Corona-voting: South Koreans and Americans

Corona-voting: South Koreans and Americans

If you voted this week in South Korea's national elections, you now know a lot more than most of us about how democracy works in a time of pandemic. Standing in line, you kept your distance from other voters. You allowed poll workers to take your temperature and disinfect your hands. You put on gloves. Then you were permitted to vote.

This process was helped along by the willingness of 550,000 of your fellow citizens to serve as poll workers, to disinfect the polling places themselves, and to ensure everything went to plan. Maybe you were part of the 26% of your country's people who voted early or by mail.


By whatever means you voted, you can be proud that your country posted its highest voter turnout (66.2%) in 28 years — despite a still-dangerous health emergency. As for the result, Prime Minister Moon Jae-in's party, which is responsible for the aggressive restrictions meant to contain the virus, won a landslide victory.

Question 1: But will these methods of "corona-voting" work in other countries?

Take the United States, for example, where elections will be held in November. Will people accept the kinds of restrictions that made the South Korean elections safe?

Certainly not everyone. This week, protesters gathered in Michigan and North Carolina to defy the right of government to issue stay-at-home orders and ban large gatherings. More protests like these, as well as protests against government-mandated social distancing, are coming to other states.

These demonstrations are based on a Constitutional argument that government can't impose unwarranted physical restrictions on citizens. "Quarantine is when you restrict movement of sick people. Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people," said one protest organizer. A growing number of Republican lawmakers support these movements.

Fast forward to November: If COVID-19 remains a fact of life, or if a second wave of infections this fall follows a period of summer quiet, will those Americans who resent government health restrictions keep their distance as they stand in line to vote? Will they allow poll workers to disinfect their hands and take their temperature? Will they don gloves?

There's another question: Will these health precautions prove impossible to implement, because elections in the United States are governed not by the federal government, as in South Korea, but by the not-so-united states themselves? Some states may provide the number of people and equipment needed to enforce these voting rules. Others won't.

Question 2: Does this mean, then, that this year's US elections will be decided by strong voter turnout from those least worried about COVID-19 and weaker turnout from those who most fear infection? If so, that will be a problem for Democrats, since polls have shown Republicans are significantly less concerned about the virus and much more suspicious of government attempts to contain it with restrictions on individual freedom.

But consider this: More than six months from election day, there are six states where competition between President Donald Trump and Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden appears close enough to decide the US presidential election: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona.

All six of those states allow vote by mail without restrictions.

Millions of mailed ballots will pose logistical challenges of their own. There are also congressional elections, where outcomes will be even harder to predict.

But voting by mail in those six crucial states will help avoid arguments about whether fear of COVID-19 elected an American president.

Advancing global money movement for everyone, everywhere

https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/trackimp/N6024.4218512GZEROMEDIA/B26379324.311531246;dc_trk_aid=504469522;dc_trk_cid=156468981;ord=[timestamp];dc_lat=;dc_rdid=;tag_for_child_directed_treatment=;tfua=;gdpr=${GDPR};gdpr_consent=${GDPR_CONSENT_755};ltd=?

Even with innovations in fintech and digital payments, roadblocks related to basic infrastructure like electricity and internet connectivity still prevent many migrant workers from being able to transfer money to their families back home with a truly digital end-to-end flow. While more workers can send money digitally today, the majority of people still receive funds in cash. Read more about why public-private partnerships are key to advancing the future of global money movement and why it matters from experts at the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute.

The European Union is, for better or worse, the most ambitious experiment in human history in institutionalized multinational cooperation. Its success depends on the willingness of its members to abide by its rules.

In recent years, the populist-nationalist governments of former Communist bloc members Hungary and Poland have flouted some of those rules in order to boost their own popularity with citizens suspicious of the EU's liberal values on issues like immigration and minority rights. In response, the EU has scolded these "illiberal" governments and threatened forceful action – so far without much effect.

The fight between EU institutions and Poland and Hungary has escalated.

More Show less

Ian Bremmer is joined on GZERO World by artificial intelligence scientists Kai-fu Lee, who recently wrote about how AI will change the world over the next two decades, precisely to talk about AI's future. After this week's Facebook debacle, how can we align interest to regulate AI-driven algorithms? Will AI steal all our jobs? And what should we do to learn from AI to improve our lives before it gets smarter than us?

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Is a robot coming for your job? Kai-fu Lee explains AI

US elections officials have always persuaded losing candidates that they've, ahem, lost. Now it's worse because there's a new paradigm, according to former DHS and Election Assistance Commission official Matt Masterson, policy fellow with the Stanford Internet Observatory. Candidates that won't accept defeat regardless of the margin or evidence of fraud, he says, are undermining trust in the system — and election officials are ill-equipped to deal with this problem.

Matt Masterson made these remarks during a live Global Stage event, Infodemic: defending democracy from disinformation. Watch the full event here: https://www.gzeromedia.com/global-stage/virtual-events/disinformation-is-a-big-problem-what-can-we-do-about-it

Who's most responsible for spreading misinformation online? For Ginny Badanes, senior director for Democracy Forward at Microsoft, the problem starts with those who create it, yet ultimately governments, companies and individuals all share the burden. And she's more interested in what we can do to respond.

Ginny Badanes spoke at a live Global Stage event, Infodemic: defending democracy from disinformation. Watch the full event here: https://www.gzeromedia.com/global-stage/virtual-events/disinformation-is-a-big-problem-what-can-we-do-about-it

Some of the worst sectarian clashes since Lebanon's 15-year civil war (1975-1990) broke out in Beirut this week between supporters of Hezbollah and Amal, both Shiite political parties, and Christian, far-right Lebanese Forces. Shiite protesters were rallying against the state probe into the Beirut port blast, which occurred last year. They say authorities were singling out Shiite politicians for questioning and blame. In this video, watch Ian Bremmer's conversation with Lebanese journalist and author Kim Ghattas on GZW talking about the future of Lebanese politics and sectarianism in the county after the after the blast. It was originally published on August 19, 2020.

In Lebanon, "a majority (are) united in wanting a different future, a future that is non-sectarian, that is non-corrupt, that provides prosperity, justice, dignity for people," journalist Kim Ghattas told Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

In this interview, Ghattas discusses the opportunity that could arise from the tragedy of the Beirut explosion which killed 200 and injured thousands more. The Lebanese are "fed up" with the militant group Hezbollah, she tells Bremmer, and want to strive for a government that better resembles the diversity and cosmopolitan nature of its citizens.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Lebanon Post-Blast: Rage in the Streets of Beirut.

Some of the worst sectarian clashes since Lebanon's 15-year civil war (1975-1990) broke out in Beirut this week between supporters of Hezbollah and Amal, both Shiite political parties, and Christian, far-right Lebanese Forces. Shiite protesters were rallying against the state probe into the Beirut port blast, which occurred last year. They say authorities were singling out Shiite politicians for questioning and blame. Below is our original piece on the Beirut port explosions published on August 5, 2020.


The twin explosions at Beirut's port on Tuesday were so powerful that the aftershocks reverberated as far as the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 150 miles away. The specter of fire and smoke was such that many suggested on social media that Beirut had experienced a nuclear blast.

In the days ahead, more details will come to light about why a deadly cache of materials was haphazardly stashed at a port warehouse, and why Lebanon's government failed to secure the site. So, what comes next for crisis-ridden Lebanon?

More Show less

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

What does it actually mean to cut $1 trillion from the Democrats' $3.5 trillion social spending bill?

President Biden has proposed one of the most ambitious expansions of federal spending in recent memory. If he gets everything he wants, it would probably be the largest expansion of government since the Great Society, but he's not going to get everything he wants. Democrats have basically said they cannot do all $3.5 trillion in spending. They're probably going to end up around $2 trillion. So what gets cut? Well, we don't know yet. There's kind of two ways to go about this. They could either cut the number of programs that have been proposed, doing fewer things with more money on a permanent basis, or they could try to do more things, each program getting less money and potentially doing them on a temporary basis. So, a future Congress would have to extend it. What does this mean for you? Well, a lot of the money in here is designed to go directly to families, either in the form of cash payments, through the tax code, the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, or subsidies for things like child care, early childhood education, and community college. And if you cut these things back, it means less money is going to go out the door to the American people. It also means less tax increases to finance it. So the implications of what's being proposed could actually end up being a big deal for a lot of Americans who would qualify for benefits under these new programs.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal