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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.

Meet Ian Martin, an English Professor from Glasgow who is now head of Communications for Eni's International Resources. Approaching his work in the same way he used to hold his lectures, Ian is dedicated to listening and making people around him comfortable. Having working in both Milan and London, Ian utilizes his ability to communicate in different languages and cultures to prepare Eni's global messaging strategy. "Communication is a transfer of humanity," he says, and his job is as much centered around people as it as around language.

Watch Ian's human approach to communications on the most recent episode of Faces of Eni.

Today at 12 noon EST, join GZERO Media for a virtual Town Hall, "Reasons for Hope: COVID and the Coming Year," presented in partnership with Eurasia Group and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Our panel will discuss the road ahead in the global response to the COVID crisis. Will there be more multilateral cooperation on issues like gender equality moving forward from the pandemic?

Watch the event here: https://www.gzeromedia.com/townhall

Our moderator, CNBC health care correspondent Bertha Coombs, along with Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media, and Mark Suzman, CEO of the Gates Foundation, will speak with distinguished experts on three key issues:

Heidi Larson, Director, The Vaccine Confidence Project

  • How will COVID vaccines be distributed safely?

Minouche Shafik, Director of London School of Economics & Political Science

  • How has the pandemic disproportionately impacted women?

Madeleine Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group and Albright Capital Management; former US Secretary of State

  • What is the opportunity for global cooperation emerging from this crisis, and what are the greatest political risks?
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How to capture the essence of this incredible, terrible year in a few short words and without using profanity? It's not easy.

Thankfully, the dictionary website Merriam-Webster.com has released its list of most heavily searched words of 2020, and they tell the story of an historic year in US politics and the life of our planet. Here's a sample.

The top word, unsurprisingly, was "Pandemic," a disease outbreak that covers a wide area and afflicts lots of people. In 2020, the coronavirus crisis hit every region of the world, triggering a public health, economic, and political emergency on a geographic scale our planet has never experienced. Differing responses to that problem defined the politics (and geopolitics) of 2020.

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While recent news from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca on the efficacy of their respective COVID vaccines is encouraging, it has also given rise to bidding wars between wealthy countries trying to secure the largest supply of the new drugs for their citizens. Meanwhile, many governments in emerging market economies, where healthcare infrastructure is generally weaker, are worried they'll be kicked to the back of the line in the global distribution process. Indeed, history bears out their concerns: while a lifesaving HIV treatment hit shelves in the West in the mid-1990s, for example, it took years to become widely available in Africa, which saw some of the worst HIV outbreaks in the world. But here's the catch: even if wealthy countries manage to obtain large supplies of vaccines to immunize their populations, the interconnected nature of the global economy means that no one will really be out of the woods until we all are. Here's a snapshot of how many COVID vaccines select countries have already purchased.

Afghanistan's small breakthrough: For months, disagreements over a range of political issues have hamstrung the intra-Afghan peace talks brokered by the Trump administration that aim to bridge the years-long conflict between the Afghan government and the Taliban. But this week, a significant breakthrough was made on the principles and procedures governing the talks, that, experts say, will help push negotiations to the next phase. One key advance is agreement on the official name of the Afghan government, an issue that stalled talks earlier this year. Still, progress is fragile. Taliban violence and efforts to seize territory have only increased since the militants and the US reached a deal in February on a blueprint for an American troop withdrawal. And the Trump administration says it aims to pull out all but 2,500 US troops by mid-January, whether the Taliban have kept their end of the deal or not. What's more, while this week's development puts the parties one step closer to an eventual power-sharing agreement, it's unclear whether the incoming Biden administration will even honor the Trump administration's deal with the Taliban.

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Reasons for Hope: COVID and the Coming Year. Watch on Friday. Dec 4 2020 12 noon - 1 pm ET

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