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Socialists win in Portugal in rebuke to far-right populism

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Socialists emerged victorious from Sunday’s elections in Portugal in another sign that right-wing populism in Europe may be losing steam.

The Socialist Party, to which Prime Minister António Costa belongs, still fell short of winning an absolute majority.

Politico reported:

The Socialists won 36.6 percent of the vote with over 99 percent of stations reporting, followed by the center-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) on 27.9 percent, its worst result since 1983.

With the smaller conservative CDS-People’s Party (CDS-PP) getting just 4.2 percent, the night was a serious reversal for Portugal’s mainstream right.

On the left, the old-school Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) saw its support drop to a historic low of 6.5 percent and the Left Bloc, a media-savvy, urban-based party, confirmed its position as Portugal’s third party, falling slightly to 9.7 percent.

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The Iberian nation, noted Deutsche Welle, is “one of the few European countries where right-wing populists remain insignificant.”

Voting information outlet Europe Elects broke down the figures:

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The results mean that Costa now “needs to negotiate a new deal with one or both of his far-left allies in the previous legislature,” as Reuters noted.

Guardian columnist Owen Jones, in a tweet, suggested that voters were likely happy with the leftward shift the Social Party made in that previous legislature:

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https://twitter.com/OwenJones84/status/1180942323305369601

Ricardo Ferreira Reis, polling center director at Lisbon’s Católica University, made a similar observation. “This result,” he told RTP television, “can be seen as a vote for a government led by the Socialist Party with parliamentary support or in coalition with other forces on the left.”

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European Council president Donald Tusk congratulated Costa on the win, saying his “electoral success comes at a challenging time for Europe and the world.”

“European unity is more needed now than ever,” Tusk continued, “and I trust that your government will continue playing a constructive role in the most relevant themes such as the climate emergency, trade conflicts, our multi-year budget, migration, the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union as well as Brexit.”

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MSNBC panel bursts out laughing after watching clip of Alan Dershowitz explaining his Trump defense strategy

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On MSNBC Saturday, a panel of legal experts tore into former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz's argument that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense, which anchor Joy Reid played for them in a clip.

"You cannot make any sense out of it. It is an absurd comment," said former federal prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks, to laughter around the table. "It is the standard by which we have impeached in the past. If you listen to the witnesses at the House, three out of four said that is an impeachable offense. The articles against Richard Nixon included abuse of power. It is clearly what was intended by our framers. It's what the Federalist Papers say, and it's the thing that makes sense. Other high crimes and misdemeanors are exactly that. It isn't under the federal statutes that they were talking about. Bribery isn't under the federal statute because there was no federal bribery crime when the Constitution was passed. It was whatever people thought it was."

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All the president’s grifters

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

One of Donald Trump's great gifts is an instinct for surrounding himself with people who are so sleazy and lacking in credibility that when they're indicted for some scam or flip on him and reveal his abuses of power they're easy to discredit.

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Ken Starr will end up being a nightmare for Trump during the Senate impeachment trial: Ex-solicitor general

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On Saturday's edition of MSNBC's "AM Joy," law professor and former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal walked through the problems with President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team, which includes such notable names as former anti-Clinton independent counsel Ken Starr and retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz.

"I'm not going to like join the chorus of those who say because Trump has hired Epstein's lawyers, that's somehow bad," said Katyal. "I think it's dangerous thing in this country to attack the lawyers for the clients that they've represented in the past. We don't want to incentivize great lawyers not to take hard cases because of fear of personal attacks later."

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