Netanyahu on the ropes: Things have gone from bad to worse in recent days for Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longtime prime minister. Protests — the biggest anti-government mobilization in years — swept the nation after Israel recorded the highest number of new daily COVID cases amid its worst-ever recession. But one thing Netanyahu has always had going for him is the steadfast loyalty of his Likud party… until now. As the Israeli PM's approval rating dipped to 26 percent, several Likud members broke with decades of precedent by speaking out against his poor handling of the country's "second wave." (A whopping 49 percent of Israelis say they've lost faith in the government and want new elections.) Meanwhile, Naftali Bennett, a former protégé of Netanyahu who heads the far-right Yemina party, is surging ahead in the polls. In recent weeks it seemed increasingly likely that Netanyahu would steer the country towards new elections (the fourth in less than two years) in order to bypass a parliamentary stalemate on key issues. But with his upcoming corruption trial and cratering support, it seems like the forever leader's options might be running out…
Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:
Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here with Moose, the dog. He's barely awake. It's a Happy Monday to you and we are still deep in the throws of coronavirus, myself, the country, the world, the President. I mean, it's what we're talking about. It is by far the most important story out there.
But what a crazy news cycle, my God. I mean, if you think about the last few days, you've got a new Supreme Court nominee they're trying to move through. You've got Trump's former campaign manager getting arrested after an attempted suicide. You've got massive tax revelations in the New York Times about Trump not paying taxes for 10 years and then paying $750 for two years in a row, which is a weird number.
Then, of course, the most historically ridiculous presidential debate that any of us had seen. Of course, all of that goes out the window because President Trump is found to be positive for coronavirus, as well as the First Lady Melania and his press secretary and a couple of Republican senators and a whole bunch of other people. It turns out that this event in the Rose Garden and inside the White House was a super spreader event. Lots of people getting coronavirus inside the White House, which means maybe you don't want to spend as much time there.
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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:
Hi, everybody, Ian Bremmer here. And it's completely insane. I think we can say that now. The news cycle is well beyond anything that we've ever experienced in our lives. I mean, let's face it just in the last week we had a massive New York Times data dump showing that President Trump had paid no taxes for 10 years and $750 in 2016 and 2017, which is a weird number, $750. Where do you come up with $750. Kind of just kind of arbitrary, right? It's like, it's less than a puppy, but more than if you were buying it rescue, I don't know. We'll dig into that. And then of course the worst debate, presidential debate of our life times without any question, some 71 times that President Trump actually interrupted the moderator, another 30 by Biden, all in all over one interruption per minute, it was useless. There was no information.
We're now six months into the worst public health and economic crisis most countries have seen in generations. But how is that affecting politics? We take a look at the leaders of the countries that currently have the five largest death tolls.
Just a few months ago, things were not looking good for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
As the coronavirus bore down on his country, he was ridiculing the disease, losing health ministers in quick succession, and squabbling with governors over lockdown measures that he opposed. The Brazilian leader's approval ratings sank into the low 30s. Then his own star justice minister quit after accusing Bolsonaro of interfering in a police corruption probe, and soon after talk of impeachment was in the air. So too were fears that Bolsonaro, a former army captain with a soft spot for Brazil's old military dictatorship, might attempt a coup. To top it off, he fell ill with COVID-19, and — to add insult to infection — one of his own presidential palace emus bit him on the hand.
We'll admit, we too wondered if Bolsonaro was going bust.
But earlier this week brought a remarkable turnaround. A new study by leading pollster Datafolha shows that Bolsonaro now enjoys the highest approval ratings of his entire presidency. Granted it's still just 37 percent, but that's up 5 points since June, while his disapproval rating fell a whopping 10 points to 34 percent.