The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the vice presidential debate; presidential elections in Venezuela; and nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.
- The consensus that Mitt Romney “won” last night’s night presidential debate will likely encourage speculation that next Thursday’s vice presidential debate could catapult the GOP ticket into the lead in the polls if Paul Ryan has similar success jousting with Joe Biden. Political scientists will scoff at the notion, saying that presidential debates seldom influence voting decisions and that vice presidential debates have even less impact. We will have data to test that hypothesis in just five weeks.
- Venezuelan voters head to the polls this Sunday to choose between incumbent president Hugo Chavez and challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski, who represents a coalition of opposition parties. Chavez leads in the polls, and many of his critics worry that he will do what it takes to guarantee a victory. If Chavez were to lose, it would upend Venezuelan politics and change the dynamics in the region. Even if Chavez wins, though, the future of his Bolivarian revolution is uncertain. Mismanagement and corruption have stalled the Venezuelan economy, and Chavez’s cancer may keep him for completing his term.
- The Nobel Peace Prize jury will announce this year’s recipient of the award next week. Some of the luminaries nominated for the award include former president Bill Clinton, former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier accused of leaking classified material to Wikileaks.
- Bob changes things up and offers up his Figures of the Week, Bidzina Ivanishvili and Mikheil Saakashvili. I stay old school and go with a Figure of the Week, which is eleven. As always, you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out why.
For more on the topics we discussed in the podcast check out:
Biden and Ryan face off in the vice presidential debate: The Huffington Post writes that Biden had already put in 60 hours of debate practice a month before the debate. Reuters reports that both candidates have attacked the other for their stance on Medicare and other social programs. The New York Times assesses the Romney-Ryan campaign’s recent criticism of Obama’s foreign policy. The Hill writes that Ryan is “absolutely” looking forward to the debate and is emphasizing Biden’s debate experience.
Presidential elections take place in Venezuela: BBC News writes that many Venezuelans continue to support Chavez because of his many social programs. Foreign Policy warns that violence might break out if Chavez is defeated. The Center for Strategic and International Studies suggests that while free and fair elections may be possible, a victory for the opposition is not likely. The Guardian reports that the United States frequently misrepresents Venezuelan democracy. CFR’s Patrick Duddy writes a Contingency Planning Memorandum on “Political Unrest in Venezuela”
Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize: The Norwegian Nobel Committee notes that there were 231 nominations for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, 43 of which were organizations. Slate lists likely candidates for each Nobel Prize. The Nordic Page reports that the Norwegian Nobel Committee had an easy time selecting this year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. The Huffington Post reveals a few publicly disclosed candidates.