Every week we look at the numbers that will define the coming week in politics. This week much of the focus is on the tumultuous events that have come to define the summer of 2016 –events that have begun to remind many Americans of the summer of 1968.
Among the events to watch for this week are the: continuing fallout from the murders of five Dallas police officers, selection of Vice Presidential nominees, coming together of former rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and, overseas, the aftermath of Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
2 – The number of female prime ministers in British history
In a few weeks the Democratic Party will become the first major political party to nominate a woman to be president of the United States. While the question of whether the U.S. will elect Hillary Clinton in November continues to loom large, across the pond, Great Britain is set to elect its second female prime minister. Following the Brexit vote and Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement that he will be stepping down, the Conservative Party has witnessed a battle between two of the party’s foremost female members — Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom and Home Secretary Theresa May. Over the weekend, Leadsom dropped her bid, paving the way for May to be selected as the nation’s second female P.M., following Margaret Thatcher. Leadsom’s move accelerated the timetable for Cameron’s replacement and helped insure that May will become Prime Minister by mid-week.
19 – Months since President Obama established his task force on 21st century policing
Several months after the deaths in 2014 of unarmed black men at the hands of police in Missouri and New York City, President Obama established a special task force on police reform. In March 2015, the 11-person task force headed by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey issued a report that recommended numerous reforms. According to many critics, however, the recommendations fell short. They didn’t, for instance, include requiring body cameras or linking federal funding to racial bias training. Now President Obama has returned early from a trip overseas and is scheduled to join his predecessor, George W. Bush, on Tuesday at an interfaith memorial in Dallas for five police officers who were shot to death last week during a protest of the killings of unarmed black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.
48 – Years since the tumultuous 1968 election
In the days since the massacre in Dallas and the release of videos showing the killings of black men last week at the hands of police in other parts of the country, many people have been asking if history is repeating itself. They are referring specifically to the late 1960s, when the nation was embroiled in the Vietnam War; protests were breaking out across the country; and Dr. Martin Luther King and Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. Given the unfathomable events of the last several months — the massacre in Orlando, the civil unrest following the police killings of unarmed black men, the deaths of police officers, the pending nominations of two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in American history, and much more — many Americans are asking themselves if this is dÃ©jÃ vu all over again. As both the current and a former president descend on Dallas to mourn the dead, the question of a vacuum of leadership and its impact on the future of the nation continues to distress many Americans.
60 – The percentage of the vote Bernie Sanders got in the New Hampshire primary
In early February, Bernie Sanders lambasted Clinton in the all-important first primary of the 2016 presidential election, capturing not only more than 60 percent of the vote, but also 15 of the 24 delegates available. Now, five months later, Sanders and Clinton are slated to meet in the Granite State again — on Tuesday, at Portsmouth High School, where Sanders is expected to finally concede defeat and endorse his one-time foe. His move comes despite Clinton’s tough week in the face of the email scandal and despite the fact that a majority of voters say they don’t trust her. Sanders is likely to endorse her in part because she has moved in his direction on a variety of key issues, including, most recently, making college affordable. The question now is: Will Sanders’ 13 million supporters endorse Clinton as well, or will they seek another candidate or simply decide to sit this election out?
4:6 – Odds of Mike Pence becoming the GOP nominee for vice president
With just one week to go until the Republican National Convention, speculation about whom Donald Trump will select to be his running mate has reached a fever pitch.
A number of potential VP choices have been floated, and some, including Senators Bob Corker and Joni Ernst, have decided to clamp down the expectations by taking themselves out of consideration. This has left many people wondering if the choice really will come down to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who faced some tough questioning on the Sunday talk show circuit over the weekend. If you believe the oddsmakers, though, the most likely nominee is the governor of Indiana, Mike Pence. According to the major bookmaker, Ladbrokes, Pence’s odds are 4 to 6, Gingrich is 5 to 1, Flynn is 8 to 1 and Christie is 10 to 1.
Jeanne Zaino, Ph.D. is professor of Political Science at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.