Hell of a Party, Guys!

Hell of a Party, Guys!

What does an evangelical judge accused of pedophilia have in common with a one-time anti-Apartheid hero who faces 783 counts of corruption? Both Roy Moore, the failed Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, and Jacob Zuma, freshly-ousted leader of South Africa’s ANC, are at the center of deep internal divisions within their respective political parties. Those parties aren’t the only ones in power that are suffering deep internal divisions right now…


The Republicans: Since the late 1960s the GOP (Grand Old Party, as it’s known in the US) has united social conservatives and economic liberals, but now the party is under fire from within as former Trump strategist Steven Bannon leads a “populist, nationalist, conservative revolt” against party leaders. Trump and Bannon, who runs the ultranationalist media “killing machine” Breitbart, endorsed Roy Moore, so his loss was a setback. But look for this GOP fissure to be a defining theme in the 2018 midterm elections and beyond.

The ANC: The reformist union-leader-turned-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa has just won a hotly contested race to lead the ANC into the 2019 presidential election. As Willis wrote last Friday, this outcome leaves current President Jacob Zuma, who faces hundreds of corruption and racketeering charges, dangerously exposed to prosecution. Ramaphosa’s victory is a win for the more investor-friendly faction of the ANC. But Zuma’s faction won’t simply accept a defeat that leaves him in real legal jeopardy. The ANC infighting has only just begun.

The Tories: The UK’s traditional conservative party is deeply divided over Brexit — some members want the UK to keep close economic ties with the continent even after it leaves the EU, while others favor a sharper break that gives the UK greater economic flexibility. This divide is crippling Prime Minister Theresa May’s ability to reach any deal at all with Brussels before the clock runs out on Brexit talks…

Brazil’s PSDB: Brazil’s largest center-right party is split over support for scandal-wracked president Michel Temer’s market-friendly reforms. Younger members say steer clear, while older heads want to work with him so his PMDB party will support a PSDB candidate in next year’s presidential election. New PSDB leader Geraldo Alckmin has sided the party with Temer for now, but the deeper divisions will persist, weakening the party as the presidential campaign heats up.

This time last year, world health experts were speculating about why Africa appeared to have escaped the worst of the global pandemic. Younger populations? Natural immunity created by exposure to past viruses? Something else?

They can stop wondering. Africa is now in the grip of a COVID emergency.

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Listen: Stanford historian Niall Ferguson joins Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast to talk about the geopolitics of disaster. Throughout human history we seem to be unable to adequately prepare for catastrophes (natural or human-caused) before they strike. Why is that? And as we emerge from the greatest calamity of our lifetimes in the COVID-19 pandemic and look to the plethora of crises that climate change has and will cause, what can we do to lessen the blow?

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred two Republican members from serving on the Jan. 6 commission. What's going on?

Well, the Jan. 6 commission was designed to be a bipartisan commission, taking input from members from Democrats and Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to make recommendations but the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, could always veto those recommendations. In this case, she did, saying no to two members, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom are strongly aligned with President Trump and who voted against certifying the election results in 2020. The Republicans for the most part see the Jan. 6 commission as an opportunity to score political points against them, and the Democrats say this is going to be a fair, non-biased, and nonpartisan investigation into what happened on Jan. 6, starting with a hearing next week with some of the police officers who were involved in the battle with the protesters inside the Capitol.

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In his New York Times op-ed, David Brooks says the US is facing an identity crisis — protecting liberal and progressive values at home while doing little to stop autocrats elsewhere. But has the US really abandoned its values abroad just because it's withdrawing from Afghanistan? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst take out the Red Pen to argue that the US can advance democracy without being the world's sheriff.

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When the Tokyo Olympics begin on Friday, Japan watchers will be following more than just the performance of Japan's star athletes, including tennis star Naomi Osaka. They will also be tracking the political fortunes of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is taking a big gamble by staging the event — amid a raging pandemic — in the face of strong and longstanding opposition from the Japanese public. What are the stakes for Suga, particularly with elections on the horizon? Eurasia Group senior analyst Ali Wyne explains.

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YouTube pulls Bolsonaro's rants: Google-owned YouTube pulled down a series of videos on the channel of Brazil's populist President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. YouTube removed more than a dozen clips for touting quack cures for coronavirus or claiming, in defiance of scientific experts, that masks don't reduce COVID transmissions. Last year, Twitter and Facebook also removed some content from Bolsonaro's feeds for similar reasons. But critics say that YouTube's move is too little too late, because Bolsonaro has been spreading misinformation about COVID since the pandemic began. Many Brazilians hold him personally responsible for the country's abysmal pandemic response, which has led to almost 550,000 deaths, the second worst toll in the world. Will YouTube's move change Bolsonaro's message? His weekly address to the nation, where he converses not only with government ministers but also various conspiracy theorists and loons, is broadcast on YouTube. Surely he doesn't want to risk losing that — or does he?

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Boycotts! Bans! Protests! Drugs! Think you've got gold medal knowledge about politics at the Olympics? Test what you know with this special Tokyo Olympics Quiz. And to stay current on all the latest political stories at the Games and around the world, subscribe here to Signal, our daily newsletter. Now, without further ado, the first question is...

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