US press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

 

1. The Supreme Court lands in Oz (Wall Street Journal)
Barack Obama, a wizard of another kind, has been trying with fulminations and denunciations to keep anyone from attempting what a law professor might call discovery of what the president actually has done in the past three years, says Daniel Henniger.
 
2. It’s Mitt! Oh no (New York Times)
That sound you hear is the sound of despair —  the hard swallowing and deep breathing by reluctant Republicans crossing their fingers and praying for the best, writes Charles Blow.
 
Because Christians have a realistic and non-utopian view of human nature, they should be especially alive to the ambiguities and ambivalences of politics, says E.J. Dionne Jr.
 
4. Down the insurance rabbit hole (New York Times)
As a scholar of social policy at M.I.T., I teach students how the system works. Now I am learning, in real time, says Andrea Louise Campbell.
 
Doyle McManus says Obama and Romney could step out of their comfort zones and address issues that don't fit so neatly into partisan talking points. They still have six months to try it.
 
6. The drug legalization dilemma (Washington Post)
Legalization would mean drugs of reliable quality would be conveniently available from clean stores for customers not risking the stigma of breaking the law in furtive transactions with unsavory people, writes George Will.
 
Just as al-Maliki forced us to do the right thing, we should allow Karzai to take control of his country as soon as he wants, says Lawrence Korb.
 
8. Making Greece work (Wall Street Journal) (£)
Since Galileo's day, we Europeans have learned to question things beyond the obvious and to look beneath the surface. We have learned to search for clues, not evils—for answers, not culprits, says this editorial.
 
9. An unholy mix (Chicago Tribune)
Making the Almighty synonymous with political conservatism breeds contempt for faith. Young people now are far more likely alienated from religion than their forebears were, says Steve Chapman.
 
10. US must improve cybersecurity (Houston Chronicle)
China shouldn't necessarily be a hostile enemy; it is an ambitious, and sometimes unscrupulous, competitor. And it is doing everything in its power to help itself. By failing to create a strong cyber-defense strategy, the United States is helping, too, says this editorial.
US Supreme Court. Credit: Getty Images
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Will Jeremy Corbyn stand down if Labour loses the general election?

Defeat at the polls might not be the end of Corbyn’s leadership.

The latest polls suggest that Labour is headed for heavy defeat in the June general election. Usually a general election loss would be the trigger for a leader to quit: Michael Foot, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband all stood down after their first defeat, although Neil Kinnock saw out two losses before resigning in 1992.

It’s possible, if unlikely, that Corbyn could become prime minister. If that prospect doesn’t materialise, however, the question is: will Corbyn follow the majority of his predecessors and resign, or will he hang on in office?

Will Corbyn stand down? The rules

There is no formal process for the parliamentary Labour party to oust its leader, as it discovered in the 2016 leadership challenge. Even after a majority of his MPs had voted no confidence in him, Corbyn stayed on, ultimately winning his second leadership contest after it was decided that the current leader should be automatically included on the ballot.

This year’s conference will vote on to reform the leadership selection process that would make it easier for a left-wing candidate to get on the ballot (nicknamed the “McDonnell amendment” by centrists): Corbyn could be waiting for this motion to pass before he resigns.

Will Corbyn stand down? The membership

Corbyn’s support in the membership is still strong. Without an equally compelling candidate to put before the party, Corbyn’s opponents in the PLP are unlikely to initiate another leadership battle they’re likely to lose.

That said, a general election loss could change that. Polling from March suggests that half of Labour members wanted Corbyn to stand down either immediately or before the general election.

Will Corbyn stand down? The rumours

Sources close to Corbyn have said that he might not stand down, even if he leads Labour to a crushing defeat this June. They mention Kinnock’s survival after the 1987 general election as a precedent (although at the 1987 election, Labour did gain seats).

Will Corbyn stand down? The verdict

Given his struggles to manage his own MPs and the example of other leaders, it would be remarkable if Corbyn did not stand down should Labour lose the general election. However, staying on after a vote of no-confidence in 2016 was also remarkable, and the mooted changes to the leadership election process give him a reason to hold on until September in order to secure a left-wing succession.

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