Vladimir Putin, and other Iowa winners (and losers)

Vladimir Putin, and other Iowa winners (and losers)

After a day and a night (and most of a day) of technical difficulties, lousy communication, and general bewilderment, the Iowa Democratic Party finally released a batch of caucus results yesterday. With results in from 71% of Iowa's precincts, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has so far won the most delegates, followed by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden. We will know more over the course of the day, but right off the bat, here are three winners and three losers.

Winner #1: Pete Buttigieg who proved he can win an election outside of South Bend, Indiana, and a primary at that (OK, a caucus.)



Winner #2: Vladimir Putin When the infrastructure of American democracy fails, nobody loves it more than the President of Russia. To be clear, there's no evidence of any hacking in Monday's Iowa Caucus – but there doesn't need to be. Colossal electoral screw-ups like this make Americans doubt the legitimacy of their own institutions and bolster Putin's longstanding gripe that no one should be taking democracy lessons from Washington.

Winner #3: Michael Bloomberg The media mogul and former New York City mayor has made $60 billion off of communications technology that, unlike the Iowa caucus app, actually works. The Iowa fiasco may also help his strategy of skipping the early small-state primaries to focus on larger ones later on. True, he's polling in the single digits, but now he's doubling down on spending, and a poor showing by establishment centrist candidate Joe Biden clears some space for him.

So much for the winners. Now to those on the other side of the gym.

Loser #1: Joe Biden, who finds himself up against a wall early, after an unexpectedly weak fourth-place showing. He could still bounce back – he is highly competitive in a number of upcoming primaries including Nevada (Feb 22), South Carolina (Feb 29), and several Super Tuesday states (March 3) – but unless he starts winning soon, Smokin' Joe is going to look more like Joe Smokin'.

Loser #2: The Democratic Party. The party's incompetence on Monday night created an international embarrassment that Republicans will easily exploit. President Trump has already asked voters whether they'd entrust their health care system to people who can't count the number of people in a gym. His son suggested Democrats had fixed the results to hide a Bernie Sanders victory. That's a charge that some Sanders supporters might believe, given evidence that party officials tried to tip the 2016 nomination process away from Sanders toward Hillary Clinton. All of which makes the Dems look unfit and deeply divided at the worst possible moment.

Loser #3: Iowa. Why are Iowa Democrats and Republicans allowed to hold the first nominating contest every four years? Because that's how it's been done for decades. That might end after this year. For one thing, this wasn't Iowa's first screw-up. In 2012, Iowa Republicans declared Mitt Romney their winner before explaining two weeks later that votes had been miscounted and Rick Santorum had actually won. What's more, Iowa's demographics don't match the nation's well, and its caucus process is starting to look a little quaint. After years of complaints about the state's privileged status, Monday might just be the last straw.

In a year unlike any other, Walmart made meaningful change by placing nature and humanity at the center of our business. We invested in our workforce by hiring more than 500,000 associates, including people displaced by the pandemic. And through education, training and upskilling, we promoted more than 300,000 U.S. associates to jobs with greater responsibility and higher pay. Read more in our 2021 Environmental, Social and Governance report.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here from sunny Nantucket and going to be here for a little bit. Thought we would talk about the latest on COVID. Certainly, we had hoped we'd be talking less about it at this point, at least in terms of the developed world. A combination of the transmissibility of Delta variant and the extraordinary misinformation around vaccines and COVID treatment means that we are not in the position that many certainly had hoped we would be today.

The United States is the biggest problem on this front. We are awash in vaccines. Operation Warp Speed was an enormous success. The best vaccines in the world, the most effective mRNA, the United States doing everything it can to get secure doses for the entire country quick, more quickly than any other major economy in the world, and now we're having a hard time convincing people to take them. The politics around this are nasty and as divided as the country, absolutely not what you want to see in response to a health crisis.

More Show less

If your country had suffered decades of crippling corruption, wouldn't you want to prosecute those responsible? Of course you would. On Sunday, almost 98 percent of Mexicans who voted in a national referendum on this subject said, in so many words: "Yes, please prosecute the last five presidents for corruption!"

The catch is that turnout was a dismal 7 percent, meaning the plebiscite fell way short of the 40 percent turnout threshold required for its result to be binding.

More Show less

The COVID delta variant — which first surfaced in India earlier this year — is spreading rampantly throughout every continent, and is now the most dominant strain globally. But low- and middle-income countries, particularly in regions where vaccines have been scarce, are bearing the brunt of the fallout from the more contagious strain. We take a look at the 10 countries now recording the highest number of daily COVID deaths (per 1 million people), and their corresponding vaccination rates.

China tackles delta: China is the latest country to express serious concern over the highly contagious delta variant, after recording 300 cases in 10 days. Authorities there are trying to trace some 70,000 people who may have attended a theatre in Zhangjiajie, a city in China's Hunan province, which is now thought to have been a delta hotspot. Making matters worse, a busy domestic travel season in China saw millions recently on the move to visit friends and family just as delta infections spiked in more than a dozen provinces. Authorities have enforced new travel restrictions in many places, including in central Hunan province, where more than 1.2 million people have been told to stay in their homes for three days while authorities roll out a mass testing scheme. The outbreak has reached Beijing, too, with authorities limiting entrance to the capital to "essential travelers" only. Indeed, the outbreak has raised fresh concerns about Chinese vaccines' protection against delta, though many experts say they are still at least 55 percent effective in preventing serious illness.

More Show less

It was a weird series of events. Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya took to Instagram to lament that her country's Olympic Committee had registered her for the 4x400 relay event at the eleventh hour (because a fellow participant had failed to pass drug screenings) despite not having trained.

More Show less

100: A scorching heat wave has caused more than 100 wildfires across Turkey's Mediterranean and Aegean coastline in recent days. Scientists say that dry conditions induced by climate change have helped spread the fires, which have already killed eight people and caused mass evacuations from tourist hotspots.

More Show less

Alcohol. It's a dangerous drug that has ruined countless lives and derailed many a global summit. But it's also humanity's oldest social lubricant, a magical elixir that can fuel diplomatic breakthroughs, well into the wee hours of the night. As Winston Churchill once quipped, "I've taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." On GZERO World, we take a deep dive down the bottle and examine the role alcohol has played in society, politics, and global summitry—from the earliest hunter-gatherer days to that memorable Obama Beer Summit in 2009. Joining Ian Bremmer is philosopher Edward Slingerland, whose new book Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way Into Civilization makes a compelling, if nuanced, case for alcohol's place in the world.

Also: since alcohol isn't the only social drug, a look at the state of marijuana legalization across the US and around the world.

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal