US politics divided over conservative and liberal extremes

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A Mitt Romney supporter is shown at Mitt Romney campaign headquarters during an election night party Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in Orem, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

There’s been a potentially significant shift in the U.S. political landscape this week. President Donald Trump is poised to lock in a conservative majority on the nation’s highest court after one key justice announced his retirement. The revelation came just hours after a political newcomer achieved a major upset in a primary election. It’s an indication the opposition Democrats may be moving further to the left.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports on what these political divisions mean for the direction of U.S. policy.

U.S. President Donald Trump is preparing to cement the conservative direction of the nation’s highest court and the most influential body interpreting American law. Just one day after upholding Trump’s travel ban, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement at the end of July.

“We will begin our search for a new justice of the United States Supreme Court that will begin immediately, and hopefully we’re going to pick somebody who will be as outstanding. So I just want to thank Justice Kennedy for the years of tremendous service. He’s a very spectacular man,” Trump said.

In this file image, United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy arrives to listen to U.S. President Donald J. Trump address a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 28, 2017. (Credit: Chris Kleponis /MediaPunch /IPX)

Kennedy sided with liberal justices on protecting the rights of minorities and those detained without charges at the Guantanamo Bay naval base. However, his replacement is likely to hold conservative principles. Trump pledges to pick the next justice from a list of 25 people who are known to hold narrow views on immigration, as well as the role of government in protecting the rights of minority groups and women.

While Trump’s Republican party is shifting toward nationalism, isolationism and protectionism, there are signs the opposition party Democrats are moving further to the left. This was seen in the upset primary win in New York of 28-year-old political newcomer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She toppled a 10-term incumbent, who was poised to take over the party leadership in the House of Representatives.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is photographed while being interviewed in Rockefeller Center, Wednesday, June 27, 2018, in New York. The 28-year-old political newcomer who upset U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s Democrat primary on Monday says she brings an “urgency” to the fight for working families. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“I think that we can really fight for improved and expanded Medicare for all, pursuing of tuition-free public colleges and trade schools. That we can make sure that we have a $15 minimum wage. That we address what’s going on at the border and making sure that we are standing up for human rights everywhere,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Meanwhile, the former head of the nation’s most prominent civil rights organization won the gubernatorial race for the state of Maryland.

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous addresses supporters at an election night party, Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in Baltimore. Jealous won the Democratic nomination for governor in Maryland, setting up a battle against popular incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the fall. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

 “We have detailed proposals on fully funding education and creating tuition-free public college again, on building an economy that works for everyone and revitalizing our great cities including Baltimore,” Democratic Candidate Ben Jealous said.

The rest of Tuesday’s primary night belonged to Trump’s Republican party, with wins in South Carolina, New York and Utah. Meanwhile, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be the party’s candidate for U.S. senator in Utah.

In this Tuesday, June 26, 2018 photo, Mitt Romney, former GOP presidential nominee, addresses supporters at during an election night party in Orem, Utah. Romney looks like a shoo-in for a Senate seat from Utah after winning a landslide primary victory and toning down his criticism of Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Trump’s judicial nominee is expected to sail through Congress (where Republicans hold the majority), and be installed before the crucial midterm congressional elections. This will seat another conservative justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, and potentially put the political wind behind Republican candidates going into November.

Daniel Marans explains suprising shifts in US politics

CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Daniel Marans for his insight on America’s shifting political landscape. Marans is a reporter with Huffington Post, covering politics of the Democratic Party and progressive movements.