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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.

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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?

UNGA Livestream