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THE ELECTION EVE CARAVAN

THE ELECTION EVE CARAVAN

With US elections less than two weeks away, another caravan of migrants is on the move from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras across Mexico toward the US. It’s the latest version of a story we’ve talked about before—the politics of migration at the southern US border.


President Trump says he’s unhappy with the Mexican government for allowing these migrants to pass through Mexico unobstructed. He has threatened to cut aid both to the Central American countries the migrants have abandoned as well as to Mexico for allowing them through. Trump claims some of the migrants are “unknown Middle Easterners” and has warned that once they reach the border, the US military will be there to keep them out.

As we did six months ago, let’s look at this story from three angles.

The Migrants: Once again, a determined group of desperate people is moving toward the US border where they hope to apply for asylum in the United States. Some want to escape an epidemic of criminal violence that forces children into gangs with threats of death for themselves and their families. Others are fleeing poverty. Many feel they have little to lose and a brighter future to gain.

Mexico: Mexican voters elected a new president in July, and though Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) won’t take office until December, the people now listen to his views on the migrant question. Outgoing president Enrique Pena Nieto never settled on a clear response to previous caravans. Some migrants were deported; others were allowed to remain in Mexico.

AMLO risks the same muddled political message. He campaigned on promises to treat migrants with dignity and has pledged to offer more work visas to allow some Central American migrants to remain in Mexico. But he has also acknowledged that Mexico can’t simply welcome everyone that walks across its border illegally, and he knows he can’t ignore Trump’s economic threats.

Donald Trump: In less than two weeks, US voters head to the polls for midterm elections that will determine whether Donald Trump’s Republican Party can keep its congressional majorities. For him and his party, the migrant caravan is a political gift. Trump has no reason to expect votes for his party in 2018 or his re-election in 2020 from Democrats or political moderates. For Trump, as for Democrats, the key to victory is firing up loyal backers to ensure they actually vote. Immigration is an issue Republican voters care deeply about. On their TV channels and websites, Democrats see migrants depicted as desperate families with children making the hopeful journey toward a better life. Conservative media confronts Republican voters with images of riotous young men climbing fences and ignoring laws. Both sets of images simplify a complex reality.

In the final days before Americans vote, Democrats will try to focus voters on health care and other “pocketbook issues.” Trump, who continues to frame this vote as a straight-up referendum on his presidency, will continue to talk about the caravan at rallies, on TV, and on Twitter.

And the migrants will continue to make their way north.

Microsoft released a new annual report, called the Digital Defense Report, covering cybersecurity trends from the past year. This report makes it clear that threat actors have rapidly increased in sophistication over the past year, using techniques that make them harder to spot and that threaten even the savviest targets. For example, nation-state actors are engaging in new reconnaissance techniques that increase their chances of compromising high-value targets, criminal groups targeting businesses have moved their infrastructure to the cloud to hide among legitimate services, and attackers have developed new ways to scour the internet for systems vulnerable to ransomware. Given the leap in attack sophistication in the past year, it is more important than ever that steps are taken to establish new rules of the road for cyberspace: that all organizations, whether government agencies or businesses, invest in people and technology to help stop attacks; and that people focus on the basics, including regular application of security updates, comprehensive backup policies, and, especially, enabling multi-factor authentication. Microsoft summarized some of the most important insights in this year's report, including related suggestions for people and businesses.

Read the whole post and report at Microsoft On The Issues.

On Tuesday night, you can finally watch Trump and Biden tangle on the debate stage. But you TOO can go head to head on debate night .. with your fellow US politics junkies.

Print out GZERO's handy debate BINGO cards and get ready to rumble. There are four different cards so that each player may have a unique board. Every time one of the candidates says one of these words or terms, X it on your card. First player to get five across wins. And if you really want to jazz it up, you can mark each of your words by taking a swig of your drink, or doing five burpees, or donating to your favorite charity or political candidate. Whatever gets you tipsy, in shape, or motivated, get the bingo cards here. It's fight night!

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GZERO Media, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group, today hosted its second virtual town hall on the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine and the challenges of its distribution.

The panel was moderated by New York Times science and health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli and featured Gates Foundation's Deputy Director of Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Lynda Stuart; Eurasia Group's Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director of Energy, Climate & Resources; Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman; and Gayle E. Smith, the president & CEO of ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Watch the full video above.

Donald Trump's presidency has irked a lot of people around the world. And in fairness, that's no surprise. He was elected in part to blow up long-standing assumptions about how international politics, trade, and diplomatic relations are supposed to work.

But while he has correctly identified some big challenges — adapting NATO to the 21st century, managing a more assertive China, or ending America's endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — his impulsive style, along with his restrictions on trade and immigration, have alienated many world leaders. Global polls show that favorable views of the US have plummeted to all-time lows in many countries, particularly among traditional American allies in Europe.

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How was it that after decades of infighting, European nations were able to come together so quickly on an economic pandemic relief package? "I'm tempted to say because of COVID-19…because the triggering factor for the crisis was not the banks…not the bad behavior of some policy-makers somewhere in the region. It was actually this teeny tiny little virus..." European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde tells Ian Bremmer how a microscopic virus spurred the greatest show of international unity in years.


Watch the episode: Christine Lagarde, Leading Europe's United Economic Pandemic Response

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