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Warnock's Georgia Victory: Dems Control Every Senate Committee | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Warnock's Georgia victory: Dems control every Senate Committee

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

What does the Democratic win in the Georgia Senate race mean?

There are two major implications from Senator Raphael Warnock's victory last night in the Georgia Senate runoff. The first is that it ends the longest running tied Senate in American history and gives Democrats 51 seats and outright control of Senate committees that can be used to conduct oversight. This probably means more uncomfortable hearings for titans of industry next year and while the House will focus their oversight activities on the Biden administration, the Senate is going to be calling in bank CEOs and representatives of concentrated industries to talk about corporate profits and inflation.

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Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker.

Paige Fusco

The trouble with Herschel

Signal’s Willis Sparks writes about his Georgia roots and how the world craves authenticity from political leaders.

Where I come from, there are two important institutions – church and football – and worship takes place in both.

I’m a Georgia Bulldog. Unlike the previous four generations of my family, I graduated from a different school, but my family ties to the University of Georgia extend back to the 1850s, and I’ve been watching Georgia football games in Sanford Stadium since 1972. I’m what you call a Dawg to the bone.

I was in Knoxville, Tennessee, on September 6, 1980, when a teenage recruit named Herschel Walker made his legendary college football debut by steamrolling defenders and shocking a sellout crowd of 102,000 fans of a rival team.

I was there for every Athens, Georgia, home game in 1980 as freshman Herschel led my Dawgs to the Promised Land, a national championship. I was there through 1981 and 1982, when Herschel won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player.

You have to understand … He stood six feet, two inches tall, weighed 220 pounds, and had Olympic-sprinter speed. That’s not natural. He seemed, to steal a phrase from Shakespeare, to be “made of some other matter than earth.” His performances inspired the wide-eyed shaking of heads.

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Ukrainian kids celebrate International Children's Day In Krakow, Poland.

Beata Zawrzel via Reuters Connect

War, reforms & bureaucracy will decide Ukraine’s EU bid

It’s at war for its survival, yet Ukraine’s candidacy for European Union membership has just been endorsed. While success would be a game-changer for Kyiv, getting there won’t be easy, given the required internal reforms, international bureaucracy, and shifting geopolitics.

The European Commission is clear that Ukraine must carry out serious reforms to join the bloc, but some tough questions need to be answered. Does Ukraine deserve to be an EU member? What about the stringent process and requirements? Is there a natural tie-in to NATO membership? And what are the politics at play, given that Moldova, another former Soviet republic Russia considers to be in its sphere of influence, has been approved, while Georgia has not.

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Turnout in Georgia Broke Records for Midterm Primaries | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Lessons from US midterm primaries in Georgia, Texas, and Alabama

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, discusses Tuesday's primaries.

What happened in Tuesday's primaries?

Several states held primary elections on Tuesday of this week with the most interesting elections in Georgia, Texas, and Alabama. In Georgia, two incumbent Republicans who were instrumental in certifying the results of President Joe Biden's victory in 2020 won the nomination for governor and secretary of state against two Trump-backed opponents. The sitting governor who Trump had been targeting for months over his role in the 2020 election won by over 50 points, a sign that while Republican voters still love Donald Trump, his hold over the party is not absolute. This is going to create an opening for challengers in the 2024 presidential election cycle.

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Podcast: Why Putin will fail: former Finnish PM Alexander Stubb

Listen: The ripple effects of Russia’s war with Ukraine are spreading well beyond Ukraine's borders. And one country watching very closely is Finland. On the GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer talks to former Finnish PM Alexander Stubb, who explains why his country has moved from neutrality to an open embrace of NATO. He believes Putin will ultimately fail at the three things he's trying to accomplish: annex Ukraine; push back NATO's borders to where they were during the Cold War; and prevent Finland and Sweden from joining the alliance. Stubb — who once helped broker Russia's 2008 cease-fire with Georgia — believes Putin has backed himself into a corner and won't back down on Ukraine. Ten years from now, Stubb anticipates a Russia that will be as isolated as North Korea is today.

Listen to Ian Bremmer's interview with Finland's former Prime Minister, Alexander Stubb.

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.

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A person dressed as Uncle Sam attends an anti-mandatory coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine protest held outside New York City Hall in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 9, 2021.

What We’ll Keep Watching in 2022: The authoritarian plague, climate vs energy crisis, US politics in Georgia

COVID & authoritarianism. Around the world, the pandemic has given national governments vastly greater mandates to manage how their societies and economies work. That has, among other things, created room for authoritarianism to grow and flourish. But there are different views on how that’s happened, and where. On the one hand, undemocratic or illiberal governments used pandemic restrictions to suppress anti-government protests or muzzle critics. Think of China using COVID restrictions to stop the burgeoning Hong Kong protests, or Russia doing the same to crack down on opposition rallies. Freedom House reported this year that the pandemic had contributed to democratic backsliding in 73 countries, the most since 2005. But there are also those who see authoritarian shadows in what democratic governments have done: imposing vaccine mandates, continued lockdowns, and school closures. In the US, a backlash against this has boosted Republicans ahead of next year’s midterms, while fresh lockdowns and mandates have also provoked fierce protests in Europe. There is also the thorny and unresolved question of how to police misinformation. Some Americans think social media platforms are erring on the side of too much content moderation as they struggle with the difficult problem of weeding out dangerous pandemic fake news. Overall, the question of what governments did during the pandemic, and whether it exceeded their mandates, will affect politics and geopolitics deep into 2022.

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What We're Watching: Bolsonaro on the ropes, Georgian nightmare, Pandora's box opened?

Is Bolsonaro on the ropes for good this time? Tens of thousands of Brazilians hit streets across the country in recent days calling for the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro. For months, pockets of anti-Bolsonaro sentiment have been bubbling nationwide, but now a record 58 percent of people polled say his performance is "bad" or "very bad." Soaring prices for electricity, food, and medicine have added to lingering discontent with right-winger Bolsonaro's disastrous handling of the pandemic. And a scandal over potential corruption in vaccine procurements hasn't helped either. Bolsonaro can still count on the unwavering support of about a quarter to a third of the population, and he has strong loyalty among cops and soldiers. But as discontent spreads, it's looking less and less likely that he'll be able to defeat his presumptive rival in next year's presidential election: the leftwing former president Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva. Current polls suggest Bolsonaro is in for a drubbing, but if so, will he accept defeat?

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Ian Bremmer; Navalny's Health & US-Russia Tensions | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Navalny's health and US-Russia tensions

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody, Ian Bremmer here, kicking off your beautiful spring week from New York City. A little Quick Take. I thought I'd talk today about Russia, going to be in the news this week. Putin doesn't like it when they're out of the news for too long, certainly plenty going on between the US and Russia right now.

I'd say, first of all, to start off, the relationship is in the toilet. We know this. It is the worst it's been since the early '80s. That was true even under Trump. Trump and Putin personally had a pretty good relationship, but Trump wasn't able to get anything really done for the Russians, because both the Republicans in Congress, key members of cabinet under Trump, massive amount of constraints on what Trump could actually do, whether it's trying to bring Russia back into the G7 or recognize Crimea as a part of Russia, or remove or reduce sanctions. None of that actually got done. In fact, the relationship deteriorated over the four years.

But now we've got Biden and the focus is of course, more on human rights. The focus is more on climate change, which means that Russia as a massive energy exporter and particularly in terms of their influence on Eastern Europe and Western Europe on the downstream for gas delivery, for example, something that Biden is much more focused on. So a lot more pressure on the Russians, and the Russians don't care. Their willingness to hit back and show that the Americans are not willing to take any significant risks to constrain the Russians is also fairly significant. And this is playing out in a number of ways.

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