RNC 2020 recap: Trump avoids talk of COVID & focuses on white, rural base

Jon Lieber, Managing Director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on a special Republican National Convention wrap up edition of US Politics In 60 Seconds:

So, what struck me about the convention this week was that it became really clear the messages that Donald Trump wants to hammer home as the campaign enters into its final two months. The first is his record of accomplishments, which included renegotiating trade deals, getting tough on China, a record number of jobs, and a great economy, that of course, all went away during the coronavirus, which did not really get much of a mention during the convention. The second thing he wants to hammer on is Joe Biden. Two claims in particular about Biden. One is that he's a tool for the radical left. I believe President Trump even said he'd be a Trojan horse for socialism in the United States. And the second is that Trump really wants to focus on some of these images of urban protests and riots in the streets and tie the protests to the Democratic Party, claiming that it's the fault of Democratic mayors and that if you elect Democrats, you're just going to get more protests.


So, Biden got a very small convention bounce, really none at all, after his week-long Democratic convention and I expect you're going to see Trump not get much of a bounce after his and what's really notable about this race is how static it's been. Biden's had a national eight to nine-point lead and the polling aggregates. Trump's approval ratings have been in the low 40s, but now they've rebounded slightly to 42% on average nationally. And it's probably going to remain that way for the rest of the campaign. The goal here for President Trump, and you saw a lot of this on display at the convention, is to target messages directly at his base by saying he's the most pro-cop, pro-life, pro-farmer, pro-veteran president that's ever existed on the Earth, and in doing so, he wants to get out his base, who is predominately white, rural voters. If he can do that in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, then he still has a shot to win this election because even a small increase in participation by white voters in those states would overwhelm any potential turnout advantage that Joe Biden might get from, say, African-American voters who are showing up to vote in the numbers they did in 2012 for President Obama.

So, two months to go left in the race. Lots can still change. I think that even though Biden's got this big polling lead, it actually remains fairly close. And we'll be checking in to see how it goes.

"I knew that history was my life's calling."

On Bank of America's That Made All the Difference podcast, Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch shares his journey and present-day work creating exhibits that inspire visitors to help our country live up to its ideals.

Alcohol. It's a dangerous drug that has ruined countless lives and derailed many a global summit. But it's also humanity's oldest social lubricant, a magical elixir that can fuel diplomatic breakthroughs, well into the wee hours of the night. As Winston Churchill once quipped, "I've taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." On GZERO World, we take a deep dive down the bottle and examine the role alcohol has played in society, politics, and global summitry—from the earliest hunter-gatherer days to that memorable Obama Beer Summit in 2009. Joining Ian Bremmer is philosopher Edward Slingerland, whose new book Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way Into Civilization makes a compelling, if nuanced, case for alcohol's place in the world.

Also: since alcohol isn't the only social drug, a look at the state of marijuana legalization across the US and around the world.

A few weeks ago, a Signal reader emailed me to ask why so much of our coverage of the world is so damn dark. Aren't there any good news stories out there?

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Listen: A deep dive down the bottle to examine the role alcohol has played in society, politics, and global summitry—from the earliest hunter-gatherer days to that memorable Obama Beer Summit in 2009. Joining Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast is philosopher Edward Slingerland, whose new book Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way Into Civilization makes a compelling, if nuanced, case for alcohol's place in the world.

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.

There's a lot of doom and gloom in the world these days, and much cause for pessimism. Still, the advent of new technologies and scientific advancements has lifted billions out of poverty and increased quality of life for many over the last half century. Since 1990, global average life expectancy has increased by eight years to 73, while GDP per capita has also grown exponentially, doubling over the past decade alone. We take a look at how life expectancy and GDP per capita have evolved globally from 1960-2019.

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:

Why can't President Biden order a vaccine mandate for all Americans?

Well, the reason is it's out of his powers. The one of the fundamental challenges in the pandemic is that the federal government has actually been fairly limited in the steps they can take to stop the spread of the virus. So, that's why you've seen President Biden order masks on transit, mass transit, airplanes, and the like. But he can't order masks in workplaces because that's not within his power. That power lies within state governments. State governments and other entities, like employers, can require vaccinations before you come into their buildings, or you come back to school, or you go to work in your office. But the federal government can't do that. What Biden is doing is, allegedly, supposedly going to announce a mandate for federal workers to get vaccinated.

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American gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee, 18, stunned spectators around the world with her breathtaking performance in Tokyo Thursday that earned her the gold.

Here are some interesting facts about Suni Lee, the gymnast queen:

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"Super Mario" takes his chances: Less than five months after becoming Italy's consensus prime minister, Mario Draghi's coalition government is on shaky ground over Draghi's proposed judicial reforms. "Super Mario" — as he's known for saving the Eurozone as European Central Bank chief during the financial crisis — wants to dramatically speed up Italy's famously slow courts. But his push to reduce judicial backlogs is opposed both by the populist 5-Star Movement, the coalition government's biggest party, and by prosecutors because many cases could be scrapped before reaching a verdict. Draghi, upset that this resistance is stalling his other initiatives to cut Italian red tape, has decided to roll the dice anyway: he'll put his plan to overhaul the courts to a no-confidence vote in parliament. If Draghi wins, he gets the reforms passed without debate; if he loses, the PM technically has to resign, but he'll keep his job because he has enough votes even if the 5-Star Movement bows out of the coalition.

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