Five must-read blogs for the US mid-term elections

Keep up to speed with the election events across the Atlantic with our pick of the web.

1. FiveThirtyEight

FiveThirtyEight says it aims to "cut through the clutter of this data-rich world", and it doesn't disappoint. Its beautifully clear maps and diagrams on politicians, polls, and predictions are accompanied by posts guiding you beyond the statistics to understand the underlying evidence. Essential reading.

2. Rasmussen Reports

Probably the most comprehensive coverage of US opinion polls, not only on the popularity of candidates, but citizens' views on almost anything. Crucial for understanding what the American public is thinking.

3. The Daily Beast's Election Oracle

The Election Oracle automatically gathers posts from across the internet and combines them with election poll data to build up what they claim are the most frequently updated predictions on the internet. Particularly interesting are the data on which candidates are winning the discussion on which issues across the internet.

4. The Huffington Post

America's leading liberal news website. Excellent insight into liberal American perspectives on the mid-terms.

5. Mark Mardell's America

Drawing on American culture and his own interviews, Mardell links the headlines and figures with human stories on the ground in the US. An interesting way to try to get inside the American psyche from a British perspective.

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What Jeremy Corbyn gets right about the single market

Technically, you can be outside the EU but inside the single market. Philosophically, you're still in the EU. 

I’ve been trying to work out what bothers me about the response to Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on the Andrew Marr programme.

What bothers me about Corbyn’s interview is obvious: the use of the phrase “wholesale importation” to describe people coming from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom makes them sound like boxes of sugar rather than people. Adding to that, by suggesting that this “importation” had “destroy[ed] conditions”, rather than laying the blame on Britain’s under-enforced and under-regulated labour market, his words were more appropriate to a politician who believes that immigrants are objects to be scapegoated, not people to be served. (Though perhaps that is appropriate for the leader of the Labour Party if recent history is any guide.)

But I’m bothered, too, by the reaction to another part of his interview, in which the Labour leader said that Britain must leave the single market as it leaves the European Union. The response to this, which is technically correct, has been to attack Corbyn as Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are members of the single market but not the European Union.

In my view, leaving the single market will make Britain poorer in the short and long term, will immediately render much of Labour’s 2017 manifesto moot and will, in the long run, be a far bigger victory for right-wing politics than any mere election. Corbyn’s view, that the benefits of freeing a British government from the rules of the single market will outweigh the costs, doesn’t seem very likely to me. So why do I feel so uneasy about the claim that you can be a member of the single market and not the European Union?

I think it’s because the difficult truth is that these countries are, de facto, in the European Union in any meaningful sense. By any estimation, the three pillars of Britain’s “Out” vote were, firstly, control over Britain’s borders, aka the end of the free movement of people, secondly, more money for the public realm aka £350m a week for the NHS, and thirdly control over Britain’s own laws. It’s hard to see how, if the United Kingdom continues to be subject to the free movement of people, continues to pay large sums towards the European Union, and continues to have its laws set elsewhere, we have “honoured the referendum result”.

None of which changes my view that leaving the single market would be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom. But retaining Britain’s single market membership starts with making the argument for single market membership, not hiding behind rhetorical tricks about whether or not single market membership was on the ballot last June, when it quite clearly was. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.