As we went to press with our Winter 2016 issue, Americans were witnessing a rollicking race for the White House. In all the pre-primaries jockeying, 2016 was shaping up as the year of the outsider. Self-described socialist Bernie Sanders was strongly challenging presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clin- ton. And billionaire Donald Trump was soaring ahead of establishment politicians like Jeb Bush in the Republican Party contest. We hope that Special Report: American Politics 2016 will help you make sense of this often bewildering political pageant.

Charles Lewis explores the dark role of money and the media in U.S. elections in our lead essay, “The Buying of the President.” Donald T. Critchlow explores the evolution and influence of the modern Republican Party in “Understanding Conservatives.” Stephen Zunes analyzes what a Clinton presidency would mean for the Middle East in “Hillary the Hawk.”

We are grateful to the Bernie Sanders campaign for permission to publish “American Poverty,” an adaptation of the candidate’s speech on Democratic socialism at Georgetown University last November. Adrian D. Pantoja deconstructs the sleeping giant of American politics in “Viva Latino Voters!” The Cairo Review Interview is with Chicago activist Charlene Carruthers, who explains grassroots demands for greater police accountability, decriminalization of black youth, women’s and LGBTQ rights, and a fair minimum wage. Taking a look back at Barack Obama’s presidency, William M. LeoGrande reports on the historic reconciliation between Cuba and the United States in “A Long Road to Havana”.

Of course it was to Cairo that President Obama traveled in the early months of his presidency to give a seminal speech promising a “new beginning” between America and the Islamic World. In his essay, “Obama’s Tarnished Legacy in the Middle East,” Hisham Melhem delivers a devastating critique of how the forty-fourth U.S. president’s foreign policy played out in the region. Writes Melhem, who was the first journalist to interview Obama after his inauguration in January 2009: “He will not escape the harsh judgment that his actions and inactions contributed significantly to the great unraveling of the Middle East.”

Scott MacLeod
Managing Editor