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Demand For Radical Change

Demand For Radical Change

Willis' big story of 2018: "Throw the bums out."

  • Germany struggled to form a government as support for its dominant parties continued to slide, and then the ruling party nudged Chancellor Angela Merkel toward the exit.

  • Mexico elected its first leftist president in eight decades, a man leading a party he created just four years ago.
  • Pakistan pushed aside the Bhutto and Sharif political dynasties to elect a charismatic former cricketer leading his own party.
  • Sweden's dominant center-left party drew its lowest vote share in 100 years. Three months after elections, Sweden closes 2018 without a government.

There's nothing new about incumbents losing elections, and the sources of anger that prompt demands for change vary widely from one place to another. But 2018 saw establishment parties of all kinds, entrenched for decades, tossed off a cliff in favor of wildcard candidates.

His big question for 2019: What happens if leaders elected to bring sweeping change fail to deliver?

France had no national elections this year, but the reformist President Emmanuel Macron's 23 percent approval rating and recent nationwide protests signal the French public isn't happy with the country's direction. The upheaval began with an announced increase in fuel taxes, but fast-expanding demonstrations quickly exposed broader grievances.

Just as Britain's leaders struggle to deliver Brexit and Donald Trump's approval ratings stand at 38 percent, those elected this year on extravagant promises of change face formidable odds against delivering anytime soon. We've learned over the past decade that public protests and their impact are nearly impossible to forecast. What begins as anger over bus fare increases in Sao Paulo or commercial real estate development in Istanbul or land requisition outside Addis Ababa can quickly form the eye of a powerful political storm.

Change will always be easier to promise than to deliver, and public anger may continue to build.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

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