GZERO Media logo

VP nominee Kamala Harris: a balanced Democratic ticket

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

Joe Biden has chosen his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California. She was the safe pick, she was the betting market favorite, she brings diversity to the ticket and a historic component, as the first woman of color to ever run on a major party ticket in the United States. Most importantly, what she does is she doesn't open up any obvious lines of attack for President Donald Trump and she doesn't bring the risk of creating a competing power center on policy inside the White House, the way a progressive candidate might have.


What are her weaknesses? Well, she only served in the Senate for four years and hasn't racked up a long record of policy achievements. Before that, she was attorney general of California, where she ran as sort of a tough-on-crime progressive, in a way that's sort of out of step with where the Democratic Party is. Her own presidential campaign also kind of flamed out but now she'll have four years, if they win, to gain some experience as vice president, maybe some foreign policy experience, and then run again, potentially as the favorite, should Biden not decide to run in 2024.

What's most interesting about this ticket, however, other than its historical nature, is how unremarkable it is. These are two sort of middle-of-the-road, generic Democrats that bring a lot of balance in terms of age, gender, racial diversity, foreign policy, domestic policy, and together they look a lot like right in the middle of where the Democratic Party is.

This also achieves Joe Biden's number one goal in picking a running mate, which is to not distract from President Donald Trump. He wants this to be a referendum on Trump's leadership, about the coronavirus, and choosing Senator Harris allows him to make that pick, move on, and keep it focused on President Trump.

Pop quiz: what percentage of plastic currently gets recycled worldwide? Watch this video in Eni's Energy Shot series to find out and learn what needs to be done to prevent plastic from ending up in our oceans. Plastic is a precious resource that should be valued, not wasted.

This Monday, March 8, is International Women's Day, a holiday with roots in a protest led by the Russian feminist Alexandra Kollontai that helped topple the Tsar of Russia in 1917. More than a hundred years later, amid a global pandemic that has affected women with particular fury, there are dozens of women-led protests and social movements reshaping politics around the globe. Here we take a look at a few key ones to watch this year.

More Show less

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny shocked the world last year when he recovered from an attempted assassination plot by poisoning — an attempt that bore all the fingerprints of Russian government. Then he shocked the world again by returning to Russia and timing that return with the release of an hours-long documentary that catalogued the Putin regime's extensive history of corruption. Virtually no one, therefore, was shocked when he was immediately sentenced to a lengthy prison term. Anne Applebaum, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and expert on authoritarian regimes, believes there was a method to Navalny's madness. "His decision of '….I'm going to do something that harms me personally, but is going to be a lesson for Russians. I'm going teach a generation of Russians how to be brave.' I mean, not very many people would have the guts to do that."

Applebaum's conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World, airing on public television stations nationwide starting Friday, March 5. Check local listings.

It's not like things are going well in Mexico.

COVID has killed more people there than in any country except the United States and Brazil. Just 2 percent of Mexicans have gotten a first vaccine jab, compared with nearly 24 in the US. The Biden administration made clear this week that it won't send vaccines to its southern neighbor until many more Americans have been vaccinated. Mexico's government has cut deals for doses from China, Russia, and India.

More Show less

A body blow for Pakistan's Prime Minister: Imran Khan suffered an embarrassing defeat this week when members of the National Assembly, the country's lower house, voted to give the opposition bloc a majority in the Senate. (In Pakistan, lower house legislators and provincial assemblies elect senators in a secret ballot.) The big drama of it all is that Khan's own Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party holds a lower house majority, which means that lawmakers supposedly loyal to his party voted in secret for opposition candidates. Khan's allies claim that PTI members were bribed to support the opposition, and the prime minister says he will ask for a lower house vote of confidence in his leadership. That vote will not be secret, but even if he survives, the political damage is done. Without a Senate majority, he has no chance of passing key reform plans, including constitutional amendments meant to centralize financial and administrative control in the federal government. Khan has, however, refused to resign.

More Show less
The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal