US Politics

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on the biggest development in US politics this week:

So, the scriptwriters for 2020 have thrown as a real curveball, introducing the most explosive element in US politics, just six weeks before the election. The tragic death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who will be remembered as a trailblazing jurist, but also a reliably liberal vote on a court that was divided along ideological lines with a five-four conservative majority. This has the potential to upend the presidential election. And likely will motivate turnout on both sides. But also, importantly for president, Trump could remind some Romney voting ex-Republicans who were leaning towards Biden why they were Republicans in the first place. Which means that it has the potential to push some persuadable voters back towards the president.

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

What's the status on the coronavirus relief bill in Congress?

Well, we're here in front of the US Capitol where there's not a whole lot going on to resolve the standoff over for further fiscal stimulus. There was a brief burst of activity earlier this week when the Problem Solvers Caucus came together with a bipartisan proposal that would probably pass both chambers of Congress. But House leadership quickly shot that down. They don't seem too interested in giving Donald Trump a big fiscal stimulus just six weeks before the election. President Trump, for his part, has been encouraging Republicans to go big. But Republicans seem like they mostly want to go home so they can get out of here, fund the government and go campaign for November. So, we end this week where we ended last week. Not a lot of progress being made. Probably nothing is going to happen here.

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Microsoft announced earlier this year the launch of a new United Nations representation office to deepen their support for the UN's mission and work. Many of the big challenges facing society can only be addressed effectively through multi-stakeholder action. Whether it's public health, environmental sustainability, cybersecurity, terrorist content online or the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, Microsoft has found that progress requires two elements - international cooperation among governments and inclusive initiatives that bring in civil society and private sector organizations to collaborate on solutions. Microsoft provided an update on their mission, activities for the 75th UN General Assembly, and the team. To read the announcement from Microsoft's Vice President of UN Affairs, John Frank, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

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

The Atlantic revelations about Trump's derogatory military remarks didn't seem to have that much of an impact with regular voters. Will Bob Woodward's new book also be a dud?

You know, the president has endured an astonishing number of body blows that would probably be fatal for any mere mortal. But what's unique about this current round of revelations is that there are tapes. I can expect those tapes, which go right at the president's greatest weakness, which is his handling of the coronavirus, to be played ad nauseum by the Biden campaign from now until the election.

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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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Watch as Eurasia Group's Jon Lieber previews the RNC 2020:

The Republicans are meeting this week for their convention, a mostly virtual affair, because the 336 delegates are still going to get together in Charlotte, North Carolina, to do all the convention business, including the roll call of states that will officially nominate the president. This is happening because the convention rules didn't allow changes that would require it to go all virtual like the Democrats did.

Other highlights of the week are going to be President Trump's speech from the White House lawn, which has raised both ethical and legal concerns that the White House seems unconcerned about. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is giving an address from a business trip in Jerusalem, which has been unusual. And you've got a couple from Missouri who's being accused of a felony for pointing guns at protesters walking by their property a couple weeks ago. This gets at one of the themes of the convention, which is going to have a strong focus on Democratic policies that the Republicans are going to argue undermine American greatness, cater to the radical left, and are going to reverse all the progress that's been made under President Trump.

One other unusual thing is that there's no party platform this year. Usually the party's wonks get together every four years to put together a statement of what the party stands for and what they're going to win, should they take back the White House. Usually this is routinely ignored by politicians. And so this year, the Republicans decided to just get rid of the convention altogether and recycle the old platform from 2016. The president is bringing in a couple of reality TV producers, including one that worked with him on The Celebrity Apprentice, to help make this a really good show. It's going for half an hour longer than the Democrats did in primetime. And the president's hoping that he can get some kind of approval rating bounce. Right now, he's at the bottom of his range between 40% and 42%. And his approval right now, there was an Ispos poll released over the weekend that suggested Biden got about a five-point bounce to his favorability rating coming out of his convention, and that's kind of thing the president is looking for here.

Watch as Eurasia Group's Jon Lieber offers a recap of the Democratic National Convention to nominate Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate for president:

All in all, a successful convention for the Democrats, four nights of pretty slick production values that drove home the message of Joe Biden's decency and the fact he is not Donald Trump. One interesting contrast between 2020 and 2016 was that the Democrats largely treated Donald Trump like a joke in 2016 and didn't seem to take very seriously. This year, they're treating him as though he's an existential threat to democracy with a really dark and ominous warning from former President Barack Obama.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insight on this week's DNC:

The Democratic Party is supposed to have their convention this week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, plans changed due to the coronavirus and now you're basically looking at a week-long zoom call. There will be a lot of traditional elements at the convention that feel the same to viewers at home. Several hours of primetime coverage every night, you are going to have the primetime speeches by the big party luminaries, you're going to have daily themes highlighting the ideas that Joe Biden wants to focus on, and then you're going to have smaller speeches during the day from kind of up and comers in the party, but it's just all taking place in a virtual environment that's going to look a lot different.

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