Quick Take: The election is serious, but don't panic

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody, Ian Bremmer here. It's Monday and a quick take for you right before the election. That's right. Don't panic. All of you remembering Douglas Adams, the great Douglas Adams, for those people that back in high school, this is the kind of book that you knew people that read the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. You said, "That's probably a normal human being a little dorky, but isn't going to kill me," where the people that were all about Atlas shrugged and the Fountainhead, those were people that were problematic later in life. That's just my own personal view. Maybe a little Tolkien. That was also fine. A little Hobbit. I'm friendly that way, but this is the message I really want people to keep in mind in the next 24, 48, 72 hours, the next week, two, three weeks.

It's going to be tough out there. People are going nuts. They're going crazy. The media is making it worse. The social media is making it worse, and it's going to be a tough time for the United States. But to be clear, we are not on the brink of becoming an authoritarian state. We are not about to be a Banana Republic. We are not on the verge of collapse. Instead, we are very divided. A lot of people are hurting. A lot of people are angry, and we have a whole bunch of people in very different information bubbles. They don't talk to each other, engage with each other, and that is a problem. That makes the country feel so much less purposeful, mission-oriented, communal, civic, all the things that we want. If you've got a flag, if you want to be united under that flag, you have to care about all the people in the country, not just the ones that agree with you politically.

Look, this election matters. It matters a lot. It matters more than usual. I'm the one that usually says, "American elections, whoever the president is ultimately doesn't impact your life that much." This time, it does, and it does largely because there is such a big crisis right now. If you get Biden and if you get a majority Democrat in Senate, you're going to have $3 trillion of stimulus come February or March. That's massive for a new American president. If it's a divided Congress or if Trump wins, it's going to be a lot less. So, there is a very big, a significant gap. The markets are responding too. It's going to matter a lot to the people, to the States, the municipalities, right? That does really matter.

Also, if there's a majority democratic Senate, you will end the filibuster... Heck, Washington DC will probably become the 51st state. You will have the Voter Rights Act. You'll probably redo the census again because it was cut short. These are significant impacts for a long time in the United States, not just measured in years, but decades of impact and trajectory.

So, I absolutely think Biden versus Trump is very meaningful. If Biden comes in, my taxes are going up a lot. Certainly, to Obama levels, but probably much more than that, and that's going to affect a lot of wealthy Americans. The regulatory environment's going to change a lot, and if you're in a corporate that's affected by that, that's very significant. So I don't want to say that Biden versus Trump doesn't matter. It's just the idea that Biden versus Trump is somehow this end of the world for the United States is not the case.

Now, what do we think is going to happen in this election? Well, the polls are telling you very clearly Biden is ahead by a lot. He's been ahead consistently by a lot for a long time. It's been very stable. There's been no closing of that gap the way there was between Hillary and Trump. So that means whether you look at FiveThirtyEight or you look at RealClearPolitics... I personally, we've got to deal with Ipsos and we do a blend of all of the different swing state polls, we look at the national polls. It's very clear that it's 85, 90% likely looking at the polls that Trump is going to lose.

But that doesn't mean that Trump is going to lose. That means that if you have seven, eight, nine, 10 elections, one of those elections at least Trump is going to win. That is an expected outcome of a multiple series. I just wish that more people don't think that the polls are wrong when you have an outcome that's unlikely. It just means that you only have a one shot at something that you'd like a larger number for.

Well, not that we wouldn't want that from a personal perspective, because it would drive everyone truly batshit, but personally, that's what it means. So there is a real potential that Trump is the President in a legitimate election, a legitimately counted election, one that Biden would need to concede for, and Trump would lead for four more years. If that happens, we'll be okay. We'll get through it, right? Again, it's going to drive some people insane, but the reality is that the United States will continue to persist as a damaged, but nonetheless, robust country, economy, even representative democracy.

On the other hand, it's much more likely... it's vastly more likely that Biden wins. What is very unusual about this election is that even in a significant Biden win, the amount of contestation is going to be very high. The willingness of Trump to say that he has won, if he has not, is pretty significant. If he decides to do that and say it's rigged and call his supporters out onto the streets, angry that the democratic establishment is trying steal his rightfully won election, I think you're going to see a lot of violence.

We've already seen some of that with lots of convoys of Trump supporters in trucks and cars. I haven't seen that they've been armed significantly, though you saw some of that in Portland, but easily plausible going forward. I've seen a lot of them obscuring license plates, because if you're shutting down traffic or shutting down a bridge, doing something illegal, they're trying to avoid responsibility for that illegality. That's not exactly conscientious objectionism. But if Trump were to directly call for his supporters to go out in the streets because they're going to take the election from him, I think that's going to be a level of demonstrations and violence in the country that will certainly rival anything we've seen since '68, in other words, anything in my lifetime. That's a problem.

That's why you see so many cities with streets and having all the storefronts getting boarded up, and that's being true in big urban areas all over the place, including right downstairs on Fifth Avenue from my office right now. Of course, when that happens, a lot of people opportunistically just come out to engage in looting and in violence and rioting. So, I think that's real. I think there's a very good chance that's going to happen, but I also think that it's not forever.

In fact, it's not even for a long time. Then eventually, we get to a new president and the ability of Trump to contest, to obscure, to create chaos is reasonably high. The ability to actually subvert the outcome is a very different story. Then it would have to be very close indeed, and even then for him to steal the presidency, no. For him to contest the presidency and create a constitutional crisis that would be like 1876 where you need a political outcome, that is indeed feasible if it's really close. That, we will have a good sense of whether that could happen or not in just over 30... say 30 hours plus.

So we'll get there. Don't panic stick with us. GZERO Media will be talking to you all the way through this. Be good, everybody. I'll talk to you soon.

Early employment can set a young person on a trajectory for success, providing both a paycheck and a stepping-stone for improving academic performance.

Bank of America is committed to investing in youth employment, funding $160 million since 2018 to connect youth and young adults to jobs and mentoring.

The minutiae of supply chains makes for boring dinner table talk, but it's increasingly becoming a hot topic of conversation now that packages are taking much longer to arrive in the consumer-oriented US, while prices of goods soar.

With the issue unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, right-wing media have dubbed President Biden the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, conjuring images of sad Christmas trees surrounded by distraught children whose holiday gifts are stuck somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

It hasn't been a good run for Uncle Joe in recent months. What issues are tripping him up?

More Show less

Three years ago, Facebook changed its algorithms to mitigate online rage and misinformation. But it only made Facebook worse by boosting toxic engagement, says Nick Thompson, The Atlantic CEO & former WIRED editor-in-chief. Thompson believes Facebook simply got in over its head, rather than becoming intentionally "evil" like, say, Big Tobacco with cigarettes. "I think they just created something they couldn't control. And I think they didn't grasp what was happening until too late." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World.

From overall health and wellness to representation in the global workforce, women and girls have faced serious setbacks over the past 18+ months. They also hold the key to more robust and inclusive growth in the months and years ahead: McKinsey & Company estimates that centering recovery efforts on women could contribute $13 trillion to global GDP by 2030.

On October 28th at 12pm ET, as part of our "Measuring What Matters" series, GZERO Media and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will look beyond traditional indicators of economic recovery to examine COVID-19's impact on girls and women, specifically in the areas of health and employment.

More Show less

This year, American kids who've asked Santa for L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, Nerf blasters, or classic Legos may be disappointed. The delivery of these and other in-demand toys could be delayed due to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions that are still hitting US businesses and consumers hard. Container vessels loaded with precious cargo are waiting days to enter busy US ports, while within the country truck drivers are working flat out to meet soaring demand for goods of all kinds. Products are getting wildly expensive or arriving late. Here's a snapshot of the problem, showing longer delivery times, skyrocketing freight and shipping costs, and trucker employment.

Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A long-running Senate investigation in Brazil has found that by downplaying the severity of COVID, dithering on vaccines, and promoting quack cures, President Jair Bolsonaro directly caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. An earlier version of the report went so far as to recommend charges of homicide and genocide as well, but that was pulled back in the final copy to a mere charge of "crimes against humanity", according to the New York Times. The 1,200-page report alleges Bolsonaro's policies led directly to the deaths of at least half of the 600,000 Brazilians who have succumbed to the virus. It's a bombshell charge, but it's unlikely to land Bolsonaro in the dock — for that to happen he'd have to be formally accused by the justice minister, an ally whom he appointed, and the lower house of parliament, which his supporters control. Still, as the deeply unpopular Bolsonaro limps towards next year's presidential election, a rap of this kind isn't going to help.

More Show less

11,412: Irmgard Furchner, a 92-year-old former typist at a Nazi concentration camp in Germany, is facing trial for contributing to the murder of 11,412 people there. Furchner tried to escape German authorities in late September by sneaking out of her nursing home, but was arrested hours later and slapped with an electronic wrist tag.

More Show less

If you had to guess which current world leader has made the most trips to Africa, who would you say? China's Xi Jinping? Nope, hardly — he's been there just four times. France's Emmanuel Macron? Pas de tout.

The answer may surprise you: it's Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who's been to the continent more times than the leader(s) of any other non-African state. Just this week he notched his 28th visit, with stops in Angola, Nigeria, and Togo. Sure, being in power for two decades creates a lot of opportunities for exotic travel, but even Russia's Vladimir Putin isn't close: he's been to Africa just five times, all to visit South Africa or Egypt.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal


Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal


Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal