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Quick Take: Twitter fact checks Trump; Race tensions amid growing US inequality

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:


We've got first of all, a Twitter war. There is always a Twitter war. You know, nobody really wants to take Trump on. Everyone says they're deeply concerned, right? You've got Mitt Romney - why are you going after Joe Scarborough? Unacceptable. Could censor him? Not going to do that. Susan Collins - oh, I don't know, I really am not comfortable. She's not going to do anything.

No, no, no. Jack, Jack Dorsey, Twitter's CEO, says enough of it. He's using my social media platform as a flame thrower. And he's saying I am going to start fact checking Trump on Twitter. And that does not go over very well.

If you fact check Trump on Twitter, that probably means more people are going to pay attention to those tweets because there's controversy around them and that's really what Trump wants, is eyeballs. Secondly, you start fact checking Trump and you know, it's politics. It is really hard to understand were fact checking starts and where it stops. Both of the president who, yes, does lie all the time and exaggerates constantly and that's how he became president, but it is not unknown to politicians to exaggerate and even lie, even if not to a degree of Trump. And Twitter has all those politicians on their platform. And so, one, who's going to make that judgment? And two, it's expensive to do that stuff. And then three, and here's what's most interesting, Mark Zuckerberg throws Jack Dorsey under a face bus. Finally, anyone but Zuckerberg is in the crosshairs. And Facebook, of course, with, you know, well over a billion users and vastly more important for Trump and for Trump's campaign than Twitter is like, no, no, I'm not going to be the person who decides what is and is not fake news on my platform. Even though Facebook, by the way, does do that and de-platforms people all the time who are promoting hate speech and indeed fake news around coronavirus cures. They shut down President Bolsonaro in Brazil for precisely that. But he doesn't want to get into a fight with Trump. Why not? Well, because that's important from a regulatory perspective, meaning cash, cash, cash for Facebook.

I think this is going to end up being a big nothing burger. I don't think it matters much for Trump. I don't think it matters much for social media. But it is going to be a lot of effort for Jack and probably very little payoff. Social media is a flaming dumpster fire. But that's, of course, why people spend time on it, you follow the people that you like, and then you follow a few people that you hate. There's definitely a niche. We're trying not to do that. But it's a small niche. It's so much easier to just throw red meat at people that agree with you all the time and spike everyone else in.

So that's my take on the Twitter war.

It's always the little guy that gets screwed in this environment, which, of course, brings us to Minneapolis. Why are we having this fighting going on right now? Well, massive inequality in the United States, which obviously has racial overtones to. It's been growing for decades now. But on top of that, 40 million people unemployed. On top of that, six to eight percent economic contraction this year. And on top of that, lots of video amplified by social media and much more political extremism and continued plenty of, you know, hate crimes going on, including over policing and no rights being taken care of by blacks that are suspected of crimes as opposed to whites. And, you know, this keeps going on. It's not new. It's been happening for decades and decades in the United States, despite civil rights in this country, despite Martin Luther King in this country, despite the effort to truly fight, the first black president in this country. None of these issues were addressed. Police killings were the same at the beginning of the Obama administration as they were at the end. And inequality has only grown. And after four years of Trump, same story. So, not surprising in a place like Minneapolis. Immense racial disparity and inequality in Minneapolis, too.

I know we talk about Minnesota nice, but certainly not what we're seeing on display right now and plenty of other cities around the country that have experienced these problems that are going to take to the streets to. Social dissent should not surprise us, particularly when the inequality is going to grow so much and when our ability to take care of these people will be so constrained, given just how much need there is, something that will be weaponized in this election.

Fortunately, Biden at least is trying to be the candidate for empathy. Unfortunately, he gets none of the headlines. This is going to be about Trump. He drives the social media conversation. He has the vast majority followers and he is the person that the headlines want to be written about. And so, as a consequence, I think you're going to see vastly more divisiveness over the course of this crisis. You're likely to see more violence. And Trump is going to do his best to use that to intensify the support for his base and get them to turn out in larger numbers than those that support Biden.

I still don't have a strong call on who's going to win in November. Looks pretty tight. The country is really divided, and swing states are still pretty close. But what's very clear is that this is going to be ugly and unfortunately, it's also going to be violent.

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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?

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