Election Night: Key states to watch & record-shattering voter turnout

Jon Lieber, Managing Director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on a special US election edition of US Politics In 60 Seconds:

So, we're about five days out from the election right now.

And the story of this week has been the remarkably steady polling lead for Joe Biden that he's had for months now. The other big story is the turnout, massive amounts of turnout. 100% of the 2016 vote already cast in Texas. 60% nationwide votes already cast. We are headed for record shattering turnout, could be around 155 million Americans voting.

On election night, what are we watching for?


First thing we're watching for is, does Trump win Florida? If he loses Florida, Florida counts quickly, we may know the results late in the night on Tuesday. If Trump loses Florida, then he really doesn't have a path. If he wins Florida, the next state we're going to be looking at is Pennsylvania. Right now, he's down by six votes, six points there. But if he has a lot of turnout for rural White voters, which is his base, it's possible he can turnout a victory. You also have the Supreme Court indicating that they're willing to re-look at Pennsylvania's election laws, even after the deadline because a state court in Pennsylvania said that votes in the mail that are received up to three days after election night could still be counted.

The Supreme Court may overturn that ruling. Another state to watch, Arizona. A Biden win there would be the end of the road for Donald Trump. They also count relatively quickly. They'll be finishing by 10:00 PM Eastern time when they start reporting. A lot of experience with vote by mail. Another thing to watch on Tuesday night is going to be the Senate results. A Biden presidency is effectively going to be stopped in its tracks if Republicans continue to hold the Senate.

So, it's really important for Democrats that they win, if they want to achieve anything next year. So, states that we're watching, Arizona, Colorado likely to flip to Democrats. And then they need two of Maine, North Carolina, Montana, and Iowa, all of which are very, very close races right now. Probably they pick up votes in Maine, seats in Maine, North Carolina and Iowa. And that will be enough for the majority.

The other big question is, do we know on Tuesday or how long after that day do we have to wait until we find out?

That's a real wild card. Florida, Arizona count quickly, like I said. Pennsylvania counts pretty slow. If there's a protracted battle and it comes down to Pennsylvania, you're going to see a lot of legal wrangling over those last few votes. However, Biden's lead there is pretty big right now. Six points in the polling averages, which makes it less likely you have a disputed outcome.

While residents of wealthy countries are getting ready for hot vaxxed summer — COVID is still ravaging many low- and middle-income countries. The horrifying scenes coming out of India in recent weeks have gripped the world, causing governments and civil society to quickly mobilize and pledge support.

But on the other side of the globe, Brazil is also being pummeled by the pandemic — and has been for a year now. Yet thus far, the outpouring of aid and (solidarity) hasn't been as large.

What explains the global alarm at India's situation, and seeming passivity towards Brazil's plight? What are the politics of compassion?

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Delhi-based reporter Barkha Dutt's decades of journalism couldn't prepare her for the horrific experience of covering the death of one specific COVID-19 victim: her own father. In a conversation with Ian Bremmer, Dutt recounts her desperate struggle to find an ambulance to take her father through Delhi traffic to reach the hospital, only for him to die in the ICU. Their in-depth discussion looks at India's struggle with the world's worst COVID crisis in the upcoming episode of GZERO World begins airing on US public television Friday, May 7. Check local listings.

A Green Party-led government for the world's fourth largest economy? That's no longer far-fetched. As Signal's Gabrielle Debinski wrote last month, most current polls now show Germany's Greens in first place in federal elections set for September 26. And for the first time, the Greens have a candidate for chancellor. Annalena Baerbock is vying to replace Angela Merkel, who has led Germany for the past 16 years.

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India and Brazil are currently the world's top two COVID hotspots. But while India's crisis is — at least according to official statistics — a relatively recent one, Brazil's COVID disaster has been an ongoing train wreck. Where India seemed to have kept the pandemic under control until some bad missteps about two months ago, COVID has been wreaking havoc in Brazil almost constantly for over a year now. And President Jair Bolsonaro's macho-posturing and COVID denialism has clearly not helped. We take a look at average daily new cases and deaths in both countries since the pandemic began.

US reverses course on vaccine patents: In a surprise move, the Biden administration will now support waiving international property rights for COVID vaccines at the World Trade Organization. Until now the US had firmly opposed waiving those patents, despite demands from developing countries led by India and South Africa to do so. Biden's about face comes just a week after he moved to free up 60 million of American-bought AstraZeneca jabs — still not approved by US regulators — for nations in need. It's not clear how fast an IP waiver would really help other countries, as the major impediments to ramping up vaccine manufacturing have more to do with logistics and supply chains than with patent protections alone. But if patent waivers do accelerate production over time, then that could accelerate a global return to normal — potentially winning the US a ton of goodwill.

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28: Yair Lapid, leader of Israel's opposition Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party, has 28 days to form a new government. President Reuven Rivlin tapped Lapid after incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to cobble together a governing coalition by Tuesday's midnight deadline, further prolonging Israel's political stalemate.

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Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

How big of a blow is Apple's new privacy feature to companies like Facebook, who depend on tracking users?

The long-awaited update, including enhanced privacy features, actually empowers those users to decide not to be tracked. So that's great news for people who are sick of how the data trail they leave behind on the web is used. But it has to be said, that simple feature settings changed by Apple cannot solve the problem of misuse of data and microtargeting alone. Still, Apple's move was met with predictable outrage and anti-trust accusations from ad giant Facebook. I would anticipate more standard setting by companies in the absence of a federal data protection law in the United States. That's just to mention one vacuum that big tech thrives on.

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India’s COVID crisis hits home

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