TRUMP THE INCUMBENT

There’s another well-known, fist-shaking, former outsider still contending with the transition to incumbency. In 2016, Donald Trump won a sizable majority of the 18 percent of US voters who told pollsters they disliked both Trump and Hillary Clinton. Even before he arrived in office, Republicans rode to tidal-wave victories in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections in part by capturing 26- and 27-point margins respectively among voters unhappy with both parties.


Things have changed. An NBC/WSJ poll released this week found Democrats winning the “plague on both your houses” vote (13 percent of the total electorate) by 30 points. Of these voters, 68 percent disapprove of Trump’s job performance and 63 percent say they’re enthusiastic about November’s midterm elections.

The point is NOT that Trump is doomed. The Mueller investigation aside, it’s way too early for any reliable forecast of Trump’s re-election chances with more than two years to go. We have no idea whom Democrats will choose to take him on, and anyone who under-appreciates the deadly accuracy with which Trump can diminish/dismantle a rival, particularly a well-known political professional, has been asleep for the past two years.

But in a world of angry voters, it’s not easy for any outsider to remain popular once he/she has spent some time on the inside. Maybe Democrats will consider that lesson as they choose among more and less familiar faces for a presidential candidate.

Last week, in Fulton, WI, together with election officials from the state of Wisconsin and the election technology company VotingWorks, Microsoft piloted ElectionGuard in an actual election for the first time.

As voters in Fulton cast ballots in a primary election for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates, the official count was tallied using paper ballots as usual. However, ElectionGuard also provided an encrypted digital tally of the vote that enabled voters to confirm their votes have been counted and not altered. The pilot is one step in a deliberate and careful process to get ElectionGuard right before it's used more broadly across the country.

Read more about the process at Microsoft On The Issues.

The risk of a major technology blow-up between the US and Europe is growing. A few weeks ago, we wrote about how the European Union wanted to boost its "technological sovereignty" by tightening its oversight of Big Tech and promoting its own alternatives to big US and Chinese firms in areas like cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her top digital officials unveiled their first concrete proposals for regulating AI, and pledged to invest billions of euros to turn Europe into a data superpower.

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Communal violence in Delhi: Over the past few days, India's capital city has seen its deadliest communal violence in decades. This week's surge in mob violence began as a standoff between protesters against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against India's Muslims and the law's Hindu nationalist defenders. Clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs in majority-Muslim neighborhoods in northeast Delhi have killed at least 11 people, both Muslim and Hindu, since Sunday. We're watching to see how Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government responds – Delhi's police force reports to federal, rather than local, officials.

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Ian Bremmer's perspective on what's happening in geopolitics:

What are the takeaways from President Trump's visit to India?

No trade deal, in part because Modi is less popular and he's less willing to focus on economic liberalization. It's about nationalism right now. Hard to get that done. But the India US defense relationship continues to get more robust. In part, those are concerns about China and Russia.

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27,000: The Emir of Qatar has decreed a $27,000 fine and up to five years in prison for anyone who publishes, posts, or repost content that aims to "harm the national interest" or "stir up public opinion." No word on whether the Doha-based Al-Jazeera network, long a ferocious and incisive critic of other Arab governments, will be held to the same standard.

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