And then there were two: Bernie Sanders vs Joe Biden

We debate Super Tuesday, and ask an ally of Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad what triggered the former PM’s resignation.

In this episode of UpFront we debate the results of Super Tuesday with Lindy Li, a member of Joe Biden’s outreach team, and Linda Sarsour, national surrogate for the Bernie Sanders campaign.

In the tumultuous world of Malaysian politics, Mahathir Mohamad, who governed the country for close to a quarter of a century, is out. We ask one of his former cabinet members Syed Saddiq whether Mahathir has only himself to blame.

Who can beat Donald Trump: Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden? 

Former United States Vice President Joe Biden made a spectacular comeback this week when he swept to victory on Super Tuesday, the biggest event in the 2020 election calendar so far.

Super Tuesday is the day when most voters go to the polls to pick which Democrat they want to take on President Donald Trump in November’s presidential election. Fourteen states, including the most populous – California and Texas – take part.

Biden’s campaign to become the Democratic party nominee was on life support before Super Tuesday, lagging behind 78-year-old Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

But on the eve of polling day, presidential hopefuls Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg both dropped out of the race and announced they were backing Biden. The 77-year-old went on to surge at the polls and won a whopping 10 out of the 14 states.

Lindy Li, a member of Biden’s outreach team, described his comeback as “incredible” and said she was inspired by Biden and his “goodness”.

“We haven’t seen this sort of comeback in a very long time. It’s truly incredible, and I think the American people are speaking and they are saying we don’t want a candidate whose staff and supporters are rife with toxic individuals,” Li said.

But Linda Sarsour, national surrogate for the Sanders campaign, says Biden is the wrong candidate to take on Donald Trump in November. 

“I think he has a horrible record. He took us into a despicable war in Iraq and voted for the war in Iraq. He didn’t just vote for the Crime Bill, he championed the Crime Bill, which is why we have inflated incarceration of black and brown people across the country,” Sarsour said.

But Li says Biden has some ambitious proposals, citing his plans to take on climate change and tough stance on gun control.

“He is very, very aggressive on gun violence. Gun violence is, for me, an existential threat and I know so many voters in America feel the same way. Joe Biden is someone who helped pass the assault weapons ban, which has been shown to reduce deaths by gun violence,” Li said.

Sarsour says she doesn’t want to “just defeat Donald Trump”.

“I’m tired of the status quo; I’m tired of maintaining what we have. I want healthcare. Joe Biden, right now, hasn’t told me what his message [is] – what is he fighting for? What are his top policy issues other than defeating Donald Trump?”

In this week’s Arena, Linda Sarsour and Lindy Li debate who is the best candidate to beat US President Donald Trump.

Is it game over for Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad?

It has been described as Malaysia’s political Game of Thrones: a fortnight of mind-bending political turmoil, triggered by the resignation last week of 94-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad after his coalition collapsed.

After being reinstated as interim prime minister by the king, Mahathir seemed poised to form a new government that may have sidelined his designated successor Anwar Ibrahim. But before long, Mahathir and Anwar were once again united in an attempt to form a new government, only to find themselves both on the outside looking in as someone else – Muhyiddin Yassin – was sworn in as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister.

Muhyiddin is backed by the scandal-ridden United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) – the very party Mahathir ousted in the 2018 election amid anger over what is known as the 1MDB scandal.

Syed Saddiq, who was a cabinet minister in Mahathir’s government, said what we are seeing in Malaysia is the formation of an “illegitimate back-door government”.

“The fact that without Dr Mahathir’s knowledge that his own colleagues decided to work together with the well-known global kleptocrats to form a back-door government and to take down the democratically elected Pakatan Harapan government, I think it’s a truly sad day for Malaysian democracy,” Saddiq said.

Mahathir has been accused by some of creating the political turmoil in Malaysia himself, by failing to keep his pledge to hand over power to Anwar. With no clear timeline ever set for the succession, many believed Mahathir would not fulfil his promise.

But Saddiq said there was an agreement to hand over power to him.

“There was an agreement to give room for Dr Mahathir to govern and then when the right time comes, to hand over power to Anwar, and the agreement was after APEC,” Saddiq said.

“If Mahathir really was power-crazy he could have simply just remained as the prime minister … Instead he stepped down, his moral conscience is clean, and he still fought to ensure that the democratically elected government will stay in power because of the people,” he added.

In this week’s Special Interview, MP Syed Saddiq defends Malaysia’s political colossus Mahathir Mohamad.

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