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Big picture trends in US Politics

Jon Lieber, Eurasia Group's Managing Director for the US, breaks down the US political landscape on US Politics In 60 Seconds:

Today, we're going to start by discussing some of the big picture trends in US politics that are going to affect the election outlook for this year. So, bear with me if this takes a little more than a minute.


When I think of big trends in US politics, I think the number one thing is the growing rural-urban divide between the two parties. If you look back to the 1980 election, the Democrats took about 59% of the vote in the most urban districts, and they took about 56 percent of the vote in the most rural districts in the country. If you fast forward to 2018 and the midterm elections, the Democrats took about 75 percent of the vote in the most urban districts, and they took only 40 percent of the vote in the most rural districts. So, you're going from a three-point spread in the 80s to a 35-point spread today. And that's really one the defining characteristics of how the parties have realigned themselves facing the new electoral reality.

What that means is increasing partisanship as you've got increasing geographic concentration among the two parties. The Democrats are largely becoming a younger, more diverse, in some cases better educated party. The Republican Party is becoming increasingly white, increasingly rural and a little bit older than the Democratic Party. As a result, you're seeing enhanced partisanship across the US political spectrum. People are clustering in areas where they're more likely to come across people who share their partisan views. There's higher correlation between the House, the Senate and the White House, meaning it's more difficult for policymakers to differentiate themselves from their party. And you've got a fracturing media ecosystem where it's easier to hear points of view that reinforce your own. And there's less agreement not only about what the solutions to public policy problems are, but what the problems themselves are.

So, what does that mean for the 2020 election? Well, you're very likely to see a very close election that looks very similar, with a map that looks very similar to the map in 2016. Meaning you've got a number of states that are solidly blue, a number of states that are really solidly red and a small number of states in the middle that will be decided based on these questions of the rural-urban divide.

In particular, three questions that we'll be watching closely are: Do African American voters in cities show up to vote for Joe Biden? Can Trump hold on to his predominately white rural base? In many cases, they flipped over from Obama to Trump in 2016. Can he hold on to them? And three, what happens in the suburbs? Where a lot of educated, college educated Republicans moved away from the Republican Party, giving the House to the Democrats in 2018 midterms? And if that trend continues, it's very good for Joe Biden and could be trouble for President Trump.

So, it should be really interesting election year and I'm looking forward to watching with you.

Microsoft released a new annual report, called the Digital Defense Report, covering cybersecurity trends from the past year. This report makes it clear that threat actors have rapidly increased in sophistication over the past year, using techniques that make them harder to spot and that threaten even the savviest targets. For example, nation-state actors are engaging in new reconnaissance techniques that increase their chances of compromising high-value targets, criminal groups targeting businesses have moved their infrastructure to the cloud to hide among legitimate services, and attackers have developed new ways to scour the internet for systems vulnerable to ransomware. Given the leap in attack sophistication in the past year, it is more important than ever that steps are taken to establish new rules of the road for cyberspace: that all organizations, whether government agencies or businesses, invest in people and technology to help stop attacks; and that people focus on the basics, including regular application of security updates, comprehensive backup policies, and, especially, enabling multi-factor authentication. Microsoft summarized some of the most important insights in this year's report, including related suggestions for people and businesses.

Read the whole post and report at Microsoft On The Issues.

On Tuesday night, you can finally watch Trump and Biden tangle on the debate stage. But you TOO can go head to head on debate night .. with your fellow US politics junkies.

Print out GZERO's handy debate BINGO cards and get ready to rumble. There are four different cards so that each player may have a unique board. Every time one of the candidates says one of these words or terms, X it on your card. First player to get five across wins. And if you really want to jazz it up, you can mark each of your words by taking a swig of your drink, or doing five burpees, or donating to your favorite charity or political candidate. Whatever gets you tipsy, in shape, or motivated, get the bingo cards here. It's fight night!

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GZERO Media, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group, today hosted its second virtual town hall on the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine and the challenges of its distribution.

The panel was moderated by New York Times science and health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli and featured Gates Foundation's Deputy Director of Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Lynda Stuart; Eurasia Group's Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director of Energy, Climate & Resources; Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman; and Gayle E. Smith, the president & CEO of ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Watch the full video above.

The enormous scale of the coronavirus pandemic was captured earlier this week as the global death toll surpassed 1 million people. As the weight of the grim milestone sunk in, the New York Times noted that COVID-19 has now killed more people this year than the scourges of HIV, malaria, influenza, and cholera — combined. While some countries like Germany and South Korea are models in how to curb the virus' spread through social distancing and mask wearing, other countries around the world have recently seen caseloads surge again, raising fears of a dreaded "second wave" of infections. Here's a look at countries where the per-capita caseload has spiked in recent days.

Donald Trump's presidency has irked a lot of people around the world. And in fairness, that's no surprise. He was elected in part to blow up long-standing assumptions about how international politics, trade, and diplomatic relations are supposed to work.

But while he has correctly identified some big challenges — adapting NATO to the 21st century, managing a more assertive China, or ending America's endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — his impulsive style, along with his restrictions on trade and immigration, have alienated many world leaders. Global polls show that favorable views of the US have plummeted to all-time lows in many countries, particularly among traditional American allies in Europe.

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