Michelle V Agins/The New York Times

US Politics: With focus on law-and-order subtleties, Biden cannot focus on the Covid disaster

Kamala Harris: “Looking back, it is odd that such a fancied candidate did not do better in her own presidential campaign.”  Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

Peculiarly blank canvas of Joe Biden’s running mate may be opportunity for Trump

President Donald Trump: “He is a strongman but not a strong man.” Photograph:  Andrew Harnik/AP

US Politics: It is the president’s lack of grip, rather than an iron fist, that has sunk his chances

Mike Pompeo: The rivalry with China seems personal. Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen/EPA

US Politics: President’s materialism is in contrast to moral imperatives of his secretary of state

Deceptively radical? Former US vice-president and now candidate for the presideny Joe Biden. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

US Politics: Democratic candidate could be the most radical US president in decades

US president Donald Trump and his China counterpart Xi Jinping at a business leaders’ event in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in November, 2017. Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images

US Politics: Absence of dissenting voices on issue of momentous importance is unnerving

US president Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

US Politics: Ineffectual president will likely be succeeded by more diligent anti-liberals

Participants in a Black Lives Matter protest  in  Trafalgar Square, London. ‘The US is the only nation today whose domestic failings could set off vast protests in other continents.’ Photograph: Niklas Hallen/EPA

US Politics: America is like an actor no longer in his prime but still hounded by paparazzi

Demonstrators are seen in the reflection of a first World War US army recruitment poster in Washington this week. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

US Politics: Recent statue-felling is an outward expression of decades of social change

US vice-president Joe Biden with Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beijing in 2013. Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

US Politics: Nato’s charter claims of ‘common heritage’ reads quainter by the year

Joe Biden speaks via video link  at the funeral service for George Floyd inHouston, Texas, on Tuesday. Photograph: David J Phillip/EPA

US Politics: Safety-first campaign no longer adequate for Democrats’ election candidate

US president Donald Trump ‘did not etch the faultlines into his society, but he picks at them with rare abandon’. Photograph: Doug Mills/New York Times

US Politics: Sowing disunity at home is a bad tactic for a president seeking a winnable showdown abroad

US president Donald Trump on  the South Lawn of the White House this week. Photiograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

US Politics: President has a path back to the White House and just enough time to act

Former US vice-president Joe Biden. Photograph: Jordan Gale/New York Times

US Politics: If there is to be another cold war, it should be fought with the subtlety of the first

Anti-lockdown protesters  near the steps of the Michigan state capitol building in Lansing last month. Photograph: Paul Sancya/AP

US Politics: It is natural to anticipate better days, but there is good news already behind us

US president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping are first and foremost  superpower rivals.  Photograph: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

While their domestic autocracy is real, as a group – including Trump, Bolsonaro, Modi and others – their coherence is overstated

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden. Perhaps it is too much to hope that an unremarkable leader can make the planet safe for globalism. But it would not be the first time. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP

Janan Ganesh: Little was expected from US president Harry Truman but he proved a surprise

US president Donald Trump at a coronvirus news briefing at the White House on Wednesday with (from left) expert advisers  Anthony Fauci,  Deborah Birx and  Robert Redfield. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Atmosphere is ripe for party of big government to sweep elections – but that’s nothing new

US president Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus pandemic at the daily White House briefing on Wednesday. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

US Politics: No single country or bloc is strong enough to lead the world to a solution

Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on  coronavirus at the White House on Thursday. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

US Politics: President’s ratings at all-time high in spite of inept response to Covid-19

US senator Bernie Sanders: ‘If it is his fate to watch the US embrace bigger government, but under the leadership of others, there are worse niches in history.’ Photograph: Jacob Hannah/New York Times

US Politics: Coronavirus crisis has been the making of Democratic contender’s worldview

What is happening, though, is the induction of many office creatures into what must feel like the faintly subversive act of remote working.

Coronavirus: working from home is the future, get used to it

 Joe Biden: Must  persuade Sanders supporters  that theirs is not a revolution denied so much as one deferred. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

US Politics: Super Tuesday shows that the non-radical vote remains awesome in size

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders: Policies imply tax as a burden, not what the jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes defined as “what we pay for civilised society”. Photograph:  Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

US Politics: Sanders and Warren want nothing more radical than taxing the 1%

US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping following their November 2017 meeting in Beijing. Photograph: Artyom Ivanov

US Politics: Trump could be better than high-minded idealists at containing Beijing

Democratic presidential hopeful and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders at a primary night event in Manchester, New Hampshire. Photograph:  Timothy A Clary/AFP via Getty Images

US Politics: Parallels between capable socialist senator and Jeremy Corbyn do not ring true

 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg: so far the most successful of the moderates. Photograph:  Joseph  Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

US politics: Range of presidential hopefuls is sign of party weakness – not strength

US president Donald Trump: Republicans who believe that Trump has a case to answer also know that he will turn his tweets, his voters and his donors on any who defy him. Photograph:  Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

US Politics: Trump’s acquittal will reflect deference towards the office as well as partisanship

Senator  Bernie Sanders: has undertaken  “a journey” and is now the most liberal of the Democratic candidates for the White House. Photograph: Calla Kessler/The New York Times

US Politics: Voters crave universal healthcare, taxing the rich and tighter borders

Joe Biden: Whatever the source of his resilience – in national if not state polls – allies of the US should hope it lasts.  Photograph:  Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

US Politics: The most ‘European’ Democratic candidates are the least helpful to its interests

US president Donald Trump: His very nationalism – his American amour propre – makes him amazingly easy to provoke into conflict.  Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

US Politics: American jingoism longs both for the quiet life and to answer provocations

US president Donald Trump: Almost any sentient mammal who stands for a major party can count on 45 per cent of the national vote. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

US Politics: In a country with no hopes to dash, the president cannot disappoint people

Jaden Rams (13), yells his support for Donald Trump, the then Republican presidential candidate, during a rally in Grand Junction, Colorado in October 2016. Three years later, Rams would call the presidential campaign and its aftermath “a travesty for American unity”. File photograph:  Damon Winter/New York Times

US Politics: With Trump, what matters is his aggression on behalf of the Republican tribe

South Bend, Indiana mayor  Pete Buttigieg: has a kind of valedictorian wholesomeness. Photograph: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

US Politics: Left’s takeover of Democratic party is slower and patchier than anticipated

Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, and David Holmes, an official at the US embassy in Ukraine, testify before the impeachment hearings. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

US Politics: Trump’s malign neglect of institutions does not bode will for long-term battle with China

US president Donald Trump: If so many swear by “their” president, at all costs, then country cannot be the highest loyalty. Photograph: Joshua Lott/AFP

US Politics: Passports failing to supersede parties as conflicts of day are intra-national

Barack Obama’s presidencies have warped Democrats’ expectations. Some have come to regard a once-per-generation talent as the standard by which presidential hopefuls must be judged. Photograph: Richard Clement/Reuters

US politics: Democrats have a serviceable array of candidates but not a person of elemental magnetism

East and West German Police contain the crowd of East Berliners flowing through the recent opening made in the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Square in Berlin, on November 12th, 1989. Photograph: Patrick Hertzog/AFP via Getty Images

US Politics: The fall of the Berlin Wall left US citizens free to argue amongst themselves

Senator Bernie Sanders: Even if he is less taken with identity politics than with class, neither he nor Elizabeth Warren are immigration sceptics. Photograph: Allison Farrand/The New York Times

US Politics: The American left’s heroes used to lace reforms with a measure of nativism

In a country where politicians are mostly respected, Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy would never have been viable. File photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

US Politics: By clinging to the mass delusion that ‘they’re all crooks’, we have made it true

US president Donald Trump at a rally in Minneapolis on October 10th. Inadvertently, he is forcing the end of ambivalence about the US role in the world.  Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

US Politics: Those with historic qualms about US power are having a chastening education

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg: The greenest greens equate economic and even demographic growth with the depletion of the planet.  Photograph:  Eric Baradat

US Politics: Mistrust of capitalism is a clear bond between populist and environmentalist

 Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell: Donald Trump’s transactional world view always implied the possibility of his own abandonment. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Janan Ganesh: Party’s loyalty cannot be counted on as impeachment calculations change

House speaker Nancy Pelosi. Get this impeachment wrong and Democrats throw away an eminently winnable election next year. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

US Politics: This could be the last glory of Pelosi’s career or it could doom her party in 2020

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed al-Nahyan and US president Donald Trump: The cycle of raised and dashed hopes can only be broken with extreme candour. Photograph: Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Royal Council/Anadolu Agency/Getty

US Politics: US accumulated foreign interests in 20th century that cannot be divested fast

 Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US president Donald Trump: Erdogan has upset the White House by turning to Russia for defence purchases. Photograph:  Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

US Politics: There are lots of populisms. To speak of them in the terrifying singular is alarmist

US president Donald Trump participates in a briefing on Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

US Politics: There is no future for a GOP that fails to address public qualms about capitalism

US president Donald Trump, ‘a talented pointer-outer of things’. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

US Politics: A subtler leader would not seek confrontation with China and Europe at the same time

Democratic senator from Massachusetts and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren:  part of populist left with Senator Bernie Sanders. Photograph: Craig Lassig

US Politics: Through tariffs imposed, Trump will have played role in looming downturn

Democratic presidential candidate Seth Moulton: his “mistake” has been to run on foreign policy above all else. Photograph:  Ethan Miller/Getty Images

US Politics: Parochialism of party’s primary race so far gives advantage to Trump

People hold candles as they pray during a candlelight vigil at the Immanuel Church for victims of a shooting that left 22 people dead at the Cielo Vista Mall WalMart in El Paso, Texas. Photograph:  Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

US Politics: What it means to be white is liable to change but it need not cause unrest

US president Donald Trump remains unpopular after the longest economic expansion in US history. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

US Politics: The president is on a roll, but he has done little to woo swing voters

Donald Trump’s  aggression, and his ability to turn his multitudinous flock of voters on enemies, causes lawmakers to fold. Photograph:  Saul Loeb/AFP

US Politics: Kim Darroch was stating the obvious about US president – but was he right?

Janan Ganesh: ‘The populist shock has enlarged and intensified a liberal movement that was atrophying through sheer lack of stress.’ Photograph: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg

Attitudes towards free trade, immigration have almost completely flipped in 25 years

Joe Biden: To his mind, Republicans and Democrats feud more out of muscle memory than principle. Photograph: Randall Hill/Reuters

US Politics: The job of politics is to contain differences, not to pretend they don’t exist

Right, Gen Douglas MacArthur, commander in chief visits  the front in Korea. Photograph: Bettmann Archive

US Politics: Trump would savage a humbler foreign policy but Democrats should stand firm

US president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping. Photograph: Damir Sagolj/File Photo/Reuters

Leaders must show that China, which poses no conventional threat, has to be countered

US President Donald Trump and Britain’s prime minister Theresa May during a dinner at Winfield House on Tuesday. The question of the tech giant Huawei came up during Trump’s state visit to the UK. Photograph: Chris Jackson/AFP/Getty Images

US Politics: The British right cannot court Trump while keeping China as a mistress

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren  visits Fairfield, Iowa, US. Photograph: Rachel Mummey/Reuters

US Politics: Senator may shine as flashier candidates for the Democratic nod burn out

Moe the bartender in The Simpsons: cute questioning. Illustration: Fox via Getty

Janan Ganesh: Gun ownership and showy patriotism are points of difference, but what else?

US national security advisor, John Bolton (background) looks on during a meeting between president Donald Trump and president of Chile, Sebastian Piñera in the Oval Office in September, 2018. Photograph: Oliver Contreras/The Washington Post/Getty

US Politics: President should look to find like-minded players to join his team

Foreign policy: The Democratic presidential hopeful  most steeped in such policy, former vice-president Joe Biden, hardly brings it  up. Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty

US Politics: It is not the pacifism or realpolitik that is striking, but the indifference

Former US vice-president Joe Biden at a campaign event in Dubuque, Iowa. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg

Weary Americans could well see the insider as a perfect escape from four years of drama

US president Donald Trump boarding Air Force One in Maryland. Photograph: Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times

A relaxation of civic mores is a deadlier threat to democracy than the president

US president Donald Trump at a roundtable discussion on immigration and border security in Calexico, California, on April 5th. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Populists do not live and die on their record – they live on a sense of rolling crisis

US president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in April 2017.  Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

US Politics: Emboldened future presidents might be drawn to more wide-ranging confrontations

US president Donald Trump:    What voters did not know in 2016 was that he would preside as another small-government Republican. Photograph: Getty Images

US Politics: Gravest threat to president is his gradual turn away from economic populism

US senator Elizabeth Warren could be a nightmare for some on Wall Street. Photographer: Callaghan O’Hare/Bloomberg

US Politics: Americans must embrace ‘socialism’ to ensure survival of capitalism

US Border Patrol members watch as barbed-wire barriers are  installed ahead of the possible massive arrival of migrants, at the Zaragoza International Bridge on the US-Mexico border.  Photograph: Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images

US Politics: Can a party fluent in the argot of identity politics build a stronger welfare state?

Former US president Barack Obama and Thailand’s prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2012. Photograph: Jason Reed

Janan Ganesh: A pivot by the US towards Asian nations has long been in the works

 Kamala Harris    –  already living down her past as a prosecuting attorney. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty

US Politics: Candidates pile into the race as itch to defeat Trump takes hold

US soldiers attend a training session for the Afghan army in  Afghanistan,  February 2nd, 2019 Photograph: EPA/Jalil Rezayee

US Politics: Opposition to Trump’s plan to exit Afghanistan smacks of ‘horror of retreat’

 Donald Trump: His poll rating fell but did not collapse in recent weeks. Photograph: Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

Populists declare themselves game for the fight, but their tolerance for suffering is unclear

US president Donald Trump and China’s president Xi Jinping  in Beijing.  The absence of an international rival has been a disaster for the internal politics of the US. And the emergence of a new one, in China, might be an unexpected blessing. Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri/Getty Images

US Politics: Having a common enemy could heal US partisan divide

Bernie Sanders participates in a news conference with Democratic politicians, in Washington, last week.  Photograph: Michael ReynoldS/EPA

US politics: This faultline feels less fraught than rifts over race, gender and sexuality

US president Donald Trump and China’s president Xi Jinping: the bilateral relationship of old, with its polite hypocrisies and blind-eye turning, is not coming back. Photograph: Damir Sagolj

US Politics: Washington is united in accepting US links with China have improved

US president Donald Trump: Americans knew he was a rogue when they elected him. Photograph: Doug Mills/New York Times

Democrats too quickly saw the leakage of allies as the beginning of the end for the US leader

Outgoing US defence secretary Jim Mattis has achieved martyr status among Democrats who did not lament his dismissal by Barack Obama. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

US Politics: Donald Trump has forced the Democrats to stand up for American power

US president Donald Trump. A  Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in 2019 will start to scrutinise his personal tax affairs and dealings with Russia. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

US Politics: US president fulminates about ‘Obama judges’ but has not defied rulings

Former US president George Bush: He  was the youngest pilot in the US navy. He remains the last president with combat experience. Of all the theories behind the spurt in populism – the 2008 crash, immigration – the passing of the “greatest” generation from both high office and the electorate is under-discussed. Photograph:  Luke Frazza/Getty Images

US Politics: George HW Bush had a taste for moderation based on bitter experience of history

Barack Obama meets Donald Trump as he is sworn in as US  president: Mr Trump talks about the US as a self-interested state among self-interested states, unique in its power but not in its existential purpose, which is to survive and prosper. Photograph: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

US Politics: President has replaced rhetoric with US naked interest-driven statecraft

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi  speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington last week. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP Photo

US politics: With 2020 presidential race ahead, the speakership tussle is just a taster

 US president Donald Trump  and French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris last weekend. Trump would not be the first powerful man to see in an impudent junior a trace of his younger self. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

Presidents come and go, as do their tiffs. Even Macron and Trump get along at times

US president Donald Trump  has allowed too large a gap between his rhetorical pitch to working Americans and his policies for them. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

US politics: Defeat of president in 2020 will be about presenting him as elitist

Protesters gather as US president Donald Trump visits the synagogue named Tree of Life in the Squirrel Hill neighbourhood of Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Photograph: Hilary Swift/The New York Times

US Politics: Pittsburgh synagogue attack shows necessity of moderating rhetoric

US president Donald Trump was described by erstwhile enemies Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham as ‘a snivelling coward’ and a ‘jackass’. Both are now allies. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Janan Ganesh: US’s allies should note its president is negotiable on much, and at affordable cost

The then US president Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act in Nashville, Tennessee, on July 1st, 2015. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

US Politics: President’s unforced error is helping Democrats in midterm elections

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell receives applause at a White House ceremony on Monday to mark the swearing-in of Brett Kavanaugh as a justice of the US supreme court. Photograph: Samuel Corum/New York Times

US Politics: Developing trend of Democratic Party suggests a certain innocence

A spectator wears clothing in the colours of the US flag during a practice session ahead of the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National Course south-west of Paris on September 26th. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

US Politics: How does a nation define itself when what made it distinct has become commonplace?

The words “Brett Kavanaugh must withdraw” are projected by demonstrators on to  the E Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.  Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The US president’s interests and those of nominee Brett Kavanaugh are not aligned

Donald Trump: Each of his broken treaties and tariff rounds can be read as a nudge towards that destiny: a bid to make America normal again. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/EPA

Janan Ganesh: Selfish logic of Trump’s America First doctrine will be aped by future presidents

US president Donald Trump reacts as pastor Paula White tells him she has a bible to give  him at a dinner hosted for evangelical leaders at the White House in Washington, DC. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

Janan Ganesh: Evangelicals face a bleaker future despite their bargain with president

US president Donald Trump weaponised a popular suspicion of political elites that long predates Lehman. The root of that suspicion is not all that mysterious. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Janan Ganesh: The crash just brought to the surface what was already extant and pumping

US president Donald Trump salutes supporters after speaking at a political rally in Charleston, West Virginia, on Tuesday. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

US constitution requires two-thirds majority of Senate for president’s removal

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is building a coalition of minority voters, topped up with liberal whites. Photograph: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Janan Ganesh: They needed to start distinguishing one kind of American from another

US president Donald Trump owes his grip on eminent Republicans to cravenness on their part and ruthlessness on his. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

US Politics: The president still participates in the world – just not in the way his critics want

President Donald Trump during a “Make America Great Again” rally in Florida, July 31st, 2018. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

The party can retrench or learn to helm, not dismantle, an interventionist state

Consciously or not, the president may also equate Bannonism with success. Photograph: Moritz Hager/Reuters

Janan Ganesh: Trump wants clear theme – and Bannon’s programme remains clearest

US president Donald Trump  and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin shake hands during a joint press conference after their summit in Helsinki on Monday. Photograph:  Chris McGrath/Getty Images

US Politics: President’s foreign policy will last no longer than the time he remains in office

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