What We’re Watching: Trump’s 2024 plans, G-20 & Basquiat in Bali, AMLO vs. Mexican democracy
Donald Trump’s “big announcement”
Tuesday is the day. We think. It’s not completely clear. Former US President Donald Trump has dropped a number of not-so-subtle hints that he will announce his candidacy for president on Tuesday. Millions of his supporters will be watching and hoping he pulls the trigger. Millions of Republicans who fear he’s become a liability for their party are hoping he’ll postpone or shock the world by not running. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other potential Trump rivals for the GOP nomination will be watching with dread for a first glimpse of the campaign Trump plans on waging against them. President Joe Biden, who will celebrate his 80th birthday later this month, will be watching to see what sort of Republican Party his reelection campaign is likely to face. The media will be watching in expectation of the opening salvo of the wildest presidential campaign in living memory. And you know we’ll be watching too.
Basquiat in Bali
The G-20 summit of the world’s 20 largest economies, representing 80% of the world economy, begins Tuesday in the Indonesian beach resort of Bali. What’s on the agenda? Pandemic recovery is the big theme, but the main gab will be about the war in Ukraine, where leaders are seeking a common position against nuclear weapons and for renewal of the Ukraine grain export deal, which expires on Saturday. Also, attendees will be keen to keep the growing US-China rivalry manageable for everyone else on the planet. But by our lights, the biggest intrigue isn’t that Vladimir Putin is skipping the event — why subject yourself to an earful about an unprovoked war that’s going so badly? — but instead his replacement’s latest antics. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov went to ironic-trolling level nine by giving an interview on the balcony of his Bali hotel room, where he shot down reports he’d been hospitalized and blasted Western journalists while rocking … a Basquiat t-shirt. Basquiat! Hard to imagine the iconoclastic, bisexual, Black fixture of the early 1980s NYC street art scene finding a happy home in Putin’s ultraconservative war-mobilized Russia these days, but stone-faced absurdity is a diplomatic style that Lavrov has long elevated to an art form of its own.
Mexicans rally against AMLO’s election reformIs democracy in trouble in Mexico? On Monday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, blasted the tens of thousands of people who spoiled his 69th birthday the day before by protesting his electoral reform plans. AMLO called the rallies — the biggest he's faced after nearly four years in power — a "striptease" by conservatives that smacks of "privilege, racism, and classism." No way, say the protesters, who fear AMLO's authoritarian crusade against the independent National Electoral Institute. The president wants to make elections more "democratic" by cutting the number of legislators, slashing public funding for political parties, and electing INE officials by popular vote. But his critics argue that he only wants to give the ruling MORENA Party a bigger slice of the legislative pie ahead of the next election in 2024, when the term-limited AMLO aims to handpick his successor. What happens next? Congress — where MORENA and its allies lost their two-thirds majority in both chambers in 2021 — will start debating the legislation in the coming weeks, but Eurasia Group analyst Matías Gómez Léautaud says that the bigger-than-expected turnout might make it harder for AMLO to muster enough opposition votes to get his election reform plans passed.
This was featured in Signal, the daily politics newsletter of GZERO Media. For smart coverage of global affairs that normal people can understand, subscribe here.