GOP & police reform bill; US public on reopening; Biden's lead on Trump

Jon Lieber, managing director for the United States at Eurasia Group, provides his perspective:


What is the status of the federal police reform bill?

Well, the House has passed a bill already and the Senate has their own version. The big differences between the two is that the Senate bill doesn't ban chokeholds. It doesn't ban no knock warrants. And it allows qualified immunity for police to continue. Senate Democrats have said this is unacceptable. The bill cannot be fixed and have refused to even allow it to come to the floor of the Senate for debate. Not a great moment in U.S. congressional history. And it looks like this isn't going to happen.


Three and a half months into lockdown. Where does the American public stand on reopening?

Definitely reopening activity has gotten Americans out of their houses. In April, mobility data showed that about 19 percent of people visited friends and family, so far in June it's more like just around 50 percent have visited friends and family. People are moving around more. There's more activity in places where coronavirus cases are spiking. But public opinion polling also shows that people are willing to stay at home. Eighty percent of Americans say they will stay at home if ordered by the CDC or their governor or if there's a spike in cases or a decrease in hospital capacity. So people are still scared about the virus even as life returns to normal.

How durable is Biden's lead over Trump?

Well, this is really the million-dollar question for the election year this year. A lot of bad polls for President Trump recently. A poll came out today showing him down by three points in Ohio, which he won by 10 points in 2016. And another poll showing him down by 13 points nationally to former Vice President Biden. Long summer ahead of us there. Still four and a half months left in this campaign. A lot can happen. Two factors I think, may work in President Trump's favor. The first is former Vice President Biden's age, which has yet to really be exploited on the campaign trail. And I expect President Trump to make an issue out of that. And the second is any backlash from the recent protest movements and the tearing down of statues in the streets, which President Trump is also going to be keenly attuned to. However, with a bad economy and these bad poll numbers, he's certainly the underdog right now. He's got a lot of ground to make up.

In Italy, stacks of plastic boxes in supermarkets and stores are not garbage - they are collected and reused, thanks to a consortium that specializes in recycling them for food storage. How do these "circular" plastic boxes help reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions?

Learn more in this episode of Eni's Energy SUPERFACTS series.

Over the past few years, we've seen three major emerging powers take bold action to right what they say are historical wrongs.

First came Crimea. When the Kremlin decided in 2014 that Western powers were working against Russian interests in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to seize the Crimean Peninsula, which was then part of Ukraine. Moscow claimed that Crimea and its ethnic Russian majority had been part of the Russian Empire for centuries until a shameful deal in 1954 made Crimea part of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Americans and Europeans imposed sanctions on Russia. But Ukraine is not part of NATO or the EU, and no further action was taken.

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"Neither America first, which is ultimately America alone, nor America the world's policeman," Sen. Chris Coons told Ian Bremmer in describing VP Joe Biden's approach to foreign policy should he win the presidential election in November. In the latest episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer, Sen. Coons provides details of how U.S. relationships with foreign governments and multilateral alliances could change in a Biden presidency. He also defended President Obama's track record, saying "I think it is a mischaracterization of the Obama-Biden foreign policy for President Trump to say that we were picking up the tab and fighting the world's wars and that we were disrespected." Coons stated that Biden would work to restore U.S. involvement in alliances like NATO, and shore up global support to pressure China on labor and environmental standards. The exchange is part of a broad conversation with the Senator about COVID response and economic relief, Russian interference in elections, and the 2020 presidential race. The episode begins airing nationally in the U.S. on Friday, July 10. Check local listings.

Jon Lieber, managing director for the United States at Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics:

How is coronavirus jeopardizing the legitimacy of a 2020 presidential election?

Well, what coronavirus is doing is a lot of states are worrying about people who aren't going to want to come to the polling places in the fall, and they're worried about a shortage of polling workers who are going to want to come out and volunteer to get sick by interacting with a bunch people in person. So, what they're doing is they're looking at making a shift to vote-by-mail. Most states allow some form of absentee balloting today. Five states just automatically mail you a ballot and they don't do any in-person voting. But the challenge here is that a lot of states are unprepared for the sharp increase that's expected. In the last election, 25% of ballots were cast by mail. You may see 50, 60 or even more percent of ballots cast by mail this time, which could overwhelm election administration, which happens at the state level.

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The United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, but their COVID-19 death toll trajectories have diverged. As of July 8, the average number of new deaths every three days in the EU had fallen 97 percent since peaking at the beginning of April. The US number, however, has fallen only 67 percent over the same period. That means that although both regions' death tolls peaked with only two weeks difference, the EU has flattened its COVID-19 fatality curve faster than America. Some experts attribute the difference to EU countries' more robust public health systems and better compliance with mask-wearing and other social distancing measures.