What We're Watching: California's governor faces the heat, worrying signs for Argentina's president, a Malaysian deal

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at St. Mary's Center during a Stop The Recall rally ahead of the Republican-led recall election, in Oakland, California, U.S., September 11, 2021.

The world's fifth largest economy votes: Voters in the US state of California will vote Tuesday on whether to fire the state's Democratic Governor, Gavin Newsom, and replace him with someone else. Some 46 candidates have put their names on the ballot to take the governor's mansion from Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor who has been broadly criticized for his pandemic policies — in particular his decision to keep many public schools closed last year, as well as dining out at an exclusive restaurant while telling Californians to stay home. But while the recall effort initially had steam, low projected turnout and an uninspiring group of replacement options — including right wing shock-jock Larry Elder and Caitlyn Jenner of Kardashian fame — mean that Newsom will likely survive. The vote has national implications: there is increasing pressure on the state's 88-year old Senator Diane Feinstein to retire before her term is up in 2024, and it would be up to the governor to appoint her replacement. With the Senate currently divided 50-50, a Republican governor could flip control back to the GOP. But that's a long-shot: Republicans only make up 24 percent of the electorate, compared to 35 percent in 2003, the last time the state recalled its Democratic governor. Who took over after that? The Terminator.


Bad signs for Argentina's president: The coalition of President Alberto Fernandez got walloped over the weekend in mandatory primaries that are considered a dry-run for November's mid-term elections. His leftwing Peronist ticket pulled just 31 percent of the vote, almost ten points behind the center-right opposition Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) list, and won in just 8 of Argentina's 24 provinces. The result isn't hugely surprising, considering how bad things are in Argentina at the moment. Inflation is flirting with 50 percent, and Argentina has one of the highest death rates per 100,000 in the world. If these results repeat in November, Fernandez would lose his Senate majority, vastly complicating his ability to govern in the second half of his term. At the same time, his powerful Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was president from 2007 to 2015, is breathing down his neck, pushing for more economic interventions in order to boost support in the election. With Argentina already reeling from a debt crisis, that could prove disastrous. Argentina has lurched from crisis to crisis in recent years, with big political swings to match. Indeed, the next two months could be particularly perilous.

A big deal in Malaysia: The country's ruling coalition has signed an agreement with the opposition, in a move that boost's the teetering prime minister, and could stabilize politics for a bit after a tumultuous few years. In August, current PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob became the third prime minister in as many years, with a majority so slim that the country's monarch called for a vote of confidence to prove that he was really in charge. The new agreement, meant to shore up political stability while the country grapples with the pandemic, grants the opposition a say on all legislation and matters of economic recovery, and lowers the voting age from 21 to 18. No date has been set for the confidence vote, but that will be the next big milestone for Ismail Sabri, who will now try and pass the 2022 national budget to boost confidence. A strong showing will put him in the clear for a while, and give Malaysia a chance to dig out of the pandemic without further political upheavals.

Walmart aspires to become a regenerative company – helping to renew people and planet through our business. We are committed to working towards zero emissions across our global operations by 2040. So far, more than 36% of our global electricity is powered through renewable sources. And through Project Gigaton, we have partnered with suppliers to avoid over 416 million metric tons of CO2e since 2017. Read more about our commitment to the planet in our 2021 ESG report.

The German people have spoken. For the first time in over 70 years, the country's next government is all but assured to be a three-way coalition.

That coalition will probably be led by the center-left SPD, the most voted party, with the Greens and the pro-business FDP as junior partners. Less likely but still possible is a similar combination headed by the conservative CDU/CSU, which got its worst result ever. A grand coalition of the SPD and the CDU/CSU — the two parties that have dominated German federal politics since World War II — is only a fallback option if talks fail badly.

Both the Greens and especially the FDP have been in coalition governments before. But this time it's different because together they have the upper hand in negotiations with the big parties wooing them.

The problem is that the two smaller parties agree on little beyond legalizing weed, and even when they do, diverge on how to reach common goals. So, where does each stand on what separates them?

More Show less

Joe Biden has already cancelled more US student than any other president. But progressive Democrats want him to write off a lot more to reduce the racial wealth gap and help people recover better from COVID's economic ruin. Republicans are against all this because it would be unfair to current and future borrowers and to taxpayers footing the bill, not to mention subsidizing the rich.

Watch the episode: How the COVID-damaged economy surprised Adam Tooze

China and Canada's hostage diplomacy: In 2018, Canada arrested Huawei top executive Meng Wanzhou because US authorities wanted to prosecute her for violating Iran sanctions. China responded by arresting two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, in what looked like a tit-for-tat. Over the weekend, Meng and the "Two Michaels" were all freed to return to their home countries as part of a deal evidently brokered by Washington. The exchange removes a major sore spot in US-China and Canada-China relations, though we're wondering if establishing the precedent of "hostage diplomacy" with China, especially in such a prominent case, is a good one for anyone involved.

More Show less

40: Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body representing 40 Indian farmer groups, took to the streets Monday to mark a year since the start of mass protests against new farming laws that they say help big agro-businesses at the expense of small farmers. The group has called for an industry-wide strike until the laws are withdrawn.

More Show less

Germany's conservative CDU/ CSU party and the center-left SPD have dominated German politics since the 1950s. For decades, they have vied for dominance and often served in a coalition together, and have been known as the "people's parties" – a reference to their perceived middle-of-the-road pragmatism and combined broad appeal to the majority of Germans. But that's all changing, as evidenced by the fact that both performed poorly in this week's election, shedding votes to the minority Greens and pro-business Free Democrats. We take a look at the CDU/CSU and SPD's respective electoral performance over the past 60 years.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Happy week to all of you and thought I'd talk a little bit about Germany and Europe. Because of course, we just had elections in Germany, 16 years of Angela Merkel's rule coming to an end - by far the strongest leader that Germany has seen post-war, Europe has seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union. And indeed in many ways, the world has seen in the 21st century. Xi Jinping, of course, runs a much bigger country and has consolidated much more power, but in terms of the free world, it's been Angela Merkel.

More Show less

Germany's historic moment of choice is finally here, and voters will stream to the polls on Sunday for the country's first post-World War II vote without a national leader seeking re-election. They will elect new members of the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament. The leader of the party that wins the most seats will then try to secure a majority of seats by drawing other parties into a governing partnership. He or she will then replace Angela Merkel as Germany's chancellor.

If the latest opinion polls are right, the center-left Social Democrats will finish first. In coming weeks, they look likely to form a (potentially unwieldy) governing coalition with the Green Party and the pro-business Free Democrats, which would be Germany's first-ever governing alliance of more than two parties.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

Should the US cancel student loan debt?

GZERO World Clips

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal