Democratic National Convention goes virtual; Trump counterprograms

Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insight on this week's DNC:

The Democratic Party is supposed to have their convention this week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, plans changed due to the coronavirus and now you're basically looking at a week-long zoom call. There will be a lot of traditional elements at the convention that feel the same to viewers at home. Several hours of primetime coverage every night, you are going to have the primetime speeches by the big party luminaries, you're going to have daily themes highlighting the ideas that Joe Biden wants to focus on, and then you're going to have smaller speeches during the day from kind of up and comers in the party, but it's just all taking place in a virtual environment that's going to look a lot different.


All the evidence suggests that there's usually a short bounce in the polls coming out of the partisan conventions. This week, Biden should expect to get one. Next week, Trump will expect to get one. That's probably because they get about a week of nice press and a lot of attention. And that helps them in the short-term, but it always fades. No reason to think that would be any different this year. One element that's going to be really different this year, however, is that President Trump is attempting to counterprogram against the Biden convention. He's giving speeches in Minnesota and Wisconsin, today. And on Thursday, the day that Joe Biden is giving his acceptance speech, he's going to give a speech in Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He wants to keep the attention on him and try to limit that bounce for Joe Biden.

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Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred two Republican members from serving on the Jan. 6 commission. What's going on?

Well, the Jan. 6 commission was designed to be a bipartisan commission, taking input from members from Democrats and Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to make recommendations but the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, could always veto those recommendations. In this case, she did, saying no to two members, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom are strongly aligned with President Trump and who voted against certifying the election results in 2020. The Republicans for the most part see the Jan. 6 commission as an opportunity to score political points against them, and the Democrats say this is going to be a fair, non-biased, and nonpartisan investigation into what happened on Jan. 6, starting with a hearing next week with some of the police officers who were involved in the battle with the protesters inside the Capitol.

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In his New York Times op-ed, David Brooks says the US is facing an identity crisis — protecting liberal and progressive values at home while doing little to stop autocrats elsewhere. But has the US really abandoned its values abroad just because it's withdrawing from Afghanistan? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst take out the Red Pen to argue that the US can advance democracy without being the world's sheriff.

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When the Tokyo Olympics begin on Friday, Japan watchers will be following more than just the performance of Japan's star athletes, including tennis star Naomi Osaka. They will also be tracking the political fortunes of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is taking a big gamble by staging the event — amid a raging pandemic — in the face of strong and longstanding opposition from the Japanese public. What are the stakes for Suga, particularly with elections on the horizon? Eurasia Group senior analyst Ali Wyne explains.

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YouTube pulls Bolsonaro's rants: Google-owned YouTube pulled down a series of videos on the channel of Brazil's populist President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. YouTube removed more than a dozen clips for touting quack cures for coronavirus or claiming, in defiance of scientific experts, that masks don't reduce COVID transmissions. Last year, Twitter and Facebook also removed some content from Bolsonaro's feeds for similar reasons. But critics say that YouTube's move is too little too late, because Bolsonaro has been spreading misinformation about COVID since the pandemic began. Many Brazilians hold him personally responsible for the country's abysmal pandemic response, which has led to almost 550,000 deaths, the second worst toll in the world. Will YouTube's move change Bolsonaro's message? His weekly address to the nation, where he converses not only with government ministers but also various conspiracy theorists and loons, is broadcast on YouTube. Surely he doesn't want to risk losing that — or does he?

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Boycotts! Bans! Protests! Drugs! Think you've got gold medal knowledge about politics at the Olympics? Test what you know with this special Tokyo Olympics Quiz. And to stay current on all the latest political stories at the Games and around the world, subscribe here to Signal, our daily newsletter. Now, without further ado, the first question is...

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