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Republican civil war

"There's no question, none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking" the January 6 Capitol building riot. That attack was the "foreseeable consequence of the crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on the Earth."

So said Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, US Senate Republican leader since 2006, just after voting last Saturday to acquit the president of high crimes and misdemeanors following Trump's Senate impeachment trial.

On Tuesday, Trump punched back. "Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again." On Thursday, the pro-Trump chairman of Kentucky's Republican Party called on McConnell to resign as Republican leader.

The battle is joined.

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Who's Joe Biden going to visit first?

Now that Joe Biden is officially US president, leaders from around the world would like a word with him — but where will he make his first international trip?

After a tumultuous four years, many countries are now clamoring for a face-to-face with President Biden. That includes allies who felt abandoned by Trump's "America First" presidency, as well as adversaries with thorny issues on the agenda. We check in on who's pitching him hardest on a near-term state visit.

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While you were watching the insurrection, Democrats won the US Senate

Earlier this week, we told readers to brace for a hellish week in US politics. As we saw Wednesday, when armed rioters, goaded by President Trump, stormed the Capitol building in a bid to stop the certification of Joe Biden's election win, this week's events turned out to be as infernal as billed — and then some.

But while we were (understandably) distracted, something else very big happened: Democrats won the US Senate, a political development with massive implications for Biden's legislative agenda over the next four years.

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American carnage

Our newsletter is called Signal. We chose that name because we wanted to do our best to separate "signal" from "noise" for our readers — to cut through ideology and emotion to try to offer insight into what's happening, why it's happening, and what might happen in the future. With that in mind, here's what has happened in the United States over the past 24 hours and how we got here.

President Donald Trump has built a large following by telling people that American politics is a game that has been rigged against his supporters. In November, he was defeated by Joe Biden in a free and fair election. Before, during, and after that election, Trump has tried to persuade his followers that the election was stolen from them. That charge is false. It has been the subject of dozens of lawsuits and court cases, and no court has found that it has merit.

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Georgia Senate election is a game changer for Biden; Trump's effect on GOP's future

Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on US politics:

First question. What do the results of the Georgia Senate election mean?

Well, this is a real game changer for President Biden. He came into office with the most progressive agenda of any president in modern history and the Republicans controlling the Senate were prepared to block all of that. That meant no education spending, no healthcare spending, very little green energy spending and probably no stimulus spending, further COVID stimulus spending this year. Now the Democrats seem to have a majority in the Senate, as well as the House of Representatives. All of that can get done as well as tax increases in order to finance it. The concern now for the Democrats is overreach that could lead to backlash. They have very thin majorities in the House, and the trend has been that in the first midterm for a new president, you almost always lose seats in the House. Democrats can't really afford to lose too many. That may cause them to moderate some of their plans.

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Hell week for American politics

Buckle up for an historically ugly week in US politics.

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Donald Trump's relevance to US politics doesn't disappear on Jan 20, 2021

In 2020's final installment of The Red Pen — as we say goodbye not only to this tumultuous year, but also to the Trump presidency -- Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group's US team: Jon Lieber, Jeffrey Wright, Clayton Allen, and Regina Argenzio are taking the Red Pen to an op-ed by John Harris, veteran political journalist and co-founder of Politico, optimistically titled, "Relax, a Trump comeback in 2024 is not going to happen."

On January 20th, Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States. So how long will Donald Trump still be a thing in US politics, and does he have another shot at the White House? John Harris makes his case that Trump is going to fade away based on historical precedent that the US system has seen disruptors before and endured other politicians who were more obsessed with their own publicity than the greater goals of their party. And that's true, but we're not so sure that Donald Trump is quite the same phenomenon.

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Reviewing the Top Risks of 2020

On January 4, Eurasia Group, our parent company, will publish its annual forecast of the top ten global political risk stories. You'll get full coverage of the 2021 report right here in Signal.

But today we'll look back at the Top Risks list for 2020. You can read the full Eurasia Group report here and the brief summary I wrote for Signal here.

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