Newsweek in Review: Top Political Stories of the Week

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A small Human Rights Campaign equality banner flies on the grounds of the governor's Mansion in Jackson, Mississippi as several hundred people rally outside the building on April 4. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

An analysis of why the Democratic contender's policies are likely to fail and a deep look at California Governor Jerry Brown's long career are among Newsweek's top political reporting of the past week.

The Potemkin Primary: Why Bernie and Hillary's Proposals Are Destined to Fail

Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are divided on policy and approach, with Sanders arguing for a huge expansion to the social safety net and Clinton representing a hawkishness on defense that contrasts sharply with the Vermont senator's views.

Regardless of who emerges as the presidential nominee, "almost nothing the candidates advocate will actually happen," writes Matthew Cooper, Newsweek political editor.

0327_sanders_clinton Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton pose before the start a debate in Kendall, Florida March 9. Javier Galeano/Reuters

Republican opposition compared to prior eras is "bigger and more dogmatic," and either Democrat will likely face a Republican House that will prove resistant to the "expansion of the minimum wage, increased gun control, more restrictions on coal and fracking and nondiscrimination statues based on sexual orientation." 

"The same divisions that have made Congress such a frustrating, gridlocked mess aren’t going away next January," Cooper writes.

New Anti-Gay Law Proves Mississippi Don't Know How to Read (the Bible)

The raft of "religious freedom" laws proposed around the nation in recent years can more accurately be described as anti-gay laws that are about "reinforcing the hate of Christians who learn about their religion from other haters."

04_22_Mississippi_02 A bakery displays cakes as presents to couples attempting to get their marriage licenses in West Hollywood, California, June 17, 2008. Under Mississippi's new law, businesses would be able to refuse LGBT customers under religious objections. Hector Mata/AP

These laws, like the one recently passed in Mississippi, allow businesses and others to refuse services to gay couples based on their religious beliefs. But those beliefs are based on a faulty reading of the Bible—if they've read the Bible at all. It doesn't prohibit believers from doing business with someone they deem a sinner; the Bible doesn't force the faithful to point out sin; nor does it even prioritize one sin over another.

But no matter. Many "don’t want to know what the Bible actually says about gay people because it might force them to examine their own behavior, rather than castigating someone else’s."

How Jerry Brown Quietly Pulled California Back From the Brink

Democrat Jerry Brown, in his third stint as California governor, has been so impressive and commanding in his stewardship of the Golden State that he garnered presidential speculation at the otherwise retiring age of 78. 

Bids for the Democratic nomination for president are just one chapter in a long career that has seen Brown go from the governor's mansion to mayor of Oakland to state attorney general back to the governorship he first held in the 1970s. In his current stint, Brown has helped pull the state from the brink of economic ruin while becoming a nationwide leader in the fight against climate change.

04_22_Brown_04 During his election bid in 2010, Brown ran against former Ebay CEO Meg Whitman in a hotly contested race for governor of California. Sandy Huffaker/Corbis

"W hether on climate change, government spending or Clinton’s email servers, Brown has a Cassandric quality, a mixture of prescience and alarmism that was disconcerting when he was young but is soothing now that he is old and can say 'I told you so' with an unthreatening demeanor. The best thing to say about Brown is also the worst thing to say about him, and it is the thing that has always been said about him: He is way ahead of his time."

Ted Cruz Could be President—No, Seriously

Senator Ted Cruz has the campaign chops to be taken seriously should he be able to wrest the Republican nomination for president from Donald Trump. 

04_05_Ted_Cruz_01 U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz greets attendees after a town hall campaign event in Madison, Wisconsin, United States, April 4. Reuters

While the Texas senator is seen as broadly unlikeable by his colleagues, and alienated staffers when he worked on the George W. Bush campaign, he has consistently beaten expectations. Cruz wasn't even expected to win his Senate race in 2012, and now he has outlasted a packed Republican field to be positioned as the main alternative to Trump for the GOP nod. 

"If he takes out Trump he will quickly look very different than he does now to the electorate. Having banished the threat to the GOP and united its establishment, the party will rally around him no matter if Trump storms off and threatens a third party run... With a united Republican party behind him and looking like less of a jerk, Cruz might make it to the White House. Might.