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The Beat: Issue 1014     

California’s rock-solid progressive voter base is no longer so happy for the state to borrow, spend, and tax

Right on the Rise

The upcoming European Parliament elections may disprove the myth that all young voters trend leftwards; recent polls across the continent show increasing discontent with the centrist old guard among Gen Z voters, particularly men. Anti-immigration populists offer youngsters a channel for their frustration over their stagnating prospects, and a substantial portion of them are buying in.

Gen-Z male voting intention for right-wing populists:

France — 32%

Portugal — 25%

Belgium — 32%

Finland — 33%

Germany — 18%


Tech Tussle

You would’ve thought China hawks on Capitol Hill would be happy when Microsoft signed a $1.5 billion AI investment deal with G42, an AI development firm based in the United Arab Emirates. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo hailed it as a way to keep G42 out of Chinese control, and the firm promised to sever its longstanding ties with Chinese surveillance firms in exchange for Microsoft technology.

But now lawmakers have raised concerns that this sensitive AI technology could be vulnerable to Chinese espionage; China has already made inroads into the Persian Gulf region, rivaling US efforts to exert Western influence there.

Recent briefings from Microsoft suggest G42 may have access to semiconductor technology that the US government wants to protect from China. The Abu Dhabi–headquartered firm came under pressure in February to divest from firms aiding Beijing’s surveillance network, and the UAE has signaled willingness to replace Chinese-made telecommunications with US alternatives. America’s technological arms race with China sometimes leads both sides to the same countries, throwing up more difficult questions about whom to trust in this existential battle.

Too Broke to Go Woke

California’s rock-solid progressive voter base is no longer so happy for the state to borrow, spend, and tax. There’s been a 13-point decline over the last five years among voters who prefer more services over lower taxes. While state borrowing programs passed in statewide referenda with 25-plus point margins in 2014 and 2018, a $6.4 billion anti-homelessness program squeaked through by a margin of just 30,000 votes in March. This was despite program advocates outspending the opposition 13,000-to-1 and being endorsed by leading newspapers and state interest groups.

One political consultant pithily explained the change in attitudes — “California voters are still willing to invest in must-haves. They’re less willing to invest in nice-to-haves.”

The backlash against costly liberal pet projects has been going for a while in Europe, but its arrival in California should warn politicians that even the most liberal of voters still prioritize their pocketbooks.


“I promise you that’s what we want to see, and if Labour gets into power, we will recognize Palestine.”

—A leaked recording of Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner pleading with Muslim voters in her Greater Manchester constituency. Anti-Israel firebrand George Galloway is seeking to stand a pro-Palestine candidate in her seat, which would split the left-wing vote. A sobering check on Labour leader Keir Starmer’s promises of a changed party where Jews feel safe again.


Who’s Up

Former bodyguard Alexei Dyumin, whom Putin has just appointed as secretary of the advisory State Council, fueling rumors that he’s being groomed for succession. He was deputy head of the GRU intelligence service during the annexation of Crimea, served as deputy defense minister, and was governor of Tula, a district playing a critical role in Russia’s military-industrial complex. He was sanctioned by the US in 2018, a point that surely works to his favor among the Kremlin kleptocracy.

Who’s Down

The Scottish National Party, projected to hold just 16 seats at the upcoming UK general election. The party, whose raison d’être is Scottish independence, but lost a referendum on the issue in 2014, has been running Scotland’s devolved administration since 2007. It was dominant for the best part of two decades, winning 48 out of 56 seats in 2019, but has become unstuck over its dismal domestic record, the resignation of two leaders in quick succession, and the resurgence of center-left rival Scottish Labour.


The yearly increase in El Al’s Q1 2024 revenues, as it capitalizes on being the only carrier offering regular flights in and out of Israel since the war broke out. Foreign airlines are reluctant to return, because their crews refuse to stay over in Israel, and they have to pay a higher insurance risk premium, leaving Israel’s flag carrier to fill the vacuum. That makes El Al one of the few economic winners of this protracted and costly war.

EVs, Anyone?

For a while, it was the bandwagon all the automakers jumped on, enthusiastically hailed by the corporate establishment and environmental lobby, but the EV bandwagon has now stalled, with disastrous consequences. Price-conscious consumers are opting for the still-more-affordable combustion engine. China, which in 2024 became the largest manufacturer of EVs, is flooding European ports with its glut of unsold electric cars. In response, the EU are considering following America’s lead in imposing a 100% tariff on Chinese electric cars.

Governments around the world encouraged the production and purchase of electric cars with tax breaks and subsidies, but consumers are still not buying in enough numbers to match the supply. That’s besides the inherent problems the market has yet to overcome — inadequate range, long charging times, the inability to recycle batteries, and the lack of a secondhand market for EVs, because once the battery is gone, the vehicle is useless.

In a startling statistic, the Spectator revealed that only one in six EVs in the UK are bought by private consumers; the other five are bought by fleet companies. Similarly, in China, it’s the ride-sharing apps that are buying the bulk of electric cars. For EV manufacturers, it looks like the joyride is coming to an end.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 1014)

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