Washington: According to a new poll Hillary Clinton’s lead for party nomination in the 2016 presidential race fell to just 10 points, her advantage against the top Republican contenders has now vanished.
Vice President Joe Biden, who is still mulling a presidential bid, stood at 20 percent, up 6 points in the last month. In the general election match-ups, Clinton runs about evenly with Republican front runner Donald Trump with 48 percent backing each.
A new CNN/ORC poll found Clinton with 37 percent support among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters, down 10 points since August, followed by self-proclaimed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders at 27 percent. But former neurosurgeon Ben Carson leads Clinton by a significant margin of 51 percent to 46 percent, while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush narrowly leads her 49 to 47 percent.
Facing Trump, Clinton still carries women by a large, though tighter, margin. In August, 60 percent of women favoured Clinton to 37 percent for Trump, but that’s narrowed slightly to 55 percent Clinton, 41 percent Trump now. Clinton’s advantage among women against Trump is fuelled by independent women, despite that group shifting away from Clinton in the head-to-head against Bush.
The poll suggests Republican women have consolidated their support around their party’s front-runners in the last month, and are now more apt to back both Bush and Trump than they were a month ago.
At the same time, the near-universal support for Clinton among Democratic women has softened slightly, bringing it more in-line with her support among Democratic men.
Within the Democratic party, Clinton’s support among moderates holds at 47 percent, while among liberals, it has plummeted to just 23 percent. Biden tops Trump by 10 points (54 percent to 44 percent among registered voters), leads Bush by 8 points (52 percent to 44 percent) and is 3 points behind Carson (50 percent Carson to 47 percent Biden).
Sanders has increased his share of the liberal vote (from 42 percent to 49 percent), while falling 9 points among moderates (from 24 percent to 15 percent). Meanwhile, Biden has gained ground in both groups.
But there was some good news also for Clinton in the poll. Most Democrats still say that Clinton shall be party’s eventual nominee and the more enthusiastic Democratic voters are more apt to be Clinton backers.
With the World Health Organization classifying the global coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, U.S. President Donald Trump announced late Wednesday a series of emergency measures, including an unprecedented 30-day suspension of all flights from Europe.
But Trump, who spoke from the Oval Office, stopped short of resorting to an even more dramatic measure urged by some members of Congress: a national emergency proclamation under the 1976 National Emergencies Act.
The administration already has declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency, giving local health officials greater flexibility to respond to the crisis. A national emergency declaration would put a vast reservoir of additional powers at the president’s disposal by triggering sweeping authorities contained in more than 100 statutes, according to Elizabeth Goitein, director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security Program.
“When a president declares an emergency declaration, he at that moment has access to all of the laws that say in a national emergency the president can do X, whether or not those powers relate to the emergency at hand,” Goitein said.
Some of the additional authorities allow for a “reasonable and very measured” response to an emergency, according to Goitein. For example, hospitals could receive regulatory waivers in order to set up off-site facilities.
At the same time, a national emergency declaration also empowers a president to take draconian measures in the name of national security. For example, a president could invoke a 1941 law to shut down the internet and even freeze people’s bank accounts.
Last year, Trump was criticized for declaring a national emergency in order to divert military funds to finance construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
A national emergency declaration can only be overturned by an act of Congress. More than 30 national emergency declarations made over the past four decades remain in effect.
Although presidents often have a legitimate need to exercise emergency powers, they’ve also faced criticism for using emergencies to curtail civil liberties and civil rights.
History of Mational Emergencies
During the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln famously suspended the writ of habeas corpus, a guarantee against unlawful detentions. During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt put more than 100,000 Japanese Americans in internment camps. And after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush expanded the government’s surveillance and other national security powers, some of which were later rolled back by Congress.
“The question will be in this moment, how far does the president go or the Congress go, and what is the fallout in the pushback,” said Kimberly Wehle, a visiting law professor at the American University Washington College of Law. “These are areas where the law isn’t clear.”
In addition to exercising emergency powers, the president has certain nonemergency powers he has used during the coronavirus crisis. For example, Trump invoked the Immigration and Nationality Act 1952 in suspending travel from Europe. Another non-emergency power Trump has exercised: the federal quarantine authority, which was last used in 1963.
“The president doesn’t have to declare an emergency in order to avail himself of that, but we know the president has already done that,” Goitein said.
Locking down communities or otherwise restricting the movements of large groups can conflict with constitutional rights of due process, according legal scholars.
“The due process clause basically says the government can’t restrict your liberty, which would be your ability to move around without some kind of process,” Wehle said. “That’s the first constitutional provision that will come to mind if we’re talking about quarantining people in their homes.”
As of Wednesday, 22 states representing 196 million Americans have declared some type of COVID-related emergency, according to James Hodge, director for public health law and policy, at Arizona State University.
New York state on Tuesday created a “containment zone” around the town of New Rochelle, the epicenter of the outbreak in the state. Schools, places of worship and other large public spaces within 1.6 kilometers of the town of nearly 80,000 residents will shut down for next two weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.
An emergency declaration allows federal and state authorities to put in place a host of so-called “social distancing measures,” including restricting travel, imposing curfews, dismissing schools, restricting public gatherings and implementing quarantines.
The emergency measures raise constitutional questions. While quarantining individuals or groups suspected of exposure to COVID-19 is constitutional, creating “cordon sanitaire” or lockdown of groups of communities within or outside “hot zones,” is not, according to Hodge. (VOA)