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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.


Second question, with COVID relief measures set to expire, where are congressional talks on another stimulus bill?

Well, congressional talks are going nowhere fast. The Democrats think they have a very strong hand, the Republicans aren't unified, and the administration seems to be spinning around in circles. However, the second quarter GDP numbers that came out this week were very bad, the worst in American history, and if Congress doesn't act, you're likely to see an increase in layoffs, business bankruptcies, and evictions all throughout August and September, which is not a great tailwind for a president who wants to get reelected. So, there's an obvious compromise sitting out there, a position between where the Republicans are and where the Democrats are, and so we still think something gets done on this sometime next week.

Third question, will the death of former presidential candidate Herman Cain change anyone's mind about the coronavirus?

Probably not. Cain may have caught the coronavirus at Trump's Tulsa rally, but that's impossible to prove. And while some liberals are using this to shame people about mask wearing and proper social distancing, most conservatives will just meet that with derision. Though this could be a cautionary tale, it's unlikely it will change anyone's mind. It is notable, however, that since the Tulsa rally, the president has really changed his messaging around the coronavirus, encouraging masking and taking this much more seriously, including canceling his convention acceptance speech in Jacksonville, Florida. This probably reflects the fact that the president knows he's really far behind Joe Biden in public opinion polling on the handling the coronavirus. He's got a lot of ground to make up.

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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Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on what to expect from President Biden's first 100 days:

It's Inauguration Day. And you can see behind me the Capitol Building with some of the security corridor set up that's preventing people like me from getting too close to the building, as Joe Biden gets sworn in as our 46th president. Historic day when you consider that you've got Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president, the first woman of color to be vice president.

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On Wednesday, Joe Biden will become president because eighty-one million Americans, the highest tally in US history, voted to change course after four years of Donald Trump's leadership. Like all presidents, Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris, take office with grand ambitions and high expectations, but rarely has a new administration taken power amid so much domestic upheaval and global uncertainty. And while Biden has pledged repeatedly to restore American "unity" across party lines — at a time of immense suffering, real achievements will matter a lot more than winged words.

Biden has a lot on his agenda, but within his first 100 days as president there are three key issues that we'll be watching closely for clues to how effectively he's able to advance their plans.

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Kamala Harris was sworn in today as the first woman Vice President of the United States. That means she's only a heartbeat away from occupying the Oval Office — and could well be the Democratic candidate to replace Joe Biden if the 78-year-old president decides to not run for reelection in 2024. Should Harris — or another woman — become US president soon in the future, that'll (finally) put America on par with most of the world's top 20 economies, which have already had a female head of state or government at some point in their democratic history. Here we take a look at which ones those are.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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