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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

Hello from the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the beer is cheaper than the Coca-Cola.

Unfortunately, I don’t have too much of substance to report to you yet. It’s been a long 20 hours or so in various sorts of planes, trains and lines. I’m used to keeping a relatively, uh, abstract schedule, but the overnight flight left a little bit too early for me to be tired, and then by the time I was getting tired, it was light out, and now — even though it’s just 2:30 PM here — it’s already about to get dark again.

The conference, at this point, feels more like a trade show than a political event, but it’s cool to be surrounded by so many people from all over the world — imagine the international terminal at JFK, but with even worse food and people walking by in giant tree costumes.

I did have a good conversation with a couple of Brits while waiting in line for my NGO badge. They were very bright and keyed in — they run a green taxi company in London — but I was surprised at how confusing they found American politics to be. How can the Senate require 60 percent to pass something? How can Delaware have as many senators as New York? What’s up with the whole electoral college thing? How can Obama go from 70 percent popularity to 50 percent in a half a year? Could Sarah Palin really become President someday? The Guardian, among others, has some very good Washington coverage, but I think there’s an opportunity for one of the UK dailies to provide a Washington column that’s specifically geared toward a British or European audience: we tend to take for granted how freakin’ weird our politics can be to the rest of the world.

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