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Pressures on CDC for November COVID vaccine release

Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares his perspective on US politics.

How does the CDC look in advising states to prepare for an early November COVID vaccine release?

Well, there's two things going on here. The first is the pressure that the scientists and doctors working in the private sector and the federal government feel to get a vaccine out so we can all return to our normal lives. The second thing that's going on here is the political pressure coming from the White House to get a vaccine out the door so that President Trump can argue that he's returned things to normal. It's unclear which one of those pressures is pushing the CDC to action right now. It's possible that a vaccine is ready for an emergency use authorization by early November. But if the data doesn't support that it's safe, there's going to be a lot of blowback from the public health community, which could in turn undermine confidence in the public to actually take the vaccine when it comes out it is safe. So this is a big issue to keep your eye on.

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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.

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Virtual DNC builds enthusiasm but Dems should not get complacent

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on this week's World In (More Than) 60 Seconds:

Number one, the DNC is underway, the Democratic National Convention, how do you think the first night went?

Well, it's weird, right? Because it's virtual. But the fact that it's virtual means that everybody gets to practice their speeches and get the cinematic quality right, before it actually goes out. So, I mean, you know, when you've got a whole bunch of money and you've got Hollywood sensibilities advising you, you can make it look really good. And that's what they did. So, I mean, I do think it was entertaining, it was engaging. I think from a more meaningful, substantive perspective, it is pretty clear that you have a broader tent that is focused on getting Trump out of office.

Now, I mean the other side of that is that Biden is not driving the train, right? I mean, there's not an immense amount of enthusiasm about the actual candidate. And Kamala Harris certainly helps, but ultimately, Biden is the presidential candidate. And, you know, he's not going to inspire the way that Obama did, or Michelle Obama did last night. But certainly, I don't think you're going to have Bernie Sanders delegates, you know, opposing Biden the way many did during 2016 when I was at the both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions then. It was quite something to see, just the dissonance inside what was not one happy tent. Here, you've got a lot of people that are very motivated because everyone's angry with Trump. And I think with Kasich as well, who I, you know, I know pretty well. And I mean, you know, is an older guy from Ohio and it's an important swing state, but ultimately, I don't think Kasich is the person that swings more people to vote for Trump. It's just that there are also, in addition to the Bernie Sanders people being really anti Trump, there are a number of disenfranchised Republicans that are opposed to Trump, too. So, I think all of that, you know, certainly hurts.

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Trump can't delay the election. But can he delegitimize it?

Jon Lieber, Managing Director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on US politics - from the Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., where the baseball season began last week, even though it may not last very long.

First question, Trump tweeted about delaying the election. What's the deal?

Well, Trump can't delay the election. Only Congress can delay the election. And Congress is not going to delay the election. Bipartisan agreement here. Election has never been delayed. Not for the Civil War. Not the World War II. Not going to happen in coronavirus. What Trump can do, however, is delegitimize the results of the election in the mind of his supporters by calling into question the efficacy of vote-by-mail, which will be a huge factor in the November election due to the coronavirus. If enough people question the accuracy of vote-by-mail, that may give them grounds for challenging the election results in a close swing state, in a close election in November, which could lead to prolonged legal battles. And even if it doesn't, it could cause a lot of people to question the legitimacy of Joe Biden's presidency, should he win without any contest.

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US-China relations all-time low; federal troops in Portland; Biden's pick

Jon Lieber, managing director for the United States at Eurasia Group, provides his perspective on US Politics In 60 Seconds - this week from in front of the Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C., which is currently behind barricades because some protesters want to tear it down.

First question, with the tit for tat escalation of closing consulates between the US and China, are US-China relations at an all-time low?

Well, they're certainly not very good. And probably the most important marker was a really tough speech given by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Nixon Center in California. Perhaps important for its symbolism, that this is an end of an era of engagement that began with President Nixon in 1969. You've got a lot of escalating factors. You've got these closing embassies, accusations of espionage by the Chinese, the potential banning of TikTok. And WeChat in the US. You've got the potential banning of Huawei. And, of course, you've got the ongoing trade war and sanctions. Now, the trade war may become less important as a factor, along with the other worsening parts of this relationship. The Chinese have retaliated so far proportionately. They don't want to be seen as the ones escalating this advance of a presidential election.

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